Friday, May 20, 2011

Square Foot Gardening Template

In the past, I've used various methods for growing different vegetables. I still do. For my lettuce and other tender greens, I prefer to grow them in raised boxed beds. I find that the quail and rabbits make less of a meal from them and they're just easier to manage. And I've used the square-foot method within the boxes as well.

The problem is the lathe boards that criss cross the box to section off various square feet for planting... the boards get in the way.  I find that I'm fighting them and by the end of the summer, I'm ready to rip them off the box (which I did). Last year, I didn't even bother putting them on at all.

Then I was reading another blog, Chiot's Run, and Susy introduced her square foot gardening template that she made. I immediately loved the idea and had my husband make me a set - one for 9 plants per square foot... 

and another with 16 per square foot...

Both of these match up with the spacing for lettuce and other items such as radishes using the Square-Foot-Gardening method which is what I use my raised beds for. To plant, I drop a couple of seeds into each square and then cover them with a teaspoon of sand. 

Then I move the template, overlapping so as to keep the spacing correct...

{Sigh...} I love the orderliness of it all.

Because I have plenty of rabbits, quail, cats, and other critters that would like to have breakfast in my garden, I cover it even before it sprouts with bird netting...

This isn't a guarantee that they won't nibble on the new little sprouts, but it seems to be a big deterrent. Last year when I used it I had success and when I didn't use it, I had to replant two or three times. 

I do not use the intensive square foot method on all my vegetables in the garden; the larger plants get plenty of space directly in the ground. Intensive gardening can certainly be done with most vegetables, but I just have a hard time growing larger items like squash, tomatoes, and potatoes in such tight quarters (and I'm growing a lot this year). And now that I'm reading Steve Solomon's book Gardening When It Counts, I'm finding that he's the polar opposite in terms of growing vegetables intensively. Do not despair if your space is limited. The jury is still out and I can guarantee that a tomato grown intensively from your own back yard will be far superior to the one in the grocery store isle!


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