Anne of Green Gardens

Square Foot Gardening: Part III

square-foot-garden-layout-Anne-of-Green-GardensAccording to Mel, a square foot garden is NOT a square foot garden without a “grid.” Don’t forget to add this important part, which is really easy to make out of yardsticks, venetian blind slats, string, twine or wood slat material from a hardware store. You’ll need a total of 6, 4′ pieces of the material of your choice. It’s just like making a life-size tic-tac-toe! If you use wood or plastic blinds, nail or screw the pieces together. For twine, hammer nails one foot apart along the outside of the box, (leave about a ¼” of the nail sticking out) and then run the twine around them.

The main point of the grid is to create 16 square foot compartments. The number of plants you put in each square depends upon the crops you choose and how they grow. A chart on pages 192-193 gives quick, at-a-glance answers to spacing for common vegetables, herbs and flowers. Mel categorizes plants by size and compares them to t-shirts. In other words, they come in small, medium, large and extra large. Here’s an example:
Small Plants: 16 per square-beets, carrots, radishes, chives
Medium Plants: 8 per square-bush beans, sugar snap peas, spinach
Large Plants: 4 per square-chard, corn, parsley, strawberry
Extra Large Plants:1 per square-broccoli, cabbage, eggplant, okra, pepper, cilantro, mint, oregano, etc.  Now comes the hard part-deciding what to grow! The back of Mel’s book has some grids you can use to create a garden plan. It helps to visualize what you will grow. Here’s an example:

1 tomato 4 basil 4 corn 4 corn
2 cucumbers 1 pepper 1 eggplant 9 spinach
1 zucchini 4 tomatillos 9 bush beans 4 zinnia
zuc space 1 oregano 2 dahila 4 marigold

There are three things to remember when creating your plan. #1 is to plan for extra space for certain crops. This is why the above grid says “zuc space.” Some crops will take up 2-4 or even 9 (determinate bush tomatoes). #2 is to plant “tall” plants like corn or okra along the north side of the garden to prevent shade. #3 is to create a trellis for vining/climbing plants like tomatoes, cucumbers, melons and squash. Your trellis can be made out of pvc or metal pipe. Tie a string trellis over it, or for stronger support use wire or twine. Instructions on how to make a trellis can be found in chapter 8. Here I am below planting up the square foot garden. I had a great time! And I hope you do too. Please email me or post your experiences under “comments.”




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