How to grow vegetables in a Square foot garden is something I have learned whilst staying at home. I have talked about spending lots of time in the garden and watching gardening shows on TV during Lockdown. I was quite in awe of seeing vegetables being grown from seed.
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As a couple of our flower beds were looking a little overgrown and in need of a revamp. I could see that there was a potential for growing vegetables and herbs in one of them, I had been wanting my own herb garden for a while to grown my own for use when cooking.
My garden is south west facing so gets lots of sun. Once I’d identified a suitable bed the lovely Mr Fitz did any heavy digging and moved a couple of plants to other areas of the garden. I weeded out the rest and started preparing the soil. I didn’t really have any knowledge of how to do it. The preparation was unresearched and I just did my own thing. Once the beds were cleared, I raked the soil until it was fine and I added 50 litres of fresh compost which I was able to obtain from a small local garden centre when it reopened, and mixed it through. I then googled about planting methods and the best vegetables to grow, It was then that I discovered the Square Foot Gardening technique.
Square foot Garden
Square foot gardening (SFG), was invented in the USA in the early 1970’s. I admit that I had never heard of it until doing this research
Square foot gardening is a method of growing vegetables which centers around planting crops in blocks rather than rows. The system divides the growing space up into a grid of square foot areas (hence the name), with each one crop allocated to each square. It maximises the ability to grow crops in a compact area.
This seemed to be a perfect answer to my small space. Typically this is recommended for raised beds in a 4 foot by 4 foot square. My bed was a semi circle, around 5 foot at its longest part and 3 foot deep, but I decided to adapt the method to suit me. The area is then marked out into 1 foot squares. One square is then devoted to 1 crop. The number of plants you put in each square depends on the size of the individual crop, so for example you might plant 16 of a small crop such as radish or rocket salad, four of a medium-sized crop such as round lettuce or strawberries, or one of a large crop such as broccoli or cauliflower.
Planning what to plant
During my research I came across some Planners to help me, I downloaded mine from Pinterest. They provided information as to how many of each type of crop can be planted in a 1 foot square. This was a great help. From this I was able to decide which seeds to buy, between us we chose vegetables that we would eat.
As well as this bed we also planted some tomato plants in a large pot we had, herbs in pots and potatoes in a vegetable grow bag – we bought a pack of 2 from B&M but these from Amazon are similar
I purchased some seeds of veg and herbs we like and simply read the instructions on the packet. Some seeds could be sewn straight into the bed others needed to be started in a seed tray or pot before being transplanted out into the bed after they had reached a suitable size.
After making labels I then covered the bed with net to keep the birds off, we have a couple of wood pigeons who visit regularly and are right scavengers plus blackbirds that can scratch up the earth at times.
I then sat back and awaited to see what grew. It took between 7 and 10 days before I saw the first signs of growth. So exciting to see it begin.
I started this project creating my square foot garden at the start of May, it is now mid June and I am now the proud owner of crops at various stages of growth. These are Potatoes, Tomatoes, Mint, Coriander, Sage, Oregano, Basil, Parsley, Sweet peppers, Chilli peppers, Savoy cabbage, cauliflower, Sprouts, Beetroot, Shallots, Garlic, Peas, Mangetout, and Lettuce. I’m amazed and proudly walk in the garden every day inspecting the rate of growth and doing any maintenance work that’s needed.
When I started this it was to pass the time in Lockdown and I thought that if I failed at least I’d cleared that particular bed and I could replant it next year with flowers and plants, but who knows now. I will keep you updated with the progress of my crops!
Coincidentally after I began ITV then started to transmit a show on a Monday evening called Grow Your Own devoted to this very subject.
It has been so easy that I would encourage anyone to give it ago. It’s not too late to start for this year and they can be planted in the smallest of spaces in any container.
If you are reading this is it because you are thinking of starting to grow your own square foot garden or are you already the proud owner of your own. Let me know what you do, or do you have any tips to pass on to me. I would also love to hear from you of your successes or failures.
Thanks for popping in today