Square Foot Gardening is a type of intensive gardening popularized by Mel Bartholemew. It is based on the idea that the wide rows in conventional home gardening are a waste of time and space, and that more quality vegetables can be grown in less space with less effort.
In this method, the garden space is divided into beds (a 4' x 4', 16 sq ft or 120cm x 120cm, 1.4m² garden being recommended) and separated by paths. These beds are further divided into squares of approximately one square foot, and planted with your vegetables. Common spacing is one plant/square for larger plants such as broccoli, basil, etc.. four/square for medium large plants like lettuce, nine/square for medium-small plants like spinach, and sixteen/square for small plants such as onions and carrots. The beds are weeded and watered from the pathways, so the garden soil does not compact.
Benefits of Square Foot Gardening
- Much less work. Conventional gardening requires heavy tools to loosen the soil, whereas in this method, the soil is never compacted and it remains loose and loamy. Weeding takes much less time due to the compact nature of the garden.
- Water Savings. Due to the nature of the soil and its water-holding capacities, this type of garden needs water less frequently than other methods. Also, water is placed very near the plant roots, wasting very little in the process.
- Very little weeding. One benefit of this close planting is that the vegetables form a living mulch, and shade out many weed seeds before they have a chance to germinate.
- Pesticide / Herbicide Free. Natural insect repellent methods (i.e. planting marigolds or other naturally pest-repelling plants) become very efficient in a close space and thus, pesticides are not necessary. The large variety of crops in a small space also prevents plant diseases from spreading easily.
- Square Foot gardening resources
- Square Foot Gardening Forum on Gardenweb
- Square Foot Gardening, Official Site
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