Thursday, February 14, 2013

Square Foot Gardening

By now, most of you have at least heard of square foot gardening, if not tried it yourselves.  For us, it is the easiest, most productive form of gardening , and,  due to our self imposed limitations, specifically upwards of 50 free range chickens on our farm, necessary.

Years ago when our contract to purchase this farm fell through we were devestated. In anticipation of country living, we had purchased fruit trees, a wood burning stove, a 200+ gallon propane tank,  other homestead equipment, and had spent hours walking the land, making plans and dreaming of  future livestock and gardens. Without warning our dreams were crushed.

We owned a home in town, but with a swimming pool and numerous pine trees in the back yard there was no ideal location or space for a vegetable garden. In frustration, and to the horror of our neighbors, we began tilling up our front yard.

This was our first attempt at square foot gardening. As you can see, originally we tilled the soil, bordered the 4X4 squares with 5/4 board decking and planted vegetable transplants and seeds in the ground.

Through trial and error eventually we devised the design and arrangement that worked best for us and our front yard looked like this:

Square foot gardening is a technique that makes the most of your space by using ultra, nutrient-rich soil to maximize the number of plants per square foot of garden space.  Hence the name.  It mimics french intensive gardening - planting in close proximity allowing for ultimate growth while minimizing weeds.  We design our gardens in 4 foot x 4 foot boxes and subdivide these into 16 one foot squares.  We've found that this layout allows you to be able to reach each of the square planting areas - a larger framework would make it difficult to physically access your plants.

Each square is then planted with a specific number of plants per square depending upon your choice of  vegetables. For example, in a one foot square you can plant one cabbage or 4 lettuce plants as seen below.

Tomorrow I will guide you step by step through our process of building a square foot garden as well as list the spacing for a variety of vegetable plants.
Questions? Thoughts? Comments?  I'd love to hear them!

1 comment:

  1. Marcy, can you tell me what wood you used for the garden boxes. It looks like 2x6 or 2x8. Also can you use pressure treated. Thanks I would like to build a few in the back yard this year.