He tried something that seemed simple: He planted one seed every 6 inches, then planted a second row 6 inches from the first. When his garden grew successfully, he had a plan.
Bartholomew developed the Square-Foot Gardening method and wrote a book of the same name. Square-Foot Gardening requires one-fifth the space and, he says, one-fifth the work to produce as many vegetables as a typical garden. Using the method, gardeners plant crops within a grid of individual one-foot squares. (Bartholomew recommends growing in raised beds to ensure high-quality soil.) Depending on a plant’s mature size, a certain number fits neatly in each square. For example, four lettuce plants fit in one square; 16 carrot plants fit in a square; spinach is nine to a square. Once you determine your garden size and choose crops, a Square-Foot Garden practically plans itself. Many school programs have adopted Square-Foot Gardening for its easy-to-understand design and high productivity. Bartholomew’s recent book, All New Square Foot Gardening, is updated with the tricks and tools he has learned over the past few decades of practicing and teaching his method. Learn more: squarefootgardening.com
Plants that should be thinned to 12 inches apart: Plant one per square foot.
• Plants that should be thinned to 6 inches apart: Plant four per square foot.
• Plants that should be thinned to 4 inches apart: Plant nine per square foot.
• Plants that should be thinned to 3 inches apart: Plant 16 per square foot.
Mel Bartholomew’s Perfect Growing Mix
1/3 peat moss: Available at any garden center.
1/3 vermiculite: Buy coarse grade in 4-cubic-foot bags at garden centers or home improvement stores.
1/3 blended compost: If you don’t compost at home, buy bags at the garden center. You must have blended compost, so don’t buy all the same kind.
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