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Square foot gardening.

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  • Patchninja
    replied
    Well, Bertie it seems we bith need the sameold stuff.....
    How To Improve Clay Soil And Improving Sandy Soil - Read This First | Gardening Lessons | Lessons - Smiling Gardener

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  • BertieFox
    replied
    Pity we can't swap half the content of your beds for half the content of ours! We are on heavy clay soil and I have to add lots of sand, wood ash, and compost just to stop them getting waterlogged! I think I probably prefer what we've got to dry sandy soil though, as at least clay is fertile and retains water in a drought.

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  • BertieFox
    replied
    I should have known better but I covered many of my beds with a thick mulch of slightly rotted grass cuttings as a friend brings me huge quantities from cutting lawns for people with holiday cottages. Now with the mild winter so far, my beds look like a meadow of thick long grass! Trying to pull it out is impossible in the wet soil, and it's too wet to dig it in. Might try covering the whole thing with black plastic and hope for the best.

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  • Patchninja
    replied
    My poor square beds have been half-heartedly cultivated for the past few years for reasons most of you know about BUT in 2013 The Ninja is back!!! I really need to add something - they are really sandy and free-draining. - yes, even in tis weather! What do you put on yours?

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  • BertieFox
    replied
    Good luck with your new beds. I am sure you will never regret trying out this method. I use a one foot 'square' made of light wood (metal brackets to make the corners square) to give me a template for each square. It's then easy to divide this into 4, 9, 16 planting or sowing spaces depending on what you are growing. One square foot does incredibly seem enough for a single good cauliflower, but you absolutely must coddle it with lots of water and a bit of feed too.

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  • veggiechicken
    replied
    At last, I know where I can put some square foot beds and I have the wood to build them with too. A solution to several problems - watch this space and get ready for questions!!

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  • BertieFox
    replied
    I find the square foot philosophy is the most important part of the system and you really need to read Mel Bartholomew's original book to 'get it'. I don't go along with his idea of virtually replacing all the existing soil with his 'mix', but if you think of each square foot as a space which needs to be enriched and well drained, with a balanced ph, you won't go far wrong. I tend to simply cultivate each square foot with a handful each of sand or vermiculite, a little lime or powdered limestone, and some well rotted compost. I also add a handful of organic compost like blood, fish and bone. Remember to do this EVERY time you replant, and you do maintain your soil fertility.
    I have found the idea of a single square of one plant combined with others of different types doesn't work as the more rampant ones take over the whole planting area. But grow several blocks/square feet of particular vegetables and it works.
    I find Mel's estimates of how much you will eat are vastly on the conservative side, and if you have the space, grow several times more than his instructions.
    The greatest advantage of all is the psychological approach to something like weeding. If you have, like me, a 3 metre by 1 metre bed, divided into squares, it is an easy task to completely weed it in an hour, no matter how bad it has become. Look at a garden organised conventionally and you will give up. Little and often means you get there and can divide your tasks into manageable proportions. I have converted at least half an acre of vegetable garden to this system and it has transformed my gardening life at a time of life when it was all becoming too much for me.
    Last edited by BertieFox; 30-12-2012, 05:08 PM.

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  • cazp
    replied
    Originally posted by treepixie View Post
    Cazp

    Can i ask how much netting it took to cover your beds?
    Hi..

    The beds themselves are only 1.30 square. I chose not to cover the back 1ft of the beds so that I could allow taller plants to grow up the trellising.

    The above taken in to account each cover protects an area of approximately 1m30wide x 1m deep x 1m30 tall inlcuding the overhang down the sides of the bed.

    (Each cover is made of three peices of netting sewn together - one piece each for the left and right side panels of the cover, and a larger continuous piece which forms the front, top, and back of the cover)
    Last edited by cazp; 20-09-2012, 11:38 PM.

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  • treepixie
    replied
    Cazp

    Can i ask how much netting it took to cover your beds?

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  • cazp
    replied
    Thank you Choccy!

    The netting is the Harrods Horticutural soft butterfly netting which feels very durable and drapes really well over the bamboo frame unlike the stretchy stuff. It's great quality and I would expect it to last years.

    The netting is not pegged down at all so I can just lift it up to access the plants and I only machined half way down the two back corner edges of the net cover for easier acccess which I just close up with clothes pegs.

    Wind blows through the netting and it hasnt moved much on windy days and the upright bamboos are pushed deep in to the soil so give good support.

    I have watched many pigeons and cabbage whites snooping around the beds and havent had any damage from either yet so it was a good investment.
    Last edited by cazp; 02-09-2012, 11:53 PM.

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  • Chocolate8me
    replied
    Capz, they look fantastic. I love your netting, I may have to invest in some for my RB next year as caterpillar decimated my cabage & kale.

    May I ask where you bought it from, how you peg it down & how you tend to the plants (is there an easy access opening)? Oh and is it wind resistant?

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  • cazp
    replied
    Hello All. Thought I would post some pics of the square foot gardens as they are today... will continue with this method as despite a poor year weather wise they have been very productive..

    Already growing follow on crops in many of the squares. They contain

    Left bed. Parsnips, chard, pack choi, chinese cabbage, various lettuce, 3 types of carrot, kohlrabi, swiss chard, spring onions (up trellis) sweet millions tomatoes, two types of bean.

    Right bed. Swiss chard, 2 types red beetroot and 1 type golden beet, lettuce, celery, brussel sprout, spinach, rocket, leeks, chard. (Up trellis) cousa courgette, 2 types of bean.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by cazp; 01-09-2012, 01:54 PM.

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  • Bigmallly
    replied
    Update: There is a square foot bed under there somewhere.
    Attached Files

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  • lukens
    replied
    Originally posted by cazp View Post
    Has anyone grown crystal lemon cucumbers in a square foot bed up a trellis and if so were they a success?

    I have two seedlings, both looking great adn wondered if I could get away with two in a square... I will be training them up a trellis.
    I'm guessing it's a bit late to answer this now, but I think unless you're going to do a lot of pruning, then 2 per square is too much.

    I've got one per square foot, and they're not even half way up my trellis but are already getting rather crowded.

    Everything I'm growing has suddenly got very bushy though. My second sowing of dwarf beans are spilling out of their square, my calabrese and broccoli too, and four swedes in a square is starting to look very crazy.

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  • thegreatcob
    replied
    The is good blog post about mix planting squares on the square mel barthomews blog

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