Square Foot Gardening

A wooden box, 4 ft X 4 ft, can make a beautiful and efficient garden. This is something I learnt at a workshop on Square Foot Gardening last Sunday.

My friend, Anil, has been growing the healthiest-looking and tastiest vegetables on his farm for the last two years using this method, introduced by Mel Bartholomew in 1981.

Here’s how it’s done:

Mix equal amounts of vermiculite, cocopeat and compost.

Put the mixture into the 4ft x4ft box (wood or brick)

Place an aluminum grille as shown.

Draw lines to make squares depending on the size of the plant to be grown, e.g. a cabbage needs 1ft X1ft, herbs can be planted closer, nine to a square, by dividing the 1 ft X 1ft square into nine equal squares, etc.

Insert tags at the corner of each square so you know what you’ve planted.

Vegetables growing at present on Anil’s farm, which, by the way, is called Lifeboat Farm.

Some of the flowers are pretty enough to display in vases!

A square foot garden that was planted a few months ago.

Wooden boxes can be used. The frames are for draping nets to protect young plants from intense sunlight. The vertical frame with the net is for climbing plants like pumpkin and ridge gourd.

Advantages of Square foot gardening: needs less space, uses less water, lower workload, less weeds, easy access. I like it because besides being tidy and compact, it looks pretty, especially if you plant flowers in some of the outer squares.

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