After looking at a book that The Kat's Place had, I bought my own and am about to embark on the Square Foot Gardening method - anyone else tried this? Appeals to the lazy/effort reduced side of me (hell, it's not a side, more a total package really! [}]).
Sounds interesting. How does it all work? I've (well team effort really, must give OH some credit) just finished a chicken tractor and it now has 3 residents. Can't take any pics though as camera off being repaired. I'm all for easier gardening.
I'm still working my way through the book, but its based around working your garden as 4 foot x 4 foot blocks (a bit of a pain sorting out the metrics but never mind!) divided into squares of a foot each, so 16 squares, and gardening each square as a unit. So each square, depending on how much space the plants need, could be one brassica, 16 carrots, 16 beets, etc etc etc.
Because you are continually moving stuff around as everything matures at different times, you get automatic rotations to stop disease problems, and also stuff maturing at good spacings for harvesting throughout the season.
Bit hard to explain the whole thing without repeating the book but...a few interesting points from the book:
(Buga, tried to use bullets and lost all my hard work! So here in brief...)
People tend to go in rip **** and bust and lose interest if do things on a big scale. Square foot approach divides things into little bites that are more manageable.
Spacings between rows are a waste of space, wiht this system you can reach all your squares from the edge of the block so don't need rows for access.
Sowing heaps of small seed and thinning is a waste of time, even with small seeds, plant seed by seed as many as you want/need.
Got to plant some more peas and carrots tomorrow, as well as two tomato plants, so going to use this system (our garden is already in 6 foot x 6 foot raised beds, so can adapt). I'd like to get into the permaculture garden when we move out to the block, but a good year until then so will start with this.
Years ago, when we lived in suburbia, this is the method we used to grow HEAPS in a very small garden. Try growing the smaller curcubits upwards, on trellises, supported by old nylon stockings (wait till the fruit forms, then place in stocking. Works really well.
I still grow things in 4 foot wide beds, whether raised or not, just to save the old bac when reaching in for cultivation, harvest, etc.
It's a slightly more organised method of the traditional French Intensive gardening, which I do on a much larger scale, using raised beds. I've made my raised beds out of straw bales this year, backfilled with humus, topsoil and composted chicken manure, topdresses with bunny poo, and will be eating fresh lettuces and new leeks (a major for us down here, with heavy frosts for at least a month) in a couple of weeks, about a month ahead of the last few years, because the straw bales hold in so much warmth.
Mmmmmm some really good reading and ideas
This is something I have been keen to try too. I was planning on doing it here at the house but now that we have bought the land I will not be doing too much planting here. However, I know that I also have the same problem as Tigger
I am all for big rewards for minimal effort I know that we will have so much to do elsewhere (the house is barely habitable) that I wont have what it takes to work in the garden for hours and hours a day!
quote:Appeals to the lazy/effort reduced side of me (hell, it's not a side, more a total package really! ).
I get barley straw bales for $3 each from a local chap, and I use 8-10 bales per bed, depending on the size I want. I still haven't figured out how to post photos here, but I can take a couple of the current beds and send them to someone who knows how?? Sorry, I am terrible with things like that.
It was far cheaper to make beds of straw bales than of wood, and it's very easy on my back to sit on the bales to work on the beds.
Anyway, with 10 bales, I get a growing area of 4 feet by 8-10 feet, depending on the size of the bales.
Yea! Thank you, Tigger... the miracle of the internet!
This is one of several beds. This is 10 straw bales, barley straw (just because it's what I can get locally and cheap), filled with a layer of garden rubbish (prunings, grass clipps, etc), then a layer of straw mixed with goat poop, then a layer of "topsoil" which was less top and more soil, but all we could easily get. We needed to go as weed-free as possible, as we're trying to get rid of a twitch grass infestation. Hopefully a few years of these raised beds will smoother the twitch completely, as it did on the other side of the garden where we left a couple of layers of carpeting for a year. Because the dirt was lacking in organic matter, I topdressed with bunny poop and ash.
The bed is covered with netting to keep the blimmin' cats out (yes, our adorable moggies), or they will use the lovely freshly mixed soil as a cat box. The bales are so warm, and the cats love to sleep on them. We are more than one month ahead of last year with what is growing well, despite the heavy frosts we're still getting a few times a week.
Andrea, I am impressed! Your Strawbale garden is great! Very neat and orderly.
I am just sad that I wont get much of a vegetable garden this season as I don't think we will be living on our little piece of dirt for a while. My OH thinks it may be about another 8 weeks so it will be the end of the year before we even start on the vege patch
I was going to start growing things in buckets etc. but with having open homes every weekend I don't know where to "stash" my mobile garden as the agent wants everything to be as uncluttered as possible. We can't start the garden out at the LSB as there is no water there yet and the neighbours sheep are still in the paddock.
Not sure if it will be worth starting a vege garden in December this far South? Hopefully someone will be able to let me know!
As you can no doubt tell from my questions, I know nothing about gardening [:I]. Just wondering though if you could put some temporary fencing around the area where you want to put your veges and that way you could start laying out beds etc.
Hildweller, if the fencing is to keep animals out it needs to be very strong, temporary or not. And for a new gardener, the 2 books I would recommend are The Square Foot Garden by Mel Bartholemew ($59.80 from Rodale Press, PO Box 912004, Aucklnd) and /or The Permaculture Home Garden by Linda Woodrow available at most bookshops. Good luck, hope the weather gets better!
I bought the square foot gardener locally for $29 at our garden shop so if you are after one let me know $59.80 is robbery