Sunday, May 03, 2009

Square Foot Gardening

My dear hubbie mentioned today that I talk about Square Foot Gardening (SFG) in my posts, but I haven’t really explained what it is or why we’re doing it (instead of traditional gardening).  So, here it is.

SFG is an approach to gardening that was introduced in the late 1970s by Mel Bartholomew.  It appears to be experiencing a resurgence in popularity.  You can learn quite a bit more from the SFG website.

Here are the basic tenets of the SFG method (as far as I can tell):

1. The garden is made above ground in a box measuring 4x4 feet.

2. The box is divided into 1x1 foot squares for growing.

3. The plants are grown in a mixture of equal parts peat moss, vermiculite, and compost (Mel’s Mix).

4. Two or three seasons of vegetables are harvested each year (I have trouble seeing how you can get three seasons worth in the Great White North, though).

5. Only the plants that you want for that year are planted.  That is, you don’t plant so many vegetables that you end up being sick of seeing vegetables by the end of the summer.

From what I can understand, there are lots of advantages of SFG:

1. No fertilizing is needed.

2. Minimal weeding is required (a weed cloth is placed underneath the garden to minimize weed growth and there are no weed seeds in your soil to start with)

3. It is inexpensive.  No expensive tools are needed, the materials for the garden are rather cheap, and the seeds are cheap (although I’m starting mostly with transplants which increases the cost some).

4. Can be done in a small yard or on a porch – very important for us and our postage stamp-sized yard!

5. It’s easy.  Since I will use the Mel’s Mix (soil mixture), I don’t have to have my soil tested, etc.  There’s no tilling required.  The learning curve is pretty manageable.

Now, I’ll tell you over the next several months how much of this I agree with.  In any case, I was glad to find a gardening method that seems to be well-suited for our little house in town.  And, if it is, we’ll get lots of fresh veggies all summer and fall!

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