Square Foot Gardening
So much food can be grown in a single square foot of space that you will not be able to believe it. Plants love growing close together, intertwining and supporting each other. Trellises and other structures allow you to stretch your square foot straight up as high as you would like to go. The best part is that square foot gardening barely requires any water. It is efficient, effective, attractive, and delicious.
The essence of the square foot garden is the raised bed. This means that a small, low box is constructed, and the soil is gently placed inside. Technically the box does not even have to be on the ground, so long as its table is very sturdy. Since the soil is never walked on or compressed it remains a light, pliable medium for the plants to build their root systems and draw their much needed nutrients. Vegetables enjoy growing right next to each other, and the roots of one will not necessarily crowd out the other. Companion planting is another principle of square foot gardening. Flowers like marigold and horseradish are well known to repel insects and improve the flavor of fruits and vegetables like tomatoes and potatoes. Radishes and beets are another great example of two plants that flourish together. Radishes are so much smaller than beets, and grow so much more quickly, that if the two are sown together the radishes will come to fruition weeks before the beets. Since the radishes are ready to eat when the beets are barely getting started, harvesting the grown radishes does an excellent job of breaking up the soil and giving the beets new empty space to grow into.
Square foot gardening is ideal for areas with poor soil. Since the bed is miniscule it can easily be supplemented with compost and fertilizers. An average home produces more than enough compost to keep the soil fertile. The plants will thrive for season after season, fruiting and dying back in their turns. Intelligent planting is certainly useful, but it is not critical. A few seasons of trial and error will quickly establish what works for your particular climate, soil, and gardening style.
Protecting a square foot garden is easy. The area is so small that a cage or fence has no trouble keeping rodents and pests at bay. The tiny investment of time and in a garden is richly rewarded in delicious, nutritious food. Pennies of water a day turn into dollars worth of organic produce. A square foot garden is a great choice for anyone, whether they live in the heart of the country or the center of the city.