Or Raised Bed
Itís been a long cold winter for some of us and we are looking forward to the spring and this years growing season! I love gardening! I get so excited about finally getting to play it the dirt after the long winter. I have a VERY small yard the backyard is only about 50 feet wide and† 60 feet long and thereís a big† drop off near either end. I have to grow enough vegetables for my family to make it through the winter and I want a few fruits as well, my yard is mostly ledge and I have a bad back† sound impossible doesnít it? What to do Ö
Several years ago (1970ís ?) I was watching a public TV program Hosted by a gentleman Named Mel Bartholomew called Square Foot Gardening. As I recall the man was a retired Civil Engineer that just liked gardening and wanted to find an easier way to grow plants and veggies. The man is brilliant! Such a simple idea I donít know why everyone doesnít do it.
Basically you make 4 foot by 4 foot raised beds from 2 x 12 boards or just about anything your want. Donít use pressure treated lumber but linseed oil will work fine to protect the wood. Iíve been using the same boards for 15 years and so far (knock, knock, knock) they are still holding up. Iíve seen some really beautiful stone wall beds as well if you have the want to or cash to do it!
Hereís the basic planting bed:
Fill the beds with a simple mix of 1/3 Compost, 1/3 course vermiculite and 1/3 Peat moss, mix it all up and get ready to plant! Buy your vermiculite and peat moss in large 4 cubic foot bags. Not only is it heaper but youíll need lots of it!
Then each bed is divided into 1 foot squares Ė hence the name ďSquare Foot Gardening.Ē
You can use anything you want to divide the beds. I used week wacker line tied to small nails
On the inside of the bed so I donít it on them.
Next you divide the squares based on what you will plant in each square.
Because each square is only 12 inches square, itís easy to make small templates if you wish out of construction paper or cardboard to be used while planting you seeds or plants.
So how do you know how many plants to put in each square? Simple! Read the package and use this chart as a guide.
1 per square foot:
For plants that are thinned or planted 12 inches apart.
Tomatoes, Peppers, cabbage, Vines and† bushy plants.
4 per square foot:
For plants that are thinned or planted 6 inches apart.
Okra, Spices, Small Head lettuces, Small bush plants.
9 per square foot:
For plants that are thinned or planted 4 inches apart.
Larger spices, Beets, Onions, Garlic large bulb plants.
16 per square foot:
For plants that are thinned or planted 3 inches apart.
Lettuces, Small Onions, Swiss Chard, leafy plants.
I like to plant some things a bit less crowded than you can get by with and rarely use 16 per square for anything but leafy greens. I donít know why Ė I just do it that way.
This should get you started. For more information please go get Mel Bartholomewís book. You wonít regret it!
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