It’s been a miserable windy weekend here at the cottage but on the podcast I promised a post on Square Foot Planting because that’s the method we use to grow all our veg. It’s intensive and you do need to take a little care with your planning but it’s fantastic and I highly recommend it.
Ok you got me interested, how do I start?
We use raised beds here, they are one 14″ high and 60″ long. We divided these into 1 foot squares by placing a nail every 12″ and then using twine we formed a grid. Each square is approximately 1 foot and a fixed amount of vegetable seed is grown in each square. Then have a look at growing some veg but start small, say salads? or root crops? Then slowly expand the following year when you have an idea.
If you don’t want to go whole hog into raised beds, just grab a large container or a bag, fill with soil and sow some lettuce crops. They have rarely failed on me and have grown everywhere! This is a handy guide for figuring out the number of plants that you can plant per square foot. If your handy then build a box 4ft x 4ft with untreated wood.
You want to plant something that isn’t on the chart above? Then just have a look on the seed packet and there are a set of instructions for spacing between plants, and bang there you go.
The soil used in the box is best made up from:
1/3 Coarse Grade Vermiculite
1/3 Blended Compost
If filling a lot of raised beds I do recommend Enrich vegetable soil or have a chat with your local Garden Center.
And the downside?
Ok you got me you do need to know a little about the crops you are planting. Certain veg do well when planted near each other and some really hate sharing space. If you want to start the easiest thing is to grab a piece of paper and a pencil and draw a grid pattern of your bed and write the veg that you want to plant next to each other. Then check out this link from Growing Anything and see if your plants get along. Companion planting is laughed at by some and followed to the letter by others. It worked really well for me this year so I will be following the same guide next year.
It really is that simple, build a box, fill with soil, add a grid and sew some seed. There really is no excuse and if your in an apartment there are always containers that you can use and grow smaller plants in. I know people with peppers and chili plants in their sitting room window and others with micro greens growing out of old butter tubs in the kitchen and there is a very inventive couple who are growing an entire wall of salad out of old pallets.
This leads me to ask, how are you getting on with your Winter Window Challenge? Our seedlings are all starting to waken up and I’ve moved some of the window boxes inside at night because the weather is getting a little on the brisk side. The first to break through are the oriental salads followed closely by pak choi and radish. It’ll be a close one to the finish line, I better have my camera ready!
Haven’t started yet? That’s ok you can still sow some seeds indoors and they will keep you company in your kitchen as the dark of winter draws in. Snap some pictures and show us what your growing!