square-foot-gardenThe concept of “Square-Foot-Gardening” was developed in the early ’80s by retired civil engineer Mel Bartholomew. This unique method is designed to produce a large amount of food in a small amount of space, in only six inches of soil, while eliminating the wasteful practices of traditional row gardening, including over-seeding, overproduction and thinning.

Most people who do row gardening end up with far more produce than they’ll ever use. With square-foot gardening, you can really plan in such a way so that the produce you grow can be staggered. When one plant is gone the next one is already coming along.

For starters, it uses a carefully prepared soil mix — one part each of peat moss, vermiculite and compost — and a grid system that controls how much food is planted, produced and harvested.

Depending on the desired crop, one square foot grid can accommodate 32 radishes, 16 beets or one tomato plant in just six inches of soil, without crowding.

The raised grids should be no wider than 4 feet-by-4 feet. Otherwise, gardeners run the risk of stepping on the soil and compacting it. There’s no need to till, dig or fertilize the soil. And gardeners should plant only the number of seeds or starters they think they’ll need.

Square-foot gardening will make your life simpler. For instance you are almost done with your lettuces doing their thing at the end of spring you can take them out of their boxes, build up the soil and plant a different crop without having to rip everything out. That’s the really cool thing about square-foot gardening. The crops can be planted and mature and be harvested at their own pace.

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