When it comes to growing vegetables, organisation is absolutely key! You will want to make the most of your space, ensuring that you can grow as much of what you want as possible. However, this can require careful attention to little details like soil and spacing, especially with greens which are not used to the conditions in your garden soil.
‘Square foot gardening’ was popularised by Mel Bartholomew back in the early 1980s, and since then it has blossomed in popularity. Another local business to us in Aylesbury is the UK distributor of seeding square.
In a nutshell, it involves creating gardens made up of squares, each with their own crops and conditions. Not only is this easy to organise, with plants accurately spaced apart within each square, but it can also help to keep pests and weeds away. The efficiency on offer can also help with crop rotation, as once each square is ready to harvest, a gardener can simply seed it with a plant variety that is better suited to the current season.
Are you looking for a simple and efficient way to grow your greens? Here’s what you need to know about creating a square foot garden!
How to build a square foot garden
Unlike traditional gardens, square foot gardens are typically built in raised or wooden beds. The simple reason for this is that it provides gardeners with a greater degree of control over the soil conditions for their plants.
Naturally, square foot garden beds will be divided into square feet. It will be up to you to decide exactly how big you want your square foot garden to be, though you should keep in mind that it may be difficult to get to inner squares if you create a particularly large bed.
You should also give careful consideration to the material for your enclosure. Wood is a popular choice (particularly reclaimed pallets), though this will need to be treated fairly regularly. Other options include brick, concrete and stone. Be sure to line the bottom of your beds with cardboard, as this will kill grass, eliminate weeds and eventually decompose, giving your greens a healthy boost. If you do choose wood, it will be a good idea to have your square foot garden assembled by an experienced carpenter or handyman.
Of course, there is no reason to stop here. You could get more out of your new garden by adding some extra features. Trellises are a popular choice for square foot gardens. Typically installed on the north side, this can give you an extra bit of space to experiment with new plants. Vining crops such as tomatoes, beans and cucumbers are particularly popular for this. You could also add some protection from the elements to give your greens more of a fighting chance against cold or windy weather.
The next step will be choosing the soil mix for your garden. This will obviously depend on the types of plants you are planning to grow, but generally speaking the soil will be a mixture of vermiculite, peat moss and compost. An experienced local gardener should be able to help you choose the best proportions for your chosen crops. Once the soil is installed, be sure to soak it with a hose.
In order to enjoy all the benefits of your square foot garden, you will want to add dividing lines to outline the squares. These can be installed into the structures themselves, though a simpler (and cheaper) option will be to mark them out with pieces of string.
Now it’s time to get planting! Be sure to follow the instructions for your chosen crops closely. Luckily, there is no shortage of books and websites devoted exclusively to square foot gardening, so you should not find it difficult to find the guidance you require.