Square Foot Gardening

Photo of square foot garden A square foot garden

In the last twelve years, I have lived in various homes and locations, from a small house on a small lot to an industrial site to acreage, you get the picture. The common thing about all of these locations was that I have always had a vegetable garden regardless of the space provided. Although the square footage and locations have changed the things that have not are efficiency and productivity. In my mind I need to get the most amount of produce out of any space that I am in, even if it is in a gravel yard surrounded by heavy truck traffic (yes it is true). This is where I truly believe in square foot gardening which uses up to 20% less space than traditional row planting and lets face it most of us do not have the room to even plant rows.

I have grown my potatoes in paper pot bags, tomatoes in hanging baskets and lettuce stuffed in between my root vegetables but it all seems to work out successfully. The only common aspect to all of my veggie gardens has been that regardless of the square footage I have used SEA SOIL. I plant, water, never fertilize and then harvest - simple.

While planting using a square foot gardening technique, I would recommend keeping a local companion planting chart handy as a lot of veggies grow better when planted with their suggested companions. Companion planting will also naturally prevent a lot of disease and disappointment. I also make note of which area I planted specific veggies in order to rotate locations in the following years, as some veggies will not tolerate the same place twice. Although I do follow the basic principles of square foot gardening, I have never actually bordered off each square foot with wood as I just could not be bothered. Instead, my borders are in my head and when I am planting, I am careful to leave appropriate room for growth.

This year I gave my daughter a 4-foot by 8-foot section of my garden (we now grow on an acreage but due to rabbit/deer/chicken fencing we are still limited by space). Of course being that she is 5 and loves carrots, she decided to use her space for carrots only. That small space produced thirty-five bundles of 5 carrots, an excessive amount for a backyard farmer or a single person. Imagine if she had split the space and grown five different vegetables in that space - what an amazing salad/dinner. Of course being the little entrepreneur that she is, she set up a table at the bottom of the driveway and sold $70 in carrots to the neighbors as well as some chicken eggs - always thinking that one. The point is: when it comes to growing a vegetable garden, you have no excuses as size really doesn't matter when you are using a square foot method! I have come a long way but this is my small veggie garden in at an industrial building in Port McNeill; poor climate and location couldn't stop me!

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