A different perspective on Gardening


I have been reading a book recently called “All new square foot gardening” by Mel Bartholomew. This is a wonderfully innovative method for raised bed gardening.

When I lived in Winthrop I had a nice sized vegetable garden that provided us with some fresh veggies. I really loved being able to grow our own food, but I was really not sold on the whole row gardening method. Each spring you till the whole garden, then you make over half of it into paths. Since these paths are rich fertile dirt like the rest of the garden, and they are getting watered they grow weeds like mad! I got sick of weeding the paths, it was enough work keeping up with the plant beds themselves. I tried different methods of keeping the paths weed free, which worked ok, but not great. The other problem I ran into is that my paths moved location in the garden each year, which is horrible for the soil. Because you pack it down tight walking on it all year, and then it never completely fluffs up when you till it next year, so if you want to grow a crop on that spot the next year the roots cant go as deep as they would like to.

So I told myself next time I got the chance to settle down in my own space where I could have a garden I was going to do raised beds. That way you aren’t weeding your paths, the dirt for the vegetable beds isn’t getting compacted because the paths move every year. You can build up rich healthy soil in these raised beds if your soil is poor. There are many, many positive points to having a raised bed. And then I found this method. The square foot gardening method takes a 4×4 raised bed and splits it up into square foot sections. You space your seeds in each section based on how many inches apart they are meant to be. This allows you to plant what you need when you need it. Instead of planting a whole row of something so that it matures all at once, you can stager your plantings to have a constant fresh crop. To read more about it you can visit their web site at http://www.squarefootgardening.com/  I wanted to include one of the pictures of what these gardens look like, but I couldnt get it to work. So if you visit their web page you can see all different kinds of set ups.


7 thoughts on “A different perspective on Gardening

  1. The raised bet ethod is great especially it you pu a thick layer of newspaper down on the paths, then cover it with mulch. The Newspaper is permeable but cuts out th elight so no weeds come up and the mulch helps to keep the soil moist.
    You don’t have to have foot square bits , you can be creative and put in two cabbages, 6 leeks a few onions two or theree lettuces at a time. Be aware that a 1′ by 1′ space is too small for one tomaro plant and will only fit one potatoe.
    It is also imortant to choose plants that are compatible. Check out companion planting.

  2. Arija: Yeah, his book shows all kinds of examples like potatoes and such. He does tomatos, but he might put them every other square with something smaller in between.
    I think if I do have a garden again, I will do the raised beds, and some of the beds would be done with his method and some just plain, how ever I felt like planting them.
    Yeah, I have seen companion planting before, and I think its a wonderful idea. It makes sense when you start to read about it.
    Thank you for the ideas and thoughts!

  3. Ah ha! Another gardening book lover! I must admit my nose is stuck in a book or two most nights trying to plan our veggies for the coming spring.

    There are so many ways to grow veg now rather than just rows and rows of hard to manage, weed ridden soil! You can also use pots, I did last year and had wonderful crops of potatoes, carrots, peas, beans and a few fruits. So, if space is short, try this method. Its very easy to manage. I like the idea of raised beds, in particular smaller beds that are easy to access rather than walking all over the soil.
    Oh I cannot wait to get clearing the land for the vegetable garden!

  4. Sounds interesting – we’re planning out our garden at the moment and will be doing raised beds this year along with some container growing. Thanks for the link – it does seem a very interesting idea!

  5. I loved my raised beds when living in Tonasket, WA. Now the best I can do is minimal container growing. I love fresh greens. But even that’s hard to do in a NP.

    Sure hope I get to meet you two this winter in AZ.

  6. gardensmallholder: Yes, I LOVE gardening books. I have a small library of them myself, and then I am constantly checking them out from the local library. I have not done gardening in pots other than flowers, I will have to try some of that one of these days. I am envious of you planning out a new garden this year! Have fun!!

    Kittyboo: I think raised beds are the way to go, they seem so much easier.

    geogypsy: another great way to get some fresh “greens” especially in the winter is to do sprouting. Its so easy, and they taste to wonderful. It would be great in your case, because they dont take up much room at all. You just need a dark place to let them sprout for a few days. Its fun too!

  7. I have a bunch of raised beds in my back yard for the small fruits and veggies and containers all over my deck full of herbs. Plus some non-raised beds that have perennial potherbs and small fruiting trees/lg shrubs. When we moved into this house 5 years ago I decided that I wanted everything in my yard to be edible or medicinal – including the flowers! With the exception of the rhodys and hydrangeas that were here when we moved in, I’ve been pretty darned successful!

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