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Square Foot Gardening

April 11, 2014 - Stephanie Brown
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Video Transcript
Hi, I'm Tricia, an organic gardener I grow
organically, for healthy and safe food supply, for
clean and sustainable environment, for an enjoyable and rewarding

Gardening may seem overwhelming and over
complicated, but today we're going to show you a
simple method for gardening that anybody can enjoy and thats square foot gardening.

Square foot gardening helps you space efficiently in your garden.
It also incorporates growing crops in compost,
succession planting, companion planting
and crop rotation.

To do a square foot garden you need:
a four foot wide raise bed, 6 to
12 inches deep, lots of compost and six pieces
of bamboo, or some other straight
stick, and a measuring tape.

If you want to build a trellis include
two 7 foot, or longer, pieces of bamboo, Hortonova trellis, and six feet of wire.

Your bed should be four feet wide.
It can be as long as you want it too,
but I'm starting out with a four by four
foot square.

You also wanna make sure
that you're having at least six to eight
hours of sun every day.

I'll be using these two by sixes
cut to four foot lengths and my M-braces to
build my bed. If you're building multiple beds make a
1-3 foot aisle in between them. Next go ahead and
fill your bed with compost or equal parts compost, vermiculite,
and peat moss or coco peat.

Square foot gardening takes a lot of compost
so it's most cost effective if you make
your own. Check out our video on hot
composting for details on doing it yourself.

Now that our bed is all filled up, we're gonna
lay out our bamboo in a grid pattern
placing the bamboo every one foot apart.
The grid is now comprised of
twelve inch squares.

Secure the bamboo at the edges or zip
tie them at the crosses.

You can set up a trellis on the north
side of your garden bed
like this one and that help support
climbers like peas.

Now for the fun part, planting the seeds.
Check the back of the seed pack for
spacing requirements.

A spacing and 12 inches mean you can
have one plant in square.
Six inch spacing translates into four
plants in the square.
Four inch spacing gives you nine plants
per square.The smaller spacing of two inch spacing
is 16 plant in one square.

Make small depressions at the final
spacing if your plants
and plant to three seeds per each

I'm planting carrots so I'll make sixteen

Rotate your crops in each square.
Since I'm growing carrots now in the
square, the next thing I plan after
harvest the carrots will be
something like cole crops or
legume crops.

An important thing about
square foot gardening
is to do succession planting. If you want
to plant a crop and leave it all summer
and not plant anymore than square foot
gardening may not be for you.

Use the principles companion planting.
Add pest deterrent plants like
onions, nasturtium, or basil.

Something else unique to square foot
gardening is the watering.
It's recommended that use warm water and
you hand water at the base of the plant
no overhead watering. Just set a bucket
of water out in the sun and let it warm up.

Square foot gardening is great for novices
or expert gardeners I think you should try it
I think you'll like it, and grow organic for life.

Kim Roman Says:
Apr 14th, 2014 at 1:55 pm

This is a pretty good overview of the Square Foot Gardening method. I’m a Certified SFG Instructor and highly recommend everyone get a copy of Mel Bartholomew’s 2nd Edition All New Square Foot Gardening book (you can find it at your local library).

We only recommend the use of 100% compost when growing in third world countries and I’m glad you included the 1/3 coarse vermiculite (or in a pinch perlite), 1/3 peat moss (or coco coir) and 1/3 compost - lovingly referred to as Mel’s Mix.

After harvesting a square you will add a trowel full of compost to that empty square, stir it in and you can replant. Unlike bagged “soil” or “potting mix” you will NEVER have to make Mel’s Mix again, just keep adding compost. So while the initial cost is high you can see that it will save you $$ in the long run.

The bed really only needs to be 6” tall. If you want to grow deeper crops (long carrots or leeks for example) you can add a 1’x1’ “top hat” to just a single square and fill that with Mel’s Mix. 

I love your videos.

Stephanie Brown Says:
Apr 15th, 2014 at 9:52 am

Hello Kim,

Thanks so much for the tips! Great advice on getting the most from Mel’s system.

James E Descamps Says:
May 14th, 2014 at 5:12 pm

Many counties in NM, such as the one I live in Sandoval, make compost and sell a pickup load full of compost for about $12.00; this is an enormous cost savings. Check to see if you county does something like this also. Ours is done by the county landfill; they make 80 Tons a month with half horse manure. I think it is excellent and use it myself.

rose lanclos Says:
Nov 20th, 2014 at 4:33 pm


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