Starting a food garden can seem daunting to the beginner. Not only is there a lot of hard work involved in making the garden but planning and tending the crops can seem difficult. Then there is the time needed to do a good job. But there is a way that is easy and does not need a lot of time and physical effort. Using the Square Foot Gardening® technique is one of easiest ways to begin growing your own food.
• Use a ‘no-dig’ raised bed, 4ft x 4ft (1.2m) square.
• Subdivide it into 16, 1ft (30cm) squares.
• Grow a different crop in each 1 ft (30cm) square.
• It does not need a lot of space.
• Looking after a small bed does not demand much time.
• You do not need to buy lots of tools and equipment.
• It is an easy way to begin gardening .
• Once dug the bed can be left for many years before it is dug again.
• If you make a mistake you can be reassured that it will be small one.
Why use it?
• Plants grow in only 20% as much space as ‘row’ gardening.
• There are savings in water, fertiliser, and labour.
• It is an excellent way to start growing fruit and vegetables.
• Produces 5 times the harvest of a conventional garden.
• SqFt beds can be adapted to suit your needs.
• It is possible to use groups of squares to grow more of a single crop
• You can even grow 256 carrots or 256 onions etc in 4ft (1.2m) square!
How to start
Ideally a SqFt bed should face South to gain maximum sunlight but this is not absolutely critical. The general rule is as much sunlight as possible. Site the garden clear of trees and shrubs where roots and shade may interfere. The area should have good drainage meaning there should be no puddles after heavy rain. Having taken all the above into consideration choose a site that is close to the house.
What you will need
• A sunny spot in your garden which faces south for maximum sunlight.
• A spade and a fork to dig the bed, borrowing them might be better.
• A trowel and a “dibber”. This can be any short pointed stick or a commercial version.
• Some string.
• Packets of seeds, not many of each so you could share with a neighbour.