What Is Square Foot Gardening?
You must have heard of people talking about ‘square feet’ when they talk about real estate and things like that. Well, a square foot refers to a certain measurement of an area. In square foot gardening you, literally, use a square foot of a garden to grow certain types of plants.
However, you first must raise the bed in your garden and then, divide it in a manner that you will be able to grow plants, crops and flowers this way. Raising the bed allows you to separate the soil, which you intend on using for your plants, from the soil that is available in your garden. Soil available in your garden can only be used to grow certain types of plants. That is what makes square foot gardening more unorthodox and easy: you get to choose what you would like to grow, where to grow it, and the quantities that you grow as well.
You will be using various mixes of soil in order to grow the types of plants you would like in your garden. You will come to learn that the mix is made in such a way that you will be able to grow your very own square foot garden. Mel’s Mix is believed to be the perfect mix for this purpose. This is part compost, part peat moss, and part vermiculite.
The compost is used to fertilize the soil so that the plants are provided with the nutrients they need to grow and sustain themselves. Vermiculite, when mixed with compost and peat moss, provide the soil with the right nutrients that will help the plants grow a lot faster and in a shorter time span. It usually consists of magnesium, potassium, calcium, and ammonium. It is also know to retain air and moisture. These are released to the plant as and when needed by them. This way you won’t have to water the plants constantly or enrich the soil time and again.
Finally, the peat moss is known to save water in the soil and to prevent it from hardening. In addition to this it is also helps in the composting of the soil and can be used over a longer period of time. These 3 components of the mix make Mel’s Mix perfect for square foot gardening.
Look at the picture below to get an idea of what your square foot should would look like:
As you can see, this is a raised bed and the owners of the bed have divided it in several little squares so that they can grow a different plant in each square foot
We will consider how to go about this practically later on, but for now what you need to know is that it is very different from other forms of gardening because each square foot is ‘customized’ depending upon the type of plant you intend on growing per square foot. Less space is taken up by every plant you grow, so the area used to grow each plant is very small and compact.