Have you ever heard of Square Foot Gardening?
I hadn’t, but my wife bought me the book by Mel Bartholomew for Easter and I must admit that I wish I had heard of this before. Am I a bad gardener for not having heard of this method of gardening? Well probably, but, I think for me this is the future of my veg plot and it all makes sense.
The space I have is very limited and my mother-in-law is reluctant to concede any more to me so Square Foot Gardening is ideal. Basically I have 3 raised beds and another plot that is similar in size to a one of the raised beds. In that plot I have normally grown my beans but think it’s about time to move them to another plot. By using the Square Foot Gardening system what I have done is divided each of my beds into square foot sections and in each section I am now planting instead of rows I am sowing the seeds as per instructions on the seed packets the amount I can actually grow together in that square foot. Beforehand I would plant for example a whole row of carrots. When the plants start to grwo there are many that are clumpped together and I am a bit lazy when it comes to pinching out, so I end up with a row of carrots that will probably yield 10 carrots. With the square foot method I can grow 16 carrots and so on with beets radishes etc.
What intrigues me most about the square foot gardening system is the amout of yield compared to planing in rows. As an example a square foot garden to sustain a family of four would be 10 feet by 16 feet atotal of 160 square feet. This actually produces the same amount of food that conventional garden of 800 square feet. I like these figures. Also as for saving water the sqaure foot garden requires an inch of water a week, 96 gallons and would take 20 minutes. The conventional garden 500 gallons and would take an hour and a half.
Another great point is that with the smaller garden I can totally compost thearea and have great soil within a year whereas it would take several years to get the larger garden properly fertilised.
On that note, I am going with the square foot gardening system and will let you know how I get on.
So far I have sown in 2 of the raised beds. The 3rd is awaiting some brassicas to germinate and mid-May I can safely plant some beans and peas!