Planting herbs, flowers and veggies in a square foot garden on our deck.
Square foot gardening in Nashville, Tennessee makes sense. With wet springs, sometimes it’s hard to work the soil when the time is right. Ground too frozen? Doesn’t matter with a square foot garden! Having your planting area in a raised bed enables you to plant anytime. Plus, whenever you can grow more in less space, you’re on to something good.
A few years ago I purchased the book All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space by Mel Bartholomew. It’s the newest edition of his original book Square Foot Gardening.
This system of gardening allows you to grow 100% of your produce in only 20% of the space with no weeding or fertilizing and the only tools needed are a pencil and a trowel (once the box is built). What could be better? Plant vegetables, herbs, and or flowers all in a 4×4 raised be area…perfect for small areas.
Benefits of square foot gardening:
- Out produces every other method known.
- Requires 80% less than conventional gardening.
- Can be done in an area of 4 feet by 4 feet.
- Build-up, rather than down, with Mel’s Mix so your existing soil doesn’t matter.
- Uses less water; only about 20% compared to conventional gardening.
- No fertilizers or pesticides used so it’s all organic and sustainable.
- No thinning and very few seeds.
- Can be started any season.
- Produces 5 times the harvest of a conventional garden.
- Great for those with physical or mental limitations.
- Can be made into raised beds for wheelchair access
- Great for the whole family.
- No weeding, no thinning, no heavy digging.
- Largest selling garden book in America, EVER
Ten basics of square foot gardening:
- LAYOUT – Arrange your garden in squares, not rows. Lay it out in 4’x4′ planting areas.
- BOXES – Build boxes to hold a new soil mix above ground.
- AISLES – Space boxes 3′ apart to form walking aisles.
- SOIL – Fill boxes with Mel’s special soil mix: 1/3 blended compost, 1/3 peat moss, and 1/3 coarse vermiculite.
- GRID – Make a permanent square foot grid for the top of each box. A MUST!
- CARE – NEVER WALK ON YOUR GROWING SOIL. Tend your garden from the aisles.
- SELECT – Plant a different flower, vegetable, or herb crop in each square foot, using 1, 4, 9, or 16 plants per square foot.
- PLANT – Conserve seeds. Plant only a pinch (2 or 3 seeds) per hole. Place transplants in a slight saucer-shaped depression.
- WATER – Water by hand from a bucket of sun-warmed water.
- HARVEST – When you finish harvesting a square foot, add compost and replant it with a new and different crop.
Go ahead and give square foot gardening a try. If you need any help assembling one or want to have us do all the building and planting, just give us a call at 615-350-8030. We’re glad to help!
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