Thursday, April 26, 2018

Square Foot Gardening by Vicky Spelman

Square Foot Gardening photo University of Florida
As gardeners, we often see the term "square foot gardening". Unsure as to what it means? It is actually an excellent way to arrange a garden bed and can solve a number of problems. The University of Florida explains it this way:

Square foot gardening is the practice of dividing the growing area into small square sections (typically 12" on a side, hence the name). The aim is to assist the planning and creating of a small but intensively planted vegetable garden. It results in a simple and orderly gardening system, from which it draws much of its appeal. Since the beds are typically small, making covers or cages to protect plants from pests, cold, or sun is more practical than with larger gardens.

Generally square foot gardens are created in a 4' x 4' planting area. A 4' x 4' planting box is great because it provides a decent sized area to grow in, without being so large that it's difficult to reach the middle from the sides. Remember, you never want to step into your planting area, so you want to be able to reach into the center in order to weed, plant, and harvest. If you decide to have more than one square foot garden, leave aisles large enough to work in - around 3' wide is usually enough.

Plant either one, four, nine, or sixteen plants per square. Exactly how many depends on what you are planting. For plants that take up more space, plant only one per square; this includes sweet and white potatoes, broccoli, kale, collards, cabbage, tomatoes, eggplants, cucumbers, okra, and peppers. Slightly smaller leafy plants like lettuce, chard, spinach, bok choy, and many herbs can be planted four per square. Beets, turnips, string beans, or peas can be planted in groups of nine per square foot. And for those plants that take up very little space, like carrots, radishes, and onions, you can fit sixteen plants in one square foot.

Adding a trellis for climbing plants adds even more efficiency to your garden - be sure to place it on an edge that won't create shade on the other plants. 

For more information check this article: UF / IFAS Gardening Solutions