I was recently interviewed for another gardening article in the Illawarra Mercury. My last interview was back in March, on the subject of lunar planting. Unfortunately they don’t put these articles online, so you’ll have to make do with this dodgy scan – click on the image to make it bigger (be warned, it’s a large file).
This article is on Square Foot Gardening (SFG), a concept developed by Mel Bartholomew in the US. It doesn’t seem to have taken off much in Australia, although it has potential.
In a nutshell, Square Foot Gardening consists of dividing your garden bed up into 1-foot by 1-foot squares, and then dealing with each square individually. Small plants like carrots can go in 16 to a square (4×4), slightly larger plants like beetroot or radishes can go 9 per square (3×3), cos lettuce or bush beans 4 per square (2×2), and capsicums 1 per square. Larger plants like tomatoes or zucchini can occupy 4 or even 9 adjacent squares.
It’s a great way to garden with kids – you can give them a square to weed or plant out, and it’s a scale they can happily deal with. If you try to get them to help weed a large garden bed, they won’t achieve much. But working square by square, they can see what they need to do and they get a sense of accomplishment as they finish each square.
Square Foot Gardening also makes you see your garden differently. Instead of thinking you need a large, rectangular bed to grow vegies in, you start to notice all the smaller spaces and 1 or 2 foot wide strips where you can squeeze in a lot of vegetables.
I’ll write a more complete article on SFG sometime in the near future.
Let me know if you’ve tried this approach, and what you thought of it!