Square foot gardening: a formula for successful intensive gardening

Square foot gardening is an intensive gardening system that provides lots of tasty vegetables from a small space

If you love to pick fresh veggies but don’t have room for a traditional garden, try square foot gardening. Over the past few years, Mel Bartholomew’s idea has taken gardening to a whole new level.

In his book The All New Square Foot Gardening Book, Bartholomew highlights his formula for success. His methods are a great resource for seasoned gardeners and those new to this ever-growing hobby.

Bartholomew explains his easy-to-follow intensive gardening system. Using the square foot system, you can grow more fresh produce with less space, and save time with less watering, weeding and tilling.

The principles of square foot gardening are simple. You start with a mix of soil made up of compost, vermiculite and peat moss. Then you divide your garden space into square feet, planting each foot according to the number of plants you can plant per square foot. For example, 16 carrot plants or nine beans plants are ideal per square foot, but larger plants such as peppers use one square foot per plant.

Another way to increase your crop production is through companion planting—interplanting fast growing crops that will be harvested early (such as radishes) with larger, later-maturing plants (such as tomatoes) to increase the production from limited space. To find out more about companion planting, the book Carrots Love Tomatoes by Louise Riotte is a great resource.

You can find a great online tool to plan your square foot garden at growveg.com. Mel Bartholomew also has a serious of YouTube videos to get you off to a great gardening season. These videos also demonstrate s how this intensive gardening system is being used in developing countries to help feed the world.

Hope this gets you off to a productive and tasty gardening season.

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