Square Foot Gardening Thread

Discussion in 'Gardening' started by krcote, Apr 23, 2011.

  1. krcote

    krcote Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,106
    17
    204
    May 21, 2008
    Concord, NH
    Hey all! I've decided to start a thread dedicated to the biggest movement in gardening, Square Foot Gardening (SFG for short). Mel Bartholomew is the leader of SFG movement and has written a few books titled as such. SFG is all about growing more in less space with less work, pretty ideal if you ask me!
    My interest in SFG came about at the beginning of last year's growing season. We had just bought our first house in late February and were focusing much energy in getting the inside livable and planning for our wedding in September. I knew I wanted to have a garden, but had very little time to dedicate to thinking about the process. So I went with what I knew from my childhood. We tilled up a 20' x 40' area and set to work making rows. I hadn't had the time to start anything indoors, so I kissed those seed packets and said "Whatever grows, grows. Better planning next year." Being that we live in New Hampshire, this is a scorned behavior. "Your tomatoes will NEVER produce!" "Your cantaloupes will be the size of golf balls!" We endured these types of comments but persevered. Some things did better than others, but in the end we had a very good crop for eating, preserving and giving away. However, each day when I set out to water the tiny seedlings that had sprouted, I watched the water roll off of the various mounds and rows, pooling in the pathways where I stood. I watched weeds growing in those pathways faster than any of my plants. Well, of course they were... they were getting most of the water! I stood there letting my mind wander... "There HAS to be a better way" is mostly what I came up with. When speaking with a fellow gardener at work, I mentioned my (what I presumed to be excellent) pea crop. He laughed at my yield per row and suggested I borrow his SFG book. I read it cover to cover in one night. After my enlightenment, I cursed my inefficient garden for the remainder of the season and vowed to change my ways next year. Well, it's now next year. In this thread I will post my challenges and successes of SFG. I invited you all to join me on this thread to post pictures, ask questions and generally share in this adventure. Wish us luck!

    Below are pictures from our garden from last year. Like I said 20' x 40' row style with good yield and copious weeds. Endless, endless hours spent weeding.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    We built our boxes from rough planks. We ended up with 6, 4' x 4' and 6, 4' x 8' boxes. We placed them over the existing garden space and graded it out. We used the soil from grading to fill the boxes. Then we planted grass seed and spread straw on top. We will add more volume to the boxes yearly as the compost piles allow. In the last picture, you can see the outdoor sink my husband built me out of all recycled materials. I had the idea of washing my veggies outside where I can return the used water to the garden via hose. I love how it turned out.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    We did all this yesterday. I wanted to get the potatoes, onions and greens in today. It is snowing today interestingly. I love New Hampshire.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 23, 2013
    1 person likes this.
  2. krcote

    krcote Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,106
    17
    204
    May 21, 2008
    Concord, NH
    Looking for suggestions on what I could make my grids out of? The top of my boxes are not flat like the traditional ones, so I need ideas on what I could affix to the inside walls. Help!
     
  3. Kassaundra

    Kassaundra Sonic screwdrivers are cool!

    16,455
    1,622
    421
    Sep 1, 2010
    Henryetta
    I can't see your pics on the computer at work, so I'm commenting on this thread so I can find it when I get home.
     
  4. krcote

    krcote Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,106
    17
    204
    May 21, 2008
    Concord, NH
    Sorry Kassaundra, they are pretty large pictures. Let me know what you think when you get home! I just read your BYC page and wanted to let you know we live in town as well and only have 3/4 of an acre. We are looking towards sustainability as well [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2011
  5. erthymom2

    erthymom2 Chillin' With My Peeps

    719
    2
    151
    May 23, 2008
    I love your pics of your yard, great looking dog too. i have the SFG books and the Lasagna gardening book as well and really enjoyed using a combination of both methods. I live in zone 5 central ny state and all we've had is rain, mud and snow flurrys!! :eek:[
    i laid out my boxes 6x6 and them layered the old carboard, compose then dirt last fall so they could rott thru the winter. i added chicken and rabbit poop to them before the snow took over to help make them healthy for spring planting. i took off the winter crust and fluffed them up a bit and started planting april 1st, my usual time.
    while i don't have a washing station, i do have a solar shower and a rain water barrel system i'll have up and running once the silicone glue sets up on the barrels. I am not a picture person but suffice to say my yard looks like a refugee camp just left!
    lets keep this going so we can see how others are doing too.
     
  6. danielle82

    danielle82 A Good Egg

    Apr 27, 2009
    Tonasket Wa
    [​IMG]
    I love seeing people gardens
     
  7. krcote

    krcote Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,106
    17
    204
    May 21, 2008
    Concord, NH
    Quote:Thanks erthymom2! I have heard of the Lasagna method but haven't looked into it yet, looks like I have another book to buy! Now that I have my boxes built, I can use it in the fall right? Rain barrels rock, could be the easiest, most satisfying thing we have started yet! SFG very well may take over the #1 spot [​IMG]
     
  8. Kassaundra

    Kassaundra Sonic screwdrivers are cool!

    16,455
    1,622
    421
    Sep 1, 2010
    Henryetta
    I don't know if this will work since I'm on the work computer but I am going to try and post a pic of a potato tire tower I am experimenting on this year. The pic is dark and crappy sorry for that if it shows up.

    [​IMG]

    Since this pic was taken I have cut out the center side walls giving them more room, and started filling the inside w/ leaves.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2011
  9. krcote

    krcote Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,106
    17
    204
    May 21, 2008
    Concord, NH
    I have seen this! It is such a good idea. I would think it should work very well. When you harvest, will you be able to just take the tires off one by one? Reducing the amount of digging? I would LOVE that [​IMG]
     
  10. krcote

    krcote Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,106
    17
    204
    May 21, 2008
    Concord, NH
    DH is suggesting that we just use some sort of string for the grids. I wanted something prettier! And more substantial! [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by