Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Planning Our Garden: Square Foot Gardening

Happy Valentine's Day!  So why am I not writing about love, commitment and the like? 

Well, last week we had some beautiful weather here in the Pacific Northwest.  No rain, the sun was shining and temps reached about 60 degrees.  That was HUGE for us moss-covered folks who live here!

We spent a lot of time outside enjoying the weather, and have started to get the itch to go diggin' around in the dirt.

This year, we decided to add on to our garden.  We have a nice sized raised bed on the south side of the house but we're thinking that it just won't cut it with what we'd like to grow this year.  But how to do that without tilling up the whole back yard was a dark thought lurking in the back of our minds.

Square Foot Gardening

 Well, I ran across a very interesting book called "Square Foot Gardening" by Mel Bartholomew.  The concepts are easy to understand, even for a novice gardener such as myself.  I love that my vegetable garden can actually be a beautiful addition to my landscaping, not an eye-sore you need to keep for public view (if you are so inclined).

The concept is to build a 4x4' box with 2x6's, fill with soil (Mr. Bartholomew has his own mix he recommends) and divide the garden bed into 1x1' squares using lath or string.  Into each square, you would plant your vegetable or flower and depending on the size of your mature plant, you might plant 1, 4, 9 or 16 seeds.

In addition, there are some really great ideas for growing tomatoes and other viney, sprawling plants using a vertical frame attached to the north side of your box.  I am so totally in love with this idea and can really visualize my tomatoes, peas, zucchini and pumpkins growing up...and not out!

So along the south fence in our yard, I plan to build (well, actually Tom will build for me) 2-2x12' raised beds (in addition to the 4x8' bed we already have) and will use the fence to help support the vertical frames for our viney plants.

Stay tuned!  I've got more great gardening info to share with you. 


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