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Square Foot Gardening


This is something started 25 years ago by an American guy called Mel Bartholomew (who has several books out on the subject) who was trying to get people of all ages and disabilities to grow stuff in the smallest possible places (so even if you only have a balcony or a patio you could grow things). Most vegetable books state that you sow, thin and then finally grow the vegetable. But who needs 200 lettaces at the same time – his argument is only sow little and often of what you really want to eat. Every time you thin a seed – its a wasted plant. Most seed packets last several years (kept in a cool place).

Square Foot Gardening
At the moment I am growing in three 6 × 3 foot beds – Tomatoes (2 sorts), Aubergine, Garlic, Shallots, Mange-tout, Beetroot, Salad leaves and Cos Lettuce, Carrots, Spring-onions, Climbing Courgettes, Cuecumber (Bush), Brocolli, baby sweetcorn, Pepper, and Strawberries (Flamenco and Alpine) in a strawberry pot! ohh and potatoes (Charlotte) in a grow bag!

Square Foor Gardening
I will let you know how I get on over the coming season!! I just wanted to show my boys that vegetables taste so much better when you pick and then put straight in the pot or on your plate.

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That's quite interesting. In fact, I am currently thinking of how to make use of my own small gardening area. Is it difficult to maintain so many plants?

11 May, 2007


Will be really interested how you get on , plz keep us updated , Happy Gardening

13 May, 2007


No, its not difficult because its right outside my back door! Every time I look out or potter around - if I see a weed I pick it up, or if something needs picking - great! (Mum had the first radishes and lettuces yesterday) so at the same time I sowed another grid of radishes (actually put them around the toms - they will have grown by the time the toms get bigger and need the room).

13 May, 2007


Really interested to see how you get on. If I literally have as little space as a square foot available to me, what kind of plants would you recommend starting with?

23 May, 2007


Mel recommends you start with 4 x 4 foot bed as thats easiest to maintain (you can reach all around), this is suitable for most salad crops (lettuces - cut and come again, bush cue - grow upwards), tomatoe again you can grow the smaller varieties e.g cherry toms (Totem, sub arctic are what I am growing this year), mangetout (even better than peas cos you can eat the pod or let them grow and eat the peas) just give them some bamboo canes to climb. The list is endless. just not the bigger crops - cabbages tend to take too much room, squashes etc unless you are prepared to go upwards.

27 May, 2007


Is there any pattern in sowing the plants or do you just sow a bit of everything, then pick up and sow again? What grows the best in such garden?
Your garden pics are lovely.

3 Jun, 2007


There has been a series by the BBC and Royal Horticultural Society about veggies grown in a 3x3meter plot separated into smaller blocks. At the RHS garden in Wisley, Surrey, they have a plot that is just packed full of veg growing at full pelt in a tiny little space. Plenty of 'cut and come again' lettuce and so on, climbing french beans, broad beans, herbs, spinach. Much like the recommends above - really inspiring. They work on a normal crop rotation basis with second crop/sowing coming in about now... still time to plant some beans I think

15 Jun, 2007


With u all the way. Have just installed 2x 1m sq raised beds, made from recycled plastic interlocking boards + 1 half m bed . amazed at results aprox 3 plants of caulis, courgettes, french beans(2 rows) runner beans, peppers and aubergines. Intercropped with beetroot carrots lettuce and onions.Plenty for the 2 of us and easy to work on can sit and reach most of bed.

16 Jun, 2007


Its great to hear of so many people just attempting growing veg - I was a bit daunted at taking on a big veg patch and this seemed ideal - I've alrealy had plenty of things harvested - Mangetout (about 4 dinners worth), beetroot, garlic, plenty of salad stuff (had to give some away), radishes and the brocolli is nearly ready! (Cant wait).

16 Jun, 2007


Sorry forgot to mention seeds - yes he does have a formula - he sows in this order: if it states 12 inches apart plant one per square, 6 inches apart plant 4 in a square, 4 inches apart plant 9 in a square and 3 inches apart plant 16 in a square.
For example, one brocolli, cabbage, tomato or pepper, - 4 of chard, 9 of spinach or beetroot and 16 of carrots, radishes and onions.
Remember, you get smaller, but tastier veg using this method.

16 Jun, 2007


I just checked out his website. Think you have started something here.

27 Apr, 2008


I planted my first veggie garden using the square foot method. It is amazing how much you can plant in 12 sq inches.

3 Aug, 2008


How fantastic to find other people growing veg on a small scale ... I'm so excited!

My very first attempt at planting veggies was the last week in July last year when I planted some runner beans in a tiny 4' by 18" raised bed at the end of my patio. (Raised bed is a bit of an exaggeration ... it was a bit of earth behind a little wall that was bare). After reaping beans until October I got bitten by the bug.

I ripped out a load of weeds-cum-shrubs from the 6x4 plot and planted onion and garlic, then dug up a bit of the grass and put in over-wintering broad beans and peas (not a huge success but at least I had a couple of meals off both).

I've got bits and pieces stuck everywhere at the moment but just thought I would share 2 biggest successes so far. Early potatoes in bags (have to admit I used the hessian supermarket bags at £1 each compared to a fiver for the proper thing) and have been eating them for 2 weeks and supplying a friend. Second huge success is perpetual spinach ... absolutely marvellous and planted in 3 pots which I rotate.

Sorry, I've rambled a bit, but it is so exciting finding people who are having a go like I am. Good luck with all your crops

21 Jun, 2009


Thats great - nothing like picking and eating something you've grown especially when you thought it wouldnt work!!

22 Jun, 2009

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