Posts Tagged ‘square foot gardening’
If you created accessories for your square foot garden bed, you can easily be the first gardener on your block to enjoy a hyperlocal salad. If you did not construct accessories for your garden beds do not despair, there are still many techniques that can be used to allow one to garden sooner.
The first things that the early gardener will want to do is to warm the soil and sterilize it. A garden left unplanted is a great environment for weed seeds. To kill these seeds and warm the soil at the same time, you just need to cover the garden bed with plastic. Place this plastic on top of the bed several weeks before you plan to plant and secure down with heavy stones or staple to the frame.
During this process one must consider the color of plastic. For sterilization, black plastic is the best. It absorbs heat, which speeds up the process.
If you are looking for an easy way of gardening, then square foot gardening is the answer. What makes it so easy is its manageable size and designer soil mix.
Traditional in the ground gardening requires the soil to be broke up with tillers and plows. This soil is then compacted again with heavy farm machinery and human traffic. Tasks such as planting, weeding, watering and feeding the garden becomes difficult because of this soil compaction. This is where square foot gardening is different.
The specialized soil mixture that is recommended for square foot gardens keeps the soil loose and in doing so makes planting and weeding a breeze. Also fertilization normally is not required due to the fact that seasoned compost is used. This soil component provides plants with proper nutrition. If a plant does need a little extra nutrition, it can be added on an individual basis by applying it to only the squares that need it.
Once you have built your garden bed and decided on the accessories, it is time to plant the bed. Before you jump into a planting frenzy, you must first fill it with the appropriate growing medium.
The best medium is made up of 1/3 blended compost, 1/3 peat moss, and 1/3 coarse vermiculite. The compost needs to be made of at least five different ingredients. Most commercially made compost generally is only made of two ingredients. The best approach is to make your own compost but if that is not possible, the commercially made compost can be enriched with garden scraps, poultry or rabbit manure, tea bags, coffee grounds, crushed eggshells, shredded newspaper, straw, hay, and/or grass clippings. Any combination of these materials will help enhance the commercially prepared compost.
What does a women and a square foot garden have in common? Answer: Their accessories… and every woman understands the importance of accessories. They can create a statement, protect the wearer and help the whole outfit come together. In gardening, accessories do the same thing.
In square foot gardening these accessories can be designed to make a gardening statement. They can be used to protect plant material from nature and can help the whole garden come together. While a woman’s accessories may be a belt, scarf or jewelry, the accessories of a square foot garden consists of cages, hoops, and trellises.
Once you have planned what you are going to grow and how much, it is time to build the planters. These can be made from non-pressure treated wood, recycled material such as cinder blocks, and even manmade wood. The key though is to make sure that the material is at least one inch thick and six inches deep.
When planning the size of your square foot garden planters, keep in mind that the typical human can comfortably reach the center of a planter that is 4 feet across. Anything large will not allow the gardener to reach the very center. Utilizing this principle will help you come up with a size that fits your environment. A good size to start with is a 4 by 4 foot bed. This size will create 16 different planting areas. If you want a larger space or if a rectangular shape is needed, try a 4 by 8 foot bed.
Square foot gardening is an easy way of creating garden space without having land or a tiller. The basic principle of this type of gardening is to grow ones garden in a box or rectangular shape verses monoculture rows. Before jumping into square foot gardening phenomenon, one must plan their garden space.
A simple principle exists when one is going to utilize the square foot garden technique and that is one 4 by 4 bed will produce enough produce for one adult to have a salad everyday during the growing season. If planting for a child, then a 3 by 3 bed will provide enough produce for one salad a day during the growing season.
If you add an additional 4 by 4 bed, then you will produce enough produce to cover dinner for the whole season. If you want to share, preserve or have large eaters, then consider adding another bed.
Square foot gardening has been a mainstay for many years. The basic concept of this garden design is to mark off a garden space and divide it into square foot sections. These individual sections are then planted individually with one plant per square foot. These plants can then have their individual needs met such as water and fertilizer or precision farming. While precision farming is typically done with GPS systems, farming combines with programmable sprayers and the like, the urban farmer can take this one on one plant concept to their own garden.
Urban gardeners, apartment homesteaders, backyard homesteaders, community gardeners and/or hobby gardeners can all take advantage of precision farming concepts and square foot gardening in the urban landscape. As land becomes scarcer the need to garden in containers, such as those sold through Outdora, becomes more important. Square or rectangular containers work best for square foot gardens but circular containers can be used. Also just like any other type of container/planter gardening, good soil and appropriate environment are crucial to the success of the garden, so plan accordingly.