Saturday, February 27, 2010
As I was outside today, pushing around heavy, wet snow and dreaming of spring, I started to think about my square foot gardening boxes that are currently under mounds of snow. A number of years ago I took a class on Square Foot Gardening at Cornell Cooperative Extension. The premise of square foot gardening is how you can maximize your growing space for vegetables, herbs and flowers that you'd like to harvest. Mel Bartholomew is the genius behind this method and has written a great book on the subject. A few years ago I decided I wanted to add some veggies to my gardens but they are so full of perennials and herbs that I didn't know how I'd fit them in. I bought 'Square Foot Gardening' and made 2 - 2'x2' boxes that I use to plant tomatoes, Rainbow Swiss Chard, spinach, lettuce and wax beans. In the book is a great "recipe" for a soil mixture that plants love. There are so many advantages to Square Foot Gardens. Probably most important is the fact that you don't waste seeds because the book tells you how many plants will fit in each square food section, so you just plant that number of seeds - no thinning plants! Another advantage is that a square foot garden most times is a raised bed so there is no digging into the soil where you live - so those with rocky, poor or clay soil, this is the way to go! The beds are small, but yield a lot of produce and are easy to care for. I have started to think about adding 2 more 2'x2' boxes this year so that I can increase some of the crops that I like to have close to home. I mostly shop at farmers' markets in the summer, but having some fresh Swiss Chard or a tomato fresh off the vine truly is one of the miracles of gardening!