Author Topic: Square Foot Gardening  (Read 915 times)


  • Peroxide Viking
Square Foot Gardening
« on: May 03, 2009, 02:27:46 pm »
Ah, Spring Bank Holiday, the traditional time for an Englishman to break his back gardening.  I've been busy making an 8x4 square-foot bed:

The sides of the bed are salvage lumber from shipping pallets -- more for recycling ethos and tight money than efficiency, as it takes a long time and a lot of controlled violence to take a pallet apart without trashing the planks.  But joy of joys, the planks are 4' long, which is ideal.  I've just staked the outsides and filled it with first a mix of topsoil and grit, then compost and vermiculite.  It's planted as follows:

...the potatoes are some surprise ones that survived last year's plastic sack experiment, were discarded and then grew anyway, which I found while clearing the ground.  I've put the squash-types at the edges so they have room to spread, and the salad close to hand; the rest is pretty random.  The carrots are a short stubby variety so they ought to do well.  As this is Merrie Olde England, a topping of slug pellets is a must.

The notion of square-foot gardening is one of these cults from the States, but it looks to work pretty well.  I may add a drip hose if I can work one out. 
It takes blood and guts to be this cool but I'm still just a cliché.
OpenStreetMap UK & IRL Streetmap & Topo: updates weekly.


  • According to Jane, I'm a Unisex SpaceAdmin
Re: Square Foot Gardening
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2009, 03:01:04 pm »
Looks good, a drip hose is easy:

Take a length of old garden hose, a pipe cap(the type plumbers use to cap off heating pipes) and a jubilee clip.
Push pipe cap into hose end
clamp it in place with jubilee clip
attack hose liberally with sharp object to make holes where you want them
Attach to tap and turn tap on so it is only dribbling (or if your water butt is high enough up, attach it to the tap of that and let gravity feed the water into the pipe).  The idea is that water seeps out of the holes, not sprays.
I feel like Captain Kirk, on a brand new planet every day, a little like King Kong on top of the Empire State

Re: Square Foot Gardening
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2009, 04:05:03 pm »
Are you timing it so that everything around the courgettes (and pos the pumpkin and melon) is harvested before they get going in anger?  I'd think that they'd overwelm the sections around them once they've got up a head of steam - or do you have a cunning plan / pair of old rusty sheers to counter this?

BTW, nice grid - you oughta take up archaeology  ;)


  • Peroxide Viking
Re: Square Foot Gardening
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2009, 06:14:03 pm »
Tiermat - pipe cap and a jubilee, genius.  I wonder if I could hook a scrap of hose to, say, a big pop bottle upside down (like a giant funnel) that I could just fill once a day and forget?

Bodger - the cunning plan is that they have the edges and can spill outside the box.  Or, alternatively, take over the world.  Half will be eaten tonight by slugs the size of cats.
It takes blood and guts to be this cool but I'm still just a cliché.
OpenStreetMap UK & IRL Streetmap & Topo: updates weekly.


  • Droll rat
Re: Square Foot Gardening
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2009, 01:15:10 pm »
Nice.  I'm all for a recycling ethos and understand tight money. 

One pallet by two is probably about the size of plot (in a shared tenement border) we cultivated the last three summers.  Things that did really well were: lettuce; spinach; rocket; chard.  Roughly a square metre filled with bought-in nursery plants did three of us for salad leaves, plus spinach and chard for cooking all last summer.  Well worth the money.

So were the "organic" slug pellets: beer traps are fun to fill ('cos there's usually surplus), but not hugely efficient.  With a plot that small, I'd be inclined supplement the pellets with some direct mollusc control, using a torch and bucket (I tried to be nice and translocate the snails over the road to the neighbourhood cemetry ...).

This year, we've a new flat and a new gardening project that means we help one of our neighbours on their allotment by cultivating part of it for ourselves (we get the produce, the allotment stays in good order).  We're finally getting organised with that, scaling up the previous approach, and adding a couple of space-hungrier crops.

There's a tame fox ...

EDIT:  8 x 4 cells in the photograph, but 7 x 4 in the plan?