This post and associated video provide you with a Square Foot Gardening Update. The overall concept of square foot gardening is to put a different plant or grouping of plants in each individual square foot of garden soil. This provides diversity of nutrients to and from the garden soil and plants, plenty of diversity for beneficial insects and confusion for pest insects.
The Garden Bed
My garden bed is made of 4×4 posts. The posts are laid horizontally on the ground and stacked two high, giving me about a 7-inch deep bed. Every foot I have nails put into the 4×4 posts so I can keep track of each square. I write letters and numbers on the wood between the nails, which I will cover later in the post. My beds are 16-foot long and 4-foot wide. This allows me to be able to reach into the center of the bed without ever having to walk on the soil, which would pack and compress the soil.
Each foot on the 4×4 post, lengthwise, is marked with a number from 1 to 16. Then on the 4-foot side of the bed I have letters – A, B, C, D. This means that I have one square that corresponds to 1A and one to 3C and one for 14D. On a piece of paper, I make a grid and label it with 1-16 and A-D. This allows me to document what I have planted in each square and to easily find it. At the top of the sheet I write the year and bed location. The bed location is because I have many beds and this allows me to keep them straight.
Year after Year
Each year I refer to the previous year’s drawing and make sure I mix the plants up. What I mean by this is that I do not plant the same plant or type of plant in the same square that I planted it last year. This allows the plants to diversely give and take from the soil. If I had one type of plant in the same spot each year, it may deplete certain nutrients. By rotating, it can replenish nutrients in the soil.
This rotating also reduces disease and pest pressure. If eggs from a pest are laid in the soil around a plant that they like and the next year I put different plants there that the pest likely don’t like, then that makes my garden less palatable for the pest. This also helps with diseases like tomato blight. If the soil has tomato blight in it from last year’s plant and I put a tomato in the same soil, well, this year’s plant is very likely going to get tomato blight. But if I put the tomatoes several feet away from last year’s location, the tomatoes have a much better chance of not getting tomato blight.
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