Traditionally gardening is done in rows, and is what my parents always did. So last year that is what I followed. I had started reading a bit about square foot gardening, so decided this year that I would give it a try. Now, I’m not claiming to be an expert, but here is what I have learned, and done so far.
The basic idea behind square foot gardening, is to try to plant more efficiently in a smaller space. Depending on what you are growing, it is anywhere from one plant, to sixteen per square foot. As well, by planting in a more compact space there should be less weeds among the area planted.
To lay out your square foot garden you will plan 4 foot by 4 foot plots (16 square feet), then three feet between plots. You can also do these as raised garden beds or as I have done right in my garden, and just marked off with wood stakes and twine.
If doing raised beds, make sure to fill beds with enough good quality soil and compost for nutrients. Between you can have grass, or other mulch. You can even have permanent paths using cement blocks, bricks or stone.
Before measuring out my plots the garden was tilled, by my husband. There was a layer of straw mulch from last year that was worked into the ground.
I then measured out 4 foot by 4 foot plots with 3 feet between, and allowing a boarder around the garden itself. I then put a wooden stake in each corner of each plot and used twine to outline each plot.
Next I took a wood stake to ruffly draw out the 16 square feet. Now depending on what you are planting, depends how much you plant in each square. Here is what guide I used:
Potatoes – 1
Tomatoes – 1
Beans – 5
Peas – 8
Carrots – 16
Peppers – 1
Beets – 9
Zucchini – 2
Pumpkins – 1
Melons – 1
Cucumbers – 1
Broccoli – 1
Lettuce – 16
Herbs – 16
I drew out my garden space with the plots and walk paths between. I ended up with 24 plots. I figured what I was planting, and decided what I would plant in each plot. Here is my plan (good or bad, time will tell).
Now we had so much rain that my garden was delayed (again) this year getting planted. I am all done except for transplanting the seedlings I started inside. Those will be planted in garden in the next week or so.
Once all planted, we will be using straw as mulch between the rows again. It worked well last year.
Once everything is up and established, I will post an update.
* In first picture, books I got from local library. Square Foot Gardening, by Mel Bartholornew. Grow All You Can Eat in 3 Square Foot, DK Publishing.