Square Foot Gardening - Bed 33

3 x 10 Plan

After being inspired by Mel Bartholomew’s ‘Square foot Garden’s’, we’ve started planning for our own. This method is extremely accessible for anyone to try and just as easy to implement. It's a project that is perfect for both urban and rural spaces because of it's space conservation and it's intensive gardening / low maintenance nature.

We will be sharing our process, progress, findings and sources here as we go so you can have a go too.

Why use a square foot garden? In the time where space is becoming limited, and our human footprint is becoming ever larger, the importance of conserving both space and material, but still producing high quality food in an environmentally stable way, is vital. We wanted to use a method that:

1) required only a small space. 2) would have a good, reliable yield of perennial plants. 3) be low cost/low maintenance/Low impact on the environment.

Survey

Deciding where to put our Square foot garden was a matter of finding a flat patch of earth with good sun and where the wind wouldn't be so strong. Luckily the north west and eastern quarter beyond the garden is tree heavy, providing a little cover from high winds. Unfortunately this also means that the early morning sun rises behind the tree line, throwing partial shade until mid morning. To optimize the sunlight, and to make sure all the plants are getting their fair share, we planned to put the taller plants such as Turkish rocket, campions, onions and orpine on the North/West side of our square to avoid shading the smaller ones, which are on the South/East side, facing the sun for the majority of the day.

We chose a rectangular patch of free ground for the 3×10 garden but whilst measuring we noticed that the ground is on a slight incline. This will mean that, when it comes to building the frame, we will have to take this into account so we can avoid an uneven spread of nutrients, water and drainage

i.e - building one side of our garden slightly higher than the other

  1. Raising the base of the frame on the south side.

The easiest alternative would be to create a raised bed that has no contact with the floor but we since we want the mix of wild weeds and plants as well as to leave behind a healthy mound of soil that is already integrated with the local fauna, this is not an option.

Client interview

What functions should the square foot garden provide:

  • Educational
    • an example of intensive gardening in small spaces
    • an example of companion planting
    • an example of no dig technique
    • Food production
  • Accessibility
  • easier for people with mobility issues
  • children are able to have their own little patch to take care of
  • even those in urban areas can sustain a small garden with this method

Analysis

We’ve decided to grow almost exclusively perennial vegetables and herbs but depending on what you like you may what to plant annuals or a mix. First we listed all the ones we’d ideally like to grow and afterwards we made a chart the variables each one needs to survive and flourish, this included:

- The type of soil each plant prefers (well drained, reasonably drained, fertile, dry etc.) - The amount of sun/shade (Full sun, partial shade, shade lover etc.) - Any interesting notes on harvesting/caring for the plant (include height) (What part of plants can be harvested, time of harvest, how the plant germinates) - If the plant is attractive to bee’s - The plants Hardiness zone (HZ1, HZ2, HZ3, etc.)

We did this with a list of herbs as well, listing which ones that would assist in the overall productivity of the Garden but also ones we would use regularly and that naturally repel insects, or attract Bee’s for example.

- Lavender: Moths, scorpions, fleas and flies, including mosquitoes - Rosemary: Repels Cabbage loop, flea beetles, squash bugs, white flies and the small white - Basil: Repels flies, mosquitoes, carrot flies, asparagus beetles and whiteflies - Mint: Repels biting insects - Lemon Grass: Repels mosquitoes

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_pest-repelling_plants

Design

Square Foot Gardens can be any dimension you want so find a space and design one that fits in with the garden. We chose a 3×10 Design, long and thin, with room for a trellis system on the North end for climbers. These can be grown outside the box, to make more room for other veg, or inside the box if your space is very tight.

Now you can consider what vegetables will be going into your garden. There a few things to factor in before hand however, including: - Hardiness Zone

All plants and fungi have a HZ Rating which must be taken into account when choosing what you will be growing. First you will need to find out where you are (where your garden is) on the HZ map and from there you can match plants with the same HZ rating. You can find your HZ here ----> [[https://www.gardenia.net/guides/climate-zones]]

- Soil Quality

Different plants will require different quality soils. Some are more tolerant of varying soil types while others may have very specific needs. Do some research before hand

- Light Quality

Again, some plants may be very tolerant when it comes to a lack of sunlight and others may not. This might not determine //what// you plant plant but it may determine //where// certain plants end up living in your final plans.

- Planting in family orientated groups One of the first things we considered was the idea and risk of planting in groups. The plan below is of a garden containing vegetables exclusively from the nightshade family. The problem with planting vegetables from the same family in such close proximity is that those families will be more likely to catch and spread the same diseases and parasites. Because they’re so close together, these diseases or parasites can easily damage the entire harvest.

Wanting to avoid this, we have chosen to distance vegetables from the same family from one another in our first draft plan. (Example below)

Although this may seem overly cautious and some might say it’s unnecessary, when trying to conserve materials, seeds and of course the harvest this method of grouping will considerably lower the chances of loosing your crop. It will also, hopefully, reduce maintenance if one of the plants does become infected as you will only have to deal with one square rather than several.

Implementation:

Our next step is too add up the cost of all our materials. This will include

* Wood * Seeds * Compost - use as many different types as you have access to * Vermiculite * Peat moss

Maintenance:

Evaluation:

Tweaking:

  • kuckucksmuehle/documentation/garden/mandala_2020.txt
  • Last modified: 2020/02/26 21:35
  • by aimeejulia