Welcome to a new year of gardening! Whether you’ve been gardening for a while or are just getting started or have never even planted one seed in your life, I have a feeling that 2012 is going to be an outstanding year.
Today I wanted to share a a quick email with you from an NOH reader who has given me some real inspiration for my gardens, both in our courtyard and behind the barn. So let me just get to it:
Hello….I stumbled on your website when I was looking for a quick and cheaters version of Stovetop stuffing. After we had dinner (the stuffing recipe was really good) I came back to your site. I browsed around a bit, and saw your garden setup. It looks like you have raised boxes, are trying to be self-sufficient by growing as much as you can back there, and you don’t like weeding and all the extra work that goes along with a traditional garden.
I thought I would ask you if you have ever heard of square foot gardening? I think it would be right up your alley. I have been doing it for about 12 years now, and I will neve go back to the traditional garden because I hate weeding, and I hate doing all the extra work that you end up doing with one of those. And, the yield is huge compared to a regular garden. Maybe you have tried it and dont like it, maybe you have heard of it and havent tried it, or maybe you haven’t heard of it. I just thought I would ask. One good year of SFG and you will probably never go back to what you are doing now…..and, you spend a lot more time in the garden than you normally would….if you would like more information on it, let me know and I will point you in the right direction to learn about it….but I think you would really love it…..Jim
As it turns out, Jim writes a pretty cool blog about square foot gardening called The Wealthy Earth. He has a lot of information there about how to do square foot gardening and why it’s so great, plus reports about his own garden.
If you’ve never heard about square foot gardening, it’s a raised bed technique in which you actually section off the space inside each bed into 1×1-foot quadrants. Then you fill the bed with Mel’s special soil mix, and plant your seeds according to how large the plants will ultimately be. Because you are maximizing the number of plants you have in your growing space, you have less empty earth for weeds to grow in. Plus, you never walk on your soil, keeping it loose and aerated…but also making it easy for you to pull any weeds that might dare to take root in your garden.
Check out this quick overview video with Mel Bartholomew about the new and improved square foot gardening system:
This system has been around for many, many years now, but Mel has revised his system (and his book) based on what he has learned over the years. These tips and tricks make your garden easier to maintain and harvest from.
What I really like about this idea is that you not only maximize your growing space, but you also are able to rotate your crops often and I think a system like this might actually make it easier to keep a garden journal because you’ll have new things going in and coming out of your garden all the time.
So one of our plans for the spring will be cutting up some of the scrap trim that the previous owner left behind for the beds in the courtyard and giving this a go. I’m tempted to try it out in the big garden as well already but we’ll just have to see how we progress there first. My goal in that garden behind the barn is to eventually rid it of all grass so it’s easier to maintain…which means there will be a lot of bags of mulch in our future.
Because we have rectangular beds instead of square ones, it may be a challenge to get just the right number of 1×1-foot mini-beds. But I’m sure we will figure something out since I don’t necessarily look forward to rebuilding all of our growing beds this year. We already have the greenhouse to recover and an aquaponics bed to build as it is.
Have you ever tried square foot gardening? Or is there another gardening method that you’ve discovered which works great for your space?
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