Monday, April 18, 2011

Gardening. Squared. [Part II]

As you can see, I've been very busy since part I of this post. I planted just about one and a half of my new raised beds and everything is settling in nicely. With square foot gardening, instead of rows there are squares. Each square gets its own crop. It's pretty amazing how much you can fit into the box, and because of the box's dimensions (4' x 4' - the average person's reach is 2') there's no need for walking spaces, freeing up every inch for planting.

To figure out how many plants per individual square, just read your seed packet or plant tag. If it says it needs to be spaced 6" apart, you can fit 4 in your 12"x12" square (like strawberries); 4" apart, 9 (like bush beans); 3" apart, 16 (like carrots).

The amount of harvest you can reap from one 4'x4' square foot garden is incredible. From one box, one season can yield (from the book All New Square Foot Gardening):
  • One head of cabbage
  • One head of broccoli
  • One head of cauliflower
  • Four heads of romaine lettuce
  • Four heads of red lettuce
  • Four heads of leaf lettuce, followed by sixteen scallions
  • Four heads of salad lettuce
  • Five pounds of sugar peas
  • Eight bunches of Swiss chard
  • Nine bunches of spinach, then nine turnips
  • Sixteen small, ball carrots
  • Sixteen beets, plus four bunches of beet greens
  • Sixteen long carrots
  • Thirty two radishes
To plant seeds, divide the square into however many parts you need by tracing lines with your fingers. Then use a pen (or your finger) to poke holes about an inch deep in each section. Drop two seeds in each hole, cover with soil, and water. Once your seeds sprout, use scissors to cut off the weakest of the two (sad, I know), leaving one in each space.

To transplant, carefully remove the plant from its container and use scissors to trim off all the excess roots. Use a trowel (small hand shovel) to move a little soil and set plant in. Water well.

So far I've planted marigolds, onion chives, sweet basil, tomatoes, nasturtiums, dwarf sunflowers, jalapenos, bush beans, lemon basil, chili peppers, sugar snap peas, and pineapple sage. That's all in one box. I still have two more boxes to fill and I think we might be doing one completely with strawberries... mmm.

My row garden is also doing well. I have ten heads of romaine lettuce, eight tomatoes, three rows of carrots, two rows of Lincoln peas, three summer squash, about ten sunflowers (I think I might be the most excited about these), and a few rows of corn. I'm interested to see which method works best for my family- row or SFG. Either way, it's my first year of both... so wish me luck!

Next week I'll show you how to build protection for your gardens. That is if I can get my husband to build them for me... haha!


  1. Ash this is such a dream for me!! How I wish this was my garden. I loved reading Bart's book and I can't wait till you invite me over for a nice fresh salad :)

  2. This is seriously impressive!! If I ever decide to stay in a place long enough, I might have to do this...