I have had my raised vegetable bed for about 8 years. Every year, I plant about 4-5 tomato plants, 2 pepper plants, broccoli, and several varieties of herbs. Last year, I tried cantaloupe and watermelon; that was interesting. I am hardly an experienced gardener though. Every year, I just walk into the garden store and pick whatever looks interesting. Since I get most of my vegetables from a CSA, I really just plant enough to supplement our CSA share.
But this year is different. Over the winter, I read the book, All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space! by Mel Bartholomew. I borrowed it from the library at first but soon decided that it would be a good resource to have for myself.
I discovered that I already had the raised bed, I just needed to use it to my advantage. I was not maximizing the bed’s capacity. It is a 4 foot by 12-foot bed and I was planting about 15 plants, but with a Square Foot Garden(SFG), I can plant up to 48 different vegetables in the same bed. At first, it just didn’t seem possible, but I am going to try it anyway. Mel seems to be an expert and I, well, am not.
With the sunny weather we have been having over the last few days, I have been outside getting my box ready. I added a grid to the box, which after reading the book, a SFG is only a SFG if it has the grid.
Unfortunately, I am using my existing dirt, which has a lot of weeds, so I spent the past two days pulling weeds and raking the surface. Back in March, I spread some pine needles over the box to try to stop the weeds from coming up…it didn’t work..I still had a ton of weeds.
In Square Foot Gardening, if you use Mel’s mix of compost, peat moss, and vermiculite, you have very little weeds. I on the other hand have a garden full of compost that I made myself over the years. My problem is that in the beginning, I used to put all of my yard waste AND WEEDS into my compost bin. Over the years, I have regretted that decision especially as I pull weeds EVERY day throughout the growing season. I no longer compost weeds. They now decompose in the city dump.
It is too early in my neck of the woods to plant too much. But I did get in 2 squares of arugula, 2 squares of spinach, 2 squares of carrots, 2 squares of lettuce, and 6 broccoli plants.
Do you plant a kitchen garden? How big is your garden? Do you follow the Square Foot Gardening method?