Square Foot Vegetable Gardening: Smallest Footprint For The Biggest Reward

It’s nice to know that all of your backyard gardening efforts are going to pay off, but it’s doubly great when you are practicing square foot vegetable gardening techniques that minimize your impact on the planet. I’ve written before on the subject of square foot gardening, and vegetable gardening practices that incorporate these methods have the least negative impact on the environment while at the same time producing the greatest yields of vegetables and produce for the amount of soil used. I’m of the opinion that, just like fresh water, nutrient rich topsoil is a dwindling resource and must also be conserved and used wisely. Here is a very short article (with recipes – that’s always a bonus) written by Mel Bartholomew for the Sioux City Journal.com about square foot gardening and why we should be planting in that direction.

Square Foot Vegetable Gardening: Smallest Footprint For The Biggest Reward

There’s a spark in the eyes of square-foot gardeners when they explain how much food they

square foot vegetable gardening

Square foot vegetable gardening maximizes yields from soil and minimizes carbon footprint. Photo by Ablestock c/o Photos.Com.

harvest, how easy it is to start, and what they plan to grow next year. The chief zealot is Mel

Bartholomew, whose passion for the idea he developed 30 years ago is inspiring a new generation of backyard gardeners.

“With my engineer and efficiency training, I started making a list,” he recalls. “Why do we plant in single rows? Why is the next row 3 feet away? Why do we plant a whole pack of seeds? We will never eat that much. And if you plant everything at once, it comes to harvest all at once.”

A failed community garden experiment inspired Bartholomew to solve the tilling, spacing, harvest and weeding issues in traditional gardening. He built his first square-foot garden (still intact) on his Long Island property with squares instead of rows to minimize weed-prone areas; 48-inch square plots so anyone can reach across to work the interior squares; and a different plant in each 1-foot square for beauty and diversity.

That was 1981. Two books and a PBS television series later, square-foot gardening is being taken up by a new type of gardener, one concerned with food miles, carbon footprint, sustainability and food safety.

See the original post here at siouxcityjournal.com:

Try your own hand next season at square foot vegetable gardening to see how much produce you can realize from a tiny patch of soil. Just think of yourself as being a good steward of the valuable resources that have been placed under your care.

Please share your thoughts and opinions by leaving a comment below. Click the like button to share this with someone you care about.

Pray for peace and grace and spiritual food, for wisdom and guidance, for all these are good, but don’t forget the potatoes.

                                                                                                                                                   —  John Tyler Pettee

Square Foot Container Vegetable Gardening: Just Put One Foot In Front Of The Other

With backyard space at a premium for many of you, square foot container vegetable gardening may be just the ticket. It’s actually quite amazing just how much produce you can produce from what seems like a very tiny area of soil. Yet, it’s the most efficient way of achieving the highest yields out of a limited space. This article about a family’s experiences with square foot gardening illustrates the many edible and inedible benefits they were able to achieve with their efforts. This article written by Krys Stefansky for HamptonRoads.com is both instructive and enlightening.

Square Foot Container Vegetable Gardening: Just Put One Foot In Front Of The Other

If Will and Katie Wyndham want additional privacy in the backyard, they can take seats behind their tomatoes.

square foot container vegetable gardening

Square foot container vegetable gardening provides the most produce for the least amount of garden space. Photo by Bonnie Ingersoll c/o Photos.Com.

The four plants Will put in this spring have grown to a hedge-like 10 feet high, lush with branches, leaves and fruit.

“I’ve never seen tomatoes this tall,” Will Wyndham said, still amazed at his success.

Nor has the Norfolk man seen strawberries with a yield as high, nor scarlet runner beans as prolific.

His secret? Following the instructions for an organic technique known as square-foot gardening in a book his wife spotted at the hardware store.

It’s Wyndham’s second summer as a square-foot gardener – and he’s a believer.

He started with a compost tumbler from Costco Wholesale.

“We put in eggshells, stuff from the kitchen: coffee grounds, tea, all that good stuff. I turn it about once a week. Then I follow the soil recipe in the book and mix the compost with peat and vermiculite,” Wyndham said.

He shoveled the soil into raised beds he constructed, also according to the instructions in the book, at his home off Azalea Garden Road. The method relies on 4-by-4-foot raised beds that Wyndham crafted of 8-inch-wide cedar boards. For the tomatoes’ extensive root system, he added a second tier to one bin to create a 16-inch-high soil bed.

The three raised beds are laid out in an L-shape in the center of his backyard in the middle of his lawn, just to the right of his daughter’s playhouse, out of the way of the grass that Brandy, the chocolate Lab, uses to stretch her legs. The vegetables receive optimum sunlight, about 8 to 10 hours each day.

Original article here at hamptonroads.com:

It’s truly amazing how much you can grow in a small area by practicing square foot container vegetable gardening techniques. Why not give it a go in a small section of your garden or even your patio? Try it and see how it works for you. You just might be surprised.

Please leave a comment below and if you’ve tried these techniques, share your experiences and anything you have learned along the way.

A world without tomatoes is like a string quartet without violins.  — Laurie Colwin