Square Foot gardening is known as SFG and common in the United States. This is a method of planting developed by Mel Bartholomew, a TV presenter and American author in the year 1970. This is an easy way to make raised bed garden manageable that needs less maintenance.
This gardening became popular in the year 1980 through the first book of Mel and her television series. With that popularity, it spreads all over the world and a lot of companies offer SFG gardens that are ready to assemble.
The SFG gardening produces more plants, less soil and water usage, and takes only two percent of your time in maintaining them compared to traditional vegetable gardening. With these reasons, SFG became so special to gardeners. This kind of gardening was developed according to the inefficiencies and the reactions of the traditional gardening. In the year 1975, Mel had retired being an engineer and began gardening as a pastime. During the process of gardening, this man applied his systematic skills in every problem he met.
Particularly, he discovered that the typical gardeners spend many hours weeding rows of plants thus creating needless works for them. It is also clear that eliminating rows using deep-beds could significantly reduce the amount of garden maintenance. By adding a grid of one foot square on the top can easily rotate crops.
Rules of Square Foot Gardening System
- Create a deep bed raised
A deep bed raised garden must be 4 feet x 4 feet. It is important to have a square foot net placed on its top to separate the crops. The depth of the bed must be six and twelve inches to give crops plenty of nutrients while keeping good drainage.
- Use an exact soil mixture
Use one third compost, vermiculite, and peat moss in every bed raised. This mixture can make the garden weed free, can retain water, and give full nutrients.
- Do not step on the soil
Today, the common practice in bed raised gardening is not to step on the soil. This is one way not to cultivate the soil.
- Practice planting in squares
Plant your veggies in squares to make planting simple and easy. Remember, there is no space between them. Position each square by creating a small grid using your fingers in the soil. However, there is an exception for this. For larger plants, it is advisable to have a span of 2 squares. If you are planning to plant climbing peas or perhaps beans, plant them in 2 mini rows of four in each square.
- Trim with scissors
Do not pull excess plants because it can distract the system of the roots rather trim with utility scissors.
- Put accessories
In square foot gardening books, there are many practical instructions for creating garden accessories that include protective cages that are easy to lift for your SFG bed. The cages can also cover and support the vertical growth of the plants.
For every rule, there is a purpose and they can contribute for a successful gardening. SFG can be the great method for people who don’t have enough time for gardening, children, new gardeners, and for the disabled or elderly who love growing plants. In fact, many schools today adopt the SFG method due to its simple installation and maintenance that could not give burden to students and teachers.
What are the limitations?
- Simple to outgrow
Although a lot of veggies are grown in SFG, they struggles to have room for larger plants like melons, potatoes, squash, and more. Once the first time gardeners experience the SFG success, they want to expand array of plants outside the SFG crops.
- Costly for large gardens
Even though SFG is considered easy and inexpensive to maintain, but costly to arrange if you have a large area and if you would like to fill it up quickly.
However, none of these reasons can stop gardeners to use this method. You can also use recycled compost for your beds to build up lots of SFG beds. You can also prefer fruit trees to plant and other larger crops.
With SFG methods, gardening at home is not complicated anymore.