We finished our ‘Square Foot Garden’ today and have sown Chicory, Sorrel, Lemon Balm, Beetroot, Calendula, Thyme, Black Spanish Long Radish, Savoy Cabbage, Marigold, and even some Basil seeds from the PEDAL seedbank picked up in Turkey- all in 4ft by 4ft!
We also put in some tomato and chilli plants that we sowed seeds for back in April- so there’s alot going on.
We built a simple raised bed from scaffolding boards 4ft by 4ft with string running across at 1ft intervals making a criss-cross of 16 square foot plots.
The idea behind Square Foot Gardening is that because many different varieties of plants are so close together diseases will not spread so easily and natural insect repellant methods will work well in a tight space- meaning there is less need to use pesticides.
One such method is companion planting where plants are placed close together as they support each other in getting nutrients, controlling pests, and pollination. So we planted Marigolds next to the Tomato plants in the Square Foot Garden today as its strong musky smell deters common insect pests.
The dense spacing for the plants mean that they become a living ‘mulch’ which enriches the soil, prevents erosion and holds water in the ground.
Square Foot Gardening is also a great way to use constricted space- especially in the city!
We used different ways to sow seeds; in drills, in clusters, or broadcasting.
For example we sowed the Chicory in drills which are rows of seeds. Using a finger we created a line half an inch deep in the soil, before watering the small trench.
After sowing the seeds we covered the seeds with dry soil, as gnats will lay larvae on damp soil.
We broadcast sowed the Basil so we can harvest from a large clump of it! The same steps were followed as before except that the whole 1ft x 1ft plot was watered using a rose on the end of the watering can before sprinkling the seeds lightly over the whole space, and then covering with dry soil.
We thought we’d try sowing the Black Spanish Long Radish in clusters - so in each of the six half-inch-deep holes spaced evenly in a 1ft x 1ft space we placed three radish seeds.
We’ll see how the experiment goes and post a blog when the seeds start coming up!
We’ve also had our first strawberries come out and harvested a few today.
We’ve been using Comfrey feed which encourages the plants to fruit- its very potassium rich. You can make your own at home instead of having to buy it from the shops.
You can learn how to make comfrey feed here.
Right- time to feed the Tomatoes!