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By Great

London, United Kingdom Gb

How many people on here garden using the square foot gardening method. I am about to embark on the journey has anyone goes any tips for me please



I'm answering so I can follow this thread, but I have no info for you Great, sorry. I don't even know what the square foot method is...

27 Jun, 2012


Hi Bamboo..
Let me explain. SFG is an American idea of growing 100% of the veg (in my case) in just 20% of the space. By using a raised bed 4x4 foot square, the author Mel Bartholomew, says you can grow enough salad and veg & still have some left to preserve; for 1 person for the whole season. You divide your bed into 1 foot squares and plant veg inside each square. So for example I sq =1 cabbage. 1 sq = 16 carrots. 1 sq = 4 lettuce e.t.c. He advocates growing up not down.

The only thing I'm a bit worried about, is what is called Mel's Mix. Which is 1/3 vermicuite: 1/3 peat moss: and 1/3 rd 5 different types of composts.

27 Jun, 2012


When he says a third peat moss, presumably he means sphagnum peat? Or not? And 5 different types of composts? Does he tell you what they should be?

27 Jun, 2012


I'm inerested too and found this link on planning what you can grow

27 Jun, 2012


Thanks Steveg1966 (Ive just answered your question by the way)
Bamboo I quote from the book
1/3 Blended compost
1/3 peat moss
1/3 coarse vermiculite
He has a picture of sphagnum moss
He says you can use manure from plant eating animals but not meat eating animals

27 Jun, 2012


I am trying this for the first time this year. I just filled my boxes with upside down turf and then topped up with seed compost.

I am just growing salad crops, mixed leaf salad, spring onions, beetroot and carrots. I have two boxes each divided into four. The first box is doing OK, although the beetroot leaves have been nibbled, I think by birds. I have planted some lettuce in the second box but have left the rest empty so that I can start some more spring onions, carrots and maybe cabbages in a few weeks time.

Don't know that this helps much but at least you know you are not alone :)

27 Jun, 2012


Thanks Gee19 we'll go through this together

27 Jun, 2012


Ive embarked on this slightly this year, however i just split a section of the plot into a 1mx1m square and then split into 16 sections, im suprised how well my beetroot is doing and also cut and come again salad. it just proves aslong as you follow the required spacing things grow really well and its not overcrowded.

27 Jun, 2012


This sounds a lot of baloney to me, unless you have about 20 of these beds.
16 carrots for god's sake, that will last a week in our house. And they are proper carrots, not whatever mini variety you'd get from this bed.
To provide brassicas from May to April, I use 2 raised beds 16 foot by 4 foot.
To provide carrots from July to March I have a 16 foot by 4 foot bed. Same for onions.

So for a small variety of veg in limited space, yes, it's a nice little gimmick. Probably good for summer salads.
But the only people you could feed for a whole season would have to be residents of Lilliput.

27 Jun, 2012


We all have different requirements, Scrumpy, what suits you wouldn't suit me, so please don't be so dismissive of different ideas to your own :)

27 Jun, 2012


I agree with both Gee and scrumpy.

For example in a courtyard garden you could have a full season of salad crops, beetroot, spring onions etc to suit your occasional needs, obviously this isnt a self sufficent method but who said it was.

But then on an allotment there is no point to the method,
so in scrumpys case you can be mostly self sufficent on brassicas and salad.

So its a good way to maximize crops in a small space.

27 Jun, 2012


Thing is, there is nothing new to this method. I've been using it for 10 years at the allotment, just with longer beds. You make more use of the soil available, there is less digging, easier watering and easier feeding.
I've reduced the spacing between plants, which is what it's all about, to deliberately get smaller produce. Using the optimal cabbage spacing of 18-24" meant cabbage far too big.
12-15" spacing meant smaller "meal size" cabbages. Same with cauli's.
I get 60 onions in a 15 foot by 2 foot bed, and 60 red onions in a 10 foot by 2 foot 6 " bed, with spacings less than the recommended.
I take the process even further by using cloches, netting, fleece at different times of the year.

For those with little space I said it was a nice idea, but for the author to suggest 16 carrots would last one person a year I do find a tiny bit ludicrous. A whole 4 foot by 4 foot bed is a possibilty.

I'm not dismissing the idea, just the claims that one bed produces enough for one person for a year.

Anyway, this is the larger version of the square foot method.

27 Jun, 2012



I started following the SFG approach this year and so far I'm very pleased. Take a look at my blog posts for some of my early comments.

I didn't know the foggiest about gardening so having a set of clear instructions was very helpful.

I did buy the book from Amazon:

Obviously look around for the best price.

So far I've done really well with peas, radish, mustard, spinach and varying salads. I've got a few other things in there too such as beetroot, spring onions and carrots, which take a bit longer.

I'm a bit of a nerd, so my planting timings and plans are all online:

Once over the initial effort of building the beds, it's been pretty easy to keep.

I'm never sure when to give-up on plants, so my mustard is now 5' high and my spinach is 2'.

I have found it a worth while hobby and it's nice to come home everyday and get a few pea pods or some salad for a sandwich.

Best of luck

28 Jun, 2012


Thank you one and all for your comments. Scrumpy he sys to grow 16 carrots in a sq foot and then as soon as they are harvested put in something else straight away. So plants are always being renewed.
Madcow Im a bit of a nerd as well I document everything so I think I will watch your efforts very carefully.

30 Jun, 2012


Madcow uk, I can't get to see your spreadsheet. I am really interested in what you've done so far. Have you left a fef letters off?

24 Jul, 2012

How do I say thanks?

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