Contents
Introduction 9

SFG, New and Improved

27

Plan Your Garden

41

J Building Boxes and Structures

53

Mel's Mix, Essential for Square Foot Gardening Success . . . 87

How to Plant Your All New Square Foot Garden

107

Growing and Harvesting

131

Vertical Gardening

145

Extending the Seasons

165

Special Gardens & Gardeners

179

Appendix

188

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^ W h y w r i t e a n u p d a t e d v e r s i o n o f the best selling g a r d e n i n g b o o k of all time? T h e o l d s a y i n g goes, " I f it ain't b r o k e , don't fix it." W e l l , Square F o o t G a r d e n isn't b r o k e n , b u t the all new m o d e l is s o superior, s o m u c h simpler, a n d s o i m p r o v e d that y o u c a n n o w forget all a b o u t the original b o o k a n d the original S q u a r e F o o t Gardening method! W h a t ' s so n e w a b o u t the All New Square Foot Gardeningbook? T h e original c a n b e c o n s i d e r e d the M o d e l T o f S q u a r e F o o t G a r d e n i n g . T h i s n e w o n e . . . like the latest Cadillac! T h e y are b o t h cars a n d they b o t h m o v e d o w n the road . . . b u t — o h b o y — w h a t a difference! In this e x p a n d e d a n d revised b o o k on Square F o o t G a r d e n i n g , y o u t o o can learn, as millions of others already have, h o w to b e c o m e a successful g a r d e n e r the s i m p l e a n d painless way. T h i s easy-tou n d e r s t a n d m e t h o d w i l l r e v o l u t i o n i z e the w a y y o u t h i n k a b o u t gardening; a n d the n e w ideas f o u n d in this revised edition will awe and inspire y o u as I share insights on h o w the Square F o o t G a r d e n i n g m e t h o d can, a n d is, c h a n g i n g the w o r l d .

For Experts Only
A reporter o n c e asked me if I t h o u g h t I h a d i n v e n t e d " g a r d e n i n g for d u m m i e s , " referring, o f course, t o the p o p u l a r S q u a r e F o o t G a r d e n i n g m e t h o d I developed in 1 9 7 6 . " N o , " I answered. Actually, w h e n I i n v e n t e d the Square F o o t G a r d e n i n g ( S F G ) m e t h o d , I t h o u g h t it w o u l d be for expert gardeners. My m e t h o d was very precise a n d detailed, yet v e r y simple a n d easy to understand, and it p r o v i d e d all the c o n d i t i o n s necessary for successfully g r o w i n g a broad variety of plants in a v e r y different way. It also eliminated all of the wasteful, inefficient practices of traditional s i n g l e - r o w gardening. I t h o u g h t the experts w o u l d s h o u t " E u r e k a ! " a n d immediately bless all of the n e w ideas a n d advantages of this n e w h o m e gardening m e t h o d .

Beginners Understood
As it turned o u t , the experts never u n d e r s t o o d this u n i q u e m e t h o d . A p p a r e n t l y it w a s t o o simple a n d easy. B u t the b e g i n n i n g gardener,

10

ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING

a n d those discouraged by previous failed attempts, u n d e r s t o o d it completely. T h e y immediately saw the simplicity o f S F G . T h e beginner's instant response was "I can do this!" while the experts c o n t i n u e d t o q u e s t i o n every aspect o f this revolutionary g a r d e n i n g m e t h o d . T h e y just couldn't a d m i t that h o m e g a r d e n i n g c o u l d b e that easy.

Two Hours or Two Weeks
In my lectures, I like to reassure audiences that if they are n e w at g a r d e n i n g , or perhaps afraid or o v e r w h e l m e d by the idea of starting a garden, t h e y will be able to learn this s i m p l e m e t h o d of gardening in just an h o u r or t w o . H o w e v e r , if t h e y are already "expert" gardeners, it will p r o b a b l y take t h e m a b o u t t w o weeks! After the laughter dies d o w n , I r e m i n d my a u d i e n c e that beginners readily accept the m i n i m a l a m o u n t o f technical i n f o r m a t i o n n e e d e d t o b e c o m e successful gardeners because t h e y w a n t t o k n o w h o w t o successfully garden. T h e "experts," on the other h a n d , are so entrenched w i t h the idea of s i n g l e - r o w g a r d e n i n g as u s e d in f a r m i n g , w i t h all of its wasteful m e t h o d s , that t h e y just can't see it a n y other way. Y o u m i g h t say, " T h e y are stuck in a rut." As a result, I've learned to leave the experts alone a n d c o n c e n t r a t e o n the beginner, o r the tried-but-failed, gardener, and even the afraid-to-start person. S F G appeals to other large groups of w o u l d - b e gardeners. Years ago, I read s o m e very interesting statistics (and I'm sure the percentages are similar today) a b o u t these gardeners.

75 Million vs. 10 Million
Every year there are about 15 million people w h o : • • • w o u l d like to begin gardening. tried the traditional single-row gardening m e t h o d , b u t failed. don't w a n t to begin gardening because they have heard of all the hard w o r k , time, and cost associated w i t h gardening. • are d o i n g single-row gardening b u t are tired of the hard w o r k , time, a n d cost associated w i t h this impractical m e t h o d . • are unable to c o n t i n u e caring for their b i g single-row gardens.

C o m b i n e d , that's an estimated 75 million p e o p l e ready for a g a r d e n i n g revolution c o m p a r e d t o a b o u t 1 0 million single-row gardeners w h o are c o n t e n t w i t h their m e t h o d a n d don't w a n t to change.

Twenty-Five Years and One Million Books Later
T h e first b o o k I w r o t e on S F G in 1 9 8 1 lasted twenty-five years and sold over one million copies, b e c o m i n g the best selling gardening

I was b u s y s t u d y i n g a n d l e a r n i n g g a r d e n i n g myself. H o w e v e r . A small g r o u p milled a r o u n d at the advertised m e e t i n g point. So. "Sure. W e h a d a w o n d e r f u l time a n d actually learned a little bit from each other. w e laid o u t plots a n d aisles a n d o p e n e d for business. It was a b o u t then that o u r once-enthusiastic gardeners stopped c o m i n g o u t to the garden. s o m e o n e asked m e .Introduction b o o k in A m e r i c a . a n d the ultimate success of S F G . t h e y w e r e enthusiastic a b o u t o b t a i n i n g i n s t r u c t i o n a n d insights o n g a r d e n i n g . after the g r o u n d w a s all fertilized a n d p l o w e d u p . In celebration. a n d e v e r y o n e started w i t h great e n t h u s i a s m . A l l of the spaces were q u i c k l y taken by p e o p l e in the c o m m u n i t y . Community Garden T h e n e x t step w a s o r g a n i z i n g a c o m m u n i t y garden for this same e n v i r o n m e n t a l g r o u p . It was a w a r m spring d a y in A p r i l — a great time to be o u t in the garden. I decided to take up gardening as a hobby. so I visited m a n y backyard gardens. As we prepared to leave. I f o u n d s o m e land a n d c o n v i n c e d the t o w n to c u t d o w n all the w e e d s a n d fence it in. a n d . After a year of rebuilding the house and another year of landscaping a n d i m p r o v i n g the grounds. rather than disband. w h y not?" T h u s began m y n e w career o f teaching gardening w h i l e I was still a novice myself. the weeds k e p t c o m i n g — a n d growing! Pretty s o o n the place w a s o v e r g r o w n a n d l o o k e d a mess. I suggested to the g r o u p that we each share o u r k n o w l e d g e w i t h each other a n d tell w h a t little w e k n e w a b o u t c o m p o s t i n g . b u t no instructor ever s h o w e d u p . First Red Flag I was discouraged a n d t h o u g h t I had better do s o m e research to figure o u t w h y we h a d failed. I m o v e d my family to a waterfront h o m e on the N o r t h Shore of L o n g Island. . A local farmer delivered t w o t r u c k l o a d s o f well-rotted m a n u r e . H e r e is the story b e h i n d h o w I came to invent a better w a y to garden. 11 It Started in 1975 It all started in 1 9 7 5 after my retirement f r o m my consulting engineering business in N e w Jersey. I was teaching basic single-row gardening because that's all anyone k n e w back then. " C a n we do this again next w e e k ? " A n d I said. S i n c e m o s t of the participants didn't have a garden at h o m e a n d were novices. My first step was to attend a lecture on c o m p o s t i n g given by a local environmental group. So I initiated a S a t u r d a y m o r n i n g g a r d e n i n g w o r k s h o p a n d presented i n f o r m a t i o n on a different subject each w e e k w h i l e everyone sat around on bales of hay listening. t r y i n g t o k e e p a h e a d o f everyone's questions! T h e local c o u n t y agricultural a g e n t h e l p e d o u t and everything w e n t well until a b o u t m i d s u m m e r .

I began to t h i n k a b o u t all the conventional gardening practices we'd been taught and began to question the efficiency of each. . s k i n n y rows w i t h 3-foot w i d e aisles on b o t h sides. these individual gardens were also filled w i t h overgrown weeds. T h e n I w o n d e r e d w h y y o u w o u l d w a l k all over the rest of the garden area again. Three-Foot Aisles I questioned w h y fertilizer is spread over the entire garden area.f o o t w i d e aisle o n b o t h sides o f the p l a n t e d r o w ? " I asked. T h e f i r s t red f l a g w e n t u p i n m y m i n d . " W h y a 3 .12 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING W h a t I f o u n d was a b i g space w a y o u t in the farthest corner of the yard. p a c k i n g d o w n all that newly tilled soil? A n d . I w o n d e r e d w h y y o u were supposed to till up all the soil in an entire garden area w h e n those 3-foot w i d e aisles c o n s u m e over 80 percent of a garden area. b u t the plants are o n l y placed in long. a b o u t as close to the neighbor's property line as possible. I realized that there is o n l y o n e o u t c o m e y o u can expect w h e n y o u fertilize a n d water a 3-foot w i d e aisle w i t h n o t h i n g planted in it—weeds! T h e following is a conversation I h a d w i t h a friend of m i n e w h o was an agricultural agent. a l t h o u g h plants in rows require less t h a n 2 0 p e r c e n t o f the garden space. indicating that there was s o m e t h i n g w r o n g w i t h traditional single-row gardening. In m o s t cases. w h y is an entire garden area watered w h e n plants are o n l y located in a 6-inch w i d e r o w in the center of a 6-foot w i d e strip? Too Many. Too Much As I analyzed these traditional gardening m e t h o d s .

" I protested. gardening publishers. b u t that's too m u c h to enjoy at the same t i m e for a h o m e o w n e r . I kept receiving the same answer. G a r d e n i n g should be fun! There's s o m e t h i n g w r o n g here. W h y w o u l d I w a n t thirty cabbages to ripen all at the same time? If everything is planted at o n e time. "I'm g o i n g to invent a better w a y to garden. a n d the obvious solution is to stagger the time of planting w h e n e v e r possible and to plant less. Because That's the Way I soon realized that I h a d a lot of questions w i t h very few answers. garden c l u b s — a l l those w h o were supposedly knowledgeable people in the field of gardening. " B u t I don't w a n t to h o e the w e e d s .r o w g a r d e n i n g m e t h o d s c o n t i n u e d to exist was. "let's face it. " he said. "Because that's the way we've always done it!" R i g h t then and there I said. H o w m a n y p e o p l e g o t o the g r o c e r y store and b u y thirty heads of cabbage o n c e a year? Do you? So w h y g r o w it that way? T h e r e m u s t be a better w a y to stagger the harvest. do I really w a n t o r n e e d a w h o l e r o w o f cabbages? T h a t w o u l d b e t h i r t y cabbages spaced 1 2 inches apart. " he replied. no m a t t e r w h e r e I traveled t h r o u g h o u t the c o u n t r y f r o m M a i n e to California. 8 9 p a c k e t o f seeds for every r o w y o u plant? Isn't that rather wasteful? W h y w o u l d t h e y instruct u s t o p l a n t that w a y ? W h o ' s in charge here. for example. G a r d e n i n g is a lot of hard w o r k . T h i s brings m e t o a n o t h e r c o m m o n s e n s e revelation that no o n e seems to have t h o u g h t about. anyway? 13 Thirty-Foot Rows T h e next question I asked was w h y plant an entire r o w of everything? Just because my garden is 30 feet long. C a n y o u i m a g i n e w h a t that answer was? I t s o o n b e c a m e a p p a r e n t that the o n l y reason traditional s i n g l e . so I traveled all over the c o u n t r y seeking o u t the best experts: agricultural college professors. " T h i s triggered another red flag in my m i n d . c o u n t y agricultural agents. radio a n d T V gardening personalities." .Introduction " S o y o u have r o o m t o get i n t o the g a r d e n t o h o e the w e e d s . b o o k writers. T h i s led t o further questions. W h y d o the p l a n t i n g instructions o n p a c k a g e s o f seeds direct the gardener t o p o u r o u t a n entire p a c k e t a l o n g a r o w o n l y to have y o u later go b a c k a n d tear o u t 95 percent o f the seeds y o u p l a n t e d o n c e t h e y sprout? W h y use u p a n entire $ 1 . won't it also be ready to harvest all at once? It sounds like farming to m e . I sought answers to all the gardening questions I h a d a n d ." " W e l l . " T h a t ' s t o o much work. garden writers. G a r d e n i n g shouldn't be a lot of hard w o r k .

a n d s o m e even venture a guess as h i g h as five h u n d r e d seeds. and unnecessary steps that have been consistently taught for traditional single-row gardening and then find a better a n d m o r e efficient w a y to accomplish the same task. a n d then turn a r o u n d w h e n they sprout a n d t h i n t h e m o u t t o o n e plant for every 6 inches? It doesn't m a k e sense. In other w o r d s . w a s that s i n g l e . is 6 i n c h e s — n o t 3 feet! . I h a d n o t h i n g further to do a n d no w a s t e d seeds. I was also an efficiency expert.d o w n t e c h n i q u e f r o m large-field c r o p f a r m i n g . I should m e n t i o n here that besides b e i n g a civil engineer. One Thousand Seeds I have fun w h e n teaching a class or seminar by asking. Single rows m a k e sense w h e n y o u d e p e n d u p o n a m u l e o r a tractor to p l o w up the soil a n d t e n d the crops because those b i g h o o v e s o r w h e e l s take u p a lot o f r o o m . unnecessary w o r k . the challenge of inventing a n e w w a y to garden was right up my alley. a n d the seed packet says to thin plants to 6 inches apart in the row. Before I sold my engineering c o m p a n y . " S p a c e rows 3 feet apart. M y first s o l u t i o n w a s t o lay d o w n a y a r d s t i c k a n d p l a n t o n e seed every 6 inches. T h e next t h o u g h t was. F o l l o w m e along now." Perhaps that's really the g a r d e n i n g m e t h o d for d u m m i e s ! Efficiency T h e next step I t o o k was to list all of the ineffective. of course. I t h e n a s t o u n d t h e m by s a y i n g that I o n c e o p e n e d a p a c k e t a n d c o u n t e d t h e m . h o w far a w a y does the next r o w really need to be? T h e answer. to find a better way. for e x a m p l e . " H o w m a n y seeds do y o u t h i n k are in a packet of leaf lettuce?" S o m e guess fifty. does it? It's a terrible waste o f seeds a n d t i m e a n d w o r k — a l l useless. my j o b was to travel to construction sites or m a n u f a c t u r i n g facilities to analyze current processes in order to identify a n d correct inefficiencies in facility operations. I realized. T h e n . b u t it involved a little out-of-the-box thinking. B u t w h y h a d n o o n e ever realized that in a h o m e g a r d e n .m e . T h e r e o n l y needs t o b e r o o m for t w o f e e t — y o u r s ! Yet. every single direction for h o m e g a r d e n i n g still instructs. inefficient. T h e sequence of questions I asked a n d simple solutions I developed was actually very easy and straightforward. lettuce. t w o h u n d r e d . T h u s .ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Farming Part of the p r o b l e m . a n d there w e r e w e l l over o n e t h o u s a n d seeds! W h y p l a n t h u n d r e d s o f seeds i n o n e l o n g row.r o w g a r d e n i n g w a s n o t h i n g b u t a h a n d . there is no l o n g e r a n e e d for all that w a s t e d space. o n e h u n d r e d . if you're g r o w i n g .

H o w m a n y plants could y o u g r o w in that square f o o t if each p l a n t was 6 inches apart? T h e simple answer: four plants per square foot. it w o r k e d ! H o w w i d e c o u l d I m a k e this. as l o n g as each p l a n t had 6 inches all around. space a couple of seeds or transplants one. A g a i n . But I still had a harvest too large to utilize. to see h o w well the plants w o u l d d o . in other words. Triple Row Eager to test my reasoning. four. as w i d e as y o u can reach in to maintain y o u r garden. or sixteen per square foot. as l o n g as y o u r arms. .Introduction 15 Single Row. I p l a n t e d t w o rows. Depending on the mature size of each plant. N e x t I tried a triple r o w — t h r e e rows where I placed all the plants 6 inches apart in all directions. nine. until they were o n l y 12 inches l o n g and 12 inches w i d e — a square foot planting area. 6 inches apart. I t w o r k e d ! T h e plants g r e w just as well in t w o rows as they d i d in a single row. I asked? T h e answer is. Double Row. Shorten the Rows S o w h a t was the o b v i o u s solution? S h o r t e n the rows! A n d they k e p t getting shorter a n d shorter.

I h a d to do all of the spreading. as a teenager. I f o u n d that b o t h c o u l d c o m f o r t a b l y reach in 2 feet w i t h o u t l o s i n g balance. I w a s the o n e w h o h a d t o t u r n over m y mother's g a r d e n . T h u s . p l a n t o n e per square foot. If plants s h o u l d be t h i n n e d to 4 inches apart t h e n y o u can g r o w n i n e w i t h i n the space of that o n e square foot. a n d fertilized is a 4 x 4 . If plants are t h i n n e d to 3 inches apart. so y o u don't have to h o e or d i g up the g r o u n d to keep loosening the planting soil. a l t h o u g h she w a s thrilled w i t h the results. D o e s n ' t it all m a k e sense a n d seem easy e n o u g h ? Never Walk on Soil 1 then w o n d e r e d just h o w far s o m e o n e c o u l d reach in to maintain a garden w i t h o u t c o m p a c t i n g the soil by w a l k i n g all over it.f o o t area is never p a c k e d d o w n . i m p r o v e d .16 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Plant Spacing S o . I g o t a little old lady and a b i g h u s k y m a n and measured h o w far they c o u l d easily reach.r o t t e d m a n u r e f o l l o w e d later b y c o m m e r c i a l fertilizers. a n d t u r n i n g . the traditional f i r s t step for i m p r o v i n g soil i n preparation for g a r d e n i n g w a s to d i g or till up the soil in the entire g a r d e n as d e e p as y o u c o u l d a n d t h e n a d d soil enhancers s u c h as c o m p o s t or w e l l . S o . y o u can g r o w sixteen in that same square foot. a n d money. A f t e r w e d u m p e d it into the garden area.f o o t g a r d e n area a n d n o t all the aisles. time. p l a n t four per square foot.f o o t area. A f t e r listening t o agricultural agents a n d reading b o o k s o n soil i m p r o v e m e n t a n d c o n d i t i o n i n g . A n d . In order to reach in 2 feet a n d w a l k all the w a y around y o u r garden. T h i s initial step r a n g a bell w i t h me because. y o u e n d up h a v i n g a 4 x 4 . in m o s t areas soils h a d to be greatly i m p r o v e d to obtain the best gardening results. d i g g i n g the w h o l e t h i n g u p every year. T h a t r e d u c e d the actual g r o w i n g area i n the g a r d e n b y 8 0 percent. A s laborers i n M o m ' s g a r d e n every spring. T h u s . . an a d d e d benefit is the g r o w i n g soil in the 4 x 4 . i f plants s h o u l d b e t h i n n e d t o 1 2 inches apart. the o n l y soil that needs t o b e d u g u p . If plants s h o u l d be t h i n n e d to 6 inches apart. N o w . the o n l y o p t i o n seemed to require a great deal of w o r k . i n s u m m a r y . m y d a d a n d I were n o t h a p p y campers. m i x i n g . Soil Improvement T h e next step w a s h o w t o i m p r o v e the soil.s u i t e d for g r o w i n g h e a l t h y v e g e tables a n d beautiful flowers. M y father h a d t o b r i n g h o m e b u s h e l baskets full o f horse m a n u r e i n his b r a n d n e w C h r y s l e r . My research indicated that average soil conditions a r o u n d the c o u n t r y w e r e n o t w e l l . w a t e r e d . Horse Manure M o s t soils o n l y c o n t a i n a b o u t 3 or 4 p e r c e n t o r g a n i c material.

2 inches of v e r m i c u l i t e . " I t h o u g h t . T h e s e i n g r e d i e n t s are available a t a n y nursery. R e m e m b e r that after I d i d the m a t h . asking gardeners h o w l o n g it t o o k t h e m to i m p r o v e their soil until t h e y g o t it just the w a y t h e y w a n t e d it. Start Right in a Single Day I started t h i n k i n g . " B u t . n o m a t t e r w h e r e y o u live?" O f course. M i x i n g the ingredients together w i t h the soil that y o u r e m o v e d . h a v i n g the best soil conditions right a w a y m a y b e t o o costly a n d entail t o o m u c h time a n d effort. I f o u n d that by switching f r o m a traditional single-row garden to a 4 x 4 . a n d 2 inches of c o m p o s t . h e l p i n g to retain water . W i t h the S F G m e t h o d . seven years w o r t h o f w o r k can s u d d e n l y be c o n d e n s e d into as little as a single day w i t h o u t all the effort! The 4x4-Foot Garden M y f i r s t b o o k s h o w e d h o w y o u c o u l d reduce the w o r k b y laying o u t a 4 x4-foot area. T h i s means that y o u can g r o w 1 0 0 p e r c e n t o f the harvest i n o n l y 2 0 p e r c e n t o f the space. m a n y feet b e l o w the surface of the soil. then d i g g i n g o u t 6 inches of existing soil a n d m i x i n g in 2 inches of p e a t m o s s . a n d if vermiculite a n d peat moss are m i x e d in. B u t the experts I consulted said that m o s t vegetable plant roots need to keep g r o w i n g d o w n w a r d . w a t e r e d . let's pave over that garden area. o r i m p r o v e d . w i t h traditional b i g g a r d e n areas." Seven years w o r t h of effort lost. b u t i t d o e s have t o b e w e e d e d .Introduction 17 The Seven-Year Itch I o n c e c o n d u c t e d a survey. a n d every year thereafter. searching for water a n d nutrients many. T h i n k o f it. " i f plants are p r o v i d e d a g o o d g r o w i n g soil c o m p o s e d o f m o r e than 1 5 percent organic matter. T h a t 80 percent of a single-row garden is wasted s p a c e — s p a c e that doesn't need t o b e fertilized. " W h y n o t have great soil d u r i n g the first year of y o u r g a r d e n . M a n y gardeners even m a k e their o w n c o m p o s t at h o m e f r o m kitchen scraps and other plant material. " H e n r y . There's s o m e t h i n g definitely w r o n g w i t h this scenario. y o u n o w h a v e 1 2 inches o f 5 0 p e r c e n t improved soil.f o o t layout — w h i c h will p r o d u c e the same h a r v e s t — 8 0 percent o f the garden area c o u l d be c o m p l e t e l y eliminated. it w o u l d m a k e a great p l a c e to park the trailer. T h e average answer was a b o u t seven y e a r s — s e v e n years o f h a r d w o r k t o p r o p e r l y c o n d i t i o n the soil for g a r d e n i n g ! A n d d o y o u k n o w w h a t statistics say the average h o m e o w n e r does after seven years? T h e y m o v e ! A n d guess w h o b u y s that h o m e ? S o m e o n e w h o doesn't even garden! Y o u c a n p r o b a b l y i m a g i n e t h e c o n v e r s a t i o n b e t w e e n the n e w h o m e o w n e r s . M y t h i n k i n g w a s that 1 2 inches o f i m p r o v e d existing soil w o u l d be all that n e w plants w o u l d need to thrive w i t h the plant roots staying w i t h i n these 12 inches of i m p r o v e d soil.

y o u w a n t everything to ripen at o n c e so it can be harvested together and taken to market. a n d o t h e r h o m e . However. I grew up in the days of the "victory garden. So. it wouldn't be necessary to plant a w h o l e r o w of just o n e crop. nine. A n d . We don't need it b u t he just keeps g r o w i n g it!" W i t h S F G . y o u w a n t to stagger y o u r p r o d u c e so y o u can use it t h r o u g h o u t the season for daily c o n s u m p t i o n . "I have a b i g single-row garden. H e g r o w s all this p r o d u c e that we really don't need a n y m o r e . all properly spaced. So w h y does the g o v e r n m e n t still teach the same o l d system m o r e than 60 years later? Stop Planting So Much I m e e t m a n y mature couples where the h u s b a n d p r o u d l y states. O f course.s t o r a g e measures. w h i c h describes the latest advances in this "out of the b o x " type of t h i n k i n g .18 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING in the soil.m e . y o u don't have to g r o w so m u c h at a time that it becomes o v e r w h e l m i n g . . b u t I w i s h he'd stop. I m i g h t add. M o s t p e o p l e w h o g r e w u p d u r i n g those years hated gardening because of all the w e e d i n g and hard w o r k it entailed. I'm n o t t a l k i n g a b o u t c a n n i n g . T h a t carried over into a w h o l e generation of people w h o stayed a w a y f r o m gardening just because of the negative m e m o r i e s associated w i t h m a i n t a i n i n g a large traditional garden. plant roots w o u l d no longer need to c o n t i n u e g r o w i n g d o w n w a r d in search of additional moisture a n d nutrients. it turned o u t they were w r o n g . I w o n d e r e d if they were right a b o u t the roots n e e d i n g to g r o w deeper than 12 inches. O u r gardens thrived w i t h less t h a n 1 2 inches o f i m p r o v e d soil a n d that w a s just the beginning! W a i t until y o u read C h a p t e r 2. w h y n o t stagger y o u r vegetable plantings. doesn't it? Yet we've b e e n t a u g h t all o u r lives to p l a n t e v e r y t h i n g all at o n c e in l o n g r o w s — another h a n d . I'm tired and don't w a n t to do it a n y m o r e . " O h . T h e n I have to can a n d freeze it. four. so that y o u r harvest is also staggered? M a k e s sense. " A n d the w o m a n responds. B u t w i t h h o m e gardening. I've f o u n d that people are n o t storing h o m e g r o w n p r o d u c e to the extent they did in the past. and I g r o w a lot of p r o d u c e . If you're farming for commercial purposes. h o w c o m e m o s t ro to tillers dig d o w n less than 6 inches? W e l l . a l t h o u g h S F G is a practical g a r d e n i n g m e t h o d for these purposes also.d o w n technique f r o m large-field crop farming. R e m e m b e r . freezing." Besides that. also f r o m all the w o r k of c a n n i n g a n d freezing. Stagger the Harvest I also realized that if each square f o o t c o u l d be p l a n t e d w i t h a different crop c o n t a i n i n g either one. or sixteen plants." a result of W o r l d W a r I I w h e n A m e r i c a n s were encouraged b y the g o v e r n m e n t a n d by society to h a v e a b i g g a r d e n that used the o l d single-row p l a n t i n g m e t h o d s .

Introduction 19 Location I began t o realize a n o t h e r great advantage o f S F G — b y r e d u c i n g the garden size by 80 percent. T h e r e are so m a n y advantages to Square F o o t G a r d e n i n g . it c a n n o w be l o c a t e d near the h o u s e . s n u g l y p u t u p against y o u r neighbor's p r o p e r t y line. A g a r d e n no l o n g e r has to be w a y o u t b a c k . and the benefits and efficiencies of the c o n c e p t o n l y c o n t i n u e to increase. T h e w h o l e package fits together nicely. A n d since y o u don't have to fertilize. Up Close and Personal "Closer is better" is o n e S F G m o t t o . W h e n a garden is closer to the front o r b a c k d o o r o f y o u r h o m e . a n d w e e d the aisles. T h i s m e a n s i t i s easier t o t a k e care o f a n d c a n b e m o r e r e a d i l y e n j o y e d . it increases the n u m b e r of places w h e r e a garden w i l l fit. . all of w h i c h results in a b e t t e r g a r d e n a n d a h a p p i e r gardener. water. y o u pass b y the garden m o r e often.

a n d o n e for myself. m a k e r e c o m m e n d a t i o n s . T h e Bicentennial year o f 1 9 7 6 was a h u g e celebration across the c o u n t r y a n d w e also celebrated m y y o u n g e s t son's July Fourth birthday. " W h y n o t write a b o o k ? " I drafted an outline a n d sent it to t w o publishers. I decided to do three things: o n e for m y country. o n e for m y family. First. w h i c h were planted a l o n g M a i n Street as a b e a u t i f i c a t i o n project. 1 9 7 6 . using their products. I also began d o i n g gardening consulting w o r k for several companies. So my j o b was to search the w o r l d for u n i q u e a n d unusual tools. a n d then . A n o t h e r c o m p a n y w a n t e d t o start a g a r d e n i n g t o o l catalog. A l l t h e schools g r e w sunflowers. we tried all these n e w ideas in the c o m m u n i t y garden the next year. originally for tomatoes b u t later for all v i n e crops. magazine representatives started c o m i n g o u t t o p h o t o g r a p h m y h o m e garden a n d t o write stories a b o u t m y n e w ideas a n d the S F G m e t h o d . test a n d evaluate t h e m . Garden Consulting. w h i c h b o t h accepted the " h o w t o " b o o k o n successful gardening using the n e w S F G method. a n d d e m o n s t r a t i o n s o n t h e n e w S q u a r e F o o t G a r d e n i n g m e t h o d I h a d developed. T h e official p r e s e n t a t i o n o f Square F o o t G a r d e n i n g w a s m a d e a t a h o m e t o w n e v e n t that i n c l u d e d a s c h o o l project that I h a d o r g a n i z e d . w e w e r e able t o e n j o y a v e r y attractive a n d w e l l . Y o u can imagine h o w "retired" I was now. t h e local n e w s p a p e r asked me to w r i t e a g a r d e n column.r u n c o m m u n i t y g a r d e n u s i n g the n e w l y developed Square F o o t m e t h o d . I began to develop vertical gardening m e t h o d s . 1981 to 1984 At the same time. I a n n o u n c e d this w a s my gift to the c o u n t r y — a better w a y t o garden. Sharing Ideas. and. O n e was a fence c o m p a n y . T h e m e d i a attention grew a n d grew. m a n y people encouraged m e t o write a b o o k sharing cc You have forever changed gardening for me. b o o t h s . T h a t next year. T h e n I began writing and producing pamphlets. 1978 to 1980 Because of the o v e r w h e l m i n g success of the project and the u n i q u e S F G m e t h o d . W e h a d a n all-day c e l e b r a t i o n o f displays. so I t h o u g h t . a n d since m o s t o f the participants w e r e b e g i n n i n g gardeners w h o w e r e w e l l a c q u a i n t e d w i t h the disastrous experience f r o m the p r e v i o u s y e a r — i n c l u d i n g the overgrown w e e d s a n d m o u n d s o f zucchini a n d r o w s o f c a b b a g e that r i p e n e d all a t o n c e — t h e y w e r e v e r y w i l l i n g t o try a n o t h e r o p t i o n . Soon. —Kanas from California my ideas. a n d .20 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING The Square Foot Gardening Story Community Garden W e l l . talks. guess w h a t ? T h e y w o r k e d ! E v e r y o n e u n d e r s t o o d a n d grasped the Square F o o t G a r d e n i n g concepts q u i c k l y a n d easily.

once a w e e k they came t o m y garden a n d taped f i v e different segments. 21 PBS One Minute. G o o d M o r n i n g Philly.Introduction arrange the w r i t i n g o f s a m p l e descriptions for the catalog. D u r i n g this t i m e . I w o n d e r e d w h y w e n e e d e d s o m u c h stuff just t o g a r d e n . T h e television station received so m u c h mail a n d so m a n y telephone calls that they w a n t e d to tape a s h o w for broadcast every w e e k night. Fortunately. an o p p o r t u n i t y we couldn't pass up. b e c a m e the s h o w director. as you'll learn. So. C B N i n V i r g i n i a Beach. W e w e r e also invited to D i s n e y W o r l d to s h o o t d u r i n g the winter. Steve. and several appearances o n A B C . m a n y o t h e r opportunities occurred w i t h T V networks like C N N o u t o f Atlanta. W i t h i n three years i t w a s p i c k e d u p b y every P B S station i n the c o u n t r y a n d received the h i g h e s t rating o f any g a r d e n show. Georgia. 1981 to 1986 M y publishers predictions for m y b o o k were very modest. G o o d M o r n i n g B o s t o n . A n d . I was delighted t o have the o p p o r t u n i t y t o share the S F G m e t h o d . I discovered that y o u don't. A l l of this excitement a n d activity m a d e it a very rewarding a n d exciting period o f m y life. T h i s proved to be a very valuable and r e w a r d i n g p e r i o d . a n d it wasn't l o n g before a local P B S television station asked if they c o u l d send their camera crew o u t to my garden to shoot "A M i n u t e in Mel's G a r d e n " segment for the evening news. 1982 to 1986 To m a k e a l o n g story short. M y oldest s o n . T h a t again proved so p o p u l a r that later they asked if I w o u l d be interested in a thirty-minute national show. b u t it w a s all v e r y exciting. a n d m a n y other TV spots all a r o u n d the country. Virginia. More Television Opportunities I n a d d i t i o n t o all the a b o v e activity a n d travel. T h e f o l l o w i n g year I started my o w n p r o d u c t i o n c o m p a n y a n d distributed the thirty-minute Square F o o t G a r d e n i n g s h o w t h r o u g h o u t the entire P B S s y s t e m . T h i s i n v o l v e d a lot of travel. a n d w e traveled a r o u n d the c o u n t r y to different viewers' gardens that w e r e particularly w o r t h y o f sharing w i t h o u r a u d i e n c e . s o m e of the companies I w a s c o n s u l t i n g for d i d s e n d m e o n tours a n d a l l o w e d m e t o s h o w the b o o k and talk a b o u t Square F o o t G a r d e n i n g if I also explained and demonstrated their products. my s h o w aired the following year on P B S and was p i c k e d up by e n o u g h stations along the East C o a s t to p a y for itself. s o they didn't p r o m o t e m y b o o k the w a y I h a d h o p e d o r even send m e o u t for talks a n d appearances. Y o u bet I was! Thirty-Minute PBS TV Series. A l l of that b r o u g h t in a t o n of mail (whoever h a d heard of e-mail b a c k then?) a n d activities w i t h companies interested i n d e v e l o p i n g S F G products i n c l u d i n g s o m e . T h e response to that short segment was explosive.

1996 Five years later. A t the same t i m e . of course. w h e n I was traveling in northern California. I didn't w a n t a n y t h i n g to do w i t h it. P B S was commercial-free a n d h a d n o corporate sponsors. I w a s happily retired. N o w . R a t h e r t h a n c o m p r o m i s e the initial agreem e n t . m y w i f e G i n n y courageously t o o k care o f everything a t h o m e and even p u t u p w i t h — y e t never quite g o t used t o — t h e f i l m crews c o m i n g o n c e a w e e k t o f i l m the P B S T V show. the o p e r a t i o n b e c a m e fairly routine a n d the challenge o f creating s o m e t h i n g n e w was over." Discovery Network 1989 to 1991 A few years later. w h a t h a r m could there be?" ( W e never learn. I decided that that was i t — I really was retiring for good! (Yeah. " they explained. I c o n v i n c e d P B S to let us h a v e the first c o o k i n g s e g m e n t on a g a r d e n show. . "It's a Square F o o t G a r d e n . T h i s was exciting a n d eventful. B u t w h e n he offered to do all the w o r k and take care of all the details. S o . y e t t h e y still w a n t e d the s h o w free. " W e l l . s o m e P B S stations started talking like t h e y s h o u l d share in the profits of the b o o k sales. s o m e o n e invited me to c o m e see a school garden.m i n u t e b o o k tag a t the e n d o f each show.22 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING b i g companies such as R u b b e r m a i d . an agent c a m e to me a n d said that he c o u l d get the TV s h o w back on the air. y e t a t times stressful a n d e x h a u s t i n g . I t h o u g h t . We h a d to set up a toll-free n u m b e r a n d a fulfillment c o m p a n y to process these orders. T h i s t i m e . m y retirement w a s "for sure. I w e n t a n d t h o u g h t it was so impressive. I again t o o k the s h o w off the air. do we?) I finally agreed. As a result. A f t e r six years. a n d the teachers loved it so m u c h that I b e g a n to t h i n k that perhaps I really shouldn't be r e t i r e d — I should b e o u t teaching S F G t o school children. a n d he sold the s h o w to the D i s c o v e r y N e t w o r k where it ran for t w o years a n d then on T h e Learning C h a n n e l for another year. a t r e m e n d o u s n u m b e r o f orders for the S F G b o o k w e r e received. sure!) California Schools. B u t t h e y were f i n a l l y c o n v i n c e d that i t w o u l d b e w o r t h w h i l e . A t that t i m e . S i n c e s u c h a b i g part o f gardening is in the harvest and f o o d preparation. I t w a s b a d e n o u g h t o have the c o n s t a n t activity o u t s i d e i n the g a r d e n . a l l o w i n g me to be the first p e r s o n to have a b o o k tag on a P B S show. T h r o u g h all o f it. again. b u t t h e y even i n v a d e d her k i t c h e n t o d o the c o o k i n g s e g m e n t . T h e children were really enjoying the gardening experience. TV Book Tag I originally offered the p r o g r a m to P B S free of charge if they w o u l d give m e a o n e . I d e c i d e d to take the s h o w o f f the air a n d retire for the s e c o n d t i m e . they all do that.

w e w e n t straight t o the state b o a r d o f e d u c a t i o n . " W e l l . 23 I came o u t of retirement (you k n o w the saying "fools rush in") a n d established a nonprofit f o u n d a t i o n to design a p r o g r a m for teachers e x p l a i n i n g h o w t o teach S q u a r e F o o t G a r d e n i n g t o s t u d e n t s . we were able to do just that. T h e y liked o u r idea so m u c h that they said. a n d it has n o w b e e n m o d i f i e d for h o m e schooling as well. I d i d . Utah Schools. 1999 to 2001 O v e r the next t w o years. T h o u s a n d s visited the garden and. since Salt Lake C i t y is h o m e to the C h u r c h o f Jesus C h r i s t o f Latter-day Saints (the L D S c h u r c h o r M o r m o n s ) . " W e ' l l take a garden for every single g r a m m a r school in the state of U t a h . We were then invited to p u t up a public display Square Foot G a r d e n at T h a n k s g i v i n g Point near Salt L a k e City. W e called the p r o g r a m " A S q u a r e Yard i n the S c h o o l Yard" since the children's gardens are sized at 3 x3 feet. we w e n t f r o m school to school d o n a t i n g gardens all the w a y f r o m M a i n e t o Florida and o n t o the California coast. W h e n offering S q u a r e F o o t G a r d e n i n g t o schools i n U t a h . the school board asked if I w o u l d write a lesson plan for U t a h teachers a n d students. N e x t . As I developed n e w staff m e m b e r s . let's see w h a t we can d o . " We g u l p e d and said. T h e foundation also built a n d distributed n u m e r o u s gardens t h r o u g h o u t the c o u n t r y . " Thanksgiving Point. S F G gained the attention o f m a n y L D S church leaders. 1998 T h i s phase of my life also involved a lot of travel.Introduction One of the truly great features of SFG is how easy it is for children (of all ages!) to participate. R a t h e r t h a n g o i n g f r o m teacher t o teacher a n d s c h o o l t o s c h o o l . w e tried s o m e t h i n g new. T h e y invited the f o u n d a t i o n t o teach S F G a t the L D S Missionary .

W o r l d countries are l o c a t e d i n tropical regions of the w o r l d . An a d d e d advantage is that m a k i n g c o m p o s t cleans up the e n v i r o n m e n t a n d gets all the family m e m b e r s involved. SFG International Training Center in Homestead. Florida S i n c e g a r d e n i n g in U t a h is at a standstill all winter. the o p p o r t u n i t y c a m e to spend the winter in southern Florida w h e r e w e set u p a n S F G International T r a i n i n g C e n t e r i n H o m e stead. T h r o u g h o u r w o r k w i t h several i n t e r n a t i o n a l organizations h e a d q u a r t e r e d in W a s h i n g t o n . T h i s success story b e g a n after a priest n a m e d Father A b r a h a m received the Square F o o t G a r d e n i n g b o o k . C . it's very easy to find materials that can be used to generate c o m p o s t . m a n y of w h i c h began i n c l u d i n g the Square M e t e r G a r d e n i n g system in their programs. Since m o s t T h i r d . W e s h o w e d missionaries h o w t o instruct people living in T h i r d W o r l d countries to b e c o m e m o r e self-sufficient by g r o w i n g their o w n food using the Square Meter G a r d e n i n g m e t h o d . Square Meter Gardening: SFG Humanitarian Efforts Go Global. H e read i t a n d said. T h i s enabled Square M e t e r G a r d e n i n g to be taken to quite a variety of people and places. O n e of the biggest successes in Square M e t e r G a r d e n i n g is a project developed in India. he n o w operates a sizeable. the first step is to teach t h e m c o m p o s t i n g . It is s o m e t h i n g that c a n be readily d o n e . plants.24 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Training C e n t e r i n Provo. D . Overseas W h e n w o r k i n g w i t h people overseas. w e l l . It is also a successful w a y of e n c o u r a g i n g i n d e p e n d e n c e rather t h a n d e p e n d e n c e o n g o v e r n m e n t a l bureaucracies. a n d t e c h n i q u e s w e r e m u c h m o r e like C e n t r a l a n d S o u t h A m e r i c a . We p r o v i d e d a three-day t r a i n i n g s e m i n a r for the p e o p l e h e a d i n g to those countries as representatives of various humanitarian organizations. It illustrates h o w easy it is to offer m e a n i n g f u l foreign aid to countries w i t h o u t s p e n d i n g millions of dollars. " W e c a n do this!" As a result. as the soil that is used in this p r o g r a m is pure c o m p o s t since peat moss and vermiculite is either unavailable or too expensive to obtain overseas. S M G was designed to appeal to families in T h i r d W o r l d countries a n d improve nutrition by a d d i n g fresh vegetables to their diets. . the logical d i r e c t i o n t o g o that t i m e o f year i s s o u t h .o r g a n i z e d 6-acre training center w h e r e h u n d r e d s — p e r h a p s . T h i s p r o v e d v e r y e d u c a t i o n a l for us because the weather. 2001 to 2002 O p p o r t u n i t i e s for the S F G f o u n d a t i o n just kept on g r o w i n g as we b e c a m e involved w i t h additional humanitarian organizations that sent aid overseas. w h i c h w e had converted f r o m the Square Foot Gardening method. U t a h .

i n e x p e n s i v e m e t h o d that a n y o n e . Your method has given me the confidence to try veggies again after a few feeble attempts. w i t h the next row 1 meter away. m a n y people a r o u n d the w o r l d still garden a n d grow crops in single rows." —Anne from Florida Certified SFG Teachers W e h o l d w o r k s h o p s t o train teachers a n d people w h o w a n t t o help others learn this s i m p l e . Garden of Eden After enjoying three v e r y p r o d u c t i v e years w i t h o u r S F G D i s p l a y Gardens at T h a n k s g i v i n g Point. a n d that's the w a y his father taught h i m . anywhere in the w o r l d can do. I observed the farmers g r o w i n g corn one spindly stalk spaced 1 meter (approximately 3 feet) apart f r o m the next spindly stalk. R a t h e r t h a n m o v e the gardens t o a n o t h e r location. T h e p e o p l e are learning t o successfully g r o w crops t h e y can n o t o n l y use a t h o m e b u t c a n take t o m a r k e t w h e r e they earn t w e n t y times m o r e t h a n t h e y d i d previously g r o w i n g crops the traditional single-row way. I intended to o n l y stay and write for a . m a n y c o u l d even expand by p l a n t i n g m o r e gardens for larger harvests a n d even to g r o w cash crops. Utah. we had to make a decision because developers w e r e g o i n g t o b u i l d a n e w b u i l d i n g w h e r e o u r gardens w e r e located. T h e answer. f a m i l y life w i l l i m p r o v e w i t h t h e n e w a b u n d a n c e . O n e o f o u r trainees w h o t o o k o u r course for certification then w e n t on a mission to teach schoolchildren music at orphanages in an African country. her stories of success were h e a r t w a r m i n g a n d inspiring. W h e n I was in the m o u n t a i n s of N e p a l . I t w i l l d r a w families closer together as they b e c o m e involved in a viable a n d productive project. 25 Single Rows Throughout the World Believe it or n o t . T h r o u g h the interpreter I asked w h y they space and plant their crops this way. U t a h . At the same time. It w i l l a l l o w families to g r o w five times as m u c h for their o w n use. as y o u can probably guess. as she is m o s t concerned w i t h the children's nutrition. was "That's the w a y we've always d o n e it. and they can sell the excess at market. T h e w o m a n of the family is our p r i m a r y target for this project. t h e r e b y i m p r o v i n g their h e a l t h t h r o u g h better n u t r i t i o n . I decided it was t i m e to get a w a y for a sabbatical to do s o m e p l a n n i n g a n d w r i t i n g a n d discovered the beautiful.Introduction t h o u s a n d s — o f p e o p l e h a v e c o m e t o learn the Square M e t e r G a r d e n i n g m e t h o d . easy. " Just t h i n k of all the g o o d that will be accomplished w h e n Square F o o t / M e t e r G a r d e n i n g is a d o p t e d all over the w o r l d . small m o u n t a i n c o m m u n i t y of E d e n . M y father taught m e . she started m a n y S F G projects. Just t h i n k — w h a t if every w o m a n in the w o r l d started just o n e Square Foot/Meter Garden? T h o s e nine crops c o u l d i m p r o v e the nutrition of her children.

e-mailed asking for o n e of our representatives to visit and advise h i m in the developm e n t o f a large u r b a n S F G project that w o u l d teach a n d enable w o m e n to help their families. K n o w i n g I w o u l d need s o m e clerical help. Boy. am I getting that old? A n d n o w in the electronic age. M e x i c o . the w o r l d has literally b e c o m e m y next-door neighbor. a l o n g w i t h p h o t o s o f her international project in Ecuador. a professor f r o m Tennessee. a n d C h i n a volunteering to help translate o u r website and b o o k into different languages. a representative f r o m Guadalajara.26 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING few m o n t h s . I placed an ad in the local n e w s p a p e r a n d received an o v e r w h e l m i n g response f r o m p e o p l e w a n t i n g t o h e l p w i t h S F G . T h e v i e w e r c o m m e n t s sent t o o u r w e b s i t e a t www. we have the website a n d e-mail t o replace the T V s h o w and snail mail. An entire S F G generation has passed by since I started. Argentina. Letters c o m e f r o m people in Switzerland. W h a t a hectic. Why an All New Square Foot Gardening Book Now? T h e answer is s i m p l e — I have made so m a n y n e w improvements to the original basic S F G m e t h o d . Just look at the next page and see w h y All New Square Foot Gardening can help y o u w i t h your garden! . we offered a free g a r d e n tips flyer a n d a p a c k e t of seeds ( m y favorite.squarefoot gardening. M o n g o l i a . T h o s e initial f e w m o n t h s stretched into years. S u c h a report c a m e f r o m o n e of o u r certified teachers. M o s t of these improvements are so major they m a k e the first S F G b o o k obsolete. G e r m a n y . marigolds) i f viewers sent i n a S A S E . E g y p t . A really b i g and impressive project has b e e n started i n Sri L a n k a . France. Spain. The Story Goes On And On Recently. O n e l a d y said the o n l y g o o d t h i n g she got i n her divorce was m y S F G b o o k ! A n o t h e r told o f the family b o n d that was forged as he sat w i t h his father ( n o w deceased) w a t c h i n g m y P B S T V s h o w i n the early '80s. I receive reports f r o m successful S F G projects t h r o u g h o u t the w o r l d . b u t s o m e are v e r y funny. exciting experience! B u t n o w that's all history.com are p h e n o m e n a l a n d the stories are n o t o n l y heartw a r m i n g . B a c k t h e n . O t h e r s h a v e recently w r i t t e n f r o m U k r a i n e . a n d A f r i c a requesting training in the S F G m e t h o d because they see and k n o w w h a t a great difference it can m a k e in their respective countries. H e still has his father's original b o o k . a n d it's time for an all new S F G book for a n e w generation of gardeners. D o y o u y o u n g e r gardeners k n o w w h a t that stands for? A s k y o u r parents. We received ten t h o u s a n d letters a n d sold o n e thousand b o o k s every w e e k . T h r o u g h the developm e n t of the Square F o o t G a r d e n i n g website and e-mail contacts. and E d e n b e c a m e an appropriately n a m e d h o m e base for spreading S F G t h r o u g h o u t the w o r l d . Iraq. Jordan.

New Idea—Don't Waste Seeds 1 0 . this i m p r o v e d gardening m e t h o d makes gardening even easier than before. 3. Y o u will n o w be able to reduce the size of y o u r S F G so m u c h that y o u can locate it close to y o u r house for better care a n d m o r e enjoym e n t . New Location—Close to the House 2. You'll use a m i n i m u m of seeds. . New Opportunities—Tabletop Gardens All New Square Foot Gardening offers ten n e w m a j o r i m p r o v e ments t o the original S F G m e t h o d . New Boxes—Above the Ground 7. N o m o r e hard w o r k o r heavy-duty tools needed. New Width Grids—Prominent and Permanent 9. so y o u won't have to b u y n e w packets every year.Ten Major N e w Improvements to the Original Square Foot Garden Method 1. A l l you'll need is 6 inches of a perfect soil m i x from three c o m m o n ingredients available everywhere. Yes. New Soil—Mel's Not Down Mix 4. h a v e aisles that are w i d e e n o u g h to c o m f o r t a b l y m o v e a b o u t in. a n d each b o x will h a v e a p e r m a n e n t g r i d for that u n i q u e S F G l o o k a n d use. New Aisles—Comfortable 8. New Direction—Up. organic m e t h o d . w i t h these i m p r o v e m e n t s . No Fertilizer—You Don't Need It 6. it's true. You'll never h a v e to d i g up y o u r existing soil a n y m o r e as y o u n o w b u i l d y o u r n e w garden o n t o p o f it. anyone c a n be a successful gardener. You're going to love every o n e of these improvements. You'll use b o t t o m l e s s boxes m a d e f r o m c o m m o n l u m b e r . New Depth—Only 6 Inches Deep 5. Best of all. s o m e of y o u r boxes can have b o t t o m s so y o u can m o v e t h e m or place t h e m at tabletop or railing heights for easier care and u n i q u e locations. N o w . T h i s m i x never needs c h a n g i n g a n d no fertilizer is ever n e e d e d u s i n g this natural.

. while more boxes can be located elsewhere in the yard. T h a t m e a n s it can be located m u c h closer to the h o u s e w h e r e it will get m o r e a t t e n t i o n a n d care.l o o k i n g garden a n d a m o r e usable harvest. The key to success of the All New Square Foot Gardening method is to avoid the poor qualities of local soil by building up rather than ' down. resulting in a b e t t e r . i n d i v i d u a l garden boxes a l l o w y o u m u c h m o r e f l e x i b i l i t y i n d e t e r m i n i n g l o c a t i o n . Your S F G becomes a c o m p a n i o n rather than a burden. where y o u relax. They're big! T h e y take up so m u c h r o o m that they are usually l o c a t e d w a y o u t back. It c a n even be located in a patio or p o o l setting. But. resulting in out of m i n d . Split It Up for Best Location In a d d i t i o n . N o w y o u r garden can b e located near w h e r e y o u w a l k a n d sit.r o w garden. guess w h a t still grew? Weeds! A n d these pesky plants c a n q u i c k l y i n u n d a t e a n d c h o k e o u t y o u r crops. S F G takes o n l y 20 percent of the space of a s i n g l e . Small. W i t h o u t y o u r attention they'll take over the garden. Y o u no l o n g e r have to rototill or w a t e r o n e b i g g a r d e n area all at o n c e .28 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING 1 N e w Location-Close to the House Single-Row Gardens Are Too Big O n e of the biggest problems of single-row and b e d gardens is their size. No More A l l that has been changed for the better. Y o u can split up y o u r S F G so that a b o x or t w o are located next to the kitchen door. or w h e r e y o u can v i e w it f r o m the house. It became less and less tended as the year w e n t o n . y o u r garden doesn't have to be all in o n e place. T h a t usually m e a n t i t w a s o u t o f sight.

M o s t o f o u r readers c o m p l a i n a b o u t the terrible soil in their areas.r o w gardens. Not Down! Build Up.SFG. back to the d r a w i n g board. If y o u start w i t h a perfect soil m i x . New and Improved 29 2 N e w Direction—Up. Don't Dig Down T h e s e c o n d i m p r o v e m e n t involves l o c a t i n g y o u r g a r d e n o n top o f y o u r existing soil rather t h a n d i g g i n g down. T h i s major advance in h o m e g a r d e n i n g c h a n g e s all o f the rules o f g a r d e n i n g a n d eliminates all o f the hard w o r k a n d undesirable parts o f s i n g l e . p e o p l e c o m p l a i n e d that it was still a lot of w o r k involving heavy tools and a great deal of effort. . S o . " W h a t c a n w e d o a b o u t o u r local soil? I t i s s o hard t o w o r k a n d garden in. it w i l l save a lot of t i m e a n d m o n e y .w o r k gardening m e t h o d a n d never have to be c o n cerned again a b o u t w h a t k i n d o f soil y o u have i n y o u r yard. W o w ! No Sweat Just t h i n k o f t h e i m p l i c a t i o n s i f y o u forget a b o u t t r y i n g t o i m p r o v e y o u r existing soil. T h i s g o t me to t h i n k i n g . gardening can be fun now! . . b u t hey. w h y d o w e really n e e d t o i m p r o v e o u r existing soil i f it's s o bad? C o u l d n ' t we just start w i t h a perfect soil m i x a b o v e g r o u n d a n d eliminate the n e e d t o ever d i g u p o r i m p r o v e o u r existing b a c k y a r d soil? Y o u p r o b a b l y c o u l d if y o u r g a r d e n wasn't so b i g . I asked myself. D o e s n ' t that m a k e a l o t of sense? It became possible w i t h A l l N e w Square F o o t G a r d e n i n g to have a v e r y condensed n o . as I lecture a r o u n d the c o u n t r y a n d the w o r l d . A n d m o s t i m p o r t a n t l y . . Y o u don't have t o b u y special ingredients t o l o o s e n y o u r clay soil o r solidify y o u r s a n d y soil. Even t h o u g h y o u had t o d o that o n l y the first year a n d it p r o d u c e d a fairly g o o d soil. y o u don't even have to k n o w w h a t p H is! Y o u don't h a v e t o b u y a n y h e a v y tools o r g o t o the expense o f h a v i n g s o m e o n e rototill y o u r g a r d e n every single year. Y o u don't have t o h a v e y o u r soil a n a l y z e d a n y m o r e ." T h e original Square F o o t G a r d e n i n g b o o k explained h o w to dig d o w n 6 inches a n d i m p r o v e y o u r existing soil by a d d i n g equal amounts o f really g o o d ingredients. S F G isn't b i g . So. In fact. a n d y o u don't h a v e to have a pH test m a d e . easy w a y to garden. . Hey. there w o u l d b e n o m o r e d i g g i n g a n d no m o r e tilling. I t n o l o n g e r matters w h a t k i n d o f soil y o u have! U s e the t i m e y o u save to start a c o m p o s t pile instead. the q u e s t i o n I hear m o s t is. y o u n o l o n g e r h a v e t o d o a n y hard w o r k . i f w e c o u l d f i n d a perfect soil m i x . it's one-fifth the size of c o n v e n t i o n a l gardens. Everyone w a n t s a simple. You'll h a v e t o find a n o t h e r w a y t o get s o m e exercise—so go m o w the lawn. C o u l d I find a better w a y ? S o . In fact.

I f o u n d that three of my favorite ingredients m a d e the perfect m i x w h e n c o m b i n e d in equal portions: • h Peat Moss—Available at any garden center or supermarket. After m a n y experiments. T h e y all drain well. if y o u are n o t g o i n g to use y o u r existing soil but instead use a perfect soil mix. o n e w o r d of caution here: Y o u must have a blended c o m p o s t . P h o n e ahead to be sure it's available in that size.M e l ' s Mix What's In It? T h e r e are three characteristics of a perfect g r o w i n g m i x . But. T h e n . b u t the l a s t — c o m p o s t .— i s l o a d e d w i t h all the nutrients a n d minerals that y o u could imagine. it's lightweight. so it is easy to w o r k w i t h a n d easy for plants to g r o w in. it is n u t r i e n t .r i c h a n d has all the minerals a n d trace elements that plants need w i t h o u t a d d i n g fertilizers. l • V3 Vermiculite—Buy the coarse grade in large 4-cubic-foot bags at a n y garden center or h o m e i m p r o v e m e n t store. P i c k o u t o n e b a g o f this and o n e b a g o f that. Professional growers m i x u p a perfect p o t t i n g soil f r o m several o t h e r ingredients a n d never use local o u t s i d e soil. • l h Blended C o m p o s t — I f y o u don't have y o u r o w n c o m p o s t operation. T h e first t w o ingredients have n o nutrients. a n d smells g o o d . so there are no puddles to w a t e r l o g the plant roots. However. If y o u don't t h i n k this perfect soil m i x will w o r k in the garden. then b u y bags of c o m p o s t at the garden center to get started. What Do These Ingredients Do? A l l three of these ingredients are n a t u r a l — n o t manufactured. ask yourself.30 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING So. w h a t is it a n d h o w a n d where do y o u get it? So. I'll explain some simple steps for f o o l p r o o f c o m p o s t i n g later in the b o o k . yet drains well. w h a t is it a n d h o w a n d where do y o u get it? 3 N e w S o i l . it holds moisture. T h i s is a b o u t as o r g a n i c as y o u c a n get. has a light fluffy texture. m o r e a b o u t that i n C h a p t e r 5. First of all. b u t they also h o l d large a m o u n t s of moisture so the plants will g r o w well. N e x t . if y o u are n o t g o i n g to use y o u r existing soil but instead use a perfect soil mix. " W h a t do professional greenhouse growers use for g r o w i n g crops o n their benches? D o t h e y g o o u t a n d d i g u p the fields for soil?" O f course n o t . T h i s m i x is a pleasure to w o r k w i t h . so don't b u y all the same kind. start y o u r o w n c o m p o s t pile as soon as possible. . a n d m a k i n g y o u r o w n i s g o o d for b o t h the e n v i r o n m e n t a n d the g a r d e n . C o m p o s t i s the m o s t i m p o r t a n t i n g r e d i e n t o f the three. Finally.

New and Improved W h e n y o u b u y a w i n d o w b o x a t the store. B u t my experiments were proving otherwise. 31 "Go deep. so w h y d o u b l e the depth? B u t if you're still skeptical go ahead a n d use y o u r time a n d m o n e y to go 12 inches deep. b u t it's really n o t necessary. B u t guess w h a t ? I t works! O f course.SFG. W h y o n l y 6 inches deep? W h y n o t b e safer a n d g o 1 2 inches deep? T h e m a i n reason is there is no need to do so. " I f six inches of perfect soil is g o o d e n o u g h for w i n d o w b o x e s a n d c o m m e r c i a l greenhouse benches." —Manjajrom Oregon . Just t h i n k — i t is one-half of the cost and one-half of the w o r k . n o o n e ever t h o u g h t o f i t — a n d two. it is m u c h cheaper. a We owe much of our love of gardening to the simplicity of SFG. Y o u b u y a b a g o f perfect p o t t i n g soil. "Don't bother. O f course in my lectures w h e n I m e n t i o n the 6 inches. b u t it can easily be d o n e in a small-space Square F o o t G a r d e n ! C a n y o u really g r o w vegetables a n d flowers in o n l y 6 inches of soil regardless of h o w g o o d it is? I've been d o i n g it for the last ten years i n m y display a n d h o m e garden. easier. single-row garden or even in raised b e d gardening. there are t w o reasons: One. I can see the audience squirming in their seats. h o w c a n w e d o i t n o w ? Because S F G reduces the g a r d e n size d o w n to o n l y 20 p e r c e n t (that's one-fifth as large). i t w o u l d b e prohibitively expensive for the typical single-row garden that everyone has been using all of these years. w h a t d o y o u f i l l i t w i t h — y o u r yard soil? O f course not. heads shaking and hands rising w i t h the usual question. In addition. especially w h e n I used g o o d h o m e m a d e c o m p o s t as one-third of the m i x . e v e r y o n e realizes that y o u couldn't do that in a h u g e . a n d i t really w o r k s . For years. s o m e even said 18 inches. so we d e v e l o p e d a special feature of S F G w h e r e y o u b u i l d a 1-foot x 1-foot b o x one foot tall for l o n g root crops. I asked myself. so it is n o w possible to c o n s i d e r u s i n g a perfect soil f r o m the v e r y start." I said. experts said y o u r garden soil had to be improved at least 12 inches deep. S o . " H o w can y o u g r o w l o n g carrots or potatoes in just 6 inches of soil?" It's a g o o d q u e s t i o n ." they said. the experts still p o o h p o o h e d the idea. w h y n o t i n backyard gardens?" A n d w h y dilute i t b y a d d i n g the m i x to p o o r existing soil? W h y n o t use this perfect soil m i x in y o u r garden and forget all a b o u t the soil underneath? W e l l . old-fashioned. a n d less w o r k . An additional reason is f o u n d in the next major i m p r o v e m e n t to Square Foot G a r d e n i n g . S o w h y can't w e d o the s a m e for o u r v e g e t a b l e garden? W e l l .

all the experts p o o h . it is just everyone in the garden industry h a d trouble t h i n k i n g outside the b o x or even questioning all the traditional m e t h o d s . the g a r d e n i n g i n d u s t r y i s b u i l t o n u s i n g fertilizer. A n d this is n o t just g a r d e n i n g the first year b u t year after year after year. T h e p r o o f o f the p u d d i n g w a s t o just l o o k a t my g a r d e n . " H o w c o m e all of the experts have been so w r o n g for so long?" It is n o t that they were w r o n g . Stuck in a rut they were a n d in a single-row rut at that! Here's a n o t h e r startling revelation I am g o i n g to m a k e . 5 No Fertilizer—You Don't Need It S q u a r e F o o t G a r d e n i n g needs n o fertilizer ever! H o w c a n that be? A f t e r all. c o m p o s t w a s all-natural a n d couldn't b u r n o r h a r m the plants.32 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING T h e next question is. again. T h i s was w h e n I was able to simplify my original book's formula for the perfect soil m i x t o o n l y three ingredients: / 3 each o f peat ] moss. and no more fertilizer! T h e o n l y t h i n g we ever a d d to o u r soil is a little m o r e c o m p o s t .squarefootgardening. It is g o i n g t o s h o c k a n d d i s m a y the g a r d e n i n g w o r l d .com. o r d e m o n s t r a t i o n gardens for m o r e t h a n ten years. So m u c h simpler than the original one-page formula and w h a t a savings! W e l l . no more digging. A l l the experts agreed. B u t m y o w n e x p e r i m e n t s a n d t h o u g h t s a b o u t an all new out-of-the-box idea o f n o t i m p r o v i n g y o u r existing soil b u t rather o f starting w i t h a perfect soil m i x w a s w o r k i n g so w e l l that I b e g a n to consider a n o t h e r n e w i d e a — t h a t y o u don't n e e d t o a d d fertilizer. a n d t h e y still n e e d e d fertilizer. a n d c o m p l e t e l y eliminate the use and expense of fertilizer. Besides. a n d the list goes o n a n d o n . Is this great or what? N o w all w e need i s s o m e w a y t o h o l d o r contain o u r a b o v e g r o u n d 6 inches of perfect soil mix. So. display. T h e original S F G b o o k e x p l a i n e d all a b o u t f e r t i l i z e r — o r g a n i c a n d c h e m i c a l t y p e s — h o w t o measure a n d rate it. T h e c o m p o s t w a s p r o v i d i n g all o f the nutrients a n d trace e l e m e n t s the plants n e e d e d . a n d blended c o m p o s t . vermiculite. h o w a b o u t a box? . If y o u go to o u r w e b s i t e at www. T h a t w a s necessary because a t that t i m e w e w e r e just i m p r o v i n g o u r existing soils. b u t guess w h a t ? It works! I haven't used a n y k i n d of fertilizer in m y h o m e . all a b o u t N P K a n d w h a t that m e a n s . Just t h i n k — n o more tilling. y o u ' l l see h o w b o u n t i f u l a n d beautiful the gardens l o o k . b u t y o u are g o i n g to love it. It w a s o n e of the best gardens I h a v e ever h a d a n d has r e m a i n e d so ever since.p o o h e d t h e idea a n d still d o .

y o u eliminate all o f the usual g a r d e n i n g concerns a n d w o r k o f i m p r o v i n g y o u r existing soil. o n c e your boxes are built and y o u r perfect soil is added. T h e s e small boxes.SFG. I f y o u place the b o x o n t o p o f the existing g r o u n d . you're ready to plant. Now. blocks. T h e basic 4 x 4 . there is virtually no w o r k at all. So. w h i c h then eliminates the need Once you build the basic 4v. add six inches of Mel's Mix. and add the square foot grid. . T h e r e are no weeds to hoe. New and Improved 33 6 New B o x e s . n o t o n l y t o y o u r garden b u t t o y o u r life.4 SFG box with rotated corners.f o o t boxes have been chosen because it's a size y o u can w a l k a r o u n d a n d easily reach into to tend y o u r plants. You'll w o n d e r w h y no one ever t h o u g h t of it before. y o u will find it m u c h easier t o take care o f a n d therefore y o u will b e m o r e c o m f o r t a b l e w i t h i t and enjoy it m o r e . filled w i t h the perfect soil mix. No existing soil to till.f o o t bottomless boxes are easy to build o u t of c o m m o n lumber. You'll see as we go a l o n g that there are so m a n y advantages o f n o t using y o u r existing soil.A b o v e the Ground I t h i n k h a v i n g y o u r g a r d e n c o n t a i n e d in a b o x adds u n i f o r m i t y and structure. O n c e limits are p l a c e d on a l m o s t a n y t h i n g . this eliminates the need for s t e p p i n g on the g r o w i n g soil a n d p a c k i n g it d o w n . W h y . bricks. will g r o w five times as m u c h as the same space in a single-row garden. It also eliminates the great deal of g a r d e n i n g k n o w ledge that y o u w o u l d need i f y o u were g o i n g t o b e c o n c e r n e d w i t h using y o u r existing soil. or even stone. T h e 4 x 4 . y o u don't need m a n y of the boxes.

y o u don't w a n t a n y t h i n g harmful to leach into the soil. C a n y o u just p i c t u r e t w o p e o p l e w o r k i n g i n that garden w i t h 1 2 . It turned o u t that for accessibility. boxes c a n be m a d e f r o m p i n e or fir for the least cost. " C a n y o u imagine the answer to that? The Ideal Width So w h a t is the ideal aisle w i d t h ? T w o feet is still a little t i g h t . be careful n o t to paint inside the boxes w h e r e the Mel's M i x c o m e s into contact w i t h the w o o d . I designed it that w a y to be the m o s t space-efficient b u t . Boxes can be m a d e f r o m a n y type of w o o d . If y o u r b o x is located next to a wall. fence. T h e y can be a n y length. or building. there were no boxes and the aisles were 1 x 1 2 . and y o u h a d to k e e p a p r e t t y g o o d b a l a n c e to stay u p r i g h t . "Excuse m e . If y o u notice the garden on the cover of the original Square Foot Gardeningbook.f o o t p l a n t i n g area if y o u w a n t e d to use a w h e e l b a r r o w . I f y o u d e c i d e t o treat o r p a i n t the w o o d . 7 New Aisles-Comfortable Width T h e w i d t h o f y o u r aisles i s a n o t h e r i m p r o v e m e n t I h a v e m a d e for the A l l N e w Square F o o t G a r d e n i n g m e t h o d . In fact. g a r d e n cart. or harvest basket. Play a r o u n d w i t h s o m e ideas on p a p e r — t h e n . See h o w e v e r y t h i n g in S F G is interrelated a n d w o r k s so w e l l together? For bigger gardens. y o u c a n v a r y the aisles. safety.34 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING to d i g or loosen it. or cedar or r e d w o o d for l o n g e r lasting use. and harvesting.f o o t areas. so hey.i n c h boards. o n c e y o u r boxes are built (and before y o u fill . the ideal distance w a s 3 or even 4 feet b e t w e e n boxes. y o u can always p u t s o m e of the boxes e n d to e n d to create a 4 x 8-foot or a 4 x 12-foot garden b o x that y o u will still be able to w a l k around. I f y o u are g o i n g t o b u y y o u r l u m b e r . " T h i s i s o n e t i m e w h e n M e l w a s t o o efficient!" B u t the w o o d was free. yet reach in. if y o u r g a r d e n has several b o x e s . T h i s i s m o r e i m p o r t a n t for c o m f o r t . w o r k i n g . so I r e c o m m e n d a m i n i m u m of three feet between y o u r boxes. keep the boxes o n l y t w o feet w i d e so y o u can reach all the w a y to the back. T h e best is free w o o d that is f o u n d at a construction site.i n c h boards separating the 4 x 4 . than for efficiency. a s s o m e o n e o n c e said. In addition. y o u couldn't get close to each 4 x 4 . and one says to the other. I do n o t r e c o m m e n d using pretreated w o o d for the same reason. a n d looks.i n c h w i d e board was difficult t o maneuver o n . kneeling.i n c h w i d e paths. Just ask the foreman of the project if y o u can have the scrap 2 x 6 . I f o u n d that the average gardener needs t o h a v e m o r e r o o m t o m o v e a b o u t o n t h a n those 12 inches. I need to get t h r o u g h . can y o u b l a m e me? Straight and Narrow T h e 1 2 .

I n o u r T V show. . fill youi boxes with just 6 inches of Mel's Mix. At other times. Forget what the experts have been telling us for years. you'll be amazed at the results." Bingo!They see the light. we just removed any weeds or grass. " H o w m a n y plants could y o u plant there? H o w m a n y different crops?" T h e y draw a blank because it looks like a small area that isn't g o i n g to contain very m u c h . c o m p o s t . the size was right b u t they had no grid! In our introductory film. T h e n . " or "I have a Square Foot G a r d e n . they suddenly light up and say. T h i n k of it as arranging furniture in y o u r yard. then laid d o w n w e e d cloth a n d covered it w i t h materials that were comfortable for w a l k i n g on such as crushed stone. " O h . I can a d d a trowel full of c o m p o s t and replant that square foot w i t h a different crop w i t h o u t disturbing a n y t h i n g else a r o u n d it. add a grid. I advocated laying o u t a 12 x 12-inch grid for the garden. in my travels a r o u n d the country. " B u t w h e n I w e n t to see t h e m . as s o o n as o n e square is harvested. y o u can m o v e t h e m a b o u t until y o u get t h e m just right. and start planting! You won't be sorry. we s h o w the people in o u r class h o w a 4 x4-foot garden looks w i t h o u t a grid a n d ask t h e m . New and Improved them w i t h soil. "Aha! I see! Sixteen spaces. so it'll take sixteen different crops! Later. I should add). I do Square F o o t G a r d e n i n g . 35 Dress It Up T h e aisle space b e t w e e n y o u r boxes can be left in grass or covered w i t h any type o f g r o u n d cover. As s o o n as we lay d o w n the grid. w e tried all sorts o f things to create s o m e v e r y interesting l o o k i n g aisles. I heard a lot of people say. 8 N e w Grids Prominent and Permanent W h e n I w r o t e the first b o o k on Square F o o t G a r d e n i n g m o r e than twenty-five years ago. in fact.SFG. or g r o u n d bark.

"Hey. a n d m a n y m o r e factors that result in a v e r y unusual and innovative gardening system. your garden is not a Square Foot Garden. w e e d a n d pest c o n t r o l . If you're having visitors over. p r o m i n e n t . cutting p l a n t i n g t i m e in half. A firm. m a n y interrelated reasons for the "different crop in every Square Foot" rule. it w o u l d b e — d o n ' t use string or any other floppy material. . they m a y n o t even notice y o u r garden if it's laid out in plain beds. y o u r garden has no character. it eventually got dirty. and it just never looked g o o d . W i t h a very visible grid. It will n o t only look spectacular. but you'll be able to immediately visualize y o u r planting squares. In addition. c o m p a n i o n planting. rotted. they will say. T h e y deal w i t h nutrients used. W h e n y o u have no grid. I talked w i t h m a n y others w h o had the same bad experience so I experimented w i t h all k i n d s of different materials for m a k i n g grids. y o u r garden takes on a u n i q u e character. y o u had to drive in nails to tie the string to. But if it's a Square Foot G a r d e n w i t h very p r o m i n e n t and visible grids. simplification of crop rotation. whenever I used string or twine as a grid. staggered harvests. and y o u will see and understand these as we go along. Without a grid. rigid. and visual grid permanently laid on every one of y o u r boxes will m a k e all the difference in the w o r l d as others see it but mostly in h o w y o u use and enjoy y o u r garden. what's that in y o u r yard? It looks great!" Grid Materials In the past. and finally broke. b e a u t y o f the garden. If I c o u l d c o n d e n s e thirty years of experience into my current advice.36 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING T h e r e are many. limiting over-ambitious p l a n t i n g .

I f o u n d the traditional m e t h o d of p o u r i n g o u t an entire p a c k e t of seeds a l o n g a single r o w w a s so wasteful that I couldn't believe that's the w a y we've always d o n e it. D i d no one ever think. "Let's just plant a few seeds every 3. When your seeds sprout from the pinch of seeds you planted in your squares. . could they? Didn't they teach everyone to be frugal a n d n o t wasteful? W h y w o u l d a n y o n e tell us to waste a w h o l e p a c k e t of seeds a l o n g a l o n g . New and Improved 9 New Idea Don't Waste Seeds New Seed Planting Idea W h e n I first started gardening. lonely. snip out all but one of them.SFG. single row. or 6 inches?" I guess it t o o k s o m e o n e outside of the garden industry to think of it. Didn't the pioneers have to carry their o w n seeds all the w a y across the country? T h e y couldn't order a n e w batch over the Internet from a seed c o m p a n y every year. 4. especially k n o w i n g that we w o u l d have to go back and thin o u t 95 percent of the sprouted plants in order to leave only o n e plant every few inches.

38

ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING

In the first S F G b o o k , I a d v o c a t e d single seed p l a n t i n g at the proper s p a c i n g for that particular plant, b u t m a n y p e o p l e f o u n d it tedious a n d even difficult, especially w i t h small, u n u s u a l l y shaped seeds. Besides, as s o m e o n e once teased me and said, " I f a packet of leaf lettuce contains one thousand seeds and I o n l y plant four in each square f o o t , h o w o l d will I be before it is t i m e to b u y a n o t h e r packet?" She'll have to leave her seeds in her will! So back to the d r a w i n g board I w e n t . H o w a b o u t just a few seeds in each h o l e — j u s t a pinch of seeds? After testing this idea w i t h m a n y p e o p l e a n d c h e c k i n g their dexterity a n d ability to p i c k up just a p i n c h (two or three seeds), this seemed to be the answer.

A Snip, Not a Tug
B u t I was against t h i n n i n g — t h a t ' s w h e n y o u pull out all the seedlings except the one plant y o u w a n t to g r o w to maturity. T h i n n i n g is a lot

The best feature of the All New Square Foot Gardening method is that it makes gardening accessible to everyone.

SFG, New and Improved o f w o r k a n d also seems t o d i s t u r b the roots o f the r e m a i n i n g plant, a n d that's n o t g o o d . B u t t h e n I t h o u g h t o f a n absolutely perfect solution. I f y o u p l a n t just a f e w s e e d s — a p i n c h - — i n e a c h h o l e a n d t w o o r three seedlings c o m e u p , y o u j u s t take a pair o f scissors a n d snip off all b u t the strongest one. T h a t eliminates any disturbance of the plant y o u w a n t to keep, a n d you're n o t t e m p t e d to replant the others. T h e o n l y t h i n g y o u need to do is just muster the courage to make that initial snip a n d it's all over. S o n o w w e ' v e b e e n able t o i m p r o v e the single-seed p l a n t i n g and, at the same time, end up w i t h o n e strong plant in each l o c a t i o n , w h i c h i s j u s t w h a t w e w a n t e d . A t t h e s a m e t i m e we're n o t w a s t i n g a l o t o f seeds. A f t e r p l a n t i n g that square f o o t , p u t the packet in safe storage, a n d if stored p r o p e r l y that p a c k e t w i l l be g o o d next year, a n d the year after, a n d the year after. M a n y seeds last u p t o f i v e years i f stored properly. (So, h o w c o m e n o o n e ever told us that before?)

39

10. New Opportunities Tabletop Gardens
Make Them Portable
N o w that w e n o l o n g e r n e e d t o i m p r o v e o u r existing s o i l — a n d S F G takes u p o n l y 2 0 p e r c e n t o f the space for 1 0 0 p e r c e n t o f the h a r v e s t — a n d w e n e e d o n l y 6 inches o f l i g h t w e i g h t soil m i x , w e can b u i l d a 4 x 4 - f o o t b o x , a n d a d d a p l y w o o d b o t t o m drilled w i t h drainage holes. T h i s means y o u can carry it to a n y location y o u w a n t , even m o v i n g it to suit weather, climate, an event, a situation, or even a person's needs, abilities, or disabilities. If the size or w e i g h t seems too m u c h for y o u to handle, t h i n k a b o u t using a 3 x 3-foot, a 2 x 2foot, or even a 2 x 4-foot b o x for ease in m o v i n g .

James, Bring Out the Good Boxes
Smaller sized S F G boxes c a n b e c o m e w o n d e r f u l patio boxes, and it's even possible to p l a n t several so there is always o n e or t w o w i t h flowers in full b l o o m or salad crops ready for harvest. T h e rest can be k e p t s o m e w h e r e less visible. W i t h a system of rotation, there will always be a f e w garden boxes ready to b r i n g o u t to s h o w off. There's n o t h i n g like the visual i m p a c t of a beautifully p l a n t e d b o x filled w i t h vegetables, flowers, and/or herbs. If you're g i v i n g a talk or d o i n g a p r e s e n t a t i o n on g a r d e n i n g , t h e " s e e i n g is b e l i e v i n g " t e c h n i q u e w i l l c i n c h y o u r talk. A n d j u s t t h i n k , y o u w o n ' t h a v e t o a n s w e r the usual q u e s t i o n a b o u t S F G , like " H o w o n earth c a n y o u g r o w a g a r d e n i n o n l y 6 i n c h e s o f soil?" O r , " H o w c a n y o u g r o w w i t h o u t fertilizer?" N o w , y o u j u s t p o i n t a n d smile!

-K)

ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING

R E A S O N S TO M O V E YOOR PORTABLE SFG BOX
WEATHER-To protect it from: EVENTS-Move it to:

• • • • • • • •

Frost Thundershowers Hurricanes Hail Snow Wind Heavy rain Intense sun

• •

Enhance or decorate for a poolside party or barbeque Behind the garage for a start-up nursery

SITUATIONS-Place the box:

• • •

On a tabletop for a sit-down gardener In the garage if you're expecting extreme weather On the deck to clear the yard for a football g a m e

PERSONS-You can:

CLIMATE-Move your SFG box for:

• • • •

Take it to Grandma's for a birthday gift Take it to school for show-and-tell Take it to class for teaching SFG Take it to school for the science fair

• • •

More shade for a spring crop as the weather gets hotter More sun in early spring More shade in summertime in desert areas

Best of All
S o there y o u have i t — t h e ten n e w major i m p r o v e m e n t s t o the Square F o o t G a r d e n i n g m e t h o d . Each o n e makes the entire system m o r e productive, the w o r k m u c h easier, and the cost of gardening lower. At the same time, the beginner finds gardening m u c h easier to understand. I t h i n k Square F o o t G a r d e n i n g ' s best feature is that it n o w m a k e s g a r d e n i n g available to just a b o u t a n y o n e y o u can t h i n k of, regardless of their age, circumstance, location, ability, or d i s a b i l i t y — anyone, anywhere, can now garden u s i n g the A l l N e w Square Foot Gardening method.

Plan Your Garden
This
• • • chapter is g o i n g to talk about three basic c o m p o n e n t s o f Square Foot G a r d e n i n g . Size Location Design

Size
Y o u r g a r d e n w i l l b e laid o u t i n square o r rectangular b o x e s separated b y w a l k i n g aisles. B u i l d y o u r b o x e s f r o m materials like w o o d , bricks, o r b l o c k s . I f y o u d o n ' t like the idea o f c o m m o n w o o d , w h i c h w i l l e v e n t u a l l y rot o r be eaten by t e r m i t e s , use a m o r e e x p e n s i v e w o o d like c e d a r o r r e d w o o d . Y o u c a n e v e n use s o m e o f the m a n m a d e c o m p o s i t e " w o o d " o r recycled plastic o r v i n y l . T h e w o o d I like best is free w o o d . Y o u c a n u s u a l l y get it f r o m any c o n s t r u c t i o n site, b u t a l w a y s ask the foreman first. I f y o u d e c i d e t o use l u m b e r , you'll b e h a p p y t o k n o w the advantage of 4 x 4 gardens is that all l u m b e r comes in 8-foot lengths. M o s t h o m e i m p r o v e m e n t centers will cut it in half for y o u at little or 1 0 cost. Your boxes can b e m a d e f r o m just a b o u t any material except treated w o o d because the chemicals used to treat the w o o d are n o t something y o u w a n t leaching into y o u r garden.

How Much Is Enough?
If you're figuring a S F G for an adult, r e m e m b e r that: 1 . O n e 4 x 4 Square Foot G a r d e n b o x (equal t o 1 6 square feet) will supply e n o u g h p r o d u c e to m a k e a salad for one person every day of the g r o w i n g season. 2 . O n e m o r e 4 x 4 b o x will supply the daily supper vegetables for that person.

42

ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING

3 . Just one m o r e 4 x 4 b o x will supply that person w i t h extra o f everything for preserving, special crops, s h o w i n g off, or giving away. S o , each adult needs o n e , t w o , o r three large boxes o f 4 x 4 , d e p e n d i n g o n h o w m u c h t h e y w a n t . I n square feet, that i s 1 6 , 3 2 , o r 4 8 square feet.

If you're figuring a S F G for a child, r e m e m b e r that: 1 . O n e 3 x 3 Square Foot G a r d e n box (equal t o 9 square feet) will supply e n o u g h produce to m a k e a salad for o n e child every day of the g r o w i n g season. 2 . O n e m o r e 3 x 3 b o x will supply supper vegetables for that child every day. 3 . Just o n e m o r e 3 x 3 b o x will s u p p l y the child w i t h extra o f e v e r y t h i n g for s h o w - a n d - t e l l or science projects at s c h o o l , special crops, s h o w i n g off, or g i v i n g away. S o , each c h i l d needs o n e , t w o , o r three small boxes o f 3 x 3 , d e p e n d i n g o n h o w m u c h they will eat. I n square feet, that's 9 , 1 8 , o r 2 7 square feet. Suggestion: Since the kids will g r o w into teenagers, y o u m a y just w a n t t o m a k e everyone's box a 4 x 4 . O n the other hand, different sizes m a k e the garden l o o k interesting and m o r e personable. T h e 3 x 3 can later on be stacked on top of a 4 x 4 to start a p y r a m i d g a r d e n — b u t m o r e about designing y o u r garden later.

Your Family-Your Garden
A c c o r d i n g to surveys of h o m e o w n e r s , the average conventional single-row garden measures 20 feet w i d e by 35 feet long, w h i c h equals 7 0 0 square feet. To g r o w the same a m o u n t , a Square Foot G a r d e n will need o n l y 20 percent or one-fifth of that g r o w i n g space to equal 1 4 0 square feet. That's quite a difference isn't it?

as I say. " I f this w h o l e r o o m were o u r garden. T h e n y o u can b e g i n t o take advantage o f all the o t h e r attributes y o u will discover w i t h S F G . A n d t h e n I a d d .Plan Your Garden 43 YOUR FAMILY Number of Boxes or Square Feet Mom Dad Grandpa or Grandma Brother Sister Pets* Other Salad YOUR GARDEN Supper Extra Total *Well. . you'll n o longer need everything o n this side. cut it in half w i t h my arms again. " T h a t ' s still t o o m u c h r o o m . some dogs eat veggies and cats love catnip. Visualizing the great difference of space needed for a Square Foot G a r d e n is really the first step in learning a n d appreciating the entire system. stretch o u t my arms sideways. " E v e r y t h i n g on that side we don't n e e d . You can enter the number of boxes-big for adults. Y o u suddenly begin to think of the reduced a m o u n t of w o r k . W e c a n still c u t d o w n this r e m a i n i n g corner even m o r e s o w e e n d u p w i t h o n l y 2 0 percent o f the total r o o m . standing in the center. supplies. T h e n I turn to the side that remains. small for kids— or square feet. I'll w a l k d o w n the m i d d l e of whatever r o o m we're in and. W e can g r o w a s m u c h in this size of a Square F o o t G a r d e n as we previously c o u l d in this entire r o o m . w h e n y o u switch t o Square F o o t G a r d e n i n g . " Try it in the r o o m you're in right n o w and see if y o u aren't impressed. Down to Size W h e n e v e r I'm g i v i n g a lecture I like to illustrate the difference between a c o n v e n t i o n a l garden a n d a Square F o o t G a r d e n . a n d fencing." T h a t cuts the r o o m in half. " T h a t cuts that half in half again. equipment. and say. T h e n y o u begin to see m a n y of the advantages of being able to locate the garden where y o u wish and all the possibilities in y o u r yard.

to prepare for p l a n t i n g a fall c r o p . m o v e o n t o phase three. I've listed below examples o f w h a t y o u can harvest from just o n e 4 x 4 b o x i n o n e spring season: Start Small O n c e y o u decide on the final size and layout of y o u r garden. keep in m i n d y o u don't have to build the entire garden right at the start. T h e n y o u can go into phase t w o . b u i l d i n g m o r e boxes if y o u still need t h e m . .t h i r d o f y o u r u l t i m a t e garden boxes a n d g r o w for o n e s e a s o n — f o r e x a m p l e . the spring s e a s o n — y o u can then see h o w m u c h you'll harvest and see if you've correctly j u d g e d the a m o u n t y o u really need. or the s u m m e r crop. A t the e n d o f the s u m m e r c r o p . T r y a three-phase plan instead. I f y o u b u i l d a n d p l a n t just o n e . and build more boxes according to y o u r layout o r master plan. So as an illustration.44 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING All That in One Box H o w m u c h salad c o u l d y o u pick every day from this little garden? More than you can imagine.

those boxes s h o u l d be o n l y 2 feet w i d e . We'll cover this in m o r e detail later. Y o u c o u l d also decide n o w if y o u w a n t to join several boxes together e n d to e n d to create a rectangular b o x of 4 x 8. I suggest t a k i n g o n e small corner of y o u r o l d . If y o u have a single-row garden and don't really w a n t to give it up yet. b u t for n o w y o u c a n figure on a 3 . and they b e c o m e o v e r w h e l m e d because t h e y u n d e r e s t i m a t e h o w m u c h t h e y c a n actually g r o w in such a small area. a n d try p l a n t i n g this way. Just don't do everything the first season. d e p e n d i n g o n h o w b i g y o u r family i s a n d h o w m u c h y o u think y o u w a n t to harvest.Plan Your Garden Yes. or 4 x 1 2 . 45 Overall Size of the Boxes O n c e y o u decide on the overall size and n u m b e r of boxes." —Alejiendrafrom Venezuela Don't Forget the Aisles T h e w h o l e idea o f S q u a r e F o o t G a r d e n i n g i s t o w a l k a r o u n d y o u r garden boxes a n d reach i n t o t e n d y o u r plants.) So h o w w i d e should y o u r aisles be? It depends a lot on h o w m u c h r o o m y o u have a n d w h a t k i n d o f a l o o k y o u w a n t for y o u r garden. T h e o n e dollar variety w o r k s just fine and can last a lifetime. I cant wait to start. the soil never gets p a c k e d d o w n a n d y o u eliminate digging it up to loosen it again. w e suggest y o u begin using only a small n u m b e r because y o u can always a d d m o r e l a t e r — . stepping in y o u r garden. "Gardening has always seemed too overwhelming. I'll b e t y o u ' l l p r o b a b l y be ready to c o n v e r t y o u r entire garden into a S F G .f o o t aisle between all 4-foot boxes. N e x t year. p u t d o w n the grid. the next step is to determine the d i m e n s i o n of the aisles. Now with your method. m i x the correct soil (don't just shovel y o u r existing soil i n t o the boxes n o m a t t e r h o w g o o d y o u t h i n k i t is). T h i s way.f a s h i o n e d g a r d e n and p l a n t i n g i t i n j u s t o n e o r t w o 4 x 4 boxes. it's o k a y to lay o u t the w h o l e area and to design it for the ultimate. I f you're g o i n g t o have m a n y b o x e s — r e m e m b e r . I h o p e no o n e saw y o u ! If y o u are g o i n g to be p u t t i n g some boxes against a fence or wall a n d can't w a l k all around to reach in. In fact. expensive k i n d f r o m S w e d e n . the o n l y tool y o u really need o n c e y o u fill y o u r boxes w i t h Mel's M i x is a small h a n d trowel. T h i s will save a lot of yard space b u t y o u m a y n o t like the look or y o u m a y find w a l k i n g a r o u n d a l o n g b o x inconvenient. T h e i r gardens are actually larger than they need so there is m o r e to take care o f — a n d all while they're learning a n e w system. I've seen so m a n y people start o u t t o o ambitiously. (It doesn't have to be the strong. I w o u l d never m a k e a b o x longer than 16 feet or you'll e n d up trying to cross it in the m i d d l e a n d t h e n — w h o o p s ! — t h e r e y o u are. Everyone wants to m a k e them 3 feet w i d e (I will never k n o w w h y ) b u t then they always c o m e back and c o m p l a i n it was t o o w i d e because they couldn't reach in that far. Take it easy and start small.

when nothing is planted or growing. h o w a b o u t a garden party or a wedding?) . Those 2-foot aisles begin to shrink down to maybe just 18 or even 12 inches. (Hey. why crowd all your boxes together? The more spacious your All New Square Foot Garden is. I would caution against 2-foot wide aisles because once the plants grow.46 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING U. it's hard to imagine what it will look like in midsummer with everything growing like crazy and taking up a lot more space. At the beginning. the more time you are likely to spend there enjoying it. y o u m a y w a n t to have.I I I I I I THINK TWICE Your aisles should be 3 feet wide. or so several people can w a l k d o w n the aisle at once. it's too late to move the boxes. a center aisle that is 4 feet w i d e so y o u can easily get in w i t h a garden cart or wheelbarrow. But by then. Since SFG takes up so little room. Pretty soon you're sorry that you made the aisle so narrow. some cascade over the sides or get bushy. for example.

y o u have s o m a n y m o r e places to p u t y o u r garden than ever before. Place it close to the house for convenience. consider where y o u can frequently see i t — e s p e c i a l l y from inside the house. hence take better care of it ( r e m e m b e r — n o need t o c h a n g e i n t o g a r d e n i n g clothes. (Remember. T h i s m e a n s it will always l o o k nice a n d the e n d result will be that you'll enjoy it m o r e as will every other m e m b e r of the family. If it is close.f o o t boxes. 1. Location T h e r e are five major things to l o o k for w h e n t o u r i n g y o u r property for a S F G location. 5. N o w you're ready t o t o u r y o u r p r o p e r t y l o o k i n g for nice o p e n areas near the h o u s e . 2. ( C h a p t e r 10 covers different l o c a t i o n s like hillsides or heavily w o o d e d areas. Y o u don't need graph paper (unless you're a designer or w a n t to use it). 4. w i l t i n g plants. y o u will see problems (like deer.) I Can See Clearly Now W h e n y o u t h i n k a b o u t observing y o u r garden. Stay clear of trees a n d shrubs w h e r e roots and shade m a y interfere. Pick an area that gets six to eight hours of sunshine daily. convenience is king so m a k e sure y o u follow Rule 1. just draw the 3-foot aisles slightly smaller t h a n the 4 . T h e existing soil is n o t really important. a neighbor's d o g or cat) w h e n they begin rather than hours later after all the d a m a g e is d o n e . K e e p in m i n d foot traffic a n d sites w h e r e y o u will often notice and enjoy y o u r garden. Close to the House W i t h the A l l N e w Square F o o t G a r d e n i n g M e t h o d .Plan Your Garden 47 Draw It Up O n c e y o u get a rough idea of h o w m u c h space you'll need. U s e these as a test for the area you're considering for y o u r A l l N e w Square F o o t G a r d e n . a n d y o u k n o w y o u . W h a t r o o m are y o u in the most? C a n y o u see the garden f r o m there? T h e reason is n o t o n l y for y o u r pleasure b u t for protection. 3. o r r u n a n d get s o m e tools). T h e area s h o u l d n o t p u d d l e after a heavy rain. you'll w a l k past the garden m o r e often. If y o u r S F G is near traffic paths. m a k e a quick sketch m o r e or less to scale. since y o u won't be using it. R e m e m b e r the Square F o o t G a r d e n w a y is to treat y o u r plants just like y o u treat y o u r c h i l d r e n o r g r a n d c h i l d r e n . Later in this chapter we'll discuss design in m o r e detail.) 1.

Sunlight T h e next t h i n g to c o n s i d e r in selecting a l o c a t i o n is s u n l i g h t . that's cute. the house. NURSERY RHYME? One for the One for the One for the And one for blackbird. a n d harvest it. l o o k at my n e w blossom. In general. T h e s e types of plants are referred to as a " s u m m e r crop" or "warm-weather plants" and include most of the . enjoy. " L o o k at m e . l o o k h o w big I'm getting. It's even possible to split up y o u r g a r d e n a n d place s o m e of y o u r boxes in different locations for perhaps a different visual effect or a different p u r p o s e . Plus you'll s h o w i t o f f m o r e often a n d get the w h o l e family i n v o l v e d . G r o w i n g plants need sunlight. large-flowering or fruiting plants need a l o t — a t least eight hours a day.48 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING w o u l d be glancing o u t the w i n d o w at t h e m . So they're suggesting you plant four times as much as what you really want or need. but what a waste of resources and energy. 2. rabbit. mouse. Well. I believe that every plant out there is constantly seeking y o u r attention by saying." Isn't that just like children? P l a c e m e n t o f y o u r Square F o o t G a r d e n o p e n s u p s o m a n y d o o r s to the w a y y o u care for. H o w m u c h they need depends on the type of plant. a p p r e c i a t e .

T h e n . A n d of course. Of course." —Guy from Utah 3. In early spring a n d again in late fall the s u n is l o w e r in the sky t h a n in the summertime. that as trees and shrubs grow. if they sense a well-watered perfect soil nearby. then there is a w a y to counteract that situation. Too Much Sun Sometimes y o u m i g h t have a location that gets full sun all d a y l o n g . from sunup t o s u n d o w n . peppers. P u t a p l y w o o d b o t t o m on your boxes a n d raise t h e m up o f f the g r o u n d . there are m a n y flowers a n d herbs that love shade. so c h e c k w i t h y o u r local nursery if y o u are in this situation. T h a t ' s all c o v e r e d in C h a p t e r 4. . h u g e g a r d e n there's n o t m u c h y o u c a n d o . you'd stay a w a y f r o m the tomatoes. If that's the o n l y location y o u have. a s w e l l a s m a n y f l o w e r s . K e e p in m i n d that shrubs are just as b a d as trees as far as providing shade a n d root interference. spinach. Y o u can raise t h e m up by just p u t t i n g a brick u n d e r each corner and one in the center. or even t w o blocks and b u i l d little piers and have it as a g a r d e n y o u sit d o w n beside to harvest. T h i s is a nice w a y to have a shade garden right under a tree along w i t h a bench or a few l a w n chairs. squash. t o o . K e e p in m i n d . 49 If You Only Have Shade I f y o u have s h a d y c o n d i t i o n s a n d n o o t h e r place t o locate y o u r garden.Plan Your Garden favorite things that people grow. beans. there are n o t as m a n y hours of light in the day in the spring a n d fall as there are in the summer. CC I want to convert my entire garden to your method. B u t w i t h a Square F o o t G a r d e n . obviously. these roots will c o m e straight as an arrow into y o u r soil. S e c o n d . Avoid Trees and Shrubs W h e n c h o o s i n g y o u r S F G location. and sunflowers. T h e first is shade as we just discussed. Or y o u can use a c e m e n t block. it's v e r y easy to p r o v i d e shade by b u i l d i n g a s i m p l e s u p p o r t a n d c o v e r i n g the 4 x 4 b o x w i t h s o m e shade c l o t h . w i t h a b i g . the tree's roots won't even k n o w that the garden is there. T h a t w o u l d actually b e too m u c h for s o m e o f the c o o l w e a t h e r a n d leafy c r o p s . their shade will increasingly cover a larger area. of course. k e e p in m i n d that it c h a n g e s t h r o u g h o u t the year w i t h the seasons. S o . O f course. In d e t e r m i n i n g the a m o u n t of s u n l i g h t an area receives. such as tomatoes. a n d lettuce. a n d squash a n d plant the root a n d leaf crops like radishes. peppers. y o u can still have a thriving garden b u t you'll have a limited selection of crops to grow. M o s t shrubs are m o r e shallowrooted than trees. stay clear o f trees a n d shrubs for two reasons.

It requires few tools and equipment. then of course y o u c o u l d fill in the l o w area w i t h sand to raise y o u r b o x slightly and/or y o u c o u l d again p u t a b o t t o m on it a n d raise it up w i t h stones. anyone can do it regardless of abilities. bricks. or s o m e t h i n g similar. so y o u don't w a n t to locate y o u r S F G in an area that holds water after a rain. It costs very little. Existing Soil Who Cares? W h e n you're c h o o s i n g a location. It's simple and easy to understand. w h i c h makes gardening less fun. Please R o o t s will d r o w n in accumulated and stagnant water. you'll love Square Foot Gardening for so many reasons. It fits anywhere in an existing or planned landscape. It has every benefit you can think of. A r e a s that p u d d l e also p r o m i s e m u d i n the aisles. will soak up all the w a t e r in a s t a n d i n g p u d d l e a n d y o u r p l a n t roots will b e h a r m e d . And the best part of all is that you don't have to be an expert gardener!! . T h e materials in Mel's M i x . No Puddles. M a n y of the other gardening b o o k s tell y o u h o w to go around the yard and dig test holes and see w h a t k i n d of soil y o u have. S o m e t i m e s you're even supposed to m a k e a i i i i i i i i i- d^ Once you choose the spot. If y o u have no other place and can't drain the area. t h o u g h t h e y drain well a n d h o l d a lot of m o i s t u r e . 5.50 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING 4. cinder blocks. It's quick and practical to do. it doesn't really matter a b o u t the c o n d i t i o n of y o u r existing soil.

b u i l d . W o u l d n ' t that be a great f a m i l y project? T h e n . see h o w l o n g i t takes t o drain. I am g o i n g to w a n t all the boxes l i n e d up neatly a n d precisely. even intersect each other. it's t i m e to t h i n k a b o u t design. b l a h . M a y b e everyone c o u l d have an area to d e s i g n .Plan Your Garden percolation test. in w h i c h y o u have to dig a hole. Y o u c a n lay o u t y o u r boxes s o t h e y t u r n corners. benches. Please T h e best location is w h e r e y o u can see y o u r garden m o r e often f r o m more directions. even p e r h a p s having t h e m i n a r o w (oh. w h a t a n unfortunate w o r d ) — e x c u s e m e — in a line. . . H o w a b o u t y o u — d o y o u w a n t a U-shape or an L-shape? Do whatever appeals to y o u . fill it w i t h water. 51 The Envelope. b u t that's just m e . take a p i c t u r e a n d s e n d it to me so we c a n share all kinds of designs w i t h others. Don't m a k e dead ends or narrow places. . b u t k e e p i n m i n d traffic a n d w a l k i n g a r o u n d . y o u can build a S F G b o x w i t h a p l y w o o d b o t t o m a n d place it on y o u r patio or picnic tabletop near y o u r b a c k door. T h i n g s like sunlight and avoiding trees and shrubs are merely precautions to help m a k e y o u r garden m o r e successful.or 4-foot aisles. . b e i n g a former a r m y officer. Y o u can even p u t y o u r boxes on the pavement or a patio a n d it won't m a k e a n y difference. Line Them Up Y o u can p r o b a b l y guess that. b l a h . Gardens Aren't Just for Yards Anymore Here's another i d e a — n o matter the season. O r . I m i g h t w a n t the entire area to be a square or at the v e r y least a rectangle . We're g o i n g to b u i l d bottomless boxes above the g r o u n d . K e e p 3. and leave bigger areas for chairs. H e r e is a fun idea: explain to the entire f a m i l y the basic size a n d l a y o u t t h e n let each m e m b e r d r a w u p ideas a n d plans. . So w a l k around y o u r yard a n d t h i n k a b o u t the best place to locate a n d enjoy y o u r garden. a n d p l a n t . a n d entranceways. Y o u don't h a v e t o k n o w a b o u t i t because we're n o t g o i n g to use y o u r existing soil. Design N o w that you've d e t e r m i n e d h o w m a n y boxes you'll have a n d strolled a r o u n d y o u r yard to find the best spot(s). blah . Y o u m a y w a n t to use smaller S F G boxes on the patio or d e c k such as 2 x 2 or 2 x 4. h o w a b o u t all the unnecessary advice on h o w to take a soil test and w h a t the results mean? Forget a b o u t all that now.

but just enjoying and relaxing. O n e of the advantages of a Square F o o t G a r d e n is that y o u have options in h o w y o u p u t it together so that it's perfect for y o u . Be sure to m a k e r o o m for s o m e chairs. g o t o www. " Everyone likes to see w h a t others have d o n e .52 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Be Creative Y o u don't have to be a landscape architect to measure a n d draw up w h a t y o u imagine. T h e design is just as i m p o r t a n t as the size. so take the garden tour and see w h i c h o n e y o u like the best. If y o u w a n t to see w h a t others h a v e d o n e i n their y a r d w i t h S q u a r e F o o t G a r d e n i n g . You're g o i n g t o b e s p e n d i n g a lot o f y o u r time i n y o u r S F G — n o t w o r k i n g or w e e d i n g .com a n d c l i c k o n " N e i g h b o r h o o d G a r d e n s . A n d then let y o u r imagination help y o u create the Square F o o t G a r d e n that is perfect for y o u . S e e i n g a picture is so h e l p f u l . or a bird bath.squarefootgardening. a water fountain. a b e n c h . .

or 2 x 6-inch lumber for sturdier boxes or heavy traffic garden areas. l o w traffic garden. . A n d if y o u m a k e sure to a d d a grid. space.n o for this S F G method. Why Boxes? Just as a reminder. It's easy to add protective features. L i n c o l n Logs®.g r o w i n g soil a n d w a l k w a y s . Holds a special soil mix aboveground. or Legos®. 4. Boxes also h o l d y o u r perfect soil m i x so that it doesn't spill o u t or wash away in a heavy rainstorm. the basic b o x projects o u t l i n e d in this chapter w o n ' t take all y o u r t i m e . A Square F o o t G a r d e n can be a lot like w o r k i n g w i t h Erector® sets. it has already-established limits for y o u ." —Ross from South Carolina E709X-K01-NHXD-QQDF-F8 • • 1 x 6-inch lumber for the most economical. W h e n garden beds have no borders b e t w e e n p l a n t . Examples o f b o x materials that can be used include: • • • • • Natural w o o d Manmadewood Recycled plastic Vinyl Or any other m a n m a d e material available in l u m b e r sizes « SFG more than a hobby. it's a movement. If y o u r garden is b o x e d in. there's a greater c h a n c e that s o m e o n e w i l l step i n t o the g r o w i n g s o i l — a b i g n o .If y o u like to b u i l d things. 1. y o u are g o i n g to love this chapter. there are several reasons we build boxes for o u r Square F o o t Gardens. Since S F G grows so m u c h in so little space and is m a d e w i t h readily available materials. Looks neat and tidy. Organizes and simplifies your gardening chores. 3. 2. or money. it establishes n o t o n l y a pattern but a formula for success. Let's start w i t h the basic 4 x 4 S F G box.

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Building Boxes and Structures 55 .

the threads will e m b e d themselves into the second. Predrill y o u r holes in the first piece of the t w o pieces you're c o n n e c t i n g . cut all four pieces o f y o u r w o o d sides t o the same l e n g t h . and ask if they have any scrap lumber.l o n g w o o d i n h a l f w h e n y o u b u y it. b u t it s h o u l d be square so each square foot planting area is the same size. A t t a c h y o u r b o x w i t h coarse-thread deck screws that are twice as l o n g as the thickness of the lumber. They may even cut it for you if you ask nicely. fir. or even r e d w o o d (which is m o r e expensive but longer-lasting). Once you drill the top piece. quicker to assemble. cedar. T h e n it's easier to take h o m e .56 Stack your lumber like steps. slide the board back to expose the next one. ask the l u m b e r c o m p a n y t o c u t y o u r 8 . T h e y usually do this for free. tell the foreman you are building a Square Foot Garden. ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING A l l types o f l u m b e r c o m e i n 8-foot lengths a n d multiples o f 2 feet thereafter. W h e n constructing y o u r S F G b o x . A l l types of w o o d can be used: pine. If y o u w a n t a different l o o k than the rotated corners.f o o t . but don't use treated lumber. Go to any construction site. . measure the thickness o f the l u m b e r and subtract that from t w o o f the sides and a d d it to the other t w o sides so y o u still end up w i t h a square box. and then rotate the corners to ensure y o u e n d up with a square box. Use three screws per corner. Since m o s t S F G s will be 4 x 4 feet. Chances are they will be throwing out just what you need. It is n o t critical that y o u r garden b o x be exactly 48 inches either inside or outside. Rotate Corners My idea of the best kind of wood is free wood. and eliminates any need for sawing. Then your box is free.

I also don't recommend using pretreated timbers or lumber because it also can leach chemicals. You don't want that in your garden. lay it d o w n .Building Boxes and Structures This is an example of corner 57 construction. p a v e m e n t . you must make sure that it's not old paint especially if it's peeling or crumbling. It's also possible to paint or stain the b o t t o m . y o u c o u l d use linseed oil. W h e n y o u r frame is all s c r e w e d together. z yy> if you're starting with used lumber and it already has paint on it. carry it to the garden area. or s i d e w a l k — and keep y o u r frame flat so it w o n ' t e n d up c r o o k e d or twisted. Construction Details W o r k on a hard s u r f a c e — l i k e a driveway. some older paints contain lead. Leave the inside u n p a i n t e d so there's no possible c o n t a m i n a t i o n to the g r o w i n g m i x . with three deck screws. the side of one board is attached to the end of another. outside. which is toxic. If y o u w a n t to preserve the w o o d . . a n d t o p . a n d see h o w it l o o k s .

marine o r w a t e r p r o o f p l y w o o d . Plywood Bottom If y o u decide to create a b o t t o m for y o u r S F G . Y o u attach this b o t t o m b y p u t t i n g i t o n t o p o f the assembled b o x sides. .i n c h drainage holes. o r large rocks. Use the /4-inch p l y w o o d if y o u are g o i n g to m o v e it often.f o o t boxes n e e d / s . 3 If the box is g o i n g to rest on sawhorses or c e m e n t blocks a n d span a large. riverbed. c e m e n t b l o c k s . it requires thicker p l y w o o d . S t o n e for y o u r S F G b o x can b e m a n m a d e p r e f o r m e d sizes or natural slate. ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Other Box Materials S F G boxes can also b e c o n s t r u c t e d w i t h brick. prefabricated stone. then flipping it over so the box sides are sitting on top of the p l y w o o d b o t t o m . Y o u r 4 x 4 . P l y w o o d thickness d e p e n d s o n the size o f the b o x . use p l y w o o d sheeting a n d drill / 4 .or even ^/4-inch p l y w o o d 5 b o t t o m s . u n s u p p o r t e d distance. s c r e w i n g it d o w n . drill holes in the plywood bottom of your tabletop garden—one per square foot and one extra in each corner. o n e per square foot plus an extra 1 h o l e i n each corner. A 2 x 2 o r 2 x 3 b o x — a n y t h i n g s p a n n i n g less t h a n 3 f e e t — n e e d s '/2-inch p l y w o o d . or a n y o t h e r t y p e of decorative stone that is easy to place and f o r m s an interesting border.58 For proper drainage. r o u n d . I use regular p l y w o o d although some like to spend extra for the longer lasting. b u t m u c h m o r e expensive.

summer. Railing Boxes If y o u have flat railings. For stability. C o n s i d e r the strength and size of y o u r railing and the surrounding e n v i r o n m e n t . and/or winter boxes. D e p e n d i n g o n the t i m e o f year. extensions. boxes can b e equipped with double decks. covers. Y o u will determine the best m o d i f i c a t i o n s . You can build a Square Foot Garden box that bolts to your deck railing. or special modifications to allow a longer g r o w i n g season. it should be bolted to the w o o d railing. I w o u l d place the boxes on the floor. we'll explain that i n C h a p t e r 9 . it is very easy to set a b o x right on top of it. . fall. Usually these modifications are weather-related items like covers to shade tender seedlings in the s u m m e r or a frost p r o t e c t o r either in spring or fall. and m a k e sure y o u r railing boxes aren't too big. If y o u can't bolt your boxes d o w n and you're higher than the first floor. d e p e n d i n g o n y o u r particular weather and e n v i r o n m e n t a l c o n d i t i o n s . T h e s e are just 4 x 4 foot standard garden boxes or smaller 2 x 4 size that can be modified for special uses.Building Boxes and Structures 59 Special Structures For out-of-season gardening. y o u can create spring.

the w a t e r will bypass the d e c k below. and they will be the highlight and focal point of y o u r entire garden. W h y n o t get fancy and stack o n e o n top o f another t o create pyramids? W h y w o u l d y o u do that? Because they're spectacular. Young Lady T h e next fancy garden layout w o u l d be to m a k e a standard 4-foot w i d e by any length box but every 2 or 4 feet step up by o n e level. T h e r e are m a n y arrangements y o u c o u l d design. and they w o u l d be limited o n l y by y o u r imagination. particularly if y o u add trailing types of plants that add some color and character. H a n g the b o x over the o u t s i d e e d g e . s h o u l d i t drip w h e n you're w a t e r i n g . T h e r e are various holders sold at h o m e i m p r o v e m e n t stores that snap o n t o your railings to a c c o m m o d a t e standard-sized boxes. a n d i t w o n ' t take u p a n y o f y o u r valuable d e c k space. it w o u l d be m u c h safer. a n d . C o n s t r u c t i o n is v e r y simple w i t h just a few braces for stability. . H o w e v e r . One-foot-square boxes are the perfect size for the steps leading to your font door. Build t h e m the same w a y as the corner p y r a m i d w i t h an inside brace for every 4-foot section. Pyramid Boxes B e creative and m a k e y o u r S F G uniquely yours. Step Up.60 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING R a i l i n g boxes m a k e a v e r y decorative a n d excellent g a r d e n . if y o u r b o x is on the inside of the railing.

unusual. S i n c e the p l a n t s d o n ' t n e e d m o r e t h a n 6 inches o f Mel's M i x . If y o u d e c i d e to b u i l d y o u r b o x taller. and potatoes.Building Boxes and Structures 61 Make Boxes Extra Deep M a k i n g boxes that are extra d e e p m e a n t h e y are extra d r a m a t i c ." s o m e o n e says " a n d save even m o r e m o n e y . In addition it has m a n y unseen benefits. or 1 2 . 9. Grids and Materials Grids are a must. T h e y c o m e i n m a n y w i d t h s a n d lengths. I'm so a d a m a n t a b o u t h a v i n g a grid on every b o x I tell people that if y o u r S F G doesn't have a grid. See Chapter 6 for details on planting a n d g r o w i n g . Blinds T h e first P e n n y Pincher tip is slat-type or Venetian blinds. F i n d o n e that's at least 4 feet w i d e . and u n i q u e garden. Leeks. s o i f you're g o i n g t o m u l t i p l e layers for y o u r g a r d e n boxes. "I'll just use m y existing yard soil. spectacular l o o k n o w . we take the easy w a y and build u p . and Potatoes There is one last item that y o u m i g h t w a n t to c o n s t r u c t — y o u r h i g h rise boxes for carrots. or 1 2 inches tall o u t o f p l y w o o d o r a n y t h i n t y p e o f l u m b e r . " Don't! M o s t soils don't drain w e l l a n d h a v e weed seeds. Every b o x s h o u l d have its o w n p e r m a n e n t a n d prominent grid. so stick w i t h me on this one a n d build a grid for all of y o u r boxes. C u t off the strings a n d lay o u t the strips. it is n o t a Square Foot G a r d e n . drill holes at the h a l f a n d . R e m e m b e r weeds? W e don't have t h e m a n y m o r e i n S F G .i n c h l u m b e r instead of the n o r m a l 6 inches. just use 8-. It tells the story of S F G in one glance. T h e s e root crops need deep soil so instead of d i g g i n g d o w n as in m o s t gardening m e t h o d s . don't s p e n d y o u r m o n e y o n filling the entire d e p t h w i t h Mel's M i x . B u t w i t h a grid. fill a n y space b e l o w 6 inches w i t h just ordinary sand. leeks. T h e o n l y d r a w b a c k is cost. T r i m the ends w i t h a pair of scissors so they fit y o u r b o x . U s e sand (cheap a n d available a t a n y h o m e i m p r o v e m e n t center) o n the b o t t o m layer. B u i l d a 1 x 1-foot b o x either 6.. b u t y o u r g a r d e n b e c o m e s m o r e d r a m a t i c w h e n the container is extra tall. I k n o w I've told y o u that 6 inches of Mel's M i x is e n o u g h for all plants. A Special Box for Carrots. it's an attractive. B u t no m a t t e r — y o u ' r e after a d r a m a t i c . and if y o u visit a local thrift shop y o u can usually find a used set at a great price. 1 0 .

O n c e y o u lay t h e m o u t a n d drill holes at the 1 2 . or break easily. S o m e t i m e s the blinds b l o w a r o u n d a little just because the garden is e m p t y a n d they have no p r o t e c t i o n f r o m the w i n d . so sort t h r o u g h t h e m . Believe i t o r n o t . Wood Lath T h e s e c o n d inexpensive material is w o o d lath. it's usually w i n d y . B u t they're very.i n c h intersection. S o m e t i m e s they're a little c r o o k e d . O n e s o l u t i o n is to attach t h e m to the soil w i t h a l o n g galvanized nail at every 1 2 . and attach t h e m together w i t h s o m e sort of screw.62 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING quarter points. w h i c h is sold in h o m e i m p r o v e m e n t centers.i n c h intersections. . t h e y already c o m e 4 feet l o n g w i t h square ends. they're v e r y easy to c o n n e c t together w i t h a n u t a n d bolt or s o m e other type of Drill a hole through both pieces of wood at each grid intersection. filled w i t h k n o t s . nail. or snap-fastener. v e r y i n e x p e n s i v e — l e s s than a quarter each. T h i s helps h o l d t h e m d o w n so they don't b l o w away. T h e o n e p r o b l e m I've f o u n d w i t h blinds is their w e i g h t . W h e n y o u f i r s t start y o u r g a r d e n i n the spring.

Building Boxes and Structures 63 Next. . Drill a hole through the end of the center grids and add 4 deck screws. insert some kind of hardware to loosely hold the grid together.

your square foot garden is ready for planting. If y o u r grid spans across the b o x sides. U n s c r e w the four screws. . it can just lie on t o p of the soil. it can span f r o m o n e side of the b o x to the other side in case y o u r Mel's M i x is n o t level w i t h the t o p of the box. O t h e r w i s e . Because the w o o d lath is rigid. fold the grid. P u t the screws in a plastic b a g a n d h a n g it up w i t h the grid to keep the screws safe a n d d r y over the winter. keep the grid f r o m m o v i n g a b o u t by drilling a hole in the ends of the t w o center slats a n d screwing t h e m to y o u r w o o d e n b o x . S o m e people like to take the w o o d lath grid up for the w i n t e r so it doesn't get w e t a n d rot as easily. fastener. a n d h a n g it on the garage w a l l .64 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Once the grid is attached.

C a r p e n t e r s often have strips left over. Later y o u can attach a covering m a d e f r o m a n y n u m b e r of materials to protect those squares from a variety of hazards. 2. L e t t h e m p i c k o u t w h i c h square they like best. chicken wire. I saw s o m e t h i n g b a c k there. cutting shears. it's easy e n o u g h to cut strips of w o o d yourself. Basically. For the best visual effect.Building Boxes and Structures 65 Fun Ideas You m a y be able to find other scrap w o o d strips a r o u n d . Y o u m a y w a n t to m a k e several U-frames of different sizes that can be used for 1. I think plain w h i t e is best. H e n r y .f r a m e cage to fit over those squares. W h e n they call. and a power drill. plastic ties. stop the car. y o u can tell them h o w their plants are d o i n g . Y o u just have to k e e p y o u r eyes o p e n . and tell t h e m it can be theirs. y o u w a n t to m a k e a wire cage that will fit over the top of each of these areas. I've f o u n d that the easiest cage is made from plastic-coated wire fencing. T h e w o o d o r b l i n d grids can b e painted. " C o o l ! " ) S o m e p e o p l e like to record w h a t they've planted. It's fun to have visitors sign y o u r grid. (Kids will say. or 4 square feet a n d another for an entire 4 x 4 block of 16 square feet. if y o u have a table saw. ." O r . I bet they'll call m o r e often. w h i c h kids love t o d o . " Q u i c k . you'll need: four one inch by two inch boards. T h i s can be cut w i t h wire To build a protective cage for your 4* 4garden. 4 feet long. especially children and g r a n d c h i l d r e n . (Kids will say. the first step is to m a k e a wire U . Protecting Your SFG To protect o n e or m o r e squares next to each other f r o m weather or pests. "Blah!") Y o u can also write on t h e m . creating fancy c o m b i n a t i o n s of colors.

Attach the boards with two coarse-thread deck screws using your power drill.Arrange your boards as shown in this photo and drill two holes in one end of each board. .

It's sharp. a n d they will cut it for y o u ! Full Cage A chicken wire cage over the entire 4 x 4 makes it fairly easy to protect y o u r garden against u n w a n t e d rabbits. C h i c k e n wire can be cut w i t h pliers or cutting shears. cats that like to dig in the soil. T h e r e is quite a variety of fencing wire to choose f r o m so check o u t w h a t is available. Y o u can m a k e a four-sided wire b o x from t w o U-frames or just a t w o sided one. it is very difficult to . birds that d i g up a n d eat newly planted seeds. bend the chicken wire up. T h e 1-inch size is m u c h stronger b u t will cost a little m o r e . Y o u m a y w a n t to call ahead to several places to find the best choice. T h e 1-inch size also takes a little longer to b e n d into shape b u t will keep o u t m o r e critters than the 2-inch size. Remember to wear gloves! Chicken Wire A n o t h e r c o m m o n material I like to use is chicken wire. Bracing the frame with your foot. Then.i n c h o p e n i n g s . In m a n y hardware stores y o u can b u y whatever length y o u w a n t from their roll. It comes in smaller 1-inch o p e n i n g s or larger 2 . Roll out one long piece of chicken wire and place your frame close to the center.Building Boxes and Structures 67 pliers and easily b e n t over a straight edge to almost any shape. or strong w i n d gusts d u r i n g the w i n d y season. ( O n c e plants start g r o w i n g t h r o u g h the wire. 3 or 4 feet w i d e . too m u c h sun on newly planted and delicate seedlings. do this again for the other side. so be sure to wear gloves. B u i l d y o u r wire cage to fit the plants' mature sizes. Y o u can b u y a w h o l e roll of it. It c o m e s in rolls of different w i d t h s a n d lengths as well as different o p e n i n g s a n d wire thicknesses.

68

ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING

take the cage off.) G r a b the cage wire w i t h y o u r fingers and lift the w h o l e t h i n g off, tend to the plants, and then p u t it b a c k d o w n . A full cage needs a w o o d e n - f r a m e b o t t o m for support, b u t it then fits nicely o n y o u r w o o d e n garden b o x frame. See h o w everything i n S F G f i t s together so nicely, just like Legos.

Construction
To m a k e a w o o d e n b o t t o m for a w i r e cage, attach four pieces of 1 x 2 i n c h p i n e l u m b e r 4 feet l o n g i n a b o x shape w i t h t w o d e c k screws a t each corner. T h e n c u t a n d shape y o u r c h i c k e n w i r e o r fencing wire to the 4 x 4 b o x to create any height y o u w a n t . Staple the wire to the w o o d frame using /s-inch staples, and then wire or tie
3

the vertical corners together or wherever the wire forms a corner. If y o u are using chicken wire or any wire that has sharp edges, y o u m a y w a n t to cover the sharp p o i n t s — i n c l u d i n g where the wire is stapled to the w o o d — w i t h s o m e t h i n g like d u c t tape (choose a nice color) to prevent getting scratched while you're m o v i n g y o u r cover. A n o t h e r w a y is to attach the wire to the inside of the 1 x 2 frame. It's a little m o r e w o r k to staple the wire to the inside, b u t there won't be any Brace the frame with your foot sharp points to scratch y o u . If y o u have a couple of these cages m a d e and bend the chicken wire up. up ahead of t i m e — o n e or t w o that are 6 inches tall, another couple

Once the wire is bent on all sides, remove the wood frame and connect the four corners at three locations using the plastic ties.

Set your wire fame over the wood fame and connect the wire with the plastic ties. Use the ties at random points on top of the fame, too.

70
The frame is lightweight and is easy to lifi off your 4^4. Remove it to water, plant, prune, or harvest.

ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING

When placing your protective cage, make sure the fames line up. This will keep all kinds of critters fom taking your harvest.

Building Boxes and Structures 12 inches tall, a n d a f e w at 18 inches t a l l — t h e y will be available at the right t i m e they're n e e d e d for y o u r g a r d e n . D o n ' t forget y o u c a n use t h e m as a f r a m e w o r k for spring p r o t e c t i o n f r o m cold, cats, or crows. T h e y c a n b e s u m m e r p r o t e c t i o n f r o m s u n , w i n d , a n d rain, and fall p r o t e c t i o n f r o m deer, frosts, a n d snow. T h e y can be stacked on the g r o u n d in a pile or h u n g on the garage or fence w a l l .

71

Covers
Materials used for covering the wire cages can be a n y t h i n g f r o m clear plastic to protect plants f r o m w i n d or c o l d w e a t h e r a n d snow, sleet, o r r a i n — t o s o m e sort o f c l o t h like cheesecloth o r floating cover t o protect plants from insects getting in to lay their eggs.
Bend two of '/2-inch 10-foot PVCpipes diameter fom

corner to corner.

72
Clothespins

ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING

A cover can be easily held in place w i t h clothespins. T h e cover can be o p e n on s o m e sides to allow air to circulate or it c a n be c o m p l e t e l y e n c l o s e d . O n e c o n s i d e r a t i o n , o f course, i s w h e t h e r t o o m u c h heat will build up inside the cage, and that depends on the season and the a m o u n t of sunlight y o u r garden receives in y o u r area. W h e n there is t o o m u c h s u n l i g h t for n e w l y p l a n t e d transplants, just p u t a shade c l o t h over the t o p o f y o u r cage. I f y o u have several n e w l y p l a n t e d squares a m o n g o t h e r well-established p l a n t squares, y o u can attach shade patches over just those plants that need a little shade.

Protective Dome Supports
A d o m e s u p p o r t is so easy to m a k e . Just b e n d a 1 0 - f o o t l e n g t h of
1

/2-inch P V C p i p e f r o m corner t o c o r n e r o f y o u r b o x , a n d t h e n

a n o t h e r f r o m the o p p o s i t e corners; then tie or b o l t it at the intersection at the top to m a k e a d o m e that can support any type of cover. T h i n k of it as the structural f r a m e w o r k for a g r e e n h o u s e — i n the early spring it can be covered w i t h clear plastic, in the late spring w i t h cheesecloth to keep o u t egg-laying insects, and in the s u m m e r w i t h shade cloth to provide a little shade for tender y o u n g plants. Y o u can provide protection the same w a y for the fall crop.
Your two pipes should make a dome as shown here.

.Attach a plastic tie at the intersection to ensure that it doesn't fall over.

y o u need an extra 4-foot-long piece of pipe that becomes the strut h o l d i n g the t w o arches from collapsing. For those of y o u thinking. "I'll just b u y o n e 10-footer and cut it in half. T h e arch over a 4-foot span has to be m o r e than 5 feet long.74 Use a thick plastic cover to protect your plants from frost. T h e n . ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Covered Wagon A n o t h e r neat l o o k i n g P V C frame is o n e in the shape of a covered w a g o n . y o u just c u t the 10-foot P C V pipes d o w n to 6 or 8 feet and you'll have a m u c h lower w a g o n top. For those that don't w a n t s u c h a h i g h frame. . Place some heavy objects such as bricks on the edges to secure it. N o w y o u can see the shape is m u c h m o r e c o n d u c i v e to lifting one side to w o r k inside. so y o u have to drill holes in the center of the arches and in each e n d of the strut. a n d it makes it easier to t h r o w a blanket over the entire 4 x4 on a cold night." that won't w o r k . It requires the same t w o 1 0 . T h i s takes a little longer to m a k e and requires just a bit more material. but they're arched over each e n d o f y o u r box.f o o t l o n g P V C pipes. T y i n g the intersection will n o t w o r k in this design. Use a bolt and nut that won't tear the plastic or net covering. so that a bolt will c o n n e c t the central strut to the top center of each arch. but it gives a lot m o r e r o o m and is m u c h easier to use w h e n y o u have a cover over the frame.

Drill one hole in the center of two 10'foot PVC pipes. .Locate the center of your two ten foot pipes.

76 Place each pipe in a corner and bend as shown. . ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Drill holes in the ends of a 4-foot PVC pipe. It will be the supporting strut. Insert a plastic cable tie through the holes or a nut and a bolt to keep it in place.

T h e m a n y options available s h o w h o w flexible Square F o o t G a r d e n i n g can be. E v e n better. a n d giant marigolds? T h e easiest w a y t o s u p p o r t the branches of these plants w i t h o u t d o i n g a lot of staking and tying is to m a k e a p e r m a n e n t cage that the plants can g r o w t h r o u g h .f r a m e p r e v i o u s l y m e n t i o n e d . It is v e r y easy material t o w o r k w i t h a n d well-suited for gardening. gladiolas.f o o t area. or. Hold Me Up Tall l a n k y plants s u c h as dahlias. a n d sunflowers m a y also n e e d extra s u p p o r t a s t h e y m a t u r e a n d g r o w i n h e i g h t . if y o u are s u p p o r t i n g the entire 4 x 4 . p u t in the four corner stakes a n d t h e n h o r i z o n t a l l y tie on s o m e n y l o n t o m a t o trellis netting.s u p p o r t i n g w i t h sides that stick i n t o the soil just like the w i r e U . T h i s n e t t i n g is available at m o s t garden stores a n d is particularly g o o d because it is soft a n d c u s h i o n y a n d w o n ' t cut the plants w h e n t h e y r u b against it in the w i n d . if y o u are m a k i n g a s u p p o r t for the entire 4 x 4 . T h e n . It also has large o p e n i n g s y o u c a n reach in to a n d the plants can g r o w t h r o u g h . or for the w h o l e 16 square feet in a 4 x 4 garden. Posts can b e c o n s t r u c t e d o f w o o d a n d driven into the g r o u n d or attached w i t h d e c k screws to the inside or outside corner of the w o o d frame. eggplants.Building Boxes and Structures 77 Plant Supports W h a t d o y o u d o w i t h h e a v y f r u i t i n g plants s u c h a s p e p p e r s . 4. it all d e p e n d s on w h a t is p l a n t e d in each square. it is t i m e to p u t in four c o r n e r p o s t s — s t r o n g steel fence posts a n d n y l o n n e t t i n g h o r i z o n t a l l y at several different levels. T h i s c o u l d be for 1 square foot. . C o r n e r posts m u s t b e v e r y s t r o n g a n d firmly h e l d so the h o r i z o n t a l w i r e or n e t t i n g w o n ' t sag. Y o u can also use P V C pipe or even metal pipe or fence posts. T e m p o r a r i l y c o v e r i n g y o u r g a r d e n w i t h c h i c k e n w i r e 6 inches over the b o x will p r o v i d e this p r o t e c t i o n u n t i l the plants get that tall. T h e cage's height depends on the height of the mature plants. 2. Start the first at 3 feet a n d the last s h o u l d be as h i g h as the fence posts. T h i s will s u p p o r t plants t h r o u g h t o m a t u r i t y a n d k e e p t h e m f r o m falling over i n heavy w i n d and rainstorms. after the plants reach a h e i g h t of a b o u t 3 feet. T h e cage c a n be s e l f . it is v e r y easy to p u t a stake of s o m e sort in each c o r n e r — e i t h e r w o o d o r m e t a l — a n d t h e n s u s p e n d the w i r e h o r i z o n t a l l y b e t w e e n these four corners. S u n f l o w e r seeds w i l l n e e d t e m p o r a r y p r o t e c t i o n w h e n f i r s t p l a n t e d t o p r e v e n t birds o r rabbits f r o m d i g g i n g u p the seeds a n d t o prevent o t h e r birds f r o m e a t i n g the y o u n g sprouts. It won't b o t h e r a n y of the shorter plants either.

Put one steel fence post in each corner of y o u r 4 x 4 foot garden. try this foolproof secret.s t o r y structures that sprawl o u t w a r d over the landscape. floor after floor after floor. designers a n d contractors use w h a t is called air rights. as the corn grows. k e e p i n g the raccoons and c h i p m u n k s o u t before the corn can be harvested. A l s o . Use tall metal 5. and raccoons! To keep t h e m o u t and y o u r harvest in. b u t for all other vine crops too. S." —Gary from Michigan Vertical Frames for Vine Crops W h e n I first invented the Square F o o t G a r d e n i n g m e t h o d . space is t o o valuable to do this.or 6-foot fence posts. T h e n . T h e w h o l e idea of g r o w i n g tomatoes this w a y seemed very non-productive. Instead. W i t h o u t a d o u b t . squirrels. they can take up a lot of r o o m and can b e c o m e u n s i g h d y by season's e n d if they are allowed to g r o w w i t h o u t proper care. r u n chicken wire w i t h 1-inch openings a r o u n d the outside f o r m i n g four walls. w h e n corn reaches 4 feet. tomatoes are America's most-loved garden vegetable. m a k e sure y o u wear a long-sleeved shirt w h e n y o u reach in so y o u don't get scratched. it will g r o w right t h r o u g h the top of the wire. However. Since it is chicken wire. I discovered they can! A l l y o u need is a strong f r a m e w o r k a n d s o m e t h i n g t o h o l d the vine o n t o the framework.78 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Corn Protection Everyone loves c o r n — e s p e c i a l l y c h i p m u n k s . Each person has his or her own plot. W h y can't plants be g r o w n the same way? W e l l . Every plant that has a v i n e that sprawls all over the g r o u n d — e v e n p u m p k i n s a n d w a t e r m e l o n s — c a n b e g r o w n vertically as l o n g as y o u have a strong e n o u g h support. the result is a spectacular sight w i t h very little wasted g r o u n d space. a n d m a n y get d a m a g e d or ruined f r o m foot traffic. N e x t . if left to sprawl over the g r o u n d . Y o u can easily tie the horizontal t o p wire w i t h t e m p o r a r y b o w s so that y o u can u n d o a few a n d still reach in. b u i l d i n g straight up into the air. I was determined to find a better w a y to g r o w tomatoes and w h a t I devised turned o u t to be n o t o n l y g o o d for tomatoes. and then. Air Rights B e i n g an engineer. Buildings aren't c o n s t r u c t e d as o n e . I k n e w o n e of the real challenges was g o i n g to be s o m e of the b i g sprawling v i n e crops like tomatoes. T h i s will keep the critters o u t of the corn a n d prevent the crows f r o m eating the seeds and seedlings w h e n first planted.FG is great for the family. add one m o r e piece across the t o p at a height of a b o u t 4 feet. D i d y o u k n o w . tomatoes can attract additional pests. You'll be able to water easily either by h a n d or using a long-handled w a n d a n d shut-off valve on the e n d o f y o u r hose. w h i c h will support the tall corn stalks w h e n the w i n d b l o w s — a t the same time. I t h o u g h t of buildings in a city.

Fortunately. It is v e r y s t r o n g a n d turns o u t t o b e v e r y inexpensive. easy. T h e n I b e g a n g r o w i n g all different types of plants vertically. It's v e r y s i m p l e a n d inexpensive t o assemble. a n d i t c a n b e attached to the w o o d e n b o x w i t h clamps that can be b o u g h t at a n y store.Building Boxes and Structures that vines g r o w better vertically t h a n horizontally? G r o w i n g plants vertically prevents g r o u n d rot a n d discourages pest infestation. a n d tomatoes. It is v e r y s t r o n g — a l m o s t u n b r e a k a b l e — a n d guaranteed for t w e n t y years. the plant will h o l d the fruit. Tie It Tight Vertically g r o w i n g plants n e e d t o b e tied t o their s u p p o r t s . a n d inexpensive to use that it w a s a l m o s t r i d i c u l o u s . To fit it into a 4 x 4 box. I d e s i g n e d an attractive frame that fits right o n t o the 4 x 4 b o x . To hold the plants to the frame. winter a n d s u m m e r squashes. I hear they get dizzy up h i g h . b u t that's their problem! 79 Nature Supports T h r o u g h the years I experimented w i t h all different types of materials and frames. the stem supporting the heavy fruit grows thicker a n d heavier as the fruit becomes larger. i n c l u d i n g w a t e r m e l o n s . I originally t h o u g h t I w o u l d need t o design s o m e special w a y t o h o l d u p and a c c o m m o d a t e heavier fruits such as w i n t e r squash and p u m p k i n s . It is a w o n d e r f u l material available a t g a r d e n stores a n d i n catalogs. I r e c o m m e n d that tall. Y o u will see in C h a p t e r 8 h o w easy it is to train plants to g r o w vertically. vertical frames be constructed on the n o r t h side of the garden. I have f o u n d that n y l o n n e t t i n g w i t h 7 . steel r e i n f o r c i n g rods d r i v e n i n t o the existing g r o u n d o u t s i d e y o u r b o x p r o v i d e a v e r y steady a n d s t r o n g base. I settled u p o n one that was so simple. I k n o w slugs aren't h a p p y a b o u t m y w a y o f vertical g a r d e n i n g . If y o u have a f r a m e w o r k a n d support that will h o l d the plant. w h i c h is steel. a n d I use it exclusively n o w for b o t h vertical frames a n d h o r i z o n t a l p l a n t s u p p o r t s . C o u p l i n g s are also available so y o u c a n c o n n e c t t w o pieces together. these plant vines seemed to understand the situation. Best Material I use the strongest material I c a n find. I designed a frame that measured 4 feet w i d e a n d almost 6 feet tall. p u m p k i n s . A n y o n e c a n d o i t — e v e n y o u ! T o p r e v e n t vertically g r o w n plants f r o m s h a d i n g o t h e r parts o f the g a r d e n . b u t as it turned out. t h e n the electrical c o n d u i t slips s n u g l y over the bars. Finally. N y l o n netting won't rot in the sun a n d weather. O r . T h e n y l o n n e t t i n g is also durable e n o u g h to g r o w the heavier v i n e crops o n vertical frames. c a n t a l o u p e s . it is as simple as that! M o t h e r N a t u r e always seems to k n o w best.i n c h square . steel c o m e s in t u b u l a r p i p e u s e d for electrical c o n d u i t .

s p e e d i n g u p the process. this is the first step. b u t t h e y cost m o r e a n d w o r s t of a l l — y o u still have to t u r n t h e m . T h e r e are c o m p o s t e r s t h a t t u m b l e o r t u r n . so call a r o u n d . w h i c h then allows the pile to heat up a n d d e c o m p o s e faster. Go to a n y forest or field a n d y o u ' l l see she gets the j o b d o n e w i t h o u t a n y structures. Make Your Own We n e e d a structure that w i l l h o l d a pile of material in either a r o u n d o r square shape. Y o u can flag it w i t h brightly covered tape. paint it. or find caps that can be screwed on to prevent s o m e o n e f r o m tripping. I f y o u d o h a n g up y o u r metal frames in the winter.80 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING o p e n i n g s m a d e especially for t o m a t o g r o w i n g w o r k s w e l l because y o u can reach y o u r h a n d t h r o u g h . At the e n d of the season the frames c a n be left up or t h e y c a n be s l i p p e d o f f the steel rebar a n d h u n g o n a garage w a l l . Composters A c o m p o s t i n g operation can be as simple as a pile of leaves. T h e exact l e n g t h of f e n c i n g you'll n e e d isn't critical. a n d r e a s o n a b l y p r i c e d . w h i c h speeds up the operation by creating b u l k . We like to conserve space. Winter Storage Because the netting is loose. keep things in their place. It's s o m e t i m e s h a r d to find. W i r e f e n c i n g w o r k s w e l l for r o u n d a n d even square structures if y o u use four fence posts. A l l w o r k w e l l .f o o t w i d t h s a n d c a n easily b e tied t o the m e t a l frame. weeds. for safety reasons m a k e sure y o u cover or clearly m a r k the steel rebar that is left sticking o u t of the g r o u n d . It's fun at first b u t it gets o l d v e r y fast. . a n d we usually w a n t to b u i l d a c o n t a i n e r or enclosure for our c o m p o s t materials. W h a t c a n w e b u y o r build? T h e r e are m a n y c o m p o s t containers o n t h e m a r k e t m o s t l y m a d e f r o m plastic. M a k e w i r e cylinders at least 3 to 4 feet in diameter. Instead I am just g o i n g to tell e v e r y o n e to b u y 10 or 15 feet of f e n c i n g a n d shape it in a cylinder by a t t a c h i n g the ends together b y b e n d i n g the c u t w i r e ends. it can flop a r o u n d unless y o u tie it very tightly to the frame. B u t people are different. A l t h o u g h the c o n d u i t i s galvanized a n d endures m a n y years o f service. are attractive. M o t h e r N a t u r e does it all the time. M a k e sure it is this t y p e so it w o n ' t c u t the s t e m o f the p l a n t w h e n i t b l o w s against i t i n the w i n d . and kitchen scraps. i t e v e n t u a l l y w i l l r u s t — e s p e c i a l l y a t the b o t t o m w h e r e i t c o m e s i n c o n t a c t w i t h the g r o u n d . T h i s c o m e s i n 4 .

the other the door latch. It's essential to the Square Foot Gardening method. start one now. No b i g deal. Start by driving t w o steel fence posts in the g r o u n d at y o u r selected location. With a Gate A n o t h e r idea is to have an enclosure that's easier to get into to m i x and water or even turn. b u y 1 0 feet o f fencing. . m u c h m o r e suited to S F G .f o o t diameter. m a k e t h e m a b o u t 3 or 4 feet apart. a n d you'll have a square c o m p o s t e r . A n d .h o o k f r o m w i r e . i f y o u w a n t a 3-foot diameter composter. if y o u don't like r o u n d c o m p o s t e r s . T w o options are available for y o u — w i t h and w i t h o u t a gate. b u y 1 5 feet o f f e n c i n g a n d have e n o u g h for a door. Y o u still tie or wire the fencing to both fence posts. Y o u can have o n e c o m p o s t bin or t w o together or even three d e p e n d i n g on h o w large y o u r operation is.Building Boxes and Structures 81 S o . M a k e the latch S . If y o u w a n t a gate it will cost y o u an extra 3 or 4 feet of fencing. and it will l o o k nicer and be neater w h e n the enclosure starts filling up. I f y o u w a n t a 4 . W h e n full or ready to t u r n . F i n d the best location for y o u r c o m p o s t e r a n d fill as explained in C h a p t e r 5. M a k e an entrance o p e n i n g w i t h or w i t h o u t a gate. one becomes the hinge. T h e n attach y o u r wire fencing to these posts. just lift up the w i r e cylinder. drive t h e m in each corner of y o u r c o m p o s t e r l o c a t i o n . b e n d the w i r e a r o u n d those. b u y four 6-foot l o n g steel fence posts. o r y o u can b u y this t y p e o f h o o k at the store. a n d use a garden fork to fill the cylinder in its n e w l o c a t i o n — y o u ' v e just t u r n e d the pile! If you don't have a compost pile yet. place it next to the pile.

or logs. It doesn't have to be nailed or screwed together. You may want to have the pallet boards face outside to look nice. y o u just m o v e material f r o m a full bin into an e m p t y one right next to it. just to make sure they are being thrown out. If y o u w a n t to leave natural soil in y o u r aisles use an action h o e o n c e a w e e k to rid y o u r aisle of pesky weeds. your finished composter will look like it's custom made just for you. corners are tied with rope. T h i s helps keep a natural look. w e had a small 1 5 x 1 5 area w i t h several boxes and plain dirt aisles. boards. w h y w o u l d y o u w a n t just a pile for y o u r composter? PENNY PINCHER SQUARE IS GOOD Here's a no-cost easy way to make your composter out of wood-that means free. The place to find them is behind the stores and shops where the dumpsters are. T h e y m a y l o o k g o o d in b o o k s b u t n o t in o u r system because they are just n o t practical. A brick or stone under each corner helps keep the wood off the ground to keep it from rotting. Brick Paths I n m y P B S T V garden. You can find discarded pallets everywhere. and it doesn't have to be real tight. T h e y w o u l d be too expensive and inefficient. but w h a t are y o u g o i n g to p u t it on? Grass. or just plain dirt? M o s t people p u t their Square Foot boxes in their yard and leave the grass for their aisles. a n d it l o o k e d pretty nice. (Don't forget we rest on Sunday!) W h e n and w h y w o u l d y o u need m o r e than one? W h e n y o u get serious a b o u t c o m p o s t i n g . So w i t h o u t m o v i n g the boxes. Ask first. Women tell me they love this because it requires no tools. the grass won't get a lot of hard use because there's n o t that m u c h to do in a Square Foot G a r d e n . wire cutting. y o u can have one. T h e n . s o m e of the ladies w a n t e d to k n o w h o w to lay brick so I t h o u g h t this w o u l d be fun to teach as well as i m p r o v i n g the garden. If you can fine four of about the same size and look. brick. t w o . I spent five m i n u t e s every w e e k r u n n i n g an action h o e over the soil to c u t o f f any n e w w e e d s . T h e nice t h i n g a b o u t a series is y o u o n l y need three pallets for each additional bin. I could include directions for other materials to use like bricks or c e m e n t blocks. B u t t h e n in o n e of the classes I was g i v i n g . cord. w e laid d o w n m a n y layers o f newspaper. equipment. or chain. Of course. Find four wood pallets of similar size and appearance. and you can make them all run either horizontally or vertically-whatever looks best. but no o n e is g o i n g to build a composter o u t o f those materials. landscape timbers. or up to six bins all together for M o n d a y t h r o u g h Saturday. y o u m a y be able to get e n o u g h material to fill up one every week.82 Weekly Bins ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Just like the wire enclosures. A n d don't worry. gravel. N e x t w e a d d e d . for m i x i n g (as explained in C h a p t e r 5 ) . b u t if you're a Square Foot Gardener and y o u have nice square boxes for all of y o u r garden. Aisles " P u t y o u r best foot forward" is the saying. no one says y o u have to have an enclosure. or familiarity with construction.

creating something you can add later to your compost pile. you can put down a landscape fabric or weed cloth. I've even seen people use straw.i you don't want grass in your aisles. which comes in all different kinds and sizes. wood planks.Building Boxes and Structures 83 i i I i i i li. you want to first dig out any weeds or grass. salt hay. or paving stones. these materials break up and gradually decompose. or you can use other types of ground cover like ground up bark or pine needles. colors and shapes. hay.) Then just cover the cloth with at least 1 or 2 inches of mulch. As you walk. Again. Here again. then to prevent weeds from growing back without using chemicals. There are many on the market today. You can also build walkways out of brick. . You can create some very interesting patterns with bricks and paving blocks. (Don't use regular black plastic-it won't drain and it's slippery. You can also use gravel. take out any weeds and put down a weed cloth first.or 4-foot wide rolls and do quite a good job. They come in 3. or even leaves collected and saved from last fall. lay down a mulch. Keep the joints fairly tight so the surface doesn't shift.

84 Go to the nursery department of your local home improvement center and browse through it to find the ground cover material you prefer. ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING .

start w i t h the basic b u i l d i n g b l o c k — a 4 x 4 bottomless w o o d box. A n d all for the price of a f e w bricks (well. d e p e n d i n g o n the situation. S o m e o f the simple additions y o u can a d d t o y o u r S F G boxes: • • • • A wire b o t t o m to keep o u t moles. a n d this area b e c a m e a favorite s p o t to sit a n d e n j o y the yard a n d gardens. w e just w e n t right a r o u n d t h e m . . w a l l t o wall? W e l l . N o m o r t a r o r c e m e n t is n e e d e d — j u s t fill in the tight joints w i t h loose sand. y o u c a n . T h e n . f r o m apartment dwellers to the elderly. W e also b e g a n t o n o t i c e m o r e o f a different k i n d o f visitor t o the g a r d e n — t h e birds a n d bees a n d butterflies a n d s o m a n y m o r e insects. It even c o m e s in a grass style b u t . I don't w a n t y o u t o b e c o m e w o r r i e d . a n d even people w i t h special needs. t h i n k i n g that y o u h a v e t o s p e n d a lot o f t i m e creating c o m p l e x . B u y n e w o r used indoor/outdoor patio carpeting.Building Boxes and Structures a 1-inch layer of sand a n d t h e n started l a y i n g bricks right o n that sand base. voles. W h a t a n i m p r o v e m e n t — w o w ! W e a d d e d s o m e p a t i o furniture. 85 One Last Idea H o w w o u l d y o u like to carpet y o u r g a r d e n . a small t r u c k l o a d actually) a n d a little sand. . W h e n w e g o t t o the existing 4 x 4 garden boxes. A f t e r all this talk a b o u t b u i l d i n g all these different t h i n g s for p r o t e c t i n g y o u r g a r d e n . a n d rabbits A P V C t o p frame then: • • • • • C l e a r plastic to create a miniature greenhouse Bird or deer netting A blanket to protect plants f r o m frosts Floating covers to protect f r o m insects T h e possibilities are endless for everyone. a d d special features to solve a n y gardening p r o b l e m or to protect y o u r garden from a n y hazard. y o u won't have to m o w it! Let's Review W h e n b u i l d i n g a S F G . dogs. It w e n t w e l l a n d in o n e a f t e r n o o n it w a s all d o n e . a n d gophers A w e e d cloth b o t t o m to keep o u t w e e d s or grass A c h i c k e n wire t o p to keep o u t cats. don't worry.

86 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING structures for y o u r S F G . It's n o t so! We've just learned h o w easy it is to adjust a S F G to improve its flexibility and to a c c o m m o d a t e unique gardening situations. do the s a m e for y o u r plants. add clear plastic (a raincoat). So relax and enjoy! Family B u t remember. talking about you!) (I'm not . and if it's windy. For the most part. add an extra shield against the w i n d (a windbreaker). T h i s is readily d o n e since a S F G is so small and manageable. T h a t makes it very rewarding because then y o u can enjoy y o u r garden m u c h longer every year. This simple PVC frame can protect your plants from many things including harmful weather and unwanted nibblers. Since y o u wouldn't let y o u r kids play o u t in the cold winter w i t h o u t a snowsuit for protection. you'll be able to c o m e up w i t h easy and practical solutions for protecting y o u r garden from the worst of conditions. add a blanket (a sweater). y o u r plants will just sit there quietly g r o w i n g . protecting y o u r garden is a lot like protecting y o u r c h i l d r e n — i f it's cold. if sleet and hail are predicted. K e e p i n g this in m i n d . l o o k i n g better and better every day.

w h y y o u n e e d it. all the other advantages of S F G will fall into place a n d y o u will be the richest gardener on the block. then the w h y a n d h o w s o y o u fully understand the nature o f the mix. Let's review w h a t this perfect soil will do for y o u r garden. T h i s will allow y o u to automatically have all the other benefits a n d i m p r o v e m e n t s that c o m e so naturally to (the all new) S F G . back-breaking labor of i m p r o v i n g y o u r garden soil every spring like we used to do. T h e n I'll discuss h o w t o m i x . Sorry to be so adamant. G e t it? It is the reason all the other improvem e n t s are possible. peat m o s s . a n d t i m e . if y o u do it right. critical. W e ' l l g o t h r o u g h e a c h o f the three i n g r e d i e n t s i n d i c a t e d — c o m p o s t . It never has to be replaced and y o u don't have to do a t h i n g except plant y o u r seeds. a n d place i t i n y o u r boxes. But.Mel's Mix Mel's M i x is the m o s t i m p o r t a n t . you'll be disappointed in all the rest. b u t this is really w h a t makes S F G so different a n d successful. necessary. please. Y o u r Mel's M i x is ready to go w h e n e v e r y o u are. a n d learn everything in this chapter so y o u can m a k e y o u r Mel's M i x the best y o u can. m o i s t e n . expense. major subject a n d is the b a c k b o n e of the entire b o o k and the Square F o o t G a r d e n i n g m e t h o d ! That's the picture.c o n s u m i n g . Mel's M i x m a y b e the m o s t c o s d y part o f S F G . a n d w h e r e t o o b t a i n i t all. study. yet a t the same time it is the m o s t cost effective. S o . you'll have the m o s t enjoyable g a r d e n i n g experience o f y o u r life. I f y o u d o i t right. Y o u r h a n d w i l l just slip t h r o u g h . a n d v e r m i c u l i t e — a n d w h a t each o n e is. W e have never h a d a failure o f S F G except w h e n s o m e o n e decided to s k i m p on the ingredients to save a few bucks. T h a t w o n d e r f u l feeling w i l l b e repeated every t i m e y o u p l a n t a n d replant every single square f o o t . Don't Skimp On This N o w . essential. H o w can it be both? T h e answer: if y o u try to s k i m p on this item. productive. w i t h A l l N e w Square F o o t G a r d e n i n g you'll never have t o d o all the hard w o r k . p a y a t t e n t i o n .

or w h i c h letter is a capital a n d w h i c h is l o w e r case (or w h y p e o p l e are always g e t t i n g that m i x e d u p ) . S .s m e l l i n g soil. Y o u won't have to learn that eastern U . y o u don't even have to do the soilball test in the p a l m of y o u r h a n d o n l y to find o u t y o u have to . easily w o r k e d . B u t e n o u g h talk a n d t e a s i n g — l e t ' s get started! No More T h i s is a partial list of just s o m e of the k n o w l e d g e y o u h a d t o learn a b o u t b a c k y a r d soils i n the past. It is t r u l y an e m o t i o n a l experience that v e r y f e w gardeners have ever e n c o u n t e r e d . there is no g o i n g to the store. a n d drainage. Y o u won't have to b u y a pH soil test kit or take samples to y o u r c o u n t y extension agent. B u t n o t n o w ! F o r g e t a b o u t every o n e o f t h e m . soils are slightly acidic while western soils are m o r e alkaline. In addition. W h y . all-natural m e t h o d . blended. Isn't that amazing? N o t o n l y do y o u n o t have to b u y it. m u c k y soil. a n d trace e l e m e n t s that plants need. No Mess Mel's M i x has all the nutrients. and w h e n . S F G is an all-organic. a g o o d . w o r k i n g in lime. b u t it also balances the acidity in peat moss. h o w t o p r o n o u n c e it. y o u don't even have to learn a b o u t it. and y o u won't have t o learn w h a t t o add. W h y ? Because Square F o o t G a r d e n i n g i s n o w s o s i m p l e y o u don't h a v e to learn all the intricate details of soil structure. e a r t h y . w h a t a mess that was. since we don't use y o u r existing soil (remember we o n l y need 6 inches of pure Mel's M i x ) . y o u won't be concerned w i t h w h a t type of soil it is or w h a t the pH is. So forget all a b o u t fertilizer. Y o u don't even have t o k n o w w h a t p H m e a n s . getting it all over y o u r shoes and t o o l s — o h . minerals. W h y . reading labels. y o u m a y ask? Because I've d e s i g n e d o u r perfect soil m i x w i t h the correct p H level (acid o r alkaline) for just a b o u t all plants. no spreading t h e m out.88 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING the loose. A . balanced c o m p o s t — o n e o f the ingredients i n Mel's M i x a n d w h a t y o u will a d d to y o u r boxes after each h a r v e s t — m a d e f r o m at least five different ingredients will n o t o n l y have a pH close to neutral. texture. B u t that is all a t h i n g of the past. For those of y o u w h o crave m o r e information. l u g g i n g b i g bags or bales of soil additives h o m e . No Fertilizer. Y o u won't have to b u y a spreader or a n y of that stuff. getting a rototiller r u n n i n g and w o r k i n g — t h e n trying to turn over that wet. h o w m u c h . C o m e spring you'll find there is no w o r k to d o . a n d y o u w i l l sigh w i t h h a p p i n e s s a n d smile every t i m e .

Essential for Square Foot Gardening Success wait another w e e k because y o u r soil is t o o w e t or still frozen. a n d 1 / 3 vermiculite measured b y v o l u m e . D o n ' t even b e c o n c e r n e d a b o u t it. y o u ask? I'm n o t g o i n g to tell y o u because y o u don't need to k n o w it a n y longer. It's always loose. (What's the soilball test. no muss. I have had people ask m e . H o w does that all sound? S i m p l e and e a s y — n o w o r k . That's a lot of soil t o d i g u p a n d m o v e a r o u n d . and ready for the right t i m e o f year t o p l a n t . b u t w e ' v e c h a n g e d all that. M y original b o o k h a d rather c o m p l i c a t e d i n s t r u c t i o n s for y o u r soil. A l l g a r d e n i n g i n the past has b e e n based u p o n i m p r o v i n g y o u r existing soil. no fuss.i n c h . Y o u don't have t o k n o w a n y t h i n g a b o u t soils. V 3 peat moss. 89 Where Have You Been? Planting a garden will no longer d e p e n d on w h e n the soil is ready but o n l y on the right date to plant seeds a n d transplants. " W h y weren't y o u b o r n o n e h u n d r e d years ago s o I c o u l d have started w i t h Square F o o t G a r d e n i n g instead of h a v i n g to do all the w o r k of single-row gardening all my life?" G o o d question! No Digging U s i n g Mel's M i x c o m p l e t e l y eliminates all the hard w o r k o f d i g g i n g a n d m o v i n g e x i s t i n g soil. . I t drains a n d b e c o m e s u n f r o z e n s o m u c h quicker than regular garden soil. Just start w i t h a perfect g r o w i n g s o i l — M e l ' s M i x o f 1 / 3 c o m p o s t . A 4 x 4 x l 2 .d e e p area c o n t a i n s 16 c u b i c feet of soil that weighs well over 400 p o u n d s . friable (which the experts define as that w h i c h is easily w o r k e d — g o o d a n d c r u m b l y ) . T h i s is just one m o r e simplification o f gardening the Square F o o t way.Mel's Mix.) Y o u r Mel's M i x i s always ready t o p l a n t n o m a t t e r w h a t the weather.

readily available. W e l l . It takes a while to w e t t h e m a n d keep them moist s o y o u have t o k e e p a d d i n g water. b u t then I t h o u g h t about sponges. any extra water just drains o u t the b o t t o m . vermiculite. any excess water just drains right o u t the b o t t o m . W h e n y o u take a d r y sponge and slowly add water to it. Of course. point. Mel's Mix retains moisture. and blended compost. w h e n they b e c o m e saturated. . h o m e improvem e n t centers. drains perfectly.90 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Like A Sponge T h r o u g h m a n y experiments. At first this seemed like an impossible task. and has all the nutrients and trace minerals a plant could ever want. I m a d e sure they were all inexpensive. w h i c h m i g h t d r o w n y o u r plants. Combined properly. and able to hold just the right a m o u n t of moisture for plants while n o t b e c o m i n g too soggy for roots. b u t f i n a l l y . Peat moss and vermiculite are sold at garden nurseries. it turns o u t that t w o of our i n g r e d i e n t s — p e a t moss and v e r m i c u l i t e — d o exactly that same thing. and even some grocery stores. I came up w i t h the very best ingredients for that perfect g r o w i n g soil. At that Three ingredients make up Mel's Mix: Peat moss. it just keeps soaking up water until it's finally saturated. I created a formula that holds moisture yet drains well.

The smaller bags of loose peat moss are more expensive. Essential for Square Foot Gardening Success 91 An assortment of composts is shown here. You'll need at least 5 different types of compost for Mel's Mix. when you've finished making your own Mel's Mix.9 cubic foot bales is the most cost-efficient. Make a neat cut in the top of your bags. ask for the I 4.0 cubic foot size. even if you have to estimate it. go by the volume. Pay no attention to weight. . This way. you can reuse the bags to store any leftover mix. Buying peat moss in 3. compare them to similarly sized bags where volume is marked to estimate. The same goes for vermiculite. Important Note: If volume is not marked on the bags.Mel's Mix. Don't settle for the small bags measured by quarts.

let's simplify garden c o m p o s t i n g and garden c o m p o s t . B u t it takes time.92 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Math 101 T h e biggest p r o b l e m turns o u t to be arithmetic. w i t h air. B u t . It's true all those bad-guy. It's easy to m a k e yet hard to find. W h e n the ingredients are all p i l e d t o g e t h e r a n d i f t h e y have e n o u g h b u l k . It is o n e . It holds lots of moisture yet drains well. a n d anaerobic. is messy. it's a very confusing subject because the w o r d " c o m p o s t " is b o t h a n o u n a n d a verb. b u t y o u don't w a n t to be a r o u n d w h i l e they d o . there are actually t w o types of p r o c e s s e s — a e r o b i c . T h e second. and it is also w h a t y o u add to your A l l N e w Square Foot Garden after y o u harvest each square foot. It's loose and friable and easily worked. n o t the materials. a n d is v e r y o b j e c t i o n a b l e . it is the process of breaking d o w n plant material that is no longer g r o w i n g t h r o u g h a d e c o m p o s i t i o n process. I don't have to tell y o u that all these m i c r o b e bugs wear black hats (the b a d guys). breakingd o w n process ( c o m p o s t as a v e r b ) . c o m p o s t is described as a rich. "I can't wait . M o t h e r Earth process. T h e m o r e c o m m o n n a m e for this is rotting. M o t h e r N a t u r e can't be hurried. To complicate the understanding of the garden-related. crumbly. and does its j o b w i t h little microbes wearing w h i t e hats (the g o o d guys). G o o d compost has all the nutrients needed for plant growth. T h e worst k i n d is the single ingredient byproduct some c o m p a n y has produced and bagged. a n d this m a y m a k e i t harder t o figure o u t h o w m u c h o f each y o u need. smells.t h i r d of the Mel's M i x . B o t h are a natural. As a n o u n . First off. has no odor. h o w do y o u m a k e it. or anaerobic process. As a verb. Good and Bad So. t h e y w i l l d e c o m p o s e o r g a n i c a l l y by the aerobic process all by themselves. So w h a t is it. and w h y bother? C o m p o s t i s absolutely the best material i n w h i c h t o g r o w y o u r plants. 1 a My square foot garden has been the most productive. A l l three ingredients in Mel's M i x are sold in different-sized bags or bales. or aerobic. w i t h o u t air. S o m e people say. B u t the first. don't worry. black-hat items will eventually d e c o m p o s e . lowest maintenance garden I've ever had" —Pat from Utah Compost Let's take a m i n u t e to describe c o m p o s t . I'm g o i n g to give y o u s o m e examples so y o u won't even have to t h i n k a b o u t the m a t h . heats u p . What to Use A n y plant material is perfect for a d d i n g to y o u r c o m p o s t pile as l o n g as it's n o t hosting a plant disease or pest. soil-like material used in gardening. T h e best k i n d is h o m e m a d e c o m p o s t that y o u m a k e in your o w n backyard.

moisten. Essential for Square Foot Gardening Success for a year or t w o . every week for results in three months. 4. H o w can I speed this process?" T h e answer—mix.Mel's Mix. 3. Moisten-not dry or wet. The results will be the most amazing material you could hope for in your garden. It's often called black gold because of the color of the finished product called compost. 2. or every month for it to be ready in a year. plant-based ingredients as you can find. Mash-chop everything up into small pieces. make a big pile. Mix-add as many different. and move. 93 i i I i i i I i i QUICK COMPOST Keep everything moist. . mash. The ideal conditions for the fastest results are: 1. How often? Every day if you want the finished compost in two weeks. Move-keep turning the pile towards the center where all the action is. just moist. and keep turning it.

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ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING

Needs Mass
U s i n g the right ingredients and m i x i n g , mashing, moistening, a n d m o v i n g t h e m will help speed the c o m p o s t i n g . B u t there is one m o r e ideal c o n d i t i o n , a n d that is mass. T h e m o r e b u l k y o u have in y o u r pile (up to a certain p o i n t ) , the faster it will c o m p o s t or d e c o m p o s e . If y o u r pile is taller than 4 feet, you'll have a hard time a d d i n g n e w ingredients. If the area is larger than 4 x 4 , the air will have trouble g e t t i n g i n t o the center w h e r e all the a c t i o n is a n d the w h i t e - h a t , g o o d - g u y microbes will turn into the black-hat, b a d - g u y microbes a n d the pile will start to d e c o m p o s e anaerobically (without air) a n d start to smell. If y o u don't have e n o u g h b u l k — s m a l l e r than 3 x 3 , y o u r pile will just sit there and do n o t h i n g except cry o u t , "I'm g o i n g to w a i t for M o t h e r N a t u r e . " W e k e e p calling i t a pile, a n d y o u m a y w o n d e r i f i t w i l l b e u g l y a n d messy. B u t the pile c a n be c o n t a i n e d v e r y n i c e l y w i t h a h o m e m a d e or store-bought container called a composter. ( O h no! A n o t h e r name!) S o n o w , I'm g o i n g t o b e composting m y compost i n m y composter. You've got it! See, that wasn't so bad.

Still Confused?
W a y b a c k w h e n I w r o t e m y f i r s t b o o k o n S F G , I h a d n o idea people w o u l d be so c o n f u s e d a b o u t c o m p o s t i n g u n t i l I realized that o n l y 10 percent of gardeners actually c o m p o s t , another 10 percent don't ever w a n t to c o m p o s t , and the m i d d l e 80 percent say they w o u l d like t o b u t are c o n f u s e d a n d scared b y the process. O f course, m u c h o f that c o n f u s i o n i s f r o m n o t k n o w i n g h o w t o c o m p o s t aerobically. Let's summarize.

Mel's Mix, Essential for Square Foot Gardening Success

95

Compost Ingredients
W h a t y o u need to r e m e m b e r a b o u t the ingredients is that animal byproducts are n o t g o o d for y o u r c o m p o s t . Eggshells are okay; just crush a n d sprinkle a r o u n d . M a n u r e i s o k a y f r o m p l a n t - e a t i n g animals, b u t no m a n u r e f r o m meat-eating animals.

Turn the Handles or Chop, Chop, Chop
If y o u are in a real hurry, there are expensive, b u t effective, rotating d r u m c o m p o s t e r s y o u c a n buy. Y o u just t u r n a h a n d l e , flip a container, or p u s h a barrel around, and the contents are m i x e d a n d m o v e d . Great idea, a n d they w o r k if y o u do it regularly. I've also heard of, b u t never tried, the closed, black-plastic-bagof-ingredients-left-in-the-garage-over-the-winter m e t h o d . Be careful w h e n y o u o p e n the b a g because, as y o u can guess, that m e t h o d uses the black-hat, no air, anaerobic process that smells. S o m e gardeners have tried using plastic or m o l d e d garbage cans or even larger trash containers. Y o u have to drill or p o k e holes in them so the air can get in, b u t if the lid is tight-fitting, y o u c o u l d roll it around every day. O n m y P B S T V p r o g r a m , I s h o w e d h o w t o m a k e a rolling composter o u t of an old, cleaned oil d r u m . Y o u c o u l d push it w i t h your foot to roll it around. It was great. I've f o u n d f r o m m y o w n e x p e r i m e n t i n g that, n o matter w h a t m e t h o d y o u use, the s o o n e r y o u m i x a n d m o v e a n d the m o r e y o u mash (cut or c h o p ) , the s o o n e r a n d faster you'll start the c o m p o s t ing action g o i n g . Just a d d c o m p o s t ingredients b y m i x i n g i t i n w i t h the t o p of the existing pile. E a c h t i m e y o u a d d a lot or just a little, stir it into the t o p of the pile a n d m i x it in well. B u t , don't just a d d it in layers.

Practical Composting Tips
Mow Those Leaves
Save some of y o u r leaves f r o m fall to a d d to the c o m p o s t pile next year rather than all at once. After y o u rake t h e m u p , r u n the lawnm o w e r over t h e m to c h o p t h e m up and then stuff into plastic bags (make sure they are dry) or, if y o u are a "neatnik," store t h e m in gray garbage bins stored along the wall of y o u r c o m p o s t operation.

Dry That Grass
Others like to save their grass clippings the same way, but y o u have to be very careful. If piled u p , fresh green grass will q u i c k l y turn into a

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black-hat, anaerobic operation that's a stinking, slimy, g o o e y mess. Grass clippings have to be dried before a d d i n g them to the pile or stored for later addition. It does seem like an o x y m o r o n to dry the grass clippings o n l y to moisten t h e m in the c o m p o s t pile, but n o w I'm sure y o u can see w h y we do it that way. I c o m p a r e it to my mother's meatloaf. She w o u l d d r y bread and then c r u m b l e it to m a k e bread c r u m b s . She w o u l d then add milk to moisten everything. If she had just added moist, fresh bread, it w o u l d have gotten c l u m p y and gooey. T h e c o m p o s t is similar. If material is p u t in wet, it packs d o w n in c l u m p s preventing air from entering the pile, and then it rots and smells. So spread y o u r grass clippings o u t on a tarp or the driveway, turn them a few times w i t h a rake or flip y o u r tarp before storing t h e m or a d d i n g t h e m t o y o u r c o m p o s t pile. H o w long? U n t i l the grass i s brownish and dry to the touch. It depends on the sun, humidity, a n d rain, as well as the climate of y o u r location.

Mix and Turn
T h i s is a g o o d t i m e to r e m i n d y o u that the center of the pile is w h e r e m o s t of the action is. It will be the hottest (up to 1 5 0 ° F o r 6 5 ° C ) , the moistest, a n d w i t h the m o s t w h i t e - h a t s r u n n i n g a r o u n d d e c o m p o s i n g the ingredients. K n o w i n g all that w h e n y o u t u r n the c o n t e n t s o f o n e c o m p o s t b i n i n t o another, y o u will b e p u t t i n g the t o p o f A into the b o t t o m o f B — a s s u m i n g y o u have t w o bins o r piles s i d e - b y - s i d e — t h e n y o u m a k e sure y o u p u t the o u t s i d e material of A into the inside of B. G e t it? It's just like the

Mel's Mix, Essential for Square Foot Gardening Success t h e o r y that opposites attract. M i x i n (at the same time) o p p o s i t e colors, wetness, s i z e — e v e r y t h i n g o p p o s i t e for the fastest o p e r a t i o n . I n other w o r d s , b r o w n w i t h green, w e t w i t h dry, coarse w i t h f i n e . That's all easy t o r e m e m b e r — j u s t t h i n k o f opposites attracting a n d you'll have a great o p e r a t i o n .

97

If You Decide to Buy Compost
Don't b u y all o f o n e k i n d o f c o m p o s t i f y o u decide to not m a k e it yourself. D o n ' t let the clerk sell y o u the "best a n d m o s t popular," especially if it's loose a n d n o t b a g g e d . Here's w h y . All c o m m e r c i a l c o m p o s t is a b y p r o d u c t f r o m o n e industry. It m i g h t b e the w o o d , cattle, m u s h r o o m , cannery, c o t t o n , or s o y b e a n i n d u s t r y that has a waste p r o d u c t a n d t h e y h a v e t o get rid o f it. T h e y said, " W h a t i f w e take o u r w a s t e p r o d u c t (sawdust, m a n u r e , v i n e s , p u l p , o r husks) a n d c o m p o s t it, p e o p l e w i l l p a y us a n d take it away." E v e r y o n e l a u g h e d b u t , b y golly, i t h a p p e n e d just that way. N o w every industry w i t h a waste p r o d u c t is finding w a y s to get rid of it at a profit all the w h i l e protecting the e n v i r o n m e n t . W h a t a g o o d deal. T h e o n l y setback for gardeners is m o s t bags of c o m p o s t c o m e f r o m a single p r o d u c t and have only one ingredient. What's the solution? B u y a variety of c o m p o s t s and m i x t h e m together. N o w , y o u are m o r e likely to get a better mixture.

Do Big Time
If y o u are really into this, y o u can brainstorm to t h i n k of places that throw o u t organic or plant material. Like a bird shop and all those bird droppings that g o o n the b o t t o m o f the cage. A n d , h o w a b o u t the a n n u a l f i r e d e p a r t m e n t c o m m u n i t y b r e a k f a s t — f r e s h fruit, banana and orange peels m a y b e , b u t also h o w a b o u t eggshells? Just ask a h e a d — t a k e boxes or bags and ask t h e m to separate the trash. O r , h o w about the annual 4 t h o f July w a t e r m e l o n picnic i n town? T h e r e are all k i n d s of places w h e r e y o u c a n collect ingredients for y o u r c o m p o s t pile. A n d , y o u k n o w , the nice t h i n g i s that y o u ' l l f i n d the same situation the w o r l d over. W h e n I'm visiting foreign countries, my hosts say, " W e are p o o r here, and we have n o t h i n g to c o m p o s t . " I take t h e m on a tour and find all of these places h a v e t h i n g s that c o u l d be c o m p o s t e d . It's

98

ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING

always things people are t h r o w i n g out. I've d o n e that in India, Haiti, A r g e n t i n a , N e p a l , T h a i l a n d , G h a n a , a n d even i n L o n d o n , Paris, A m s t e r d a m , and N e w Y o r k City, so don't be afraid to g o , look, a n d a s k — i t ' s o u t there.

2

Peat Moss

T h e s e c o n d i n g r e d i e n t i n M e l ' s M i x i s peat m o s s . It's a natural material o c c u r r i n g on the earth that has b e e n m a d e after m i l l i o n s o f years f r o m d e c o m p o s i n g p l a n t material. Y o u c a n usually d e t e r m i n e h o w o l d peat moss is by m e a s u r i n g h o w d e e p l y it's b u r i e d . It is c o m m o n l y used i n agriculture t o i m p r o v e existing soils because it m a k e s t h e m lighter, m o r e friable, a n d w a t e r retentive. T h e r e are plenty of debates a b o u t the use of peat moss because it's a nonrenewable resource. Because there is a limit to this valuable material I'd like to guide y o u in using it responsibly w h i l e m a x i m i z i n g its benefits.

Only a Little
T h e n e w S F G m e t h o d uses o n l y 2 0 p e r c e n t o f the space o f traditional s i n g l e - r o w gardens. T h e r e f o r e , y o u a u t o m a t i c a l l y use o n l y 2 0 p e r c e n t — o n e - f i f t h — a s m u c h peat m o s s , a n 8 0 p e r c e n t r e d u c t i o n . I n a d d i t i o n , w i t h Square F o o t G a r d e n i n g , y o u a d d peat m o s s o n c e a n d o n l y o n c e w h e n y o u first create y o u r Mel's M i x . Thereafter, y o u ' l l never n e e d t o a d d peat m o s s t o the garden. ( W h a t y o u will a d d is c o m p o s t , w h i c h is renewable.) In the U n i t e d States, m o s t peat moss c o m e s f r o m the northern states a n d C a n a d a w h e r e it is still readily available. Because it's such a valuable resource, S F G says let's n o t waste it. Instead let's get rid of all single-row gardens that require five times as m u c h nonrenewable materials to improve the soil year after year. Let's be conservative a n d sensible and use w h a t we have, a beneficial, natural material, b u t m a k e it longer lasting.

3

Yermiculite

V e r m i c u l i t e , the third a n d final ingredient in Mel's M i x , is also a natural material a n d is obtainable all over the w o r l d . It's m i c a r o c k m i n e d o u t o f the g r o u n d . O n c e the r o c k i s collected, i t i s t h e n g r o u n d up into small particles a n d h e a t e d until it explodes just like

I personally don't like or use . s o m e newspaper stories associated the p r o b l e m w i t h all of the products c o m i n g from the m i n e . this material is filled w i t h n o o k s a n d crannies. a n d it is the same c a u t i o n w i t h peat m o s s . t h e y g r o w a r o u n d soil particles. m a k i n g the soil extremely friable a n d loose. the g o o d news is that all the vermiculite mines a r o u n d the w o r l d a n d products sold are n o w meticulously inspected b y everyone. T h e coarse agricultural grade holds the m o s t moisture w h i l e at the same time giving the m o s t friability to the soil mix. garden supply centers. S o m e people have f o u n d it at farm feed stores or even on the Internet. and c o a r s e — and is also tested a n d qualified for different types of uses. M i x o n l y o u t d o o r s on a c a l m day. T h e m o i s t u r e is always there for the roots to absorb. a n d major h o m e i m p r o v e m e n t stores and try to get the garden manager on the p h o n e a n d ask t h e m if they carry the large 4-cubic-foot bags of coarse vermiculite because you're b u i l d i n g a Square Foot G a r d e n . R e m e m b e r that roots don't g r o w t h r o u g h soil. Y o u m a y find that s o m e stores do n o t carry vermiculite. thereby getting everyone upset all over again. If that fails. shutting d o w n a m i n e because it contains asbestos makes sense. the bags w e b u y n o w even c o m e w i t h a "Certified Asbestos Free" sticker. friable soil because the roots have an easy t i m e g r o w i n g . Essential for Square Foot Gardening Success p o p c o r n . T h e r e is o n e c a u t i o n w h e n y o u m i x it.Mel's Mix. b u t as a result. N o w . C a l l all the major nurseries. H o w e v e r . Locating it can be difficult. A l t h o u g h the m i n e was shut d o w n and the industry has p r o d u c e d a great deal of evidence that the contamination was n o t in the vermiculite. m e d i u m . just like a n E n g l i s h m u f f i n . Let y o u r fingers do the w a l k i n g and call around. y o u m i g h t hear a story that started m a n y years ago w h e n o n e m i n e in M o n t a n a was shut d o w n because part of the m i n e was f o u n d to contain asbestos. l o o k u n d e r "greenhouse supplies or suppliers" in the yellow pages for wholesale distributors. B o t h materials are d u s t y w h e n d r y right o u t o f the b a g s o w e a r gloves a n d a p a i n t i n g m a s k . 99 Certified Vermiculite is graded into several s i z e s — f i n e . the story surfaces every few years as if it was new. It was a serious situation. However. T h a t ' s w h y plants do better in a loose. T h e s e n o o k s and crannies h o l d a t r e m e n d o u s a m o u n t of w a t e r a n d yet can breathe. If y o u ask t h e m why. forming small pieces f r o m as large as the tip of y o u r little finger d o w n to almost a p o w d e r . Perlite Instead of Vermiculite? Perlite is another natural material m i n e d o u t of the earth a n d used in agriculture for the same purpose as v e r m i c u l i t e — t o break up and loosen p o o r soils a n d to retain moisture.

O u r 4 x 4 .9 c u b i c feet c o m p r e s s e d = 8 c u b i c feet loose H a l f bale: 2. Peat Moss (Compressed bale) Full bale: 3.100 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING perlite. in fact. It's a matter of preference and availability. In a d d i t i o n . B u t the g o o d n e w s is t h e y usually use c u b i c feet as their m e a s u r e m e n t . T h e m a t h l o o k s like this: 4 times 4 d i v i d e d by onehalf foot equals 8. It doesn't h o l d moisture like v e r m i c u l i t e . and I don't like the feel of it in the soil m i x . In other w o r d s . some of the parents will be thankful for this k i n d of help). ( N o w don't laugh. Or to s h o w it mathematically. it floats to the t o p of the soil m i x as y o u water y o u r garden and because it's w h i t e . If n o t . don't even bother w i t h v o l u m e . it looks rather unsighdy and unnatural. m o s t of the c o m m e r c i a l mixes are m a d e w i t h perlite because it's cheaper. A n d it makes me sneeze! M a n y people do use perlite instead of vermiculite and. b u t we're n o t m i x i n g a cake here. .q u a r t sized o r similar b a g — i n s i s t o n the 4-cubic-feet b i g bag. Buying W h a t You Need If y o u f o u n d the m a t h about area difficult in previous chapters. a n d here's w h y . square feet (the area) times the d e p t h equals c u b i c feet. It is hard as a r o c k . G e t the kids to do the m a t h for y o u . B u t it's n o t 1 foot d e e p . b u t I k n o w w h i c h o n e I'm b u y i n g .f o o t b o x is 16 square feet in area (that's 4 feet times 4 feet). it's o n l y 6 inches d e e p so we need o n l y one-half or just 8 cubic feet for our 4 x4 box.) Vermiculite (coarse) D o n ' t b u y the small 4 . W h y c o n c e r n y o u r s e l f w i t h v o l u m e ? Because y o u n e e d t o k n o w the q u a n t i t y o f the three ingredients for Mel's M i x necessary t o f i l l y o u r boxes. If it were 1 foot deep. disregard w e i g h t a n d estimate by v o l u m e . rather coarse a n d gritty. V o l u m e is merely: area x d e p t h = c u b i c feet. kids. So.2 c u b i c feet c o m p r e s s e d = 4 c u b i c feet loose (These measurements aren't exact. the v o l u m e w o u l d be: 16 (the area) times 1 (the d e p t h ) equals 16 c u b i c feet. let's review h o w t o f i g u r e v o l u m e . C a l l ahead to locate. ( 4 x 4 ) / 2 = 8. a n d the packages for the different ingredients c o m e in different sizes.

we w o u l d need 6 x 8 = 48 cubic feet of m i x .) O n e .t h i r d of the total for each ingredient = 48/3 = 16 c u b i c feet of each. S i n c e all the p r o d u c t s for Mel's M i x c o m e i n different v o l u m e s . Your book. (Six boxes times 8 c u b i c feet for each b o x equals 48 cubic feet of mix. I f the bags are sold b y w e i g h t only. M i x it all at o n c e if possible (storing any excess in recycled bags).f o o t bale of peat m o s s (or if y o u c a n find the 2.) Shopping list • • • Peat Moss: 16/8 = t w o full bales Vermiculite: 16/4 = four b i g bags Compost: W h a t e v e r it takes to get 16 cubic feet of five different kinds. measure by v o l u m e . website and method are just fantastic. Essential for Square Foot Gardening Success 101 M e l ' s Mix Volume N o w here's the t r i c k y part. y o u m a y h a v e t o d o a little a r i t h m e t i c . as we determ i n e d already. they w o u l d each have a v o l u m e of 8 c u b i c feet.9-cubic-foot bale of peat moss (expands to 8 c u b i c feet).c u b i c . B u t if it's too b i g a batch to handle. I f the c o m p o s t c o m e s i n other sized b a g s .c u b i c . y o u w o u l d need: • t w o 4-cubic-foot bags of coarse vermiculite to equal 8 c u b i c feet. a n d 8 c u b i c feet f r o m at least five different c o m p o s t s bags. . Forget weight. U More Shopping Lists for Different Sized Batches I f y o u had three 4 x 4 boxes (24 c u b i c feet total). split it into smaller batches. • • o n e 3." —Annie from New fersey How to Mix T h i s is where m a k i n g y o u r Mel's M i x and filling y o u r boxes starts to get fun.Mel's Mix. y o u w o u l d a d d t o g e t h e r just o n e 4 .f o o t b a g o f vermiculite. a n d t w o o f the 2 .2^cubicfoot bales that e x p a n d to equal a b o u t 4 c u b i c feet loose). if we h a d six boxes to fill. If y o u had one 4 x 4 box and one 2 x 4 or one 3 x 3 box (12 cubic feet). h a l f o f a 3 .c u b i c . estimate v o l u m e b y c o m p a r i n g to similar sized bags that note v o l u m e . or o n e 3 x3 b o x that needs 4 V 2 c u b i c feet. T h a t ' s e n o u g h Mel's M i x to fill o n e 4 x4 b o x that needs 8 c u b i c feet plus o n e 2 x4 b o x that needs four c u b i c feet. a n d y o u w a n t e d t o m i x u p h a l f o f a b a t c h t o start w i t h . S o . (A total of 48 c u b i c feet divided by three different ingredients equals 16 cubic feet of each ingredient. Let's use a hypothetical example. y o u ' l l h a v e t o p u r c h a s e t h e m already k n o w i n g h o w m u c h y o u ' l l n e e d t o m i x correctly a n d fill y o u r boxes completely. If we h a d 4 x4 boxes.f o o t bags o f c o m p o s t . 9 .

dear?" A l l of the three ingredients are d u s t y w h e n dry. You'll see the material roll over. and 3. D o n ' t do it in the garage. or you'll get dust all over y o u r nice n e w car or w o r k s h o p . reuse. recycle plants in y o u r c o m p o s t . or a steel rake. 2. W h e n y o u ' v e p u l l e d . W e a r a painter's m a s k a n d have a hose ready w i t h a v e r y fine spray. a h o e .102 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Here's a suggestion: Use a pair of scissors to cut o p e n y o u r bags carefully along the top so y o u can reuse t h e m . reuse.f e e t . reduce. m i x i n g itself. so do this w h e n there is no w i n d . At the same time explain to the kids the environmental three R ' s — r e d u c e . a n d o p e n it near y o u r garden where y o u have all y o u r boxes built and located. C o u n t o u t the bags a n d boxes. "Are y o u sure this is where y o u w a n t all the boxes. M a k e sure y o u have t h e m in their final resting p l a c e — c h e c k w i t h the boss one m o r e time and ask. center T h e n d r a g t w o corners of the tarp to the o p p o s i t e t w o corners. save the bags. kinds of of a compost large in the tarp. G e t a large tarp. D o n ' t forget to have a few m i x i n g tools ready like a s n o w shovel. d o the m a t h o n e m o r e t i m e a n d start o p e n i n g the bags and p o u r i n g the contents o u t on the tarp w i t h o u t w a l k i n g on the ingredients. O u r Square Foot G a r d e n i n g system is a great example of: 1. and recycle. at least I 6 x l 6 . by 80 percent. R o u g h l y m i x the three ingredients as Empty the 5 bags ofdifferent best y o u Can as y o u p o u r it.

It helps to have two people do this (below). take two corners of the tarp and drag the tarp over itself until the pile rolls to the edge of the tarp. To mix.Mel's Mix. . Essential for Square Foot Gardening Success 103 You should have a fairly large pile of blended compost (above).

. add your vermiculite. add the peat moss. These ingredients can be dusty. Next.Once the compost is well mixed. so water them lightly before mixing. You may also want to wear a protective mask.

use a fine spray to reduce any dust. We'll get to seed starting in the next chapter. b u t don't spray so m u c h y o u m a k e puddles or w e t the ingredients so the mixture b e c o m e s t o o heavy to m o v e easily. T h i s is p r e c i o u s stuff. and it would be difficult to drag the tarp around your yard.U. Essential for Square Foot Gardening Success the tarp so that the m i x t u r e is a l m o s t to the edge. " W a s t e n o t . Don't wet the soil any more than is absolutely necessary. b u t a s y o u are a d d i n g it to the b o x — t h a t w a y the r e m a i n i n g material in the tarp doesn't get so h e a v y that it is h a r d to drag. Soil becomes very heavy when wet. Y o u have n o w c o m p l e t e d the m o s t i m p o r t a n t and rewarding step 105 i. don't p a c k it d o w n . label w i t h a marker. O n c e the b o x is full a n d the t o p leveled off. As s o o n as y o u a d d your grid to each box. w a n t not. L1. y o u are ready to plant. Y o u just w o r k y o u r w a y a r o u n d the tarp a n d repeat p u l l i n g corners t o g e t h e r u n t i l y o u r M e l ' s M i x is u n i f o r m l y m i x e d . m o v e 90 degrees a n d p u l l those t w o corners over. If y o u have a n y leftover Mel's M i x . T u r n the bags inside o u t if y o u w a n t a plain look. D o n ' t let the kids play in the mixture. (By the way. Since y o u don't really water the m i x until it's in the b o x . It w i l l settle j u s t right by itself. w e t t i n g d o w n the m i x e d .. D o n ' t t r y t o carry shovelfuls o f m i x t o the b o x a s it will spill a n d be w a s t e d .p a c k s a n d use for transplants as w e l l as extra to t o p o f f the boxes w h e n the soil level settles.JL. y o u r stored m i x will be fairly dry and lightweight to carry.i n layers o n l y as y o u fill it. T h a t extra Mel's M i x w i l l c o m e i n h a n d y t o fill f o u r .") T h a t ' s also w h y w e don't w a t e r the Mel's M i x i n the tarp. Use the hose w i t h a fine mist or spray to w e t d o w n a n y dust. p u t it b a c k in the e m p t y bags y o u set aside for reuse. To fill other boxes. w o r k w i t h s o m e o n e else to drag the tarp close t o the n e w b o x e s . I'd save a small plastic b a g of v e r m i c u l i t e for seed starting. or t h e y will crush the large particles of vermiculite. ( R e m e m b e r w h a t G r a n d m a always said. . and p u t t h e m aside.Mel's Mix.) T h e next step is to fill the boxes.1 i. It's finished w h e n y o u don't see a n y single material or o n e color.

M i x several different types o f c o m p o s t together i f y o u b u y y o u r c o m p o s t . and didn't add any of similar to this photo." (But don't b e c o m e a pest. y o u r existing soil. A n d no more work ever. y o u will be blessed w i t h the m o s t w o n d e r f u l garden y o u could ever imagine.106 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING The finished Mel's Mix should look in S F G . M o s t c o m m e r c i a l c o m p o s t s have o n l y o n e o r t w o ingredients because t h e y are m e r e l y leftover waste materials or b y p r o d u c t s f r o m an industrial o r c o m m e r c i a l o p e r a t i o n . If y o u followed the formula correctly.) An Afterthought I w a n t to m a k e d o u b l y sure y o u got the message of this chapter. H o w e v e r . . " H e r e . B y themselves. visitors to y o u r garden will w a t c h as y o u say. it will stay loose and friable as l o n g as y o u live and y o u will be so excited and happy. so I'd like to summarize the critical facts about c o m p o s t . if y o u can find at least five of these individual c o m p o s t e d materials y o u can m i x t h e m together to m a k e a well-rounded blended c o m p o s t ingredient for y o u r Mel's M i x ." M a n y of y o u will then add. Y o u m a y have to keep one square just for show. Y o u need blended c o m p o s t m a d e f r o m at least five different ingredients. Just feel this soil. y o u try it. t h e y d o n o t m a k e a g o o d ingredient in Mel's M i x . A n d i f y o u d i d y o u r j o b a n d got a b l e n d e d c o m p o s t m a d e f r o m at least five m a j o r ingredients. "Just l o o k at this soil as y o u r u n y o u r hands t h r o u g h it. the g o o d n e w s is.

shape. You've learned all of the basics. h o w to put your seeds in the garden with the proper spacing (it's as easy as Z i p . N o w it's time to plant. and location of your garden. put in the Mel's M i x .ow we're Gardening. B i n g . and added the grids. This chapter is going to instruct you on your plant choices. most dependable growth. You've built the frames. and growing your o w n transplants for the quickest. You've picked the size. .B i n g .N .B i n g — you'll see).Z a p . it's easy to have a stunning garden by planting a different crop in every square. getting to the interesting and fun part of Square Foot With your grid in place.

Shirts come in all four sizes: small. dwarf marigolds. It's that simple. are those that take up the entire square f o o t — p l a n t s like cabbages. It's the same for onions and carrots—sixteen per square foot. which is exactly the same spacing the seed packet recommends as it says "thin to 3 inches apart. begin by visualizing what you want to harvest. and geraniums. Large. For extra large plants. Swiss chard. and even the larger heads of leaf lettuce and Swiss chard. It's the same with broccoli and cauliflower. Extra Large T h i n k of these plants as if they were shirt sizes. broccoli. T h a t single cabbage will take up a whole square foot so you can only plant one per square foot. peppers. which equals 4 inches apart. of course. and parsley. so they don't take up as m u c h space as in a conventional garden.") Small. Sixteen can fit into a single square foot. Several crops could be 1 per square foot if y o u let it grow to its full size or it can be planted 4 per square feet if y o u harvest the outer leaves t h r o u g h o u t the season. large. M e d i u m plants include bush beans. and large turnips. medium. w h i c h equals 6 inches apart. M e d i u m plants come next. . Picture a large plant like a head of cabbage. T h i s category includes parsley. T h i s simple step prevents you from planting too much. Using the S F G method. beets. Let's go to the opposite end of the spectrum and think of the small plants like radishes. T h e y fit nine to every square foot. locate seeds or plants right in the middle of your square. Large plants include leaf lettuce.108 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Visualize the Harvest In S F G . N e x t are the large p l a n t s — t h o s e that can be planted four to a square foot. (Yet that's a 3-inch spacing between plants. cauliflower. and so do our plants. basil. Medium. and extra large. y o u snip and constantly harvest the outer leaves of edible greens. T h e extra large.

or even putting in transplants that y o u purchased or grew from seed. or sixteen plants should be spaced an equivalent number of inches apart.How to Plant Your All New Square Foot Garden 109 To help keep up w i t h this. nine. So if you're planting seeds. four." Of course we don't have to "thin to" because we don't plant a whole packet of seeds anymore. A n o t h e r way to get the proper spacing and number per square foot is to be a little more scientific and do a little arithmetic as shown below. just find the seed packet or planting directions to see what the distance is for . This is the same distance the seed packet will say "thin to. S o m e people even have it laminated so they can take it outdoors w i t h o u t w o r r y i n g about the weather destroying it. y o u may w a n t to c o p y this chart so y o u always have it handy. You can see that one.

110 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING .

This is when the grid becomes handy. Plant seeds—just a pinch of two or three seeds depending on size—into the holes you poked into the squares. nine. draw a vertical and horizontal line dividing the square in half each way.How to Plant Your All New Square Foot Garden 111 For crops that can fit four to a square foot. or sixteen plants in each square foot. All y o u do is draw lines in the soil w i t h your fingers! For one plant per square foot just poke a hole in the middle of the square w i t h your finger. T h e plants go right in the center of these four smaller squares. W h e n your square foot is bordered by a grid. For four per square foot. and y o u don't have to do any complicated measuring or figuring either. This distance then determines whether you're going to plant one. Just because we're talking about measuring in inches doesn't mean you have to get out your ruler or yardstick. four. or sixteen plants. nine. thinning. divide the square into four sections and poke a hole in the middle of each section. four. . it's m u c h easier to think one.

it's fresh. It automatically helps to improve your growing soil three times a year in very easy. For most of the country. it looks pretty. and even winter. It promotes conservation. Occasionally try something new. crop rotation." All that has changed with S F G and y o u n o w have boundaries (the grid) and the opportunity to ask yourself. that y o u plant only what y o u want to eat. small steps.112 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING How Much to Plant I recommend. summer. Remember the saying. photo-opportunity garden. I can't take care of it. shapes. so w h y didn't y o u b u y any more than y o u did? Well. you'll soon be there. the different colors. It allows y o u to stagger your harvest by planting one square foot this week and another of the same crop in two weeks or so. of course. it's the same answer as to w h y y o u shouldn't plant too m u c h of one thing. It's w o r t h repeating here that the biggest problem for single-row gardeners has always been "I planted too m u c h . especially at the beginning. 4. plus the visible grid will give y o u a very distinctive. W h a t time of . plant densities. y o u could start planting in any season odier than winter. Besides all of the above. h o w m a n y bunches of Swiss chard did y o u buy last week or even last month? T h e stores have it.. is that enough? Do I really w a n t more? W o u l d it be better to plant another square foot of the same thing in a week or two or three?" Time of Year Keep in m i n d that y o u can build a Square Foot Garden anytime of the year—spring. and heights. companion planting. It's very difficult to put in four tiny plants of Swiss chard and think that's going to be enough for the whole family. but especially at first only grow those vegetables and herbs that y o u normally eat. It prevents y o u from overplanting any one particular item. 2. and it looks good. "Square by square. and allows better plant hygiene and reduced pest problems. but one square of red and one square of green chard usually is more than most families eat. "For every single square foot I plant. You'll just love and admire it everytime y o u see it. W h y ? Here are several reasons: 1. leaf textures. Just like a patchwork quilt. Some people ask. fall. that's g o i n g right back to the single-row mentality. It's too m u c h w o r k and I'm sorry now. Proof of the pudding ." 5. Remember. . " W h y can't we plant all sixteen squares with leaf lettuce or spinach or Swiss chard or whatever we want to plant?" O h . plant each adjoining square foot with a different crop. 3. Square Foot Gardening begins with visualizing the harvest.

don't do well in the cool weather of spring and fall. If it's n o w fall. It . but won't survive in the hot summer. and w h a t y o u and y o u r family need and w a n t . T h e y are just like people. y o u can still start your S F G with a great cool-weather crop and get some valuable experience before next spring. T h e r e are two types of crops w h e n y o u consider weather. You're all settled in w i t h y o u r p o p c o r n . Start whenever y o u get the urge to plant. Each of the four seasons has three time p e r i o d s — the early season. and tasty. y o u guessed it.How to Plant Your All New Square Foot Garden the year is it right n o w for y o u and where are y o u in the sequence of a yearly gardening cycle? T h i n k of it like the movie theater before the main feature. and those that can't handle it as non-hardy. W h a t if y o u came in the middle of the picture? For gardening that w o u l d be s u m m e r t i m e . Of course. ready to devote your full attention to the movie. as well as ways to protect your plants so y o u can get more from your garden. exciting. There's a lot more information about frosts and freezes in Chapter 9. Y o u can still plant a w a r m weather crop even if y o u missed the spring crop.) Seasonal Plants You can get at least three crops a year in every square foot of your S F G . We classify these as hardy. and late season. especially if y o u are interested in extending the season. but can't stand any heat at all near the late part of the season. Hardiness and Protection with SFG SFG's size makes it very easy to protect y o u r n e w plantings from an extra early or late frost. T h e first are called cool-weather crops that do best in the spring and fall. Every choice is g o i n g to be fun. for example. there may be some vegetables that can only grow in the mid-part of the spring while others can tolerate a little more cold in the beginning of the season. of course. midseason. or humidity better than others. we'll start with the beginning of the garden year for most of the country. Plants aren't all the same. For convenience. Y o u lucky people. S o m e can stand the heat. (Some parts of the country. T h e second group is the w a r m or hot-weather crops that. but thrive in the h o t weather of summer. like Texas and Florida. springtime. this is usually the equivalent of springtime. y o u r selection depends on the time of year. In the gardening year. can grow all year long. cold. If you're thinking about a spring crop.

sometimes for no explainable reason. the fall g r o w i n g season begins n o t w i t h the first calendar day of fall (September 2 3 r d ) . H o w do y o u find your local frost dates? T h e Internet is the best resource for detailed information. T h o u g h the weather is never exactly the same every year. It doesn't m e a n you're not g o i n g to be a great gardener." Frost Date Websites You can access your frost dates on any number of websites. and links for hardiness zones for Australia.114 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING takes a little while to get used to which is which. All we can do is go by the past and h o p e it will be similar this year. For plants. In the spring we need to k n o w the date of the last frost in our area. T h e best one I've f o u n d is www. then look for the heading "Extension of [your state] University. y o u just point to where y o u live and click. the Ukraine (in English).com/hardzone. Europe. and h o w best they fit in with your planting schedule. T h e average dates of your first and last frost depend on where y o u live in the c o u n t r y and the regional and local variations of weather. To find your local extension agent. but w i t h the first frost and continues until the first freeze of the fall. T h i s site also links to y o u r . Of course. by entering "frost dates" in the search engine. and y o u get the information. different years. the government collects dates for your area and calculates the average date from the past 100 years. it helps to k n o w a plant's hardiness. You can also call your local county extension agent or most area nurseries. Frost Dates A l t h o u g h people like to celebrate the first day of spring (March 20th) according to the calendar. Don't expect to find a perfect list because h o w well plants thrive differs in different parts of the country and of course. and C h i n a (also in English). If y o u lose a few squares of s o m e t h i n g one year it's no big deal. Each different c r o p — w h e t h e r cool-season or warm-season—will need to be planted so many weeks before or after that last day of frost. To help.victoryseeds. Don't w o r r y — y o u ' l l learn it in time. T h a t will help us determine w h e n to plant. T h i s Internet site has the frost dates and hardiness zone maps for the entire United States as well as C a n a d a . plants don't give a hoot about our c a l e n d a r — they respond to weather. T h i s is not an exact science so relax if you're a beginner and just enjoy the ride. T h e hardiness zone map for the United States is interactive. the average is only a guide. look in the Government blue pages for your county in your telephone book.

How to Plant Your All New Square Foot Garden local university extension service. Let the experts advise y o u on the varieties that will do best in your local area.

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Sequence of Growth
D i d y o u k n o w that plants grow and b l o o m everywhere in the same sequence? In other words, throughout the country, daffodils b l o o m in the springtime, then a little later tulips b l o o m , then it's time for the lilacs to bloom. (Did I leave out dandelions?) Start noticing the sequence in your location. It w o u l d include trees, shrubs, flowers, even weeds. I read a b o o k once about following spring north. It's theoretically possible that if y o u drive fast e n o u g h (and eat and sleep quickly), y o u could see nothing but tulips in bloom all the way from Georgia to Maine. If y o u k n o w w h a t kinds of plants are s u m m e r crops (the most popular and w e l l - k n o w n vegetables), it's easy to remember that everything else is a spring or fall crop. Summer crops include beans, peppers, eggplants, tomatoes, and squash. If y o u plant these w h e n it's too early or cool, they'll either die or their growth will most likely be stunted for that year.

a

"You have got me so excited about gardening again; I love teaching SFG. It is so much more successful than other methods. I don't know why all gardeners and farmers aren't using it."
—Mike from Utah

Charts
I've designed charts for All N e w Square Foot Gardening so you'll k n o w when to plant and in w h a t order. T h e s e charts will guide y o u along, providing seed-to-sprouting times at certain soil temperatures. I've also included calendar charts that show, based u p o n area frost dates (assuming y o u have a frost), h o w soon before or after a frost y o u can plant a given crop. You'll find that some plants are very frost-hardy and can be planted m u c h earlier than those that are just on the borderline. Turn to page 2 5 2 to see the charts.

Plan on a Fall Crop
As soon as the s u m m e r crop is finished, you're ready to plant coolweather crops for the u p c o m i n g fall. T h e s e crops are frost-hardy, meaning that both y o u n g and mature plants withstand frost. T h e seeds y o u plant at the end of s u m m e r will sprout quickly since the soil is warmer. Transplants can begin outdoors and grow m u c h faster than the same thing planted in the spring. L o o k at the charts; compare sprouting times for the same seeds in both spring and summer temperatures. T h e fall crop gains an extra advantage from late summer weather. T h e problem with cool-weather plants in the spring is not cool weather but w a r m weather at harvest time. A plant's purpose in life is to reproduce seed, and the rising temperatures of an approaching summer make this happen sooner. As it does so, the plant's w h o l e character

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changes. M a n y people don't realize that plants like lettuce put up a flower stalk, w h i c h then goes to seed. If y o u wait too l o n g to harvest lettuce, the stalk will shoot up, and the same thing happens to other crops like cabbage. T h e head splits open, a stalk shoots up, develops flowers, and then turns to seed. It's nature's w a y of allowing the plant to reproduce, but the plant changes taste w h e n this happens. All the energy goes toward the seed and the plant itself, as far as taste is concerned, becomes rather tough, coarse, and bitter. In cooler weather, this process is delayed. T h e plant feels no urgency to complete the growing cycle. So in the fall, the plant slows its maturation process, allowing it to maintain flavor for a longer length of time as temperatures continue to grow cooler and cooler. If it's frost-hardy, it doesn't matter if it is the middle of fall and y o u start getting frost. Some plants can endure some freezing and still provide a crop for harvesting. Fall is a great time to plant if y o u put in the right crops.

Soil Temperature
Soil temperatures vastly influence sprouting times. For example, if y o u plant carrot seeds in the summertime w h e n the temperature of the soil is between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, the seeds will sprout in less than a week. But if y o u plant the same seeds in early spring w h e n the ground temperature is perhaps 40 degrees, they will take a m o n t h and a half to sprout. Just another 10 degrees warmer and they will sprout in a little over two weeks. T h e chart shows that w h e n the soil is cold and freezing, no seeds will sprout. W h e n it warms up to 40 only half of them will sprout; but as soon as it gets to 50 degrees, suddenly almost all of them will sprout and will continue right through the warmer temperatures of summer and fall. W h a t happens to seeds w h e n they don't sprout because the ground is cold? T h e y could rot, or fungus could attack them. T h e y could break their d o r m a n c y and then go dry. T h e y could be attacked by insects, or d u g up by animals or birds. So, the quicker y o u can get them to sprout the better off they will be.

Spring, Summer, and Fall Crops
Some crops, like the cabbage family, take so long to grow that there isn't e n o u g h time to plant seeds directly in the garden and wait for the harvest. So y o u have to buy from nurseries or raise your o w n transplants indoors ahead of time. T h e same situation applies to the warm-weather summer crops like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. T h e y take so long to produce that y o u must plant y o u r garden w i t h transplants. T h e charts show this all in detail, indicating w h e n to start seeds and w h e n to transplant.

How to Plant Your All New Square Foot Garden T h e fall crop is better for raising your own transplants because y o u will be able to start the seeds in the summertime, raise the transplants outdoors in your garden, and then move them into their permanent spot in the early fall for late fall harvest.

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Starting Seeds and Growing Seedlings
T h e r e are plenty of advantages to growing your o w n transplants and storing the remaining seeds in their packet until next year. First, seeds cost pennies, while transplants cost dollars. T h e r e are m a n y more varieties offered in seed catalogs than as transplants at the nurseries. T h e only setback is time because growing your o w n transplants depends on the time and w o r k y o u can spare. If you're a brand new gardener, however, y o u may want to wait until next year to start your o w n transplants. Like everything else in life, we tend to go overboard and do too m u c h and then it becomes a chore. Don't let it happen to you!

Storage of Seeds
If your seeds are stored properly, they will last for many years. Contrary to what the gardening industry w o u l d like y o u to believe, it is not necessary to buy fresh seeds every year or to pour out that whole packet of seeds all at once. S F G teaches y o u to plant just a pinch of seeds.

Although it's a great idea to start your own transplants from seed, this is an example of what not to do. It's not necessary to sow so much when you practice the SFG method.

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T h e n store the rest. By planting just a pinch of seeds instead of a whole packet, y o u can save a lot of money by saving the excess seeds for next year's crop, and the next year's, and so on. Some seeds will last up to five years. Seed companies guarantee that a certain percentage will sprout; this number is always very high, usually up into the nineties. Of course the seed industry wants y o u to b u y a fresh packet of seeds every year so they can stay in business. There's nothing w r o n g with that! But there's also nothing w r o n g with saving m o n e y with a more efficient system.

How to Store Seeds
W h a t is the ideal storage condition for seeds? It is just the opposite of the moisture and warmth that make them sprout. You'll want to store them in a cool, dry p l a c e — t h e driest, coldest place in your home. Some people freeze their seeds. But I find they get moisture even if they are in a zip-lock bag because it never seems to be totally airtight. I prefer refrigerating them in a wide-mouth jar with a screw lid. Label y o u r containers and store them in the refrigerator on a back shelf. In each jar place a desiccant packet from a film container, or medicine vial, or add a little powdered milk wrapped in a tissue to soak up any excess moisture in the jar.

Germination Rate
W h a t happens to seeds that are in storage? As they grow older, their germination rate (the | percentage that sprouts under ideal conditions) gradually diminishes. B u t the solution is very simple. Plant a p i n c h of s e e d s — j u s t t w o to t h r e e — i n s t e a d of o n l y one to ensure that at least one will sprout. If y o u r seeds are m a n y years old, test the germination rate yourself or just plant three or five or however m a n y seeds d e p e n d i n g on h o w well they sprouted the year before. If y o u m a r k e d the sprouting rate on the packet, y o u can reasonably estimate h o w m a n y to plant the next year.

W h a t Did I Do Wrong?
K n o w i n g that roots sprout first will help your seeds successfully grow. Here's why. Traditionally, gardeners hoed open a row, planted, covered, watered, and then walked away from their garden hoping for the best. If nothing grew, single-row gardeners thought the worst: "Maybe they were bad seeds. Or worse, maybe I'm a terrible gardener!" W h a t all of these gardeners did not realize was that the seed might have already sprouted,

How to Plant Your All New Square Foot Garden perhaps after a week or t w o , and the root was heading d o w n before the top could come up and break the surface. If the gardener gave up and quit watering, it is possible that their seed did die. W h y ? Because if the soil dries below the s e e d — i n the root zone only 1 or 2 inches below the surface—the root will wither and die from lack of moisture. But if the gardener had kept the soil moist, then the seeds w o u l d have had a g o o d chance to put the root d o w n to support the plant and its n e w shoot.

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Keeping Records
M a n y gardeners keep planting d a t a — w h e n , what, and where they plant, h o w long it takes to sprout, and h o w well their plants grow. It may sound like a lot of b o o k k e e p i n g , yet some people enjoy recording their garden data and even set up computerized spreadsheets to make computations from this information. I don't bother to keep all these details myself, but if y o u enjoy it, this m a y help y o u learn faster and measure the progress more effectively.

Moving Plants
A S F G garden is small, and I've been able to change things around once they were all planted. It doesn't take m u c h to move and replant something from one square to another if y o u think it w o u l d look better somewhere else. It's k i n d of like arranging a r o o m of furniture and pictures on a wall. Y o u can m a k e all kinds of layouts and drawings even to scale, but I guarantee y o u once everything is in place, you'll change your mind.

Drop a Pinch
We have learned about seed size and shape and storage and sprouting conditions. T h e next thing is to practice planting. Y o u can do this indoors in the winter before y o u start y o u r garden. Take different kinds of seeds from the tiniest to the largest and practice picking up and d r o p p i n g a pinch of seeds o n t o a piece of white paper to c o u n t your results. T h i s is really a lot of fun, almost a family game. There is a very practical reason for doing this. W h e n I tell people to just plant a pinch of s e e d s — t w o or t h r e e — I think I have given them all the instructions they need. But I always find so m u c h variation in h o w

O n c e a seed receives moisture and begins sprouting (known as "breaking dormancy"). If y o u scoop up too many. Generally speaking.120 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING m a n y seeds they end up planting. y o u can just shake a few back into the palm of your hand. it will die if it dries out so don't forget to water regularly. A white plastic spoon usually works great. a seed's depth is t w o to four times the thickness of the seed. . y o u may even want to use a spoon for picking up that pinch of seeds. It's important to place your seeds below a moist surface to prevent it from drying out. especially if you're using darker colored seeds. If y o u are having trouble. It's in your finger dexterity. and y o u may need a little practice. T o o close to the surface and it can dry out from the h o t sun. How Deep? H o w deep should y o u plant a seed? This depends a lot on the size of the seed and the soil y o u plant it in.

Big seeds should be soaked for only about a half hour to an hour. what percentage can y o u expect to sprout? T h i s chart can be valuable to y o u and should be used whenever y o u plant seeds. When they've sprouted. If the seed is planted too deep for the k i n d of seed it is. Bean and pea seeds. w h i c h m i g h t look shriveled up. in part because your Mel's M i x is loose and friable. move them into their own square foot. Time to Sprout H o w long does it take to sprout seeds? T h e chart in the Appendix shows how many days it takes various types of seeds to sprout at various temperatures. nature will tell it. Presoaking Before planting your seeds. T h i s is one of the hidden advantages of starting w i t h perfect soil. transplant them into four packs. If y o u k n o w ahead of time it's going to take 10 days for the seeds to sprout at the average o u t d o o r temperatures. buddy.How to Plant Your All New Square Foot Garden 121 Plant seeds 2 to 4 times the depth of their size. " G e t going. You can also judge from the percentage that will sprout at that temperature. h o w many extra beyond two or three seeds to plant to ensure one good healthy plant. Too Deep Isn't a Problem You don't have to worry too m u c h about placing your seed too deep. W h i l e some can be soaked overnight. ." T h a t sprout can push right up through Mel's M i x because there are a lot of nooks and crannies and the soil is very easy to move. but y o u will know to keep that soil moist for those number of days. When they're large enough and the right time comes. as soon as it begins to receive moisture. give them a jump-start by presoaking them. then y o u won't be a nervous Nelly every day wondering w h e n . some fall apart after only an hour. It almost guarantees that all of your seeds will grow into plants. put some roots d o w n and start growing. it depends on the seed. In addition.

carefully lift the plant by holding on to one o f the seed leaves between t w o fingers. y o u m a y see a sprout c o m i n g up in just six. and give it a drink of water. but I have found that if y o u wait until the set of true leaves develops. w h e n y o u see roots. a few cups and saucers. the roots have already grown so long and tangled that it's almost too late to transplant. T h e seed leaf comes first. . Rather than handling the seed at this point. Instead of fourteen days. creating a m u c h stronger plant. Start y o u r seeds in a little cup of vermiculite and transplant them into four-packs filled w i t h Mel's M i x after they begin growing. If the roots are very long. Starting Transplants Indoors N o w it's time to decide whether y o u want to grow your o w n transplants indoors rather than direct seeding out-of-doors. Beware. and trays. N o w you're ready to take it outside. y o u won't kill the plant. keep it moist (a plastic bag w o u l d be h a n d y to maintain moisture) and in a warm place in the house. I suggest y o u transplant them into the four-pack as soon as the tops have sprouted and y o u see the first two leaves called the seed leaves. T h e first set of "true" leaves comes o u t next as the stem grows higher. T h e n p u t the paper towel and seeds in a very shallow tray or dish. water makes some seeds slippery. For every root y o u cut off. T h e n w i t h y o u r pencil. just the leaf. Don't touch the plant stem. y o u need a little bit of paraphernalia: Mel's M i x . C h e c k daily. and it's usually a fairly flat. plant it in your S F G filled w i t h Mel's M i x . and lift each one out w i t h a knife. Indoor Seed Sprouting T h e easiest w a y to sprout seeds indoors is to place t h e m on a moist paper towel. cover it. carefully cut the paper towel into little squares. and lift the whole plant o u t — r o o t and a l l — f r o m the b o t t o m while your other hand is holding the top of the plant by one of the seed leaves. Seed Leaf W h e n you're sprouting seeds in a cup of vermiculite. You've just given your plant a head s t a r t — i n about half the time. it's time to plant. To raise y o u r o w n seedlings.122 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING swell up and break in half if y o u soak them too long. four-packs. Don't w o r r y . A plastic spoon can help y o u handle them. two n e w roots will sprout as it branches out. loosen it up. trim off the b o t t o m third w i t h a pair of scissors. large leaf that doesn't l o o k like the plant's regular leaves. Lift By Its Ears W h e n the seeds have seed leaves and you're ready to transplant to the four-pack. M o s t garden experts say to wait until y o u have t w o "true" leaves. dig in the vermiculite. . .

Pour a few seeds into the palm of your hand. (This is a leftover plastic container shown in the photo. poke some holes into the bottom of a container.To start seeds for growing your own seedlings. . Add enough water until you notice a very slight color change to the vermiculite (it becomes darker). Pinch a few seeds with your thumb and forefinger.) Till the container with vermiculite and pour water around the rim of the plate.

M a k e sure the hole's big enough to hold the whole root. take your pencil and make a hole in one cell of your four-pack.) T h e n y o u can let it have brighter light and then finally full sunlight. (Refer to C h a p t e r 4 for information about how to build shade cages. Give it some water. Cover the seeds with a thin layer of vermiculite (unless they need light to germinate. After the seeds sprout. T h e n lower the plant root d o w n into the hole. either from above for outdoors or from below for indoors in four-packs. Sun will kill that y o u n g seedling. and then give it shade immediately.ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Sprinkle the seeds across the surface of the vermiculite. or outdoors in your garden soil. check the seed package). always w o r k in your o w n shadow. then make sure the plant has shade for at least a couple of days. In fact. if you're outdoors. Take the point of the pencil and push the Mel's M i x around the plant. Plant it a little lower than w h e n it sprouted. .

if they've grown in a circle. will branch and send out little feeder roots. wherever they are. Yes. T h e n all the ends of the roots. in other words.How to Plant Your All New Square Foot Garden Trim the Roots W h e n y o u place transplants into the garden. Lower the whole plant into the hole at the proper spacing in your outdoor garden. the w h o l e t h i n g — t h e mass of roots and the soil. 125 You can trim excess roots by snipping them off with your garden shears. water is directed straight down to the roots. My solution for a r o o t b o u n d plant is to take that same pair of scissors and just cut off the b o t t o m roots. Because of the saucer shape. . Push the mix around seedlings to form a slight saucer shape in the mix. take a look at the roots to see if they are r o o t b o u n d .

' —Michael from Georgia N e x t . M a k e sure y o u plant at the level of the soil. A n d don't forget the little drinks of water every n o w and then. regulate the sun exposure. Late afternoon on a cloudy day is the best time. and then planting into the garden is all the same. . N o w that's really pampering y o u r garden plants. That's w h e n y o u k n o w the plants are totally saturated with water. push the soil back around the plant to form a slight saucer shape in the soil. transplanting into 4-packs. cut the root bottoms off. Take your four-pack and let it float in a bucket of w a r m water until it sinks and there are no more bubbles c o m i n g up. and perhaps. shade at midday. so you're not putting a wet plant into dry ground. just in m u c h nicer weather. then sun can easily be done w i t h a shingle stuck in the g r o u n d at the right place and the right angle. If it's h o t out. and plant it. T h i s requires some effort because y o u don't w a n t t h e m out at night w h e n it's cold or freezing and y o u also don't w a n t t h e m out in the b u r n i n g hot sun in the daytime. We don't w a n t to water the rest of the square foot if we don't have to. T h e n take it out. Actually all that sun. Regulate Sunlight and Heat To help harden off plants. Because of the saucer shape. place y o u r plants out in the sunlight in the m o r n i n g . pop each plant out of its container. Hardening Off H a r d e n i n g off is the process of getting the plant adjusted to a n e w e n v i r o n m e n t — l i k e g o i n g from indoors to outdoors. a little more direct light in the afternoon. water goes straight d o w n to the roots.126 Water Well ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING O n e caution: the plant and root should be very w e t before y o u transplant into your S F G . Saucer-Shaped Depression L was surprised at how much I could get from such a small area. factoring in the slight depression of the saucer. D r y ground will suck the moisture right out of THE roots. w h e n the sun starts d o w n . watering. How's that for conserving water? Outdoor Seed Sprouting T h e procedure for o u t d o o r seed sprouting. but at n o o n t i m e provide some shade. then shade. Your garden soil should be moist. Let them receive direct sunlight in the early m o r n i n g . It's important that y o u r plants are acclimated gradually so they can get used to their n e w location and different weather conditions.

every time y o u read "thin to. 9. Spacing H o w many plants will fit into a square foot? T h e numbers are so simple and easy to remember: 1. ( G o to the chart in the Appendix to see mature plant sizes. cover the square w i t h a piece of cardboard cut to fit in the grid. three. ." directions on a seed packet. and 4. . four. then write the sprout date and the date y o u planted it on the cardboard w i t h a m a g i c marker. you'll need to lift the cardboard before y o u sprinkle water on the soil surface to keep the soil moist. because it's as simple as one. If y o u like math. (Now. y o u will recognize right away that these numbers happen to be the squares of 1. A n d .How to Plant Your All New Square Foot Garden 127 Can't Dry Out To keep y o u r newly planted seeds from c o o k i n g in the hot sun. and w h o doesn't. W e i g h t d o w n the cardboard to keep it from flying away in the w i n d . 3. you might consider other plants that could share the same support and plant them in adjacent squares. in addition to the fact that we're gardening in square foot plots. 2. . 4. Estimate the soil temperature and sprout time (see the charts in the A p p e n d i x ) . T h e number of plants y o u grow in a square foot depends on a plant's size w h e n it's fully grown. " W h y do the seed packets tell me to plant so many seeds only to go back and thin to just one plant?") If you are planting something that may need a plant support later as it gets fully grown." y o u will think of me and say to yourself. Of course. that's h o w Square Foot Gardening got its name . or 16. and then remove it a day or t w o before the sprout date. two.) You can also figure it out very easily from the "thin to.

so we could put four pansies in each corner using our favorite colors. T h e n depending on your family's taste we could have one or more squares from the cabbage family. T h e n there are even some people w h o w a n t to assign those plants to spaces ahead of time. A n d perhaps in one corner some dwarf dahlias. depending on your tastes. It's very easy to stand in the garden and as the square becomes vacant y o u just l o o k around and decide it's time to plant another square of radishes. So we don't have to p u t all the cabbage into one S F G . T h e n we'll put one square of nine beets in an outside square because we'll harvest their leaves during the season and then finally pull the beet bottoms later. Despite being an engineer. It's better to space them out throughout the g a r d e n — m a k e s it harder for the cabbage m o t h to find them all. but this time you'll put in the yellow variety instead of green. Let's assume it is still springtime. broccoli. O n e of the first things we w o u l d have planted in die spring is one or two squares of spinach. one per square foot. one square of sixteen onions and a low-maintenance square of sixteen radishes in the center. which w o u l d provide us a continual harvest. Or perhaps some nasturtiums spaced at one per square foot. and y o u should do whatever makes y o u happy. I just like to plant as I see fit. T h e n p u t some colorful flowers in each corner. T h a t could be red or green cabbage. w h o loves charts and diagrams. Plans and Drawings R e m e m b e r I m e n t i o n e d that some people feel a desire to think ahead and draw up a list of everything to be planted in their garden. We can plant two or three varieties of leaf lettuce on the outside. nine per square foot. . Or maybe you'd like to have some more beans. I don't usually do that. But it's your Square Foot Garden. or cauliflower. We'll start with tall plants on the north side of the box so they don't shade shorter plants. In another square we could p u t sixteen chives. and four parsley plants in another. For more color we might want to put a square of red salvia along the back. K e e p in m i n d this is n o t the only 4 x4 in the w h o l e garden. I find it very easy to just bring h o m e a four-pack of flowers I liked at the nursery and decide by looking at the garden where they w o u l d look best.128 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING A Typical Garden Let's plant one 4 x 4 and see h o w m u c h we will grow in those 16 square feet. It's also very easy to spot and plant where you'd like some color. but that we're past the last frost. Carrots require little care until they're harvested. So it means drawing a chart. more or less to scale. So let's plant t w o squares of different carrots in the center squares. of your garden and assigning those particular crops to each square foot.

To start w i t h . E n d of paragraph. and any weeds that do sprout are easily observed because they're not in the proper space and they look different from the plants that are there. that square foot of radishes will be ready to harvest in four weeks—you'll be ready to replant just that one square. So your choices have increased and also most of the summer crop is fairly longlived and will be in that spot through the whole summer season. You have to w e e d about once a month. This is a good example of a rootbound container plant. as soon as y o u harvest. and shorter plants and those that need constant care or harvest to the outside just to make them easier to tend. Because the soil is so soft and friable weeds c o m e out e a s i l y — r o o t and all. (Don't worry. it won't be a big deal to replant because you're g o i n g to do it one square foot at a time. Weeding T h i s could be the shortest paragraph in the entire book. it's better for the plants anyway. O n c e your newly planted garden starts maturing in the spring—for example.) . your Mel's M i x has no w e e d seeds in it. T h e season has changed and it's warmer. You'll want to trim the matted roots before planting. and most of your summer crops can n o w be planted. As y o u replant y o u keep the same criteria in m i n d — t a l l e r plants on the north side to keep them from shading other plants.How to Plant Your All New Square Foot Garden 129 Replanting Keep in m i n d that. end of story. w o r k i n g your w a y to cascading flowers on the front corners to look pretty. Place plants that don't need m u c h attention and only occasional harvesting like peppers on the inside.

You've Learned the Basics You've n o w learned all the basics of Square Foot Gardening. Do y o u k n o w h o w to do a rain dance? . right after y o u harvest you'll find it hard to notice where y o u got everything and if anything is missing. For example. A r e we having any fun yet? N e x t chapter we're g o i n g to discuss h o w to maintain and harvest y o u r S F G . As long as y o u don't take too m u c h at one time. calculating. but with a pair of scissors and a salad bowl y o u can continuously trim the leaves from such things as lettuce. a leaf lettuce is not allowed to wait until it forms a large. Swiss chard. n o w it's time to go out to your garden and do something outrageous that will amaze or d u m b f o u n d any neighbor w h o m i g h t be watching y o u . In fact. the plant will easily survive and thrive. parsley. four.130 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Harvesting K e e p in m i n d that we harvest m a n y of the crops continuously. Filling your salad bowl each day should not diminish the garden in any way. three. mature head. t w o . Y o u have also learned h o w m a n y and w h a t k i n d of plants fit into a square foot by memorizing. spinach. You've learned h o w to zip zap in the soil to get the proper and exact spacing then start planting y o u r seeds and transplants. You've learned h o w it got its n a m e — f r o m the squares of one. or by looking it up on the chart. Okay. and even onion tops. beets. chives. if possible.

his is g o i n g to b e a fairly short chapter because S F G requires so little m a i n t e n a n c e o n c e y o u r g a r d e n is prepared a n d p l a n t e d . harvesting. occasional w e e d s or pests. r i d d i n g the g a r d e n o f a n y tiny. That's w h a t makes S F G s o interesting. m o s t say it's t e n d i n g their garden f r o m aisles a n d . and watering. every square is different because it was planted w i t h a different crop at a different time. You'll e x p e r i e n c e a c o n t i n u o u s cycle of n u r t u r i n g . You'll enjoy observing y o u r garden's g r o w t h until harvest.GROWING AND HARVESTING • Don't walk on your growing mix • Only three tools needed • Support your plants • Weeds and other pests are not a problem • Water the right way J. H o w does that s o u n d ? A l l of the n u r t u r i n g you'll need to do consists of p r o v i d i n g necessary structural s u p p o r t for plants. a n d r e p l a n t i n g each year w i t h n o soil p r e p a r a t i o n a n d n o w e e d i n g t o d o ever again. Care W h e n asked t o n a m e the greatest advantage o f the A l l N e w Square Foot G a r d e n i n g .

These are the only tools you need for your All New Square Foot Garden. it b e c o m e s m o r e a n d m o r e c o m p r e s s e d (called c o m p a c t i o n ) and it becomes harder and harder for air to circulate t h r o u g h the soil m a k i n g it m o r e difficult for roots to grow. friable soil like Mel's M i x ? T h i s way. but they certainly won't g r o w well. So w h y are the experts still teaching us to do this? I say. just like people. Keep It Loose Let's think of s o m e of the advantages of not packing y o u r soil d o w n . If y o u pack the soil d o w n . w a t e r can percolate d o w n and air can circulate. L i k e m a n y others. So w h y not provide them w i t h nice. shovels. A trowel a pencil. forks. and scissors— . T h e y m a y n o t die. I always w o n d e r e d w h y we were taught to loosen soil w i t h rototillers.132 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING never s t e p p i n g on their soil. T h e plant roots need air and moisture. and hoes. o n l y to walk all over it again packing it d o w n . just stop w a l k i n g on y o u r g r o w i n g soil—it's that simple. loose.

Of course. Just t h i n k . c u t t i n g o f f dead blossoms. y o u r big. n o w y o u can afford s i x — o n e for every S F G box! W h y n o t b u y an assortment of colors? Y o u can have one in every b o x just sitting there w a i t i n g so that y o u don't have to go l o o k i n g for a tool w h e n y o u w a l k by a n d see a square that is ready for replanting.000 in y o u r pocket. T h e y have all the features of a six dollar trowel. A Pencil. In fact.d u t y tools that take so m u c h energy to m a n e u v e r — t h e y ' r e suddenly obsolete. A Trowel. Because S F G tools are so simple a n d inexpensive.Growing and Harvesting 133 Three Tools A n o t h e r big advantage of S F G is that the n u m b e r and cost of tools is r e d u c e d to a l m o s t n o t h i n g — y o u will o n l y need three tools. lettuce. that's a tool) for p o k i n g holes a n d lifting o u t y o u n g seedlings for transplanting. G a r d e n i n g "experts" w i l l tell y o u t o g o o u t a n d b u y the best tools y o u c a n f i n d because t h e y w i l l last longer. I never have to l o o k for a tool. b u t they also cost m o r e .d o l l a r variety is really the best buy. M a y b e y o u have s o m e old-fashioned single-row friends w h o just can't give up all . A n d y o u don't have to hire s o m e o n e at $ 5 0 every year to p l o w for y o u . So instead of just one. T h a t way. T h e other t w o tools you'll need are a pencil (yes. They're attractive. W i t h S F G . y o u c o u l d probably just go into y o u r garage or toolshed and see t h e m all right t h e r e — p o o r . and neat l o o k i n g . if y o u see an occasional w e e d . strong. y o u n o longer need a n y of those big. y o u n o l o n g e r n e e d a rototiller! E l i m i n a t e that cost a n d y o u n o w have an extra $ 1. It w o u l d be fun to list all the tools that y o u no longer need if y o u have a S F G . and s n i p p i n g off extra seedlings if m o r e than one seed sprouts in a hole. a n d a pair of scissors for harvesting beet. a n d for l o o s e n i n g u p a n d t u r n i n g over the M e l ' s M i x i n a n i n d i v i d u a l square f o o t o r even a n entire 4 x 4 . expensive. for m i x i n g in an a d d e d t r o w e l full o f c o m p o s t w h e n y o u replant each square f o o t . I n the s p r i n g y o u w o n ' t believe h o w perfect the soil w i l l b e i f y o u f o l l o w the Mel's M i x f o r m u l a a n d start w i t h a perfect soil. lonely tools. I love to splurge and keep o n e of each at every 4 x 4 . strong w e e d i n g tools are y o u r o w n t h u m b a n d forefinger! T h e t r o w e l is for t r a n s p l a n t i n g . h e a v y . and Scissors T h e first t o o l of the three tools y o u n e e d is a trowel. or Swiss chard leaves for supper. Y o u don't even n e e d a shovel o r rake o r a n y o f those special d i g g i n g tools that have b e e n i n v e n t e d t o d i g u p the t o u g h soil. I've f o u n d that the o n e .

PENNY PIN (HER You can even make your own kneeling pad out of scrap carpeting. y o u r m o s t frequent p o s i t i o n w h i l e g a r d e n i n g will be k n e e l i n g . there are no w e e d seeds in peat m o s s or v e r m i c u l i t e . Optional A c c c e s s o r y A l t h o u g h y o u o n l y need three tools. y o u m i g h t w a n t to invest in a k n e e l i n g pad. right? First. w h i c h i s f i l l e d w i t h w e e d s . the o n l y possible w e e d seeds in o u r S F G m i g h t have b l o w n in. it won't matter if it gets wet. Unless y o u r boxes are p l a c e d on tabletops. If you have some leftover indoor/ outdoor carpeting. Since w e are n o t using o u r g r o u n d soil. Y o u c o u l d rent t h e m o u t and m a y b e m a k e a few bucks. it dries quickly and folds up nicely to make a great kneeling pad. remove any weeds or grass from inside your box. . For less than four dollars. N e x t . then lay down landscape fabric as a weed barrier.134 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING that hard w o r k and c o u l d use s o m e extra heavy-duty tools. a n y seeds that w e r e i n t h e i n g r e d i e n t s y o u a d d e d t o the c o m p o s t pile w i l l get c o o k e d a n d k i l l e d i n that 1 5 0 degrees Fahrenheit t e m p e r a t u r e as the pile heats u p . If y o u prepare the bed properly and line the b o t t o m of the b o x w i t h landscape fabric. v n will s e r e o e h m b c u e r e a e n r o nlare Y u r n f n r r ea s h v r n f o r w i ces First. They are available as scrap or samples at any place carpeting is sold. y o u can b u y a k n e e l i n g p a d that is c o m f o r t a b l e a n d d u r a b l e . T h e y ' r e terribly u n c o m f o r t a b l e a n d will e n d u p h a n g i n g i n y o u r t o o l shed a l o n g w i t h the o t h e r l o n e l y tools. B u t h o w ? W e e d s p l a g u e every garden. Weeds S F G has few o r n o w e e d s . It wouldn't hurt to have a few of these pads scattered throughout your SFG. a n d as s o o n as t h e y sprout. n o w e e d s will s p r o u t f r o m the b o t t o m . T h e r e ' s n o n e e d t o b u y the fancy ones that strap to y o u r knees. This will be your "best friend" against future weeds.

you'll pull it o u t of that soft Mel's M i x w i t h o u t a p r o b l e m . I f o n e square gets devastated. R e m e m b e r o n e . S o m e of o u r tax dollars go to train a n d maintain a staff of horticultural experts in every c o u n t y in the c o u n t r y — t h e c o u n t y e x t e n s i o n service agents. So." T h e o n l y p r o b l e m I have w i t h the c o u n t y agents is that m o s t of t h e m are trained in o u r agricultural colleges. p u l l i t u p a n d replant it w i t h s o m e t h i n g else. g r o w i n g conditions. E n j o y y o u r g a r d e n . a n d sixteen. try t h e m o u t next season to help eliminate y o u r problems. If y o u r question is about pests or problems or even the best varieties to g r o w in y o u r area. It is a great service. To find y o u r local extension agent. and we often refer questions to the agents a n d their staff. I'd give a great answer. it sprouts w e e d s . they are n o t the best source for answers to S F G questions. a n d then l o o k for the h e a d i n g "Extension of (your state) University. try n o t t o w o r r y a b o u t t h e m . W h i c h s y s t e m w o u l d y o u like t o have i n y o u r backyard? 135 I See You H o w c a n y o u tell if a n e w s p r o u t is a weed? First. nine. y o u couldn't find a m o r e informative source. T o summarize pests a n d problems. County Extension Agents T h e r e is a g o o d s o l u t i o n . U I've lived my life doing the backbreaking work of single row gardening— this is so much better!" —Gina from Kentucky ." don't l o o k under "Agriculture. four. a n d present gardening c o n d i t i o n in an area. You'll have to c o m e to us for those questions.m e . C o m p a r e that t o w h a t y o u ' v e e x p e r i e n c e d w i t h y o u r existing soil. history. find y o u r county. l o o k i n y o u r p h o n e b o o k i n the G o v e r n m e n t blue pages. w h i c h still teach singler o w farming a n d h a n d . it's difficult to give an accurate answer. If the question came f r o m my county. If it is o u t of place (and I'll bet y o u were careful to m a k e sure y o u r spaces were correct in that square foot). Pests and Plant Problems T h e o n l y w a y t o intelligently answer the q u e s t i o n s w e get a b o u t pests a n d p l a n t p r o b l e m s requires k n o w i n g t h e weather. A n y t i m e the existing soil a n y w h e r e in the c o u n t r y is left a l o n e . the c o u n t y extension agents train a n o t h e r g r o u p o f n e i g h b o r h o o d v o l u n t e e r s called " M a s t e r G a r d e n e r s . I n a d d i t i o n . roots a n d all.Growing and Harvesting w i l l d o the rest.d o w n gardening. it's n o t in the p r o p e r space a m o n g y o u r little transplants. " w h o t h e n g o o u t i n the c o m m u n i t y helping others by answering their questions. p u l l i n g o u t the w e e d . B u t w h e n it comes f r o m across the c o u n t r y or anywhere in the w o r l d . If y o u didn't use the protective structures of C h a p t e r 4.

K e e p in m i n d if y o u have a question a b o u t any of the vine crops.d a t e o n all the n e w varieties and w h a t grows best in their area. such as tomatoes. T h e y are always u p .136 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING W h i c h Plant Varieties? Q u i t e often p e o p l e will ask questions like. Other vine crops. " W h i c h are the best varieties o f p o t a t o e s o r carrots t o g r o w i n m y corner o f the state?" T h e s e q u e s t i o n s can o n l y b e answered b y y o u r local e x p e r t — t h e c o u n t y e x t e n s i o n agent. w h i l e most single-row gardens allow t h e m to sprawl. y o u will w a n t to train t h e m to a trellis. need a little help from you each week. Notice how easily vine crops such as pole beans climb the trellis netting all by themselves.t o . .

their garden is o n l y a fraction of the size that it u s e d to be. W i t h a saucer-shaped depression in the soil. you're n o t w a t e r i n g the tops o f the plants or the leaves. Watering Plants need water just like people do.s h a p e d w i r e s u p p o r t cage o r horizontal fencing or netting suspended across the entire 4 x4 garden. T h e root system is g o i n g to be able to d r i n k up the water w h e n a n d in the a m o u n t needed. giant m a r i g o l d s . first. such as root crops and l o w . " B u t they've failed to t h i n k a b o u t the fact that. T h a t m e a n s 8 0 p e r c e n t o f the w a t e r i n g y o u u s e d t o d o i s n o l o n g e r n e e d e d a n d w a s actually w a s t e d .) T h e s a m e s u p p o r t t e c h n i q u e w i l l also w o r k for tall flowers like g l a d i o l u s . " H o w do y o u water a n d h o w m u c h ? " My ideal w a y to water is ladling o u t a c u p of s u n . h e l d tight by four c o r n e r posts. the water will soak right d o w n to the roots instead of rolling away f r o m the plant into other parts of the garden. G e n d y lift the b o t t o m leaves of the plant and. T h e taller crops m i g h t need a little help. T h o s e c a n easily b e s u p p o r t e d b y u s i n g a U . N e x t . O n e o f the reasons we p r o v i d e p l a n t s u p p o r t is the soil m i x is so loose a n d friable that the tall plants need a little help. so there is n o t h i n g to do for t h e m . e g g p l a n t . simply straighten t h e m up a n d p u s h a little extra soil a r o u n d the stem. w i t h y o u r other h a n d .g r o w i n g salad crops. however. are y o u listening? . a n d tall dahlias. W e d o get a f e w p e o p l e w h o say. Is this a m a j o r a d v a n c e in w a t e r c o n s e r v a t i o n or what? H e l l o . so you're n o t p r o m o t i n g fungal diseases a n d other p r o b l e m s . ladle a c u p of that water into the depression a r o u n d the plant.w a r m e d water f r o m a b u c k e t that can be left in the sun next to y o u r garden. (See C h a p t e r 4 for c o n s t r u c t i o n details. need no support. T h e soil consistency of y o u r Mel's M i x is already 100 percent of materials that h o l d moisture. You're k e e p i n g the w a t e r w h e r e i t w i l l d o the m o s t g o o d — a r o u n d the base o f the p l a n t w h e r e i t c a n travel d o w n t o the r o o t system. Everyone asks. W h e n y o u water. d e p e n d i n g on w h e t h e r they are a leaf or head crop like Swiss chard or cabbage. " O h that w o u l d take t o o l o n g . a n d b u s h t o m a t o e s . o k r a . c o r n . Too Top Heavy T h e plants t h a t u s u a l l y n e e d a little s u p p o r t are the s u m m e r c r o p s like p e p p e r s . If a heavy w i n d and rain or hailstorm k n o c k s t h e m over.Growing and Harvesting 137 Support Your Local Plants S o m e plants. conservationist. it goes right into the soil a r o u n d the root system and stays there.

and that's w h y y o u never have to w o r r y a b o u t giving y o u r plants too m u c h water. If y o u build a structure to form a miniature greenhouse around y o u r S F G . s u n . W h e n that little sponge gets saturated. M o s t people don't realize that plant roots need air as well as moisture. just dip a cup of water from your 5-gallon bucket of sun-warmed water. Don't Drown Me Invariably gardeners water plants too m u c h . L u c k y for y o u . the faster they'll grow and the quicker you'll harvest. and pour it in the saucershaped depression. T h e w a r m e r the weather.138 When your plants need a drink. b u t it won't if y o u have a Square Foot G a r d e n where the soil drains excess water. That's w h y people have greenhouses." Usually it did hurt w i t h local soil that didn't drain well. R e m e m b e r the chart in the A p p e n d i x s h o w i n g sprouting times in various temperatures. I'll give it a little extra. Regular . the rest of the water drains right out t h r o u g h the b o t t o m .w a r m e d water helps w a r m the soil. it also has a tendency to d r y o u t quicker than most garden soils. It won't hurt. In spring and late fall. So they think. ) W i t h Mel's M i x y o u c a n n o t overwater. B u t simply p o u r i n g w a r m (not hot) water into the soil means the w a r m t h tends to go a little d e e p e r — a n d even q u i c k e r — t h a n the sun b a k i n g the surface of the soil. the radiant heat from the sun will w a r m the soil from the surface d o w n . T h e more scientific reason is plants can absorb nutrients in the soil m u c h faster and grow better if the soil and water temperature are warmer. perhaps out of kindness or fear that they will fail. That's h o w Mel's M i x w o r k s . Mel's M i x allows air into it because it's loose and friable. B u t because y o u r soil m i x drains readily w h e n saturated.w a r m e d water? O n e answer is that it's for the same reason people don't like to take a cold shower. R e m e m b e r the sponge? Each little piece can hold moisture so a plant root can g r o w around that piece and take o u t the moisture w h e n needed. ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING A n d w h y s u n . " O h . (Chapter 5 tells y o u h o w to m a k e Mel's M i x .

I repeat: you cannot overwater. You're n o t o p e n i n g a b i g valve a n d l e t t i n g the sprinkler system take over or the irrigation water c o m e in. y o u k n o w right a w a y to inspect the c h i l d a little closer to m a k e sure he or she is p r o p e r l y hydrated. After a w h i l e you'll be able to w a l k past y o u r 4 x4 garden b o x and immediately spot any square f o o t that needs water. I f they've b e e n o u t i n the h o t s u n a n d p l a y i n g hard a n d o n e o f t h e m l o o k s a little d r o o p y a n d w i l t e d .Growing and Harvesting soils stay saturated. . w h i c h is v e r y i m p e r s o n a l . Perhaps the plants w i l l be slightly w i l t e d . T h i n k o f y o u r plants i n y o u r g a r d e n the same a s y o u d o y o u r children. 139 i i I i i i I I I With Mel's Mix you cannot overwater. H a v e y o u folks w h o live in states that irrigate ever w o n d e r e d w h y y o u have to w e e d y o u r single-row garden so often?) E v e n a drip irrigation system is i m p e r s o n a l — t h o u g h . M a y b e they'll be just a little d r o o p y or their c o l o r w i l l be a little off. Y o u c a n appreciate their b e a u t y a n d color. of course. Nurture Your Plants I suggest watering by h a n d because it allows y o u the time to nurture y o u r plants. You're n o t s t a n d i n g o f f in the distance w i t h a hose. It tells y o u w h e n the plant is g o i n g to be ready for harvest. Y o u have to water a little m o r e often and p a y m o r e attention to watering. n o t i c e their blossoms and fruit. It's a satisfying feeling to w o r k in y o u r garden w i t h each plant. A n d because you're d i p p i n g a c u p i n the b u c k e t you're n o t g o i n g to get yourself all w e t a n d dirty. is l o o k i n g at the plants. efficient. T h e secret. ( A n d guess what? Irrigation water is filled w i t h w e e d seeds. so single-row gardeners m a y be used to t u r n i n g on the sprinkler or flooding the g a r d e n t w i c e a w e e k a n d that's it. Your A l l N e w Square F o o t G a r d e n is different. You're able t o s t o p a n d n o t i c e h o w y o u r plants are g r o w i n g . Y o u m e r e l y w a t e r those square feet right t h e n a n d there because y o u r b u c k e t o f w a r m w a t e r i s always right n e x t t o y o u r garden. I m u s t admit.

w a i t a m i n u t e . T h i s i s n o t o n l y v e r y impersonal. b u t gaining this experience brings a lot of pleasure. H e y . A n d the best w a y t o tell i s f r o m e x p e r i e n c e — t h e same w a y y o u k n o w y o u r c h i l d needs a drink. I f y o u d o use a hose.o f f valves r i g h t a t the e n d o f the hose s o y o u h a v e c o m p l e t e c o n t r o l o f the force a n d a m o u n t o f the water. Leave a n extra l e n g t h o f hose coiled i n the s u n t o help w a r m the w a t e r up a little. If y o u just turn a valve or worse yet. it's a n u i s a n c e to get o u t or p u t away. b u t y o u h a v e to be careful at the start if it's h o t o u t a n d a h o s e full of w a t e r has been laying in the sun for s o m e time. a mechanical timer turns the water on a n d off. D o w h a t y o u d o w h e n giving the b a b y a b o t t l e — t e s t the water on y o u r wrist. Yes. there is always the hose. T h e o n l y p r o b l e m I have is it sort of takes a w a y the n u r t u r i n g and close attention paid to y o u r plants. b u t it c a n be adapted for S F G just as easily.140 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Too Much E x i s t i n g w a t e r i n g systems give all different types a n d sizes of plants the s a m e a m o u n t o f w a t e r a t the s a m e t i m e . Drip. Y o u don't w a n t the water to b e t o o hot. a n d in r o w gardening it always seemed to be k n o c k i n g plants d o w n as it has to be dragged a r o u n d the garden. Alternate Watering Methods A Hose For those w h o w a n t to use a m o r e traditional m e t h o d . m a k e sure y o u h a v e o n e o f those s h u t . we do have water shortages all a r o u n d the country! How Much In conclusion. it's also very inefficient. T h i s also allows y o u to water directly under y o u r plants. If our farmers d i d that we'd have w a t e r shortages all a r o u n d the c o u n t r y . Drip. Drip A v e r y efficient w a y to w a t e r y o u r S F G is w i t h a d r i p irrigation system. and the nozzle on the e n d of the w a n d can b e p o k e d d o w n a n d w o r k e d a r o u n d the lower leaves o f the plant so that m o s t of the plant remains dry. I k n o w it w a s d e s i g n e d for r o w gardeners. o n l y water as m u c h as each plant needs. . m a y b e just to take the chill o f f tap water. T h e r e are m a n y short a n d l o n g extension h a n d w a n d s that c o m e w i t h a spray nozzle. y o u never get close to y o u r plants a n d they will miss y o u . A n o t h e r advantage to S F G boxes is the hose won't do that a n y m o r e as the b o x corners keep the hose f r o m crushing the plants. it does take a little bit of experience to raise a family. Yes.

and t h e y have a n u n d e r g r o u n d sprinkler system that goes o n a n d o f f automatically. R e m e m b e r that the S F G t h e o r y i s t o visualize the harvest. p o u r s o m e i n t o the p a l m of one h a n d . Harvest Harvesting y o u r crop is the c u l m i n a t i o n of the gardening experience. A s k yourself. N o t so great for the h o m e gardener w h o just wants dinner tonight. " H o w m u c h d o I n e e d for o n e o r t w o w e e k s ? " T h e n o n l y p l a n t that m u c h . T h e n ask yourself. it's all g o i n g to be ready to harvest all at once. b i n g . If y o u p l a n t an entire r o w of s o m e t h i n g all at once. do the zip. n o t a month's w o r t h of lettuce in one day. b i n g . Control That Planting E v e r y t h i n g i s different w i t h a S F G . the rest becomes all drudgery. b i n g to m a r k the spacing. N o w . W h a t should they d o .Growing and Harvesting B u t I m u s t a d m i t the w a t e r i n g gets d o n e v e r y efficiently a n d effectively T r y r u n n i n g small soaker tubes spaced every 6 inches the length of y o u r b o x for c o m p l e t e coverage of every square foot. T h e harvest s h o u l d be a j o y f u l a n d e x c i t i n g t i m e because. a n d plant a p i n c h in each hole." R i g h t then a n d there y o u can see o n e of the h u g e advantages of y o u r grid establishing b o u n d a r i e s a n d S F G g i v i n g y o u a u t o m a t i c c o n t r o l — s i m p l e a n d easy. " D o I w a n t any m o r e than sixteen radishes all at once? T h e y ' l l be ready in four weeks and they'll all c o m e to harvest w i t h i n o n e w e e k . water w i t h a fine spray. 141 Lawn Sprinkler Systems S o m e people tell m e they have located their S F G o n the lawn. every t i m e y o u b e g i n t o plant s o m e t h i n g i n y o u r S F G . zap. b i n g . I tell t h e m to m a k e do w i t h w h a t they have and just keep a b u c k e t or t w o around for special plants as needed. As y o u s m o o t h the soil over the seeds. a n d it becomes an o v e r w h e l m i n g task. So. " Usually the answer is " N o . after the first few pickings. Prepare the soil. they ask? W h a t can y o u d o — r i p up the l a w n or t u r n o f f the system? N o . s m o o t h it out. N o w . It takes a b o u t a m i n u t e . l o o k the item u p i n y o u r S F G b o o k t o find h o w m a n y to plant per square foot. . I really don't w a n t a n y m o r e than this. Too Much T h e p r o b l e m w i t h traditional gardening is that there is t o o m u c h to harvest all at o n c e . after all. this is w h y you're g r o w i n g all these plants in the first place. y o u just live w i t h it. I'll w a i t a w e e k o r t w o t o p l a n t a n o t h e r square f o o t o f radishes s o m e w h e r e else. select the varieties y o u w a n t f r o m y o u r seeds.

y o u c a n get at least three crops a year i n every square foot. turn the soil over w i t h the trowel. m u l t i p l y y o u r n u m b e r o f square feet by three a n d there are a lot of choices to m a k e ! E v e r y .142 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING A Little of This. it's t i m e to prepare the soil a n d p l a n t a n e w crop. " I n c h b y i n c h . T a k e one last harvest. w a s h t h e m o f f in y o u r bucket of s u n . the p l a n t has c o m p l e t e d its g r o w i n g season a n d its use for harvesting. a n d t h e n c o n t i n u e a r o u n d y o u r Square F o o t G a r d e n taking just a little bit here and a little bit there of this a n d that." —Karen from Utah C o n t i n u a l l y harvest a n y type of leafy v e g e t a b l e — l i k e leaf lettuce or Swiss c h a r d — b y snipping a little here and a little there t h r o u g h o u t the season. but Mel makes everything so logical and easy to understand. remove what's left over. o u r s a y i n g i s g o i n g t o b e "square b y square. Y o u m i g h t p u l l o n e radish a n d o n e carrot. s m o o t h it over. or r o o t s — y o u can place these in y o u r c o m p o s t b i n — t h e n a d d a trowel full of c o m p o s t (hopefully it's h o m e m a d e ) to the square. even t h o u g h they've o n l y g r o w n t o h a l f size. R e m e m b e r . R o b e r t Schuller. W h e n it sends up a seed stalk. and prepare that square foot for r e p l a n t i n g — u n l e s s y o u w a n t the kids to see h o w a lettuce or radish plant produces seed. anything's a c i n c h . just take four lettuce leaves. w i l l e v e n t u a l l y go to seed." A s s o o n a s y o u finish h a r v e s t i n g o n e square f o o t . Snip 1 had always been a little afraid of composting. especially cool w e a t h e r p l a n t s . Go o u t at harvest time (which m i g h t be a h a l f an h o u r before l u n c h or dinner) w i t h y o u r pair of scissors and a small basket or salad b o w l . To paraphrase the w o r d s of Dr. a n d c u t o f f a f e w o u t e r leaves. stems. y o u ' l l s o o n b e there.w a r m e d water. you're o n l y dealing w i t h o n e square foot at a time. " W i t h S F G . and you're ready to replant. T h i s can't go on forever because the plant. E a c h square m a y c o n t a i n a different variety a n d c o l o r o f lettuce. Y o u can do all of that in 60 seconds! Replanting N o w it's g e t t i n g m o r e interesting a n d fun because y o u will b e able to c h o o s e w h a t y o u w a n t to replant in every single square f o o t all t h r o u g h the garden season. Just take o u t any debris like dead leaves. p u t the tops in the c o m p o s t b i n . perhaps o n e f r o m each p l a n t . parsley leaves f r o m another. S o o n y o u r harvest basket is full a n d y o u l o o k at y o u r garden a n d c a n n o t even see that a n y t h i n g is missing. a n d perhaps beet greens f r o m another. A Little of That Y o u don't have to w a i t for the plant to mature to its m a x i m u m size. To harvest a varied salad. Snip. Harvest and Replant W i t h Square F o o t G a r d e n i n g . S o .

you're ready to plant a fall crop. or p u t t i n g s o m e t h i n g a w a y in the refrigerator. y o u ' l l have fun d o i n g it! D o n ' t forget to share the fun w i t h y o u r spouse. You'll enjoy the fresh greens a n d salad m o r e often. A n d they're fun things t o d o . p l u c k t h e m out. a d d i n g a trowel full of c o m p o s t . You've n o w p l a n t e d three crops in o n e square f o o t in o n l y o n e year. children. water. replaced it w i t h a fruit crop. O f course. Because y o u can do a litde bit here a n d a little bit there. Harvest a few small plants w i t h a child. in the fall. s o a k t h e m for a little w h i l e . w h a t y o u select d e p e n d s a lot on w h a t t i m e of the year it is a n d w h a t y o u can use a n d enjoy. No getting all dirty a n d sweaty. H o w a b o u t spinach? C h e c k the spacing. a n d finally. maintaining. It's like straightening a crooked picture as y o u w a l k d o w n the hall. Next Crop W h e n the s u m m e r is finished. w h i c h will be a cool-weather crop. T h e s e are things y o u can d o right then and there. p o p t h e m in the g r o u n d . harvesting. or watering y o u don't need hours and hours to enjoy y o u r garden. A n o t h e r m i n u t e g o n e . N o heavy w o r k . A Wonder If y o u r g a r d e n is close to the b a c k d o o r or k i t c h e n door.Growing and Harvesting choice i s g o i n g t o b e f u n . In addition. 143 A Little Now W h e t h e r you're planting. S F G c o u l d be part of a weight-loss p r o g r a m . exciting. get the seeds o u t . a n d d e c i d i n g what's next. give a d r i n k of water to any plants that appear a little d r o o p y o r w i l t e d ( r e m e m b e r y o u r b u c k e t o f s u n w a r m e d w a t e r is right there a n d so is y o u r t r o w e l if y o u n e e d to loosen the soil). added a leaf crop. a n d you're all finished. s m o o t h t h e m over. o r g r a n d c h i l d r e n — t h e w o n d e r o f g r o w t h a n d harvest i s priceless. a n d interesting. b u t y o u are c r e a t i n g life. a n d feel better. you'll probably use it m u c h m o r e . Go t h r o u g h the w h o l e q u i c k process of picking o u t a n y debris. eat healthier. y o u can do it a n y t i m e of the d a y — e v e n on y o u r w a y o u t the door! If y o u see a few tiny weeds growing. j o t t i n g a note to s o m e o n e w h o will be c o m i n g h o m e soon. Y o u started w i t h a r o o t crop. i f y o u ask m e ! O n t o p o f all that. y o u practiced soil i m p r o v e m e n t three times in one y e a r — s q u a r e b y square. T h e r e goes another minute o u t o f y o u r b u s y life. s m o o t h i n g it over. m i x i n g it in. and that child will r e m e m b e r the experience forever. .

W h e n y o u begin gardening w i t h a healthy. If y o u g r o w the same t h i n g c o n t i n u o u s l y in the same place. w h i c h has all the nutrients and trace elements that plants need. Mel's M i x gives y o u a garden soil that is 33 percent c o m p o s t . T h e y will have t o m o v e every t w o m o n t h s . N o w that you've b e c o m e a n accomplished gardener o n e square at a time. C r o p rotation is v e r y i m p o r t a n t in traditional row gardening w h e n dealing w i t h existing soils that have very few nutrients in t h e m — n u t r i e n t s that can quickly be depleted by planting and replanting the same crop year after year in the same soil. rich soil like Mel's M i x . W h e n y o u decide y o u need a little color over here or there.1H ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Rotation Not Critical T h e nice t h i n g about S F G is y o u are also practicing crop rotation w i t h o u t even k n o w i n g it. y o u m a y put in a s u m m e r crop of flowers—perhaps p i n k p e t u n i a s — y o u b e c o m e a designer. S F G is g o i n g t o b e n o p i c n i c for t h e m . Just t h i n k — y o u ' r e enjoying a painting in progress w h e n y o u garden the All N e w Square Foot G a r d e n i n g way! What are some of your favorite flowers or herbs? Plant them . crop rotation is really n o t critical. B u t crop rotation is still a g o o d idea for insect a n d pest control in addition to soil nutrients. you've improved the look and landscape of y o u r garden and perhaps even y o u r yard and patio. B u t if y o u replant every square three times a year. eventually pests or diseases m a y take over since they have lived and played in that spot for so long. H o w a b o u t y o u r row gardener next door that laughed at y o u w h e n y o u started b u i l d i n g y o u r boxes? Add Color O n e m o r e thing. I'll bet they will go somewhere else to set up residency.

I k n e w m y w o r k wasn't c o m p l e t e . I began t h i n k i n g a b o u t the other vine crops that spread all over the g a r d e n . I n a d d i t i o n . " Six m o n t h s later m y vertical frame w a s designed. y o u m i g h t feel that the 80 percent reduction in size. the g r o w i n g in o n l y 6 inches of Mel's M i x .r o w gardens. C o u l d t h e y be g r o w n the same way? First I tried p o l e . I said. ripe t o m a t o e s . or even the no d i g g i n g of y o u r existing soil ever again are all that y o u c o u l d ask from y o u r A l l N e w Square F o o t G a r d e n . a n d h e a v y S e p t e m b e r storms w h e n the t o m a t o p l a n t f i l l e d the entire frame a n d w a s l o a d e d w i t h red. "Vertical G a r d e n i n g .Vertical Gardening I i i i I i i i I i i i I i i i I i i i I i i i I i i i I i i i 11 i i I i i i I i i i I i 11 I By now. " is d o w n r i g h t spectacular. At the time. T o m a t o e s are n o t o n l y America's favorite vegetable to grow. I t w a s a n A i l . It s h o u l d be a l l o w e d to s t a n d up straight a n d tall so that it c a n be p r o u d of itself a n d a benefit a n d credit t o the c o m m u n i t y . b u t this t o p i c . " T h i s is no w a y to treat a t o m a t o . How It Happened Here's a q u i c k flashback to 1 9 7 6 w h e n this retired e n g i n e e r t o o k up g a r d e n i n g .A m e r i c a n m o d e l m a d e f r o m rigid G e r m a n steel c o n d u i t a n d Japanese t w i n e . a n d p u t into o p e r a t i o n . h o w a b o u t just impressive). We can't let it lie d o w n a n d sprawl all over the g r o u n d . b u t they also take up the m o s t r o o m a n d cause quite an unsightly mess by the e n d of the season if they are allowed to sprawl all over the g r o u n d . T h e r e are also the c o m p l a i n t s of slugs getting in a n d r u i n i n g all of the tomatoes as well as gardeners stepp i n g all over the vines a n d c r u s h i n g t h e m w h e n trying to harvest the fruit. It w a s so s t r o n g that it h e l d u p t h r o u g h rain. y o u m i g h t say that m o s t p e o p l e w o u l d t h i n k that all of the a b o v e is a m a z i n g a n d earth-shattering (well. tested. I d e v e l o p e d S F G b u t as I l o o k e d at t o m a t o plants g r o w i n g i n pots o n decks a n d i n s i n g l e . After g r o w i n g tomatoes this u n i q u e and attractive w a y for several years.p r o d u c t i v e . sleet. the o n l y cages available were t o o short and too w e a k to solve the p r o b l e m . snow. okay. the no fertilizer needed. T h e w h o l e idea o f g r o w i n g tomatoes this w a y seems v e r y n o n .

• You grow better crops. • It adds a third dimension to your SFG. " a n d included the m e t h o d i n m y f i r s t b o o k o n S F G . B u t since then—-Wow! Y o u should see the vertical gardens now. t h e n c u c u m b e r s a n d peas. beans ( a n o . A n d I was so pleased w i t h the results of g r o w i n g vine crops this n e w w a y that I said. T h e y all w o r k e d a n d grew well. • Attach nylon netting. . • It saves space. a n d they l o o k e d just great g r o w i n g on a vertical frame. T h e p u m p k i n s . When Do You Grow Vertically? • Anytime before vine crops start sprawling.146 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING I _L I L I 1 I I J Ja Lt I couldn't believe the amount of vegetables it raised " —Dan from Texas Why Should You Grow Vertically? • It's spectacular.b r a i n e r ) . • It costs less then you could imagine! • It lasts for years. How Do You Grow Vertically? • Build a super strong steel frame. Where Do You Grow Vertically? • Along the north edge of your 4x4 • Next to any fence or building wall. " T h i s is a g o o d t h i n g . T h e n even w i n t e r a n d s u m m e r squash. all k i n d s o f m e l o n s ( i n c l u d i n g the n e w smaller watermelons). a n d all of the really b i g squashes g r o w 7 feet in the air.

.Vertical Gardening 147 Vertical Gardening A few years a g o at o u r display gardens in U t a h . W e usually refer t o vertical g a r d e n i n g a s " A d v a n c e d S F G . really. y o u can enjoy g r o w i n g crops vertically. a n d m a n y p e o p l e have w a n t e d t o k n o w h o w t h e y c o u l d accomplish this same feat in their o w n backyard. A n d y o u w i l l b e the e n v y o f the n e i g h b o r h o o d w h e n y o u do.p o u n d p u m p k i n s 7 feet in the air. We m a d e the vertical frames 8 feet above the g r o u n d for no other reason than we w a n t e d to s h o w off and demonstrate h o w tall they can be! N o w this was a spectacular sight. we w e r e g r o w i n g 3 5 . as soon as y o u master the basics of Square F o o t G a r d e n i n g . " B u t . Growing vertically not only saves space but it also adds another dimension of beauty to your garden.

To t o p all that off. b u t those plants will be up in the air g e t t i n g better s u n s h i n e a n d air m o v e m e n t .148 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Picture This C a n y o u just picture a wall of green in y o u r garden filled w i t h vine crops like tomatoes. can even give y o u s o m e privacy to keep neighbors from peering over the fence to l o o k at y o u r S F G . . two 18-inch long rebar supports of'/2-inch diameter. screwdriver. T h e y ' l l p r o d u c e a m o r e useable harvest for y o u w i t h n o t h i n g wasted. two elbow connectors. each p l a n t w i l l o n l y take 1 or 2 square feet of garden space and g r o w perfectly well in y o u r 6 inches of Mel's M i x . kneeling. and trellis netting. hammer. T h e y To construct a vertical frame. T h e s e walls of green can even be located so they hide any unsightly areas of the y a t d or garage. c u c u m b e r s . even melons and squash? A l l the colorful fruit just h a n g i n g there w a i t i n g t o b e p i c k e d ! N o sprawling plants all over the g r o u n d w i t h their fruit lying on the soil getting all dirty and eaten by slugs. It's n o t o n l y a spectacular sight. one 4-foot conduit pipe ('/2-inch diameter). o r squatting d o w n t o tend y o u r plants. A n o t h e r big advantage is y o u can do all this standing u p — n o b e n d i n g . you need: two 5 foot electrical conduit pipes ('/2-inch diameter). pole beans.

a n d y o u s h o u l d b e able to talk the clerk at the store i n t o c u t t i n g it in half. Y o u c o u l d also d e v o t e a special-sized b o x just for vertical crops. w h e n y o u r plants have g r o w n t o the t o p a n d f i l l e d u p all the o p e n spaces. i t c o m e s o u t nice a n d s m o o t h w i t h g o o d curves (see the p h o t o on page 8). Just w h e n y o u r t o m a t o e s are g e t t i n g ripe a n d ready to p i c k . T h i s could stand against a wall or fence. pre-bent r o u n d e d corners or b e n d y o u r o w n if y o u have a c o n d u i t bender (about t w e n t y bucks at the same store). and they b o t h usually cost less than a dollar. y o u c a n m a k e d o u b l e or triple boxes a n d t u r n t h e m east a n d w e s t so the frames c a n go all a l o n g the n o r t h side. So. T h e bent pipes are c o n n e c t e d w i t h a simple metal c o u p l i n g (see the p h o t o on page 1 5 8 ) that has t w o set screws that tighten each pipe together. so y o u can see we're n o t t a l k i n g a b o u t b i g b u c k s here. Placement of Vertical Supports in the SFG Garden W h e n you're d e c i d i n g w h e r e to place y o u r vertical frames. keep in m i n d that y o u don't w a n t the vines to shade the rest of the garden. T h e c o n d u i t itself costs a few dollars for a 10-foot length. A n d the t w o posts and t o p are simple and inexpensive to b u y a n d install. M a k e a 2 x 1 2 . a n d o n c e y o u get the k n a c k o f it. a n d the next t h i n g y o u k n o w the w h o l e t h i n g i s f l a t o n the g r o u n d . W h e n y o u f i r s t b u i l d a n d p l a n t a vertical frame o u t of just a b o u t a n y t h i n g . the frames w o r k best w h e n placed on the n o r t h side of each box. I do n o t like P V C p i p e o r w o o d because i t e v e n t u a l l y will b e n d a n d break a n d destroy y o u r w h o l e vertical g a r d e n .f o o t or a n y length b o x w i t h a vertical frame c o n t i n u o u s l y on the north side. B u t . that frame acts like a sail on a b o a t . Y o u c o u l d even plant the front squares w i t h pretty flowers or any l o w . I f y o u w a n t m o r e vertical crops t h a n o n e frame per b o x . It's k i n d o f f u n t o b e n d the c o n d u i t .Vertical Gardening 149 Constructing Supports I experimented t h r o u g h the years w i t h all different types of materials and frames. a n d best material to use for the vertical s u p p o r t s . I f o u n d that electrical c o n d u i t is the cheapest. it l o o k s sturdy a n d strong.g r o w i n g crop like peppers or eggplant that will l o o k great and will hide the b o t t o m stems of the vertical vines. and inexpensive to use that it was almost ridiculous. U s i n g electrical c o n d u i t a n d a steel g r o u n d r o d (rebar) w i l l prevent this f r o m h a p p e n i n g . For the corners y o u can b u y elbows. easy. strongest. near the e n d o f the g r o w i n g season. and I finally settled u p o n o n e that was so simple. . a l o n g c o m e s a late s u m m e r s t o r m w i t h lots of w i n d a n d rain.

T h i s w o u l d give t h e m even m o r e stability.150 Once you've attached the elbow connectors to your 4-foot conduit pipe. ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Installing the Vertical Frame Your vertical frame should be installed outside the box. p o u n d t w o '/2-inch diameter pieces of concrete reinforcing bars (rebar) into the g r o u n d . Securing Vertical Supports In the Ground To secure the vertical frame. k e e p i n g it nice a n d straight. You '11 want to drive the rebar in about half its height. . so it sits on the g r o u n d . T h e s e bars can be p u r c h a s e d already c u t at a n y b u i l d i n g s u p p l y store a n d s h o u l d be anywhere between 1 8 t o 2 4 inches l o n g d e p e n d i n g o n y o u r soil. y o u c o u l d also attach the vertical frame to y o u r b o x w i t h pipe clamps on the side. Next. D r i v e the rebar h a l f w a y i n t o the g r o u n d . T h e t w o electrical c o n d u i t legs slip right over those '/2-inch rebars and are securely in place. then the longer the bar should be. hammer the rebar where the elbows are located. A s i d e from driving the concrete reinforcing bars (rebar) into the g r o u n d . We never p o u n d on the c o n d u i t itself because the ends will b e n d and then they won't fit into the c o u p l i n g or over the rebar. I suggest y o u wear gloves for this. and slipping the c o n d u i t over t h e m . T h e looser (sandier) y o u r soil is. lay it against the north-facing board of your SFG.

drive a steel fence post into the g r o u n d first instead of the rebar. use a short steel fence post instead of the rebar for an extrastrong frame.f o o t tall size. O n c e the fence p o s t is in the g r o u n d . as described below. and p u m p k i n s . t h e n the c o n d u i t is a t t a c h e d to it w i t h three p i p e c l a m p s . squash. . A fence p o s t c a n be just the shortest 3 . Or. Extra-Strong Frame for Heavy Crops To m a k e the vertical frame extra strong for watermelons. T h e w h o l e frame t h e n b e c o m e s s o s t r o n g that i t will h o l d u p a n y w e i g h t n o m a t t e r h o w h i g h y o u g o .Vertical Gardening 151 Slide the 5-foot conduit pipes over the rebar for a standard strength vertical fame.

Balcony. we suggest that they be no taller than 4 feet. a n d y o u r l o c a t i o n . . a n d the p l a n t g r o w t h .152 Attach the top conduit to the legs and tighten the screws in the elbows. there's n o t a great strength w i t h the vertical frame. Instead of using rebar in the g r o u n d to secure t h e m . T h e y are c o n s t r u c t e d in the same manner. ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Vertical Supports On A Patio. Rooftop. or w a i s t . so it w o u l d be necessary to p u t the struts f r o m the t o p d o w n to the s o u t h side o f the b o x . y o u m i g h t have t o p r o v i d e a d d i t i o n a l s u p p o r t . or Waist High Garden Vertical supports can also be a d d e d to patio.h i g h gardens. they are fastened to the garden b o x using special clamps screwed into the sides of the b o x . balcony. B u y those w h e n a n d w h e r e y o u b u y y o u r c o n d u i t a n d lumber. the w i n d . H o w e v e r . T h e illustration o n the next p a g e s h o w s g u y wires. a n d d e p e n d i n g o n h o w h i g h . I n this situation.

I used to use either special w i d e . a n d the plants can then be gently w o v e n in and o u t of the netting as they grow. a n d is easy to w o r k w i t h . . they just can't do it! If you live in a city and have no plot of ground to call your own.Vertical Gardening 153 Nylon Netting On the Supports N o w that the vertical frame has been c o n s t r u c t e d . soft. it is t i m e to a d d s o m e t h i n g for the plants to g r o w o n . keeps its color. indestructible n y l o n n e t t i n g w i t h large o p e n i n g s y o u c a n reach t h r o u g h . b u t then a l o n g c a m e this beautiful. call your superintendent and ask for permission to build a roof op garden. T h e netting c o m e s in 4. W h e n we teach o u r classes. T h i s n y l o n garden netting is n o w the o n l y material I use for vertical g a r d e n i n g . It's white.o p e n i n g f e n c i n g o r g o o d s t r o n g synthetic t w i n e o r cord. can't be b r o k e n . T h e netting is tied tightly and securely to the t o p and sides of the vertical frame.a n d 5-foot w i d t h s a n d various lengths a n d is available at m o s t g a r d e n centers and catalogs. will last forever. it is always fun to ask t w o of the strongest m e n to c o m e up front and try and break the netting.

154 To attach the trellis netting to your frame.) ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Loop the long strand over the top of the fame and firmly tie a simple knot. This will give you one long strand. cut the netting at each connection. Try to keep the length uniform so your netting isn't crooked. Next. (Be careful to cut on the same side of the connecting strand each time. . frst hook the netting on the two corners.

Tie the netting tight and your vertical frame will look neat and trim for many years. .Make the same cuts down the sides of the frame and firmly tie knots around the supporting pipes (above).

just think of all the various shapes. ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Arbors and W a l k w a y s If an u p s i d e . or on four sides w i t h one little o p e n i n g for the kids to play in.t h r o u g h . and m a k e a very interesting visual pattern for y o u r yard. U-shaped metal vertical frame works so well for o n e box. and arrangements y o u can m a k e w i t h more vertical frames. A l l of the types of plants that w o u l d g r o w on it produce huge leaves. you '11 be able to grow all sorts ofvining crops. or even zigzag. T h a t w o u l d be a secret place. Y o u can put two together in a straight line. a n d y o u c o u l d p u t n e t t i n g across the t o p o r r u n t w o sets o f vertical frames d o w n a pathway. creating a w a l l .d o w n . y o u m i g h t w a n t to plant s o m e t h i n g more p e r m a n e n t like a perennial flower such as clematis. t r u m p e t vine.156 With tight netting and a strong frame. or . on three sides so it's a sitting area. A n d don't forget v i n i n g f l o w e r s . turns. turn a corner. I f y o u w a n t s o m e t h i n g that b l o o m s every year w i t h little care required. Y o u c o u l d even create a w h o l e m a z e w i t h dead e n d s . honeysuckle. instead of an annual vine. a n d twists. sizes. c l i m b i n g roses. Y o u can p u t netting on t w o sides so it's a w a l k . Y o u can p u t four together to f o t m an arbor.

w i l l d o all the c l i m b i n g themselves. T h e y take so l o n g to g r o w into a sizeable plant that in m o s t cases we have to g r o w or b u y transplants to p u t into the garden as s o o n as the last frost of spring is over. Tell t h e m y o u are d o i n g Square F o o t G a r d e n i n g a n d w a n t t o g r o w crops vertically a n d that y o u w a n t t o k n o w w h i c h o f their varieties are vines w h i c h need trellising a n d support. I w o u l d plant the v i n e crops on the outside so they w o u l d c l i m b up the netting. a n d 1 foot is outside. in fact. t o m a t o e s are the o n l y v i n e crop y o u c a n n o t start as a seed directly in the garden. after further studies I f o u n d o u t the netting will also h o l d up . Planting Seeds or Transplants R e m e m b e r . I f y o u h a d l o n g w a l k w a y s w i t h the vertical frames d o w n each side. T h e netting is so strong that it will easily h o l d up the plant and. like pole beans a n d c u c u m b e r s . T h e rest of the vine crops can be started f r o m seed directly in the garden.Vertical Gardening thumbelina. T h e seed c o m p a n i e s are c o n s t a n t l y c h a n g i n g a n d adding n e w varieties. y o u c o u l d b u i l d 2-foot-by-any-length boxes a n d have t h e m o n the outside giving y o u plenty o f w a l k i n g r o o m . T h e seed planting chart in the A p p e n d i x shows w h e n to plant t h e m at the best t i m e . S o m e o f the vertical c r o p s . I w o u l d suggest that y o u call (if t h e y have a toll-free n u m b e r ) or e-mail the various seed c o m p a n i e s t o f i n d o u t . a n d C h a p t e r 9 s h o w s y o u h o w to start the season earlier or extend it later. a n d in order to find o u t the best ones that vine. A n o t h e r g o o d s u m m e r v i n i n g crop i s N e w Z e a l a n d spinach. 157 Plants that Grow Vertically Seed packets a n d catalogs often do n o t indicate whether a variety is a v i n i n g or b u s h type. Easy Climb O n e of the particularly desirable points of vertical gardening is that there's v e r y little m a i n t e n a n c e to do for the plants. A s i d e f r o m watering. Y o u c o u l d also p u t t h e m so that 1 foot is inside the path. a n d plant flowers along the inside that will do well in the eventual shade of the p a t h w a y — p e r h a p s s o m e t h i n g like impatiens or coleus. it's a matter of o n c e a w e e k t u c k i n g the tops of the plant in through an o p e n i n g in the netting. so t h e y k e e p c l i m b i n g u p the n e t t i n g . and b a c k t h r o u g h another o n e . b u t tomatoes have to be helped t h r o u g h the openings a n d p o i n t e d to the top.

Tomatoes T h e m o s t p o p u l a r h o m e garden vegetable i s t o m a t o e s . B u t if y o u r frame is located o u t s i d e the b o x a n d the g r o u n d rod is p o u n d e d into y o u r existing soil. S o m e o f the w i n t e r squashes g o t so heavy I was afraid late s u m m e r storms w o u l d b l o w over the w h o l e c o n t r a p t i o n . before the frame w o u l d c o m e d o w n . there are a few things y o u can do to increase y o u r yields. I t d e p e n d s o n h o w s t r o n g the g r o u n d rods are and h o w t o u g h the soil is. i n c l u d i n g small w a t e r m e l o n s a n d p u m p k i n s .158 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING all the fruit. or the electrical c o n d u i t . You basically just need to plant the seeds and watch them ?o! . and w h e n you're vertical gardening the S F G way. it w o u l d require b e n d i n g the rebar. Nature has already taught some vines to climb.

. t h e y begin to take on the appearance of a productive plant and it becomes hard to cut t h e m back. T o h e l p c o n v i n c e y o u t o p r u n e o f f those suckers. P i c k y o u r best-looking plants. c h e c k the overall appearance o f the p l a n t t o m a k e sure y o u have n o t o m a t o w o r m s visiting. a n d t h e y w i l l also s p r o u t roots. free plants for a late harvest for c a n n i n g . U n f o r t u n a t e l y . y o u c a n root t h e m . y o u c a n stick those suckers in a c u p of v e r m i c u l i t e . It does n o t have to point straight u p . a n d p u s h it underneath that bent t o p to act as a pillow (see. Y o u can take the Mel's M i x . r e m e m b e r that the n i c e t h i n g a b o u t t h e m i s o n c e y o u p r u n e t h e m . and bountiful than I'd ever imagined. m o r e productive plant. a n d d i g o u t a l o n g s h a l l o w t r e n c h . O r . very. y o u first locate the square foot it's g o i n g to be in. A t the same t i m e . M a k e the trench l o n g e n o u g h so y o u can lay d o w n the plant w i t h the root ball at one end. T h e y will develop an e n o r m o u s n u m b e r o f roots. it just has to be aboveground. I have f o u n d that the best w a y to plant the m a i n crop of tomatoes is to lay t h e m d o w n horizontally in a shallow trench. T h a t means y o u have to cut o f f the branches. y o u can stand i t in a glass of w a t e r a n d transplant that i n t o the g r o u n d as s o o n as the roots s p r o u t . T h e y are great. N o m a t t e r h o w large the sucker o r side b r a n c h . you'll e n d up w i t h the t o p s t i c k i n g o u t of the soil at a slight angle. G e t i n the h a b i t o f i n s p e c t i n g a n d p r u n i n g y o u r t o m a t o plants o n c e a w e e k to a single s t e m . a n d w e a v e the t o p in a n d o u t of the netting. a n d y o u will have m o r e tomatoes per square f o o t t h a n i f y o u a l l o w i t t o p u t e n e r g y i n t o b r a n c h i n g o u t . enjoyable. or preserving. w h i c h w i l l sustain a larger. perhaps 3 or 4 inches d e e p in the m i d d l e of the square a n d as l o n g as y o u r t o m a t o plant is. all a l o n g that h a i r y s t e m . very carefully b e n d the top so it starts p o i n t i n g up. Fill in the rest of the trench a n d water well." —Manjafrom Oregon Lay Tomatoes Down Since a t o m a t o p l a n t c a n s p r o u t n e w roots a l o n g its m a i n s t e m . and if you're very gentle. At the other e n d where the t o p is (remember y o u cut o f f m o s t of the lower leaves). and the best time to do it is w h e n they're tiny. take y o u r h a n d or a t r o w e l .Vertical Gardening 159 Tomatoes and the Single Stem Method T h e theory b e h i n d p r u n i n g to o n e single stem is that all the energy goes straight up the m a i n stalk. T h e y l o o k so small a n d c u t e . D i g a little deeper for the root ball a n d then lay the stem on the b o t t o m of the trench.m e . m o s t gardeners don't. juice. a n d t h e y c a n b e c o m e a n o t h e r p l a n t for a late c r o p . To do this. LvLore manageable. a n d p i n c h or c u t o f f the l o w e r leaves (at least t w o or three) so y o u have a tall s k i n n y p l a n t ready to p l a n t in a l a y .d o w n p o s i t i o n . a n d as t h e y g r o w bigger a n d bigger. a n d k e e p that in a saucer of water. this is really a b e d ) .

y o u treat it the exact same w a y as a n y other t o m a t o transplant. by perhaps as m u c h as 10 degrees. T h i s procedure will n o t take any strength f r o m the plant. a n d it will n o t delay a n y o f the first t o m a t o e s you're g o i n g t o harvest f r o m that plant. I f y o u n o t i c e d the root system w h e n y o u p u t the plant i n the g r o u n d .m e . because of its extra root strength a n d size. d e p e n d i n g on w h a t size p o t it was g r o w i n g in.d o w n p l a n t i n g also will give y o u m o r e fruit . b u t that p u t s the p l a n t q u i t e d e e p in the g r o u n d a n d usually it's still s p r i n g t i m e a n d the g r o u n d is still fairly c o o l .160 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING In just a few days that t o p will straighten itself u p . it will be a m o r e vigorous grower than before. S o m e b o o k s m a y advise y o u t o d i g a d e e p h o l e . gently take the new growth on your vertical crops. The wide squares in the netting make it easy to reach through and guide your plants without breaking them. A f t e r the p l a n t is h e a d i n g skyward.to 8-inch rootball a l o n g the entire l e n g t h . S o I've f o u n d the l a y . T h i s m e t h o d o f l a y . T h i s is okay. because the soil at that level is w a r m e r . a n d p l a n t the t o m a t o straight d o w n deep so just the t o p leaves show.m e . it p r o b a b l y had a very small rootball.d o w n m e t h o d w i l l m a k e the p l a n t g r o w m u c h faster. a n d at the same t i m e all the n e w roots will start s p r o u t i n g o u t f r o m the m a i n stem. a n d 1 or 2 inches l o n g . In fact. and carefully weave it in and out of the netting. perhaps o n l y 1 or 2 inches w i d e . TRAINING PLANTS UP YOUR NETTING At least once a week. thus b u r y i n g the entire stem w i t h the idea that the roots w i l l still s p r o u t a l o n g the s t e m . B u t n o w for the average transplant you're g o i n g to d e v e l o p a 6.

G e t y o u r scissors. y o u m a y have the dreaded t o m a t o w o r m .Vertical Gardening 161 Vines need a little direction from time to time. y o u can let the t o p c o n t i n u e t o grow. Gently weave a vine in and out of the trellis netting to help it keep a steady course. b u t they take strength from the plant as t h e y eat m a n y of the leaves. a n d there is still a lot of g r o w i n g season left? Y o u have t w o choices. a n d a l l o w a g o o d part of the e n e r g y to go i n t o the existing t o m a t o e s . (Be careful. T h e y can actually hear t h e m c r u n c h i n g the leaves. d e p e n d i n g on h o w m a n y tomatoes you've picked so far and h o w m a n y green ones are c o m i n g . Tomato Worm If y o u see s o m e of y o u r t o m a t o leaves are c h e w e d u p . w h i c h for a t o m a t o p l a n t is the first frost. If y o u r children are interested in a science project. large. y o u m i g h t have t h e m c o m e and l o o k at the t o m a t o horn w o r m a n d get their ears as close as they can. because the first fruiting b r a n c h to f o r m a l o n g the m a i n stem will be closer to the g r o u n d . a n d let it h a n g over the side. T h e w o r m s are c a m o u f l a g e d b u t still b r i g h t l y c o l o r e d . a n d c h e c k the s u r r o u n d i n g leaves t o f i n d t h e m . a l l o w i n g y o u m o r e distance to the top of y o u r vertical frame to have fruit. the w o r m s c o u l d j u m p o n y o u r h e a d — n o . T o m a t o w o r m s don't usually harm the tomatoes themselves. Y o u can either c u t the t o p right off. Put it in a paper bag. I'm o n l y kidding!) Over the Top W h a t d o y o u d o w h e n the t o m a t o p l a n t gets t o the t o p o f y o u r tower. seal it. a n d beautiful. L o o k for little black specks (the droppings from the w o r m s ) . stop its g r o w t h . O r . ( C a u t i o n : do not pick it up.) Play it safe. If y o u w a n t . and t h r o w it in the garbage. It w i l l k e e p g r o w i n g until the e n d of the season. and cut off the leaf. T o m a t o w o r m s e m i t a very foul smell that will get on y o u r hands and clothes. Usually thete are just one or t w o at the most.

c u c u m b e r s that are spaced 2 per square foot). I f the spacing for that particular vegetable (for example. That's w h y we give squash a lot m o r e r o o m (2 square feet per plant) in the vertical garden. h o l d it w i t h t w o hands and be careful so it doesn't break. Think of the harvest! ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING to p r o t e c t this p l a n t f r o m the first frost (and e v e r y o n e does). B u t w h e n e v e r you're b e n d i n g a stem to p o k e it t h r o u g h the netting or over the top. In general y o u w a n t the plant to spread o u t to be approximately 1 to 2 feet w i d e on the vertical frame netting. Squash is a little different because the leaves are so large that it's hard to judge w h e r e the s t e m is a n d h o w m u c h r o o m the entire p l a n t is taking. T h i s w a y y o u c a n k e e p y o u r t o m a t o plants g r o w i n g and p r o d u c i n g for several m o r e weeks. Pruning Cucumbers. so there's n o t m u c h y o u can d o t o deter their g r o w t h . energetic. W h e n it grows to the t o p . s o m e d o b r a n c h . p u t it t h r o u g h the n e t t i n g .i n c h w i d e square. t u r n it u p . . a n d start all over again. T h o s e w i t h branches take l o n g e r t o have fruit. g o i n g right u p the netting. so if y o u c u t t h e m o f f all the e n e r g y will go to the m a i n branch and the flowers and fruit on that m a i n branch. y o u w o u l d trim the side branches back so that each one is f r o m 6 to 9 inches w i d e outside of its space. If y o u plant one plant per square foot. a n d sturdy. N e x t m o r n i n g take it off. A l t h o u g h most squash plants will g r o w on one central stalk. fold it up. and you're ready until the next threat o f frost. let it h a n g d o w n until it gets near the b o t t o m . A l l the v i n i n g plants are v e r y v i g o r o u s .162 This vertical garden has bean and tomato plants. Melons. and More T h e other vine crops can have their side branches c o n t i n u e to grow until the w h o l e plant takes up too m u c h space. it can f i l l that 1 2 . the vertical frame is designed so all y o u have to do is gently lay a tarp or blanket over it. They are planted with sage and squash.

Vertical Gardening 163 Safety Precautions I f y o u r crops are g r o w i n g t h i c k l y a n d h a v e c o v e r e d the 4 . you'll get used to their resilience.f o o t b o a r d c u t o u t w i t h a n o t c h to fit into the top bar. However. though. T h i s requires tying s o m e t h i n g like fishing line or strong cord f r o m the top bar d o w n t o the s o u t h side o f the b o x . . if you're bending a plant near the top or in through the netting.f o o t . You have to use your own judgment.w i d e frames. Remember. the end is very supple and easy to maneuver. but after you get accustomed to bending plants. In a few days. You'll know how far they can bend and when not to push them. if you have to bend it there. T h a t w o u l d h o l d the frame up f r o m b o t h directions. the vine will be hard and fairly rigid. y o u c o u l d always p r o p the t o p up w i t h a 1 x 2 . you can retrieve the shirt after the stem has taken the new shape. For the n o r t h side. So. y o u m i g h t w a n t t o p l a y i t safe a n d p u t g u y wires o n the vertical frame w h e n y o u get near the e n d of the season. you might stuff something under it like an old wadded-up tee shirt. if you're trying to bend the stem closer to where it's planted.

Y o u will b e s o glad y o u did! . w e e n c o u r a g e y o u t o a d d this i n n o v a t i v e feature o f Square F o o t G a r d e n i n g t o y o u r o w n garden. the frame can be removed intact and h u n g o u t of the w a y in the garage to w a i t for the next g r o w i n g season. N o t o n l y can y o u g r o w vining crops in less space. vertical dimension. S o .164 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Cold Season Handling of a Vertical Frame After the g r o w i n g season is over. w e a v e b r i g h t l y c o l o r e d r i b b o n or even lights in a n d o u t of the n e t t i n g to decorate for the holidays! Conclusion We have seen h o w beneficial and easy vertical gardening can be. a n d d u r i n g the h o l i d a y season. Vertical frames add beauty to a garden as well as that unique. but harvesting becomes m u c h easier and crops don't get soft and m u s h y from resting on the g r o u n d . S o m e p e o p l e leave their vertical frame up all winter.

" —Jefffrom North Carolina Lengthen Season by 50 Percent In most parts of the continental U n i t e d States. " B u t we say. We're g o i n g to use those seasonal cycles as o u r f r a m e w o r k for this chapter. B u t f i r s t . For t h e m . w h y w o u l d y o u w a n t t o e x t e n d y o u r seasons? W e l l . i t extends the b e a u t y o f the g a r d e n a n d the satisfaction o f the gardener. " W a n n a m a k e a bet?" T h i s chapter w i l l s h o w y o u o n h o w t o get the m o s t o u t o f y o u r g a r d e n each year b y p u s h i n g the e n v e l o p e o n nature's c o n d i t i o n s .t o . W i t h a variety o f e a s y . a n d a lot o f confidence. a fantastic! It very much appeals to my innate sense of organization and efficiency. W h e n these six m o n t h s are e x t e n d e d b y a n a d d i t i o n a l t w o m o n t h s . N a t u r e gives us o u r gardening cues as the seasons change. the g r o w i n g season is e x t e n d e d by 33 percent. A threem o n t h extension provides a 50 percent i n c r e a s e — a w o r t h w h i l e goal that can be achieved easily a n d inexpensively. It's a pleasant experience. a n d m o d e r n homesteaders and f o o d preservers find it an absolute blessing.Extending the Seasons We gardeners like to b e n d reality a bit. T h i s means that m o s t gardeners g r o w vegetables d u r i n g a n average o f six m o n t h s o u t o f a possible twelve. T h e y don't w a n t t o k n o w h o w s o o n t h e y c a n q u i t . A n d i n a d d i t i o n t o the extra f o o d . a natural talent. Square F o o t G a r d e n e r s don't have the negative experiences associated w i t h d o i n g all that hard w o r k w h e n t h e y g a r d e n . w o u l d y o u like t o p i c k the f i r s t tomatoes o n the block? W o u l d y o u like a garden-fresh salad on T h a n k s g i v i n g ? Y o u r answer to these questions will help y o u determine h o w m u c h w o r k y o u w a n t t o p u t into extending the g r o w i n g season because g r o w i n g o u t of season does require m o r e time a n d effort. g a r d e n i n g isn't a test of e n d u r a n c e . " Y o u can't p l a n t n o w . H o w e v e r . this idea isn't necessarily for the first-time gardener unless y o u ' v e g o t a lot of t i m e . Gardeners gain a great sense o f a c c o m p l i s h m e n t f r o m these increased yields. b u t h o w l o n g t h e y c a n c o n t i n u e e x p e r i e n c i n g the j o y o f g a r d e n i n g ! . N a t u r e says. y o u r g a r d e n can g r o w 3 0 t o 5 0 p e r c e n t m o r e p r o d u c e each year. s o t h e y l o o k f o r w a r d t o m o r e g a r d e n i n g a n d w a n t t o l e n g t h e n the g r o w i n g season.m a k e i m p l e m e n t s . it's t o o c o l d . the average g r o w i n g season runs f r o m M a y to September.

g r o w i n g o u t of season is s i m p l y k e e p i n g the c o l d t e m p e r a If you want to jump-start your garden. W h a t m o r e c o u l d a p l a n t want? . relax. Extend the Harvest by Growing Out of Season T h e o b v i o u s w a y to e x t e n d the g a r d e n year is to start earlier than usual and keep the plants g r o w i n g later.166 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Don't t h i n k y o u must extend the season to be an accomplished gardener. T h e second crop of cool-weather plants can be planted in late s u m m e r to mature in the late fall. it's i m p o r t a n t t o provide these crops w i t h the extra p r o t e c t i o n t h e y need f r o m the elements. that is w h a t a g r e e n h o u s e d o e s — i t keeps the c o l d air o u t b u t lets the s u n l i g h t in. Sometimes it's just as g o o d to sit back.w e a t h e r crops can be g r o w n in t w o extra plantings for a longer season. B y c o v e r i n g a n d p r o t e c t i n g y o u r crops. you won't need all this expensive equipment and you won't have so many plants to take care of. B u t if y o u t h i n k it's time to trick nature into feeding y o u year-round. Instead of gardening y o u could be satisfied and save time and w o r k . T o d o this. tures a w a y f r o m y o u r plants. try starting your own seeds. and just "go d o r m a n t " for a while. y o u are basically creating an artificial e n v i r o n m e n t . T h e first planting is m a d e in the early spring and will mature in the cool weather of late spring. But with the SFG. Since early spring a n d late fall can b r i n g s o m e rather severe weather. It's y o u r decision. then read on! T h e rest of the chapter will explain w h a t to do each season to extend y o u r harvest from coolweather and warm-weather plants. C o o l . A f t e r all.

It all depends on y o u providing protection f r o m the s u d d e n a n d harsh temperatures and weather. an extra p l a n t i n g o f lettuce. 167 Box with Cage Since a Square F o o t G a r d e n takes up so little space. they are q u i c k l y learned and easily practiced. T h e n . a n d w e i g h it d o w n w i t h a brick in each corner. C h a p t e r 4 explains h o w to build a special b o x a n d the various kinds of protective cages. try s p r o u t i n g y o u r seeds i n d o o r s . a n d radishes c a n b e g r o w n d u r i n g the h o t s u m m e r m o n t h s that are n o r m a l l y c o n s i d e r e d o u t o f season for these t w o crops.Extending the Seasons In addition. . T h e n replace the plastic covers. T h e s e structures m a k e it possible to m o d e r a t e the c l i m a t e i n that b o x s o y o u c a n stretch y o u r g r o w i n g season a t b o t h ends. H o w m u c h w o r k could that be? Jump Start Your Seeds If y o u w a n t to get a q u i c k e r start a n d earlier g r o w t h . can be extended up to a m o n t h b e y o n d their n o r m a l season in the fall. deeper soils are raised to the top. Before the plants get t o o large. Begin b y w a r m i n g u p the soil i n y o u r S F G boxes. too. s p i n a c h . harden t h e m off before planting t h e m outdoors in y o u r spring box. Spread clear or black plastic over the t o p of the soil. lift the grid out. it's easier than y o u think. T h i s is no b i g deal since y o u r Mel's M i x is loose a n d friable at all times of the year. a n d t h e n t r a n s p l a n t i n g t h e m i n t o i n d i v i d u a l containers w h e n they are very y o u n g . take the cover off. it is relatively easy to protect y o u r crops. After a couple of s u n n y days. the soil is o n l y 6 inches deep. and m i x up the soil w i t h a trowel so the w a r m e r surface soil is m o v e d d o w n b e l o w a n d the colder. S o u n d like a lot o f w o r k ? W i t h S q u a r e F o o t G a r d e n i n g . Besides. Early Spring A great time to extend the g r o w i n g season is early spring before a n y o n e else is o u t gardening. all of the s u m m e r or hot-weather crops can be started t w o to three weeks earlier than n o r m a l and they. W h i l e special t e c h n i q u e s that p r o v i d e extra p r o t e c t i o n m a y v a r y w i t h the season a n d the variety of vegetable.

b u t t o o m u c h heat w i l l c o o k t h e m . set up a spring b o x w i t h a s t o r m w i n d o w cover o r the P V C t y p e structure over a n y g a r d e n square where you'll be planting an early crop so the sun will start w a r m i n g the soil. It takes a little experience t o learn h o w t o c o n t r o l the heat a n d m o i s t u r e inside y o u r frame.q u i c k soil w a r m . (Don't try to p r o p up a glass s t o r m w i n d o w w i t h sticks. . F o r a d o u b l e . Climate Control W h e n you're using a spring b o x on y o u r early crops. the w i n d will b l o w i t d o w n w h e n e v e r you're n o t a r o u n d . If your plants begin to wilt or if the soil dries to a depth of l inch. Water with a cup of sun-warmed water. it's time to water. W h e n the w e a t h e r is w a r m e n o u g h .168 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Spring For y o u r first spring p l a n t i n g . transplant the plants y o u ' v e g r o w n i n t o the o p e n g a r d e n squares.f o o t area. cover the soil w i t h clear or b l a c k plastic. believe m e . K e e p i n m i n d these precautions w h e n t r y i n g t o g r o w o u t o f season. H e a t b u i l d s u p q u i c k l y i n the boxes o n s u n n y days. slide or lift the cover o p e n a little farther each w e e k until y o u c a n r e m o v e it entirely. A s the w e a t h e r w a r m s u p . You must check your spring plant boxes every day in sunny weather. a n d t h e n r e m o v e i t before p l a n t i n g . O r y o u c a n use plastic c o v e r e d cages over i n d i v i d u a l squares a r o u n d the g a r d e n instead of the entire 4 X 4 .u p . ) A light frost w o n ' t h u r t m o s t c o o l w e a t h e r c r o p s . T h e y can also be left to g r o w where they were planted by r e m o v i n g the protective cage f r o m the squares. r e m e m b e r that fresh air has to get in and y o u have to v e n t o u t the h o t air that builds up on s u n n y days even in cold or freezing weather. Do this a b o u t four weeks before it's time to plant y o u r seeds.

w a t e r t w i c e as often as y o u usually w o u l d . lettuce a n d radishes are no different. squash. If y o u c a n p r o v i d e shade for these spring crops (especially d u r i n g the n o o n sun). a n d b l e n d e d c o m p o s t . it's time to give s o m e s u m m e r v e g e t a b l e s — s u c h as beans. Spring crops can be g r o w n f r o m seeds or f r o m transplants started indoors a f e w w e e k s a h e a d o f t i m e . try starting the seeds for these w a r m weather crops right in their p e r m a n e n t location under a protective cage t w o weeks before the usual planting time. l o o k for w o r d s like " l o n g s t a n d i n g . y o u w i l l b e able t o harvest t h r o u g h o u t m o s t o f the summer. T h e y vary f r o m water-filled walls a r o u n d the p l a n t t o special g r o u n d covers d e s i g n e d t o heat u p the soil quicker. W h e n c h o o s i n g varieties o f c o o l . and y o u literally w i l t in the sun. sticky weather. T h e y will b e m u c h hardier a n d stronger t h a n seedlings g r o w n o n the w i n d o w s i l l . W e l l . I t h o l d s lots o f m o i s t u r e . T h e r e is an entire industry w i t h all kinds of protective devices a n d p r o d u c t s t o h e l p the gardener b e successful i n early g a r d e n i n g . C o v e r the square w i t h a shade cage. R e m e m b e r . Shade and Water If you're the type of person w h o doesn't like hot. then the obvious solution is to m o v e into the shade w i t h a large p i t c h e r of y o u r favorite c o l d d r i n k . I always like to place an u n p r o t e c t e d p l a n t right next t o the p r o t e c t e d o n e for c o m p a r i s o n . " a n d " h e a t resistant" in the seed catalogs or p a c k e t descriptions. For earlier harvests. L o o k for special hot-weather varieties of y o u r favorite plants in y o u r seed catalog. r e m o v e the covers.Extending the Seasons 169 Extending Cool-Weather Crops into Summer I n a d d i t i o n t o lettuce a n d radishes. W h e n all d a n g e r o f frost i s past. a n d c u c u m b e r s — a head start. " "slow to b o l t . coarse v e r m i c u l i t e . T r y s o m e o f these p r o d u c t s and see w h a t h a p p e n s . o n e o f the best aids for g r o w i n g a g o o d c r o p i s Mel's M i x — o u r soil m i x that c o m b i n e s equal parts peat m o s s .w e a t h e r crops t o g r o w i n t o s u m m e r . along w i t h s o m e extra water. Summer As the spring season progresses. a n d give the plants p l e n t y of w a t e r — a s a general rule. y o u m i g h t also try g r o w i n g spinach or even cabbage o u t of season into the early summer.

if y o u w a n t an extra t w o or three w e e k s w o r t h o f harvest f r o m all those w a r m . s o b e g e n e r o u s w i t h y o u r h e l p a n d a t t e n t i o n a n d don't expect t o o m u c h . Since m o s t of these crops . Y o u c a n also m a k e use o f natural shade or s u n screens by l o c a t i n g a p l a n t i n g of s p r i n g crops b e h i n d (to the n o r t h o f ) y o u r vertical g r o w i n g frames. I f y o u can protect y o u r garden f r o m that f i r s t frost. Just enjoy the challenge a n d experience! Summer Plants into Fall G a r d e n e r s s o m e t i m e s w o n d e r w h e t h e r the extra effort i n v o l v e d i n p r o t e c t i n g s u m m e r crops f r o m the first fall frost is w o r t h the effort. I t h i n k it certainly is. w h i c h means it is n o t the plant's natural inclination to g r o w then.w e a t h e r crops. y o u c a n enjoy green plants a n d fresh vegetables d u r i n g o n e o f the m o s t pleasant periods of the y e a r — m i d .170 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING so t h e plant roots can take up all that's needed. Shade Screens T h e shade cage w i l l a d m i t e n o u g h l i g h t for p r o p e r g r o w t h w h i l e k e e p i n g the temperature d o w n considerably. Q u i t e often the f i r s t frost is f o l l o w e d by a l o n g p e r i o d of clear. yet drains well so the roots can't b e c o m e waterlogged. w a r m w e a t h e r before the next frost. Y o u are urging these plants o n . A layer of t h i c k m u l c h w i l l also h e l p m o d e r a t e soil temperatures. K e e p in m i n d that you're g r o w i n g o u t of season.a u t u m n .

T h i s i s o n e o f the p r i m e advantages o f g r o w i n g squash. T h e list of vegetables that need cool a n d d r y conditions is easy to r e m e m b e r because there are o n l y a f e w — p u m p k i n s .k n o w n w a y to e x t e n d the h a r v e s t — s t o r i n g it. or stop y o u r garden. Extending the Harvest by Storing It Let's l o o k at the easiest a n d l e a s t . a n d it has a place. the l o w . a n d the flavor a n d nutritional value of each vegetable is greater than if it w a s frozen or canned. c u c u m b e r s . or light blanket. T h e r e ' s the o l d . y o u a n d y o u r garden have three options: to store food for the winter. p o l e beans. T h e temperature should be a r o u n d 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit ( 1 0 to 1 5 . just t h r o w a b l a n k e t or tarp over the vertical frame so it's h a n g i n g d o w n o n all sides. a n d the h u m i d i t y needs to be fairly l o w — a t about 50 percent. w i n t e r squash. W h i c h ever y o u choose depends on y o u r t i m e and desire. T h e r e is almost no w o r k and m o n e y involved. Fall W h e n fall arrives. a n d o n i o n s . or c o l d a n d moist. O r . a n d t h e n cover it w i t h a large sheet of plastic.g r o w i n g crops c a n b e readily p r o t e c t e d w i t h a loose c o v e r i n g of h a y that is easily r e m o v e d the n e x t m o r n i n g . a n d similar s u m m e r crops on a vertical frame. extend the harvest. 171 All Together Now T o protect y o u r crops f r o m frost. a n d freezing for the future. To protect v i n e crops f r o m frost. the extra t w o to three weeks gained a m o u n t to quite a b i t — m o r e than a 25 percent extension of the season.Extending the Seasons have a six to eight w e e k harvest season. floating cover. But I t h i n k the m o s t e c o n o m i c a l a n d environmentally correct w a y to extend the season is to store the harvest. . p u m p k i n s . y o u can start w i t h a P V C arch o r covered w a g o n frame. Fasten d o w n the corners s o i t w o n ' t b l o w o f f d u r i n g the n i g h t .f a s h i o n e d b u t e c o n o m i c a l c a n n i n g . t o m a t o e s . T h e r e are really o n l y t w o : cool a n d dry. preserving. 5 degrees Celsius). Handle Your Harvest Gently T h e o n l y secret o f successful storage i s actually v e r y s i m p l e — l e a r n each vegetable's best storage c o n d i t i o n s a n d p r o v i d e it.

a n d w i n t e r radishes plus all of the c a b b a g e family.112 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING T r y to find a cool corner of y o u r garage or basement where the temperature stays above 35 b u t b e l o w 60 degrees F (above 1. D o n ' t stack p r o d u c e up in a b i g pile. don't pile t h e m all together. Do n o t w a s h or scrub the produce. Vegetables in the g r o u p that need c o l d a n d m o i s t conditions are all r o o t c r o p s — b e e t s . b u t spread y o u r vegetables o u t evenly on a shelf (not on the floor). carrots. 5 degrees C ) . treat each vegetable as if it w e r e an egg. L a y each harvested v e g e t a b l e separately i n a b o x o f s a w d u s t o r c r u m p l e d n e w s p a p e r . For crops such as vine crops. t u r n i p s . If y o u t h i n k y o u r storage area m i g h t freeze or get t o o w a r m at times. DON'T FEED THE ANIMALS There is one problem with using hay bales as winter mukh-they can provide a cozy nest for ground mice and voles that love to eat crunchy root crops. H a n d l e p r o d u c e a s g e n t l y a n d i n f r e q u e n t l y a s possible. So keep an eye out for these pests and any damage they may be doing.6 b u t b e l o w 1 5 . If they do infest your winter storage plot it's best to harvest everything and store your produce in a different place. w h i t e p o t a t o e s . A n y bruise or c u t will be the first s p o t to spoil. Leave the b o t t o m of the root on root crops. and at least an i n c h of the top g r o w t h . O n l y store p r o d u c e that is in really g o o d condition. T h i s g r o u p also includes . A d d s o m e insulation. and r e m e m b e r to allow plenty of air circulation. y o u can build t w o walls to enclose a corner to provide an even-temperature fruit closet. W h e n you're o u t harvesting. leave as m u c h of the stem on as possible.

y o u c a n e x p e r i m e n t w i t h l e a v i n g different r o o t crops i n the g r o u n d t o see w h i c h last t h r o u g h the fall a n d w i n t e r so you'll k n o w w h a t to expect the following year.l y i n g areas.d o w n plastic sheet or tarp. To keep the w i n d f r o m b l o w i n g this loose covering a r o u n d . 6 t o 7. I f you're feeling a d v e n t u r o u s . it is better to use a loose. R o l l a bale of h a y over the p l a n t e d area. K e e p e v e r y t h i n g d r y by c o v e r i n g it w i t h a w e i g h t e d . Y o u c a n s i n k a plastic or m e t a l garbage can straight into the g r o u n d w h i l e k e e p i n g the t o p a f e w inches above the surface so no w a t e r gets in. try p l a c i n g a 2 . Instead. this w i l l b r e a k their tops a n d stop t h e plant's g r o w i n g cycle w h i l e k e e p i n g the g r o u n d from freezing. T h e ideal storage temperature for t h e m is as c o l d as y o u c a n get w i t h o u t actually f r e e z i n g — 3 5 to 45 degrees F ( 1 . the simplest w a y to store root crops is n o t to dig t h e m up at all. a n d t h e n replace the bale. Temperature Differences O n a c o l d n i g h t y o u c a n w a l k a r o u n d y o u r p r o p e r t y a n d actually feel the differences in temperature. W a t c h o u t for leaks in the c o n t a i n e r that c a n allow g r o u n d w a t e r to seep in.h i g h fence of c h i c k e n w i r e a r o u n d y o u r g a r d e n areas a n d anchoring the w i r i n g at each corner w i t h stakes. peat moss.2 degrees C ) . this is called c o l d air . M a k e sure the cover fits tightly. Actually. 173 Cozy Cover C a b b a g e a n d other leaf a n d head crops can also be stored in the garden. t h e n pile at least 12 inches of h a y or leaves over the t o p . flufiy covering of straw or leaves. b u t they won't do well under a solid bale of hay. T h e c o l d air virtually rolls d o w n the slope a n d settles in l o w . or sand. d i g up a f e w vegetables. R e g u l a r radishes w o n ' t h o l d u p t o o l o n g i n freezing w e a t h e r w h i l e the w i n t e r radish will last a l m o s t indefinitely. in fact.f o o t . W h e n you're ready to harvest. Dig It In A n o t h e r storage m e t h o d for root crops is to b u r y a container in the g r o u n d a n d p a c k y o u r vegetables i n layers o f m o i s t sawdust. select a n area o n h i g h g r o u n d t o locate the storage container. C a r r o t s a n d leeks also do q u i t e w e l l t h r o u g h the entire w i n t e r . simply roll the bale over. I f y o u can.Extending the Seasons fruit—especially apples. T h e g r o u n d will n o t freeze u n d e r o r a r o u n d this container. a n d y o u r vegetables will be m a i n t a i n e d in a v e r y even and m o i s t c o n d i t i o n .

frost usually occurs in the v e r y early m o r n i n g h o u r s . " then " L a w n and G a r d e n " and enter y o u r zip code. Light Versus Hard Frost A light frost blackens the outer leaves of m o s t s u m m e r flowers a n d vegetables. T h i s is because h o t air rises a n d c o l d air sinks. this w i l l h a p p e n even w h e r e there is n o t a great difference i n elevation. Plant material will freeze w h e n there is an a c c u m u l a t i o n of cold air.h a n g i n g c l o u d s that a c c o m p a n y a w a r m front.com. C l i c k o n " H o m e and G a r d e n . S u m m e r vegetables c a n still be harvested if eaten r i g h t away. W h e n frost is p r e d i c t e d . Frost Frost forms w h e n the o u t d o o r temperature drops b e l o w the freezing point. O n e of the best websites is www. occur in l o w areas w h i l e the hills and slopes right next to t h e m m i g h t be frost-free. resulting in the deposit of ice crystals. c a l m n i g h t w h e n the w e a t h e r is dry.h e a t e d b o x that protects plants f r o m just the severe w e a t h e r fluctuations. A hard frost w i l l b l a c k e n a n d kill all s u m m e r flowers a n d vegetables. Surprisingly.114 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING drainage. Frost can. It is i n d i c a t e d by a w h i t e c o v e r i n g on the l a w n in v e r y early m o r n i n g . it can greatly reduce the occurrence of frost as water holds heat very well. T h e c h a n c e s of frost are also increased f o l l o w i n g the passage of a c o l d front. y o u w i l l see the advantages of l o c a t i n g a garden on the t o p or s o u t h side of a slope rather t h a n at the b o t t o m of a l o w area.w e a t h e r crops for an e x t e n d e d season u s i n g a s u n . this is in contrast to the steady o r c o n t i n u o u s rain a n d the heavy. u n i f o r m areas. Y o u w i l l also see the a d v a n t a g e o f g r o u p i n g y o u r crops a c c o r d i n g t o their w e a t h e r r e q u i r e m e n t s . It's m u c h simpler a n d m o r e cost effective t o g r o w c o o l . T h i s m a k e s i t easier t o p r o t e c t t h e m f r o m either frost o r freezing i n b o t h the s p r i n g a n d fall. particularly the local o n e . at g r o u n d level. O n c e y o u get the k n a c k o f w a t c h i n g o u t for frost a n d c o v e r i n g y o u r plants w h e n i t threatens. If a b o d y of water is nearby. i n d i c a t e d b y a n i n t e r m i t t e n t a n d c h a n g i n g w e a t h e r pattern of b r o k e n c l o u d s a n d occasional p r e c i p i t a t i o n . You'll get all the information y o u need to be ready for that first frost. be ready. particularly after a still. O n e o f the greatest advantages of S F G is h o w easy it is to p r o t e c t y o u r g a r d e n since it is c o n d e n s e d i n t o small. In general. Plants that were b u s h y a n d colorful the d a y before are . Y o u r best b e t is to catch the e v e n i n g w e a t h e r forecast. l o w . A n o t h e r (perhaps better) source is the Internet.weather. 32 degrees Fahrenheit or b e l o w (0 degrees Celsius). and does.

hardy leaf crops such as kale. and a n u m b e r of oriental vegetables all w i n t e r l o n g . A hard frost is i n d i c a t e d by a c r u n c h y feel to the g r o u n d a n d a thin film of ice on the b i r d b a t h . asters. 175 Winter Gardeners w h o are particularly ambitious a n d w a n t to continue g r o w i n g s o m e t h i n g all w i n t e r will need additional tools for providing special protection to a v e r y select variety of plants. B u t i f y o u have p l a n t e d s o m e colorful f a l l . It's also possible to plant s o m e m e m b e r s of the o n i o n family in the fall in order to get a larger or early crop next spring and summer. C a l l y o u r c o u n t y extension service for local advice a n d conditions. T h i s is the t i m e w h e n m o s t gardeners declare a n e n d t o the season. Here's h o w : select f a s t . T h i s c a n be v e r y d i s h e a r t e n i n g for gardeners w h o c o m e o u t i n the m o r n i n g t o f i n d that the g a r d e n has b e e n devastated. L o o k for n a m e s that have w o r d s i n t h e m like "Arctic. W i n d a n d rain have a lot to do w i t h plant survival a n d h o w m u c h protection y o u need t o provide." "Frost K i n g .b l o o m i n g plants ( m u m s . T r y a n y o f the h a r d y salad greens a n d root c r o p s . Y o u r spirits w i l l be lifted a n d y o u c a n go on to e n j o y an a u t u m n garden. Special Cold Varieties Salad f r o m y o u r garden d u r i n g the coldest m o n t h s o f winter? Y o u bet. If y o u can keep the g r o u n d f r o m freezing solid and provide sunlight in just a small area. E v e r y seed c o m p a n y offers different varieties so l o o k t h r o u g h catalogs a n d select those that are r e c o m m e n d e d for c o l d a n d w i n t e r g r o w i n g . .g r o w i n g vegetables for y o u r w i n t e r garden. " o r " S n o w M a n " ( I just m a d e that last o n e u p ) . y o u r garden w i l l still l o o k attractive a n d i n v i t i n g after a hard frost. As y o u c o n t i n u e gardening.Extending the Seasons n o w just d r o o p y skeletons w i t h b l a c k e n e d leaves h a n g i n g like rags f r o m the stems. a n d y o u clean up the garden right away. b u t l o o k for special c o l d . A fall b o x (that's just a S F G b o x that's u s e d d u r i n g the fall) can p r o v i d e fresh salad each w e e k d u r i n g the w i n t e r w i t h o u t a greenhouse.t o l e r a n t varieties. in m a n y parts o f the c o u n t r y y o u can continue g r o w i n g special varieties of lettuce a n d spinach. you'll learn w h i c h vegetables are hardier in y o u r particular area. a n d s o m e h a r d y daisies) a l o n g w i t h the fall vegetables.

D o n ' t place the b o x u n d e r the r o o f o r g u t t e r line. m o s t sheltered s p o t y o u c a n find for y o u r w i n t e r garden. T h a t ' s never h a p p e n e d before w i t h s i n g l e .r o w g a r d e n i n g . b u t also v e r y practical. R e m e m b e r that the sun is v e r y l o w in the s k y d u r i n g the winter. It doesn't have to be in the m a i n g a r d e n . N o w it's n o t o n l y possible. wish I'd found it years ago. jBtfs* book on gardening I've ever read. b y b a n k i n g the o u t s i d e w i t h soil or p l a c i n g bales of h a y all a r o u n d . Insulate Provide s o m e insulation a r o u n d the w i n t e r b o x . N o w is an excellent t i m e to m i x a little extra c o m p o s t in each b o x a n d s m o o t h a n d level it o u t so it w i l l be all ready for the spring p l a n t i n g . T i d y it up a n d m a k e it l o o k g o o d . especially if y o u have w h i t e p a i n t e d b r i c k or s t u c c o walls. and start y o u r planting. a n d t h e n s p e n d s o m e t i m e reading a b e d t i m e story. Provide a t i g h t fitting cover or m a k e a double-layer cover w i t h plastic to keep the soil and air from losing heat at night. a n d the place that m a y have b e e n i n full s u n d u r i n g the s u m m e r could n o w very well be a very shady place in the winter.176 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Pick a Spot N o w . T h e n it's finally lights o u t . we do this the same w a y we p u t our children to bed. get o n e last drink. First. S i n c e the plants will g r o w v e r y s l o w l y c o m p a r e d t o spring a n d s u m m e r and since you'll be harvesting every leaf almost as it is ready. Putting Your Garden to Bed W h e n it is time to p u t the S F G to bed. y o u can plant y o u r p r o d u c e closer than the usual spacing. sleet. fix the b e d just the w a y t h e y w a n t it. or s n o w w i l l fall on it. W e l l . It doesn't have to be a p e r m a n e n t s p o t either. T h r o w a blanket or tarp on the b o x for those extra cold nights. fill it w i t h Mel's M i x . lay d o w n a sheet of plastic or sturdy w e e d cloth and in the spring y o u can p i c k everything up and return the area b a c k to its former use. w e e n c o u r a g e t h e m t o prepare for b e d t i m e — t o b r u s h their teeth. D o n ' t leave it a mess w i t h dead plants a n d debris lying about. You'll be in g o o d shape if the area is sheltered f r o m strong w i n t e r w i n d s and if it gets a m a x i m u m a m o u n t of w i n t e r s u n l i g h t . p i c k the sunniest. Y o u wouldn't t h i n k of sending t h e m to their r o o m a n d p a y i n g n o a t t e n t i o n t o t h e m w o u l d y o u ? Instead. . even as close as one-half the r e c o m m e n d e d distance. n e x t to the h o u s e or garage is better. o r y o u ' l l risk the c h a n c e that rain. —Mindy from New fersey Snuggle Up Install y o u r winter b o x . treat y o u r garden the same way. since t h e y will reflect q u i t e a bit of heat i n t o y o u r m i n i a t u r e g a r d e n .

Decorate for the Holidays You'll e n j o y S F G m u c h m o r e i f y o u k e e p y o u r g a r d e n neat a n d attractive at all times. Christmas or Winter H e r e are s o m e ideas that will m a k e y o u r S F G festive d u r i n g the bleak winter m o n t h s . dead blossoms. Since y o u no longer have to h o e the weeds or dig and cultivate the soil. Thanksgiving M a k e a nice arrangement in o n e or m o r e boxes of a fall scene. and start planting either at the regular time or early.l o o k i n g all w i n t e r a n d m a k e y o u r s p r i n g t i m e garden easier to begin. S o m e o f t h e b o x e s c o u l d just h a v e a bale or t w o of h a y or straw. 1 .w o r k garden). b u t y o u m i g h t t h i n k a b o u t decorating the garden so it still looks nice all winter l o n g or at least for the holidays. M a y b e even a scarecrow in a box.Extending the Seasons T h e little extra w o r k y o u d o i n the fall w i l l k e e p y o u r g a r d e n attractive a n d n e a t . clean. f o l d . rake off the m u l c h cover (remember y o u r rototilling neighbor?). a tarp or table c l o t h . Take Notes T h e o n l y t h i n g y o u m i g h t w a n t t o d o i s record i n a n o t e b o o k o r journal s o m e of the highlights of this past y e a r — n o t e s for improvements. K e e p y o u r garden neat. T h o s e boxes c o u l d be covered w i t h cloth (like w h i t e garden floating covers) or old colored sheets tacked or stapled d o w n . a n d attractive. like a stack o f c o r n w i t h p u m p k i n s . special varieties of plants. . or floating garden covers. W h a t I'm suggesting for the e n d of the season is really no different than w h a t I r e c o m m e n d y o u do all season long. or dead a n d pest-damaged leaves or entire plants. B u t w h a t a b o u t winter? N o t m u c h w o r k t o d o after p u t t i n g the garden to b e d . r e m o v i n g plants. 177 Grids in Winter Y o u c a n r e m o v e . a n d h a n g u p the grids n o w o r leave t h e m o n the b o x e s all w i n t e r . y o u will enjoy it so m u c h m o r e . a n d tips for next year. w h i c h w i l l r e m i n d y o u o f h o w m u c h fun y o u have n o w w i t h gardening. tidy. M a k e C h r i s t m a s boxes o u t o f y o u r garden boxes b y using old c o l o r e d or striped sheets. If y o u keep it in tip-top c o n d i t i o n (and that's n o t too difficult w i t h a n o . you'll have t i m e a n d energy for the pleasant things like t r i m m i n g o f f y e l l o w or dead lower leaves. You'll simply go o u t .

A n d just i n case y o u need m o r e c o n v i n c i n g . Add some fertilizer 9. T u c k i n greens a n d p i n e c o n e s . Dig in manure or leaf mold 8. D e c o r a t e y o u r vertical frames w i t h decorative lights. a n d p l e a s u r e — t h e n e x p a n d . Start Small T h i s chapter teaches us h o w to extend all the seasons a n d h o w d o i n g that can give us an extra 50 percent of gardening time. even lights i f y o u c a n get a n e x t e n s i o n c o r d t o the g a r d e n . Use a fork. p i n e branches. 3 . r e m e m b e r that A l l N e w Square F o o t G a r d e n i n g eliminates so m a n y gardening tasks so y o u have the time and energy to extend the seasons. c o l o r f u l r i b b o n . If y o u h a v e never g r o w n o u t .) 4 . rope. spade 10. pine cones. o r c o n t r a s t i n g c o l o r e d strips o f sheets t o tie b o w s o n the boxes. U s e w i d e . Perform a pH test 4. c o n f i d e n c e . w i t h or w i t h o u t lights. it can be right near y o u r b a c k d o o r where you'll see it m o r e often. It can be a really fun challenge to a n y gardener—regardless of experience. M a n y covers c o u l d serve d o u b l e d u t y as frost covers in the fall. don't worry. remove stones Do this daily and it won't accumulate No longer necessary No longer necessary No longer necessary No longer necessary No longer necessary No longer necessary No longer necessary No longer necessary-use trowel No longer necessary No longer necessary No longer necessary . a d d just a few features here a n d there as y o u gain m o r e confidence. As w i t h all n e w g a r d e n i n g projects. y o u r g a r d e n n o l o n g e r needs t o b e w a y o u t back. Add new 3 to 6 inch layer 7. Break up clods. T h i n k a h e a d w h e n y o u g o t o yard sales o r the thrift s h o p . Add peat moss if no humus 6. a n d m a k e t h e m into bird feeders. Clean off summer residue 2. shovel.178 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING 2 . After C h r i s t m a s . a n d bird feeders.o f .s e a s o n . m y r e c o m m e n d a t i o n i s t o start small i n order t o g a i n experience. Dig as deep as you can 11. T i e a string f r o m each b o x corner to the treetop for support. Turn over the soil 3. OUT WITH THE OLD OLD WAY NEW WAY 1. stick a discarded C h r i s t m a s tree in the center of each box. then decorative covers in the winter. Add all the humus you can get 5. ( R e m e m b e r now. Deeper is better 12. H o w exciting! If y o u read t h r o u g h all this a n d felt a little discouraged or glazed-over.

T h i s w o u l d create a l m o s t a wall o f gardens e n d i n g up in q u i t e a f e w available square feet.Special Gardens snd Gardeners 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 No Yard S o m e t i m e s a p r o p e r t y m a y h a v e l i m i t e d space for a garden. If you're in a n o . the o n l y choice w o u l d be to m a k e a clearing in the w o o d s . T h e s e c o u l d be stacked up creatively at different h e i g h t s to f o r m a v e r y attractive corner garden that w o u l d use less space t h a n a 4 x 4 .to 1 2 . i s a t the base o f a n d even o n t o p of a b a l c o n y or d e c k railing. Y o u r boxes c o u l d be on the g r o u n d or even on legs next to the house. O n e s o l u t i o n i s t o locate several boxes a r o u n d the h o u s e wherever they m i g h t receive e n o u g h sunlight. it c o u l d fan o u t so it gets larger as it gets h i g h e r to e x p a n d the g a r d e n area even larger. Y o u c o u l d install 6. A n o t h e r o p t i o n . Wooded Yard I f y o u have a h e a v i l y w o o d e d yard. t h i n k creatively a n d closer to y o u r front o r b a c k door. d e c k s . a n d balconies always have r o o m for a small g a r d e n . y o u c o u l d p u t a double-decker l o n g box against the house. A c o r n e r of a p a t i o or b a l c o n y c o u l d c o n t a i n several 2 x 2 . o f course.p r o p e r t y situation.i n c h w i d e boxes o n the floor o r b o l t e d t o the t o p o f o r h a n g i n g f r o m the railing o n b o t h sides. If y o u had a southern exposure w i t h e n o u g h sunlight.f o o t area. If y o u install a vertical frame w i t h n e t t i n g a l o n g b o t h walls or just t a c k the n e t t i n g to the walls. For instance. I f these suggestions don't w o r k — i t ' s shade gardening for y o u . b u t that w o u l d have to be a fairly substantial area t o get y o u r S F G boxes o u t o f the shade. T h e boxes c o u l d b e p l a c e d o n l o w tables o f different heights o r o n s o m e t h i n g like m i l k crates or c i n d e r b l o c k s in order to give each o n e a different h e i g h t . Hillsides W h a t if the o n l y space y o u have for a garden is on a hillside or fairly steep slope? . patios. O t h e r than that. t h e n y o u don't h a v e t o o m a n y choices.f o o t boxes.

sunflower. and zinnia.180 Some easy-to-grow annuals include marigold. ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING .

Just i n case. T h e steeper the slope. time. If y o u have railings that are flat. b u t w h e n i t i s s u n n y a n d b r i g h t a n d y o u r g a r d e n w a t e r drips d o w n o n the neighbors w h i l e they are at their barbeque below. y o u c a n always c h o o s e n o t t o drill drain holes at consistent intervals over the entire b o t t o m of y o u r S F G . If y o u w a n t a 4 . C o n s i d e r the strength a n d size o f y o u r railing a n d the s u r r o u n d i n g e n v i r o n - . You're in l u c k w i t h a S F G because y o u can build boxes that will fit into the lay of the land. 181 Decks W h e n creating d e c k gardens in an apartment or c o n d o m i n i u m . If y o u can't b o l t y o u r boxes to the railing a n d you're higher than the first floor. w h i c h w i l l p r e v e n t a lot of d r i p p i n g or excess w a t e r leakage. I w o u l d place the boxes on the floor.f o o t . you're g o i n g to c u t a p a t h i n t o the hillside w i d e e n o u g h to m a k e a g a r d e n area.Special Gardens and Gardeners If its facing south. slightly slope the b o x towards this o n e corner and p u t a decorative vase or other container underneath to catch a n y drips that m a y leak out. it m a y be w o r t h w h i l e to develop it for y o u r A l l N e w Square F o o t G a r d e n . To get a 3-foot w i d e level spot. helping people around the world to grow their own food. be sure t o c o n s i d e r the p e o p l e b e l o w y o u a n d h o w you're g o i n g t o water. R a i l i n g b o x e s m a k e a v e r y decorative a n d excellent garden. w h i c h will be higher than the d o w n h i l l aisle. Basically. H o w e v e r . w i t h a 3-foot w i d e box. First of all." —Regan from the USA Railings A n o t h e r p o p u l a r l o c a t i o n for a garden is on a r a i l i n g — p a r t i c u l a r l y on a w o o d e n railing. but o n l y a couple in o n e corner. T h e n . Y o u r g a r d e n m a y n o t b e a p r o b l e m w h e n i t rains. T h e r e are several things y o u can do a b o u t this situation. y o u will have to reach in f r o m b o t h sides and that can be t o o m u c h of a stretch f r o m the uphill side. it's h i g h l y unlikely y o u will overwater. y o u just cut into the hill and m o v e the soil d o w n h i l l to f o r m the 3-foot w i d e areas. particularly if y o u i n c l u d e trailing plants that a d d s o m e color a n d character. in order to have a level g a r d e n so y o u r soil a n d w a t e r don't r u n off. y o u will be able to reach in the full 3 feet f r o m the d o w n h i l l side because y o u are standing up rather than kneeling d o w n next to the box. Lt's such a positive thing you're doing. it is v e r y easy to set a b o x right on t o p of it. T h i n k ahead a b o u t water availability. t h o u g h . T h e l i m i t i n g factors are h o w steep the slope is and h o w b i g y o u r garden is g o i n g to be. they m a y n o t l o o k favorably u p o n y o u o r y o u r garden.w i d e b e d . the harder it b e c o m e s . and the cost to d i g and then level a p a t h w a y w i d e e n o u g h to h o l d b o t h y o u and y o u r garden. it s h o u l d be b o l t e d d o w n . For stability. since Mel's M i x holds water so well.

w o r k . there is never any . and y o u m a y find y o u r grandchildren will keep in t o u c h more often just to find o u t h o w the garden is growing. the simple answer is to just raise the garden up to the gardener's height. Grandparents O n e of the greatest bonds that I have f o u n d between grandparents and grandchildren is formed d u r i n g a gardening project. there is no l o n g e r the n e e d t o w a l k w a y o u t b a c k c a r r y i n g a b u n c h o f h e a v y . as well as getting d o w n on the g r o u n d and then getting b a c k up again. T h e r e are various holders sold a t h o m e i m p r o v e m e n t stores that snap o n t o y o u r railings a n d c a n a c c o m m o d a t e standard-sized boxes. Gardening for Seniors S o m e people find it difficult to do hard. of course. there will be great anticipation for the next visit and w h a t has h a p p e n e d in the garden. Selecting plants for children is quite simple. d e p e n d i n g o n y o u r preference. O n e advantage o f h a v i n g the b o x h a n g over the o u t s i d e e d g e i s the b o x w o n ' t take u p a n y o f y o u r v a l u a b l e d e c k space. G i v e y o u r grandchild a garden or just a square.d u t y tools. T h e r e is o n e safety c o n c e r n a n d that is a n y t h i n g falling. even if the visit is short. can w o r k just the opposite w a y w h e n the grandparent visits the child's h o m e and they plant a garden there. T h i s . plants should be easy to grow. since there is v e r y little m a i n t e n a n c e — j u s t n u r t u r i n g — y o u are n o t standing for l o n g periods of time.182 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING m e n t t o m a k e sure y o u r railing boxes aren't t o o big. encourage her to plant her garden. T h e s e boxes c a n h a n g over the outside o r inside o f y o u r railing. Y o u can n o w p u t various sizes of boxes on patios. If y o u r b o x is on the inside of the railing. it doesn't have far to fall a n d w o n ' t h u r t a n y o n e . s h o u l d i t d r i p w h e n you're w a t e r i n g . A n d . the water w i l l bypass the d e c k below. w h i c h is particularly adaptable for a p e r s o n in a w h e e l c h a i r or s o m e o n e that w a n t s to sit a n d g a r d e n . near the p o o l . o n c e they have a p l y w o o d b o t t o m installed. and s o m e t h i n g that will produce an exciting result. the b a c k door. Of course. fast growing for q u i c k results. a n d tools.u p g a r d e n if that makes it easier to t e n d . T h e r e is no w e e d i n g . it is just a matter of g o i n g to y o u r garden a n d t e n d i n g it w i t h the m i n i m a l a m o u n t of effort. m a n u a l labor like d i g g i n g up the existing soil. of course. a n d because we are starting w i t h a perfect soil mix. c a n b e m o v e d t o a n y l o c a t i o n for the c o n v e n i e n c e a n d pleasure of the gardener. let h i m write his n a m e on the grid. I n a d d i t i o n . A n d the gardens. W i t h S F G . A little h i g h e r w o u l d be a s t a n d . N o w . It can be a sit-down garden. or any pleasant area a r o u n d the house that is easy for a senior to a t t e n d to their garden.

O t h e r w o r t h w h i l e places we have installed S F G s are in prisons and troubled y o u t h facilities. we k n o w of a veterans hospital where a S F G was built on a g u r n e y a n d w h e e l e d f r o m the r o o f d o w n the service elevator s o i t c o u l d b e taken t o b e d r i d d e n patients. just o n e trowel. T h e y ' v e been placed on wheels. Special Needs Gardening S F G s have g o n e a lot of places over the years. U t a h . We have also t a u g h t a t the s c h o o l for the d e a f i n Salt L a k e C i t y . Sometimes seniors enjoy out-of-season gardening because they have the time to tend their gardens d u r i n g the tricky. Wheelchair. T h e S F G F o u n d a t i o n has taught the blind. The less desirable method is the use of sawhorses. The best support for a tabletop garden is a strong table with four legs. . w h i c h is another asset. T h i s also gets t h e m m o v i n g a b o u t o u t of doors m o r e often. but limit the access.Special Gardens and Gardeners 183 heavy digging. or standup gardening is now a real possibility. The least desirable method is a table with just a center support. B u i l d i n g a small portable garden (in sizes f r o m 2 x 2 u p t o 4 x 4 w i t h a p l y w o o d b o t t o m added) allows people t o participate w h o otherwise m i g h t n o t have been able to garden. which may be sturdy. sitdown. which could be unstable. out-of-season weather. giving all-around access. I designed a S F G for the H e l e n Keller Institute on L o n g Island w h e r e blind students learned gardening. T h e r e is no need to even have shovels or forks or a n y large tools.

Gardening then becomes a very simple. causing someone to give it up. easy. With SFG. and pleasant. Gardening in Schools O n e t h i n g I've learned f r o m teaching S F G over the last thirty years is that kids love to garden. F r o m the b e g i n n i n g .184 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING EVEN FOR SENIOR CITIZENS As we get older. no heavy equipment. it may become harder to do certain things. you'll see another big advantage when you harvest 1 square foot and add that trowel full of compost. and caring for them. and raised boxes. it almost boils down to just planting a few seeds. a n y t h i n g in the . So you'll never have to stop gardening if you're using the All New Square Foot Garden method. SFG has the advantages of small space. task. that in fact. There's no heavy digging! You can readily visualize how conventional gardening would become too much work and too much effort. growing. it was o b v i o u s that S F G is perfect for t e a c h i n g arithmetic a n d all kinds of m a t h and. T h e y are so excited a b o u t g r o w i n g plants.

T h e class p r o d u c e d a p l a y a n d v i d e o a b o u t S F G a n d invited parents a n d the rest o f the s c h o o l t o c o m e learn w i t h t h e m . It is n o w possible to take just a corner of that lot or any other small s p a c e — p e r h a p s even in an existing city p a r k — a n d have a very small c o m m u n i t y Square F o o t G a r d e n . " W e h a v e the d e s c r i p t i o n a n d p h o t o s o f m a n y school programs on our website on the S c h o o l G a r d e n i n g page. "A Square Yard i n the S c h o o l Y a r d . E a c h person can have from one 4 x 4-foot b o x up to an area of perhaps 12 x 1 2 . advertising. l a n g u a g e . nurturing. B u t then I b e g a n to see that a teacher c o u l d readily relate all subjects to gardening. O n e of the best examples of this is a teacher in California n a m e d Sandy. spelling. p r o n u n c i a t i o n . She teaches every subject in the classroom t h r o u g h the class's Square F o o t G a r d e n s . a n d responsibility. T h i s . even right in a city. w h i c h . the children learned the i m p o r t a n t values of sharing. c o m m u n i c a t i o n . acting. a n d the e n v i r o n m e n t a l issues. it is possible to have p o c k e t gardens a n y w h e r e in the c o m m u n i t y . gave S a n d y the o p p o r t u n i t y t o teach p l a y w r i t i n g . o f course. and they can begin to see the value of the subjects they have been learning in the past. T h e y each described w h a t t h e y l i k e d best a n d t h e n d r e w a picture illustrating it. T h e y w e r e l e a r n i n g p e n m a n s h i p . We have w o r k e d w i t h all age groups f r o m preschool t h r o u g h high school using gardening as a teaching tool. and the ability to describe observations a n d feelings. Instead they g a r d e n in a 3 x 3-foot b o x . S a n d y c o v e r e d m a n y aspects of science a n d art. T h e r e are lots of s o l u t i o n s — a l l y o u need to do is brainstorm w i t h the students.Special Gardens and Gardeners scientific field is easily t a u g h t u s i n g g a r d e n i n g as the vehicle. this is h o w we got the n a m e for our school program. w h i c h equals a square yard. O n e year. c o s t u m e design a n d m a k i n g . a n d so m u c h m o r e . A side benefit is that. letter writing. and it doesn't have to be a h u g e project to convert space into a c o m m u n i t y garden. A plan needs to be m a d e on w h a t to do w i t h the gardens d u r i n g the s u m m e r vacation period. as w e l l as e c o n o m i c s . and the brainstorming itself becomes another learning experience! Community Gardens W i t h S F G . the f i n a l project w a s t o h a v e each student w r i t e m e a letter telling m e a b o u t their g a r d e n . history. publicity. in addition to school subjects. As I m e n t i o n e d before. D u r i n g the year. It doesn't take an entire e m p t y lot now. S u d d e n l y learning begins to have s o m e type of m e a n i n g in their lives. p r o m o t i o n . 185 A Square Yard in the School Yard T h e o n l y change in S F G for children is that we m a k e the b o x a little smaller because t h e y can't reach in as far. stage presence.

b e c o m e successful. root crops.H ' e r s . Humanitarian Projects For some. tomatoes. at the e n d of a fair or show. the g a r d e n doesn't b e c o m e a n o v e r r u n eyesore b y the m i d d l e o f the s u m m e r . I f y o u w a n t t o start a c o m m u n i t y g a r d e n . several b e n c h e s a n d s o m e shade are always a g o o d feature. E a c h square w o u l d have a nice sign stating w h a t is there and h o w it is used in a salad. a n d garden clubs. M a s t e r G a r d e n e r s . a n d t h e n e x p a n d d u r i n g the s e c o n d season or year. I n the l a y o u t o f the g a r d e n . but for m a n y it can m e a n the difference between life a n d death. gardening is an enjoyable hobby.186 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING w o u l d enable t h e m t o h a v e four o r m o r e boxes. i n c l u d i n g children's gardens. A l s o . O n e step up f r o m s t a r v i n g — the w o r s t c o n d i t i o n i n the w o r l d — i s p o v e r t y a n d c o n t i n u a l h u n g e r — a n d that's w h e r e S F G c o m e s in. p u t it i n t o a v a n . b o t a n i c a l gardens. and the . f o u r p e o p l e c a n p i c k up the g a r d e n . We have a billion people w h o need help. use of water. A g r o u p c o u l d create a salad garden w i t h all the f i x i n g s — l e t t u c e . I w o u l d e m p h a s i z e the n e e d again to start small. My 3-year-old and I have a blast with two4x 6boxes." -Rich from North Carolina neighbor's g a r d e n . and edible flowers. y o u c a n e v e n i n c l u d e a s h o r t e n e d vertical frame so that it w o u l d still fit in the vehicle and yet w o u l d a d d a third d i m e n s i o n to y o u r display. and maintenance of the gardens so they l o o k neat a n d attractive. W e can h e l p solve the h u n g e r situation. Group Projects A S F G c o u l d be a demonstration project for m a n y different groups. O n e o f the best t h i n g s a b o u t u s i n g S F G in a c o m m u n i t y garden is that since there are n o w e e d s . a n d take it h o m e . i t w o u l d b e nice t o have several tables w h e r e p e o p l e i n w h e e l c h a i r s c o u l d w h e e l right u p t o their assigned g a r d e n p l o t . In that situation. T h e nice part a b o u t the idea of using a S F G is it requires so little m a i n t e n a n c e yet p r o d u c e s s u c h a spectacular showcase. scouts. It is an easy w a y o f attracting n e w m e m b e r s o r o f p u t t i n g o n a demonstration a t a function. 4 . A n o t h e r nice t h i n g a b o u t it is. b u t that issue c a n b e totally eliminated w i t h S F G . A n o t h e r idea w o u l d be an herb display w i t h signs a n d an invitation to t o u c h the plants. T h e use of pesticides a n d fertilizer w a s always a b i g c o n c e r n w i t h c o m m u n i t y gardens. the guidelines s h o u l d also cover the h o u r s o f operation. T h i s m e a n s i t i s m u c h easier t o operate a n d get p u b l i c a n d official approval. g a i n e x p e r i e n c e . C o m m u n i t y gardens do require a set of guidelines for w h a t participants c a n a n d c a n n o t g r o w s o t h e y don't interfere w i t h their a Your method is awesome.

Special Gardens and Gardeners solution is to teach t h e m h o w to help themselves. " S h o w a family h o w to Square M e t e r Garden. they s h o u l d start e d u c a t i o n a l p r o g r a m s that teach p e o p l e h o w t o c o m p o s t and h o w to create a S F G garden. T h e y need to be s h o w n h o w and then helped to start just one Square M e t e r G a r d e n of their o w n . T e a c h a m a n to fish a n d y o u feed h i m for a lifetime. take v e r y little effort. W e believe that. That's the significant and imperative message I w a n t to b r i n g to the w o r l d ." T h e w o r l d hunger p r o b l e m can never be solved until we help people help themselves. 187 On My Soapbox Well. " G i v e a m a n a fish a n d y o u feed h i m for a day. It w o u l d cost less. maybe the saying will be. B u t w h a t this b o o k is all a b o u t is h o w S F G can reach a n d help so m a n y m o r e people. W i l l y o u h e l p me? Y o u c a n — b y e n c o u r a g i n g others t o start a S F G . T h e nutritional value of the children's diet will improve dramatically a n d step-by-step. Y o u k n o w the saying. produce m o r e . step-by-step. T h a t is w h y the S F G F o u n d a t i o n is so intent on taking Square Foot G a r d e n i n g w o r l d w i d e w i t h its international counterpart Square M e t e r G a r d e n i n g . T h e n ." . and they will feed themselves forever. t h e y c a n create c o m p o s t for free. instead o f our governments and humanitarian organizations sending food. and as they e x p a n d their garden. allow p e o p l e to b e c o m e self-sufficient. anywhere in the w o r l d can n o w have a small square meter garden right at their back door. that family will be closer to self-sufficiency a n d i n d e p e n d e n c e from g o v e r n m e n t a n d private aid programs. the rest will follow. We teach t h e m to use straight c o m p o s t i n their gardens because o f the l a c k o f peat m o s s a n d v e r m i c u l i t e i n m a n y o f these areas o f the w o r l d . G e t i n v o l v e d i n y o u r c o m m u n i t y o r stretch y o u r involvement to the entire w o r l d . here I a m . We feel it can truly m a k e a difference in the everyday lives of so m a n y millions of people. A n y o n e . on my soapbox trying to solve w o r l d w i d e problems w h e n y o u just w a n t t o learn h o w t o h a v e a better g a r d e n i n y o u r yard. square-by-square. and yet deliver w o r t h w h i l e results. w h i l e i m p r o v i n g their e n v i r o n m e n t .

Appendix 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 M 1 1 1 1 1 1 M 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Basil and Beyond 189 At A Glance Vegetables 192 At A Glance Herbs & Flowers 193 Plant Profiles 194 Mel's Final Summary 246 Planting Charts 252 Glossary 260 Planting Grids 264 Mel's Mailbox 266 Index 268 Meet Mel Bartholomew 272 .

A m i x t u r e of basil. basil. a n d balsamic v i n e g a r in a f o o d processor. ' S i a m Q u e e n ' is a spicy T h a i basil w i t h an intense flavor a n d fragrance. garlic. garlic. o r use pesto as an i m a g i n a t i v e s a n d w i c h spread. and c h o p t h e m in a small f o o d processor w i t h . 2 cups basil leaves 2 cloves garlic V2 cup grated Parmesan cheese 2 tbsp. gemelli and p e n n e h o l d the pesto nicely. T h i n w i t h a few drops of water until it reaches the consistency of o a t m e a l — n o t too t h i c k b u t n o t runny. cheeses. slowly a d d olive oil. a d d h c u p of l sun-dried t o m a t o e s . To freeze basil for p e s t o . garlic. nuts. spread on crusty bread. Toss with c o o k e d pasta. c o m b i n e t o m a t o e s . I n t r o d u c e d to E u r o p e in the sixteenth c e n t u r y as a culinary and medicinal herb.Basil and Beyond A l t h o u g h we associate basil w i t h Italian c o o k i n g . For a s u m m e r t i m e treat. a n d olive oil. For a c o l o r a n d taste sensation. olive oil. R o m a n o cheese l li c u p pine nuts or walnuts dash of salt V2 cup olive oil water C o m b i n e basil. T r y m a k i n g pesto b r e a d instead o f garlic bread. Parmesan cheese. a n d salt in a f o o d processor or blender. ' H o l y Basil' is a sacred herb in India w h e r e it is used in religious c e r e m o n i e s a n d p l a n t e d a r o u n d H i n d u temples. it is an i m p o r t a n t ingredient in A s i a n cuisine t o o . a d d 3 tablespoons of w h o l e m i l k ricotta cheese. a n d sprinkle w i t h Parmesan cheese. w a s h a n d d r y 2 c u p s of leaves (a salad spinner works well). pesto is a treat w i t h a distinctive Italian f l a v o r . Six plants o f ' S w e e t G e n o v e s e ' w i l l y i e l d e n o u g h leaves t o m a k e pesto all year w i t h o u t o v e r d o s i n g on it. L e t s t a n d 5 m i n u t e s before serving. Basil is used as the perfect c o m p l e m e n t to s u m m e r tomatoes. W i t h the m a c h i n e r u n n i n g . it m a d e its w a y to E n g l a n d and A m e r i c a in the mid-seventeenth century. For a creamier taste a n d consistency.

w i t h the a d d e d attraction of h a v i n g small leaves that are the perfect size for a d d i n g to herbed butters or vinegars. or indoors a b o u t 4 to 6 weeks before. A n d i f y o u really m u s t g r o w o n l y o n e variety o f basil. so be sure to o n l y l use an a d d i t i o n a l /4 c u p to m a k e up the V2 c u p called for in the 1 recipe. O n c e h o t w e a t h e r sets in. W h e n planting basil close to tomatoes and peppers. so y o u can have the taste of an Italian s u m m e r all year round. . is as pretty as it is tasty. b u t t h e y w o n ' t a m o u n t t o m u c h i f t h e y get chilled early i n the season.o f . cut w h o l e stems just above a pair of lower leaves. It grows in adorable little balls perfect for a f r o n t . a n d the basil will prevent s o m e of the insects and diseases associated w i t h tomatoes. 'Spicy G l o b e ' d w a r f basil is a beautiful plant.t h e . A l t h o u g h c i n n a m o n a n d licorice basil have a delicious scent. Or choose plants at y o u r local g a r d e n center. if y o u are g o i n g to g r o w o n e h e r b this s u m m e r . a n d use t h e m all year l o n g in the recipe above. Regardless of w h a t y o u call it or w h a t y o u r heritage m a y be. O n l y the leaves are used in fresh or frozen recipes. bread. To harvest basil. Basil plants will turn black a n d die at the slightest hint of frost. basil is the o n e to c h o o s e . it is t h o u g h t t h e y w i l l all g r o w stronger a n d m o r e f l a v o r f u l . To use. Scrape the mixture o n t o plastic wrap. l e m o n juice. A layer of basil leaves over a b o w l of tomatoes will repel fruit flies. ' an A l l A m e r i c a Selections w i n n e r in 1 9 9 8 . 'Sweet D a n i . olive oil. on the other h a n d . S t o c k u p d u r i n g the p e a k g r o w i n g season. a n d Parmesan cheese to t o p s u m m e r tomatoes. the stems go to the m u l c h pile.b o r d e r accent. m a k e i t 'Sweet Genovese. T r y it in place of parsley w h e n c o o k i n g rice or chicken. or pasta. sweet pesto w i t h l e m o n basil. a n d p u t the resulting patty in the freezer. basil plants will g r o w quickly.' Growing and Caring for Basil Start basil f r o m seed outdoors after the last spring frost (basil needs w a r m nights). T h e plant will g r o w n e w stems from that point. Freezing basil in this w a y does no noticeable h a r m to the color or flavor. P i n c h off flower b u d s to save the plant's energy for leaf g r o w t h . they are an acquired taste for s o m e people. Just r e m e m b e r that there is already U c u p of olive oil in the patty. fold it u p .190 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING 1 /4 c u p olive oil. defrost the patty. b u t k e e p t h e m sheltered u n t i l that last frost. T h e flavor of l e m o n basil. S o w seeds or set transplants in y o u r S F G or a w i n d o w b o x in full sun a n d keep well watered t h r o u g h o u t the g r o w i n g season. Or m a k e a light. is an irresistible mixture of sweet and citrus that c o m p l e m e n t s the lighter foods of summer. A l s o p i n c h o u t g r o w i n g tips to keep the plants bushy. a n d p u t it in the f o o d processor w i t h all the other ingredients.

C r u s h dried leaves i n t o y o u r favorite sauces for a subtle basil flavor. h a n g entire stems upside d o w n o u t of direct sunlight. N o w let's talk a b o u t s o m e other plants.Basil and Beyond To d r y basil. R e m o v e the dried leaves f r o m the stems a n d store in an airtight container. 191 .

192 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING .

these can be grown in this season. . N/A = Not advised to store seed.Basil and Beyond 193 *In some parts of the country and under certain weather conditions.

Starting Location: Full sun. y o u b u y and plant 2-year-old roots. W h e n y o u invest in an asparagus plant. to total 6 inches deep). B u t I've f o u n d that if y o u can afford to b u y e n o u g h of the roots. . as it can last for up to 20 years. consider the location very carefully. Because it is a perennial a n d takes a c o u p l e of years before the first harvest. one per square foot. raise y o u r o w n transplants from seed. Asparagus self-sows readily. plant seeds that have been soaked in water Transplanting: 2 to 4 weeks before last spring frost. tender asparagus spears f r o m the spring garden have no rival in the s u p e r m a r k e t — a n d can be easily g r o w n in a Square F o o t G a r d e n . Soak seeds overnight and plant at least /2 inch deep. T h e plants get very b u s h y t h r o u g h o u t the s u m m e r a n d need quite a bit of r o o m to spread o u t so leave g o o d aisle space a r o u n d it. m a k e little m o u n d s at the plant location. m o r e in the summer. Maintenance: C u t the foliage to the g r o u n d in fall as it turns y e l l o w a n d before the berries ripen. often w i t h less than perfect results. Growing Watering: Weekly. we suggest y o u p l a n t an entire 4' x 4' b o x o n l y in asparagus. It takes an extra year or t w o . m a r k y o u r spacing (either the one or four per square foot). a n d t h e n drape the roots (purchased at the nursery or t h r o u g h mail order) over each o n e of those little m o u n d s . w h i c h covers the roots an i n c h or t w o . T h e n p o u r in the rest of the Mel's M i x (about 3 m o r e inches. Seeds Outdoors: 2 to A weeks before the last spring frost. x Traditionally. p r o d u c i n g o n l y o n e crop a year.194 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Asparagus Description Fresh. If y o u have lots of time but little money. four per square foot will produce a m u c h bigger crop earlier. overnight in a hole between h and 1 inch deep. but costs peanuts. Seeds Indoors: l 10 to 1 2 weeks before last spring frost. T h e c o n v e n t i o n a l w a y o f p l a n t i n g asparagus i s t o p u t a b o u t 3 inches o f y o u r Mel's M i x d o w n .

C o o k asparagus briefly as it can b e c o m e m u s h y if overcooked. m a k i n g a slanting cut. Three-yearold plants are considered mature. and only sparingly. roasted. Spears taller than 6 inches can be t o u g h . the r e m a i n i n g shoots g r o w i n t o a large. say one or t w o shoots per plant. but it can be stored for a couple of days in the refrigerator. rust.Basil and Beyond 195 Harvesting How: C u t the largest asparagus shoots at the surface of the soil w i t h a sharp serrated knife. w h e n the shoots are 4 to 6 inches tall. grilled. a n d the fronds are lovely to use as filler in flower b o u q u e t s . boiled. Problems Slugs. H a r v e s t f r o m m a t u r e plants only: don't harvest from first-year plants. lacy plant in the garden. or c o o k e d in casseroles and salads. immersing the stems while the tender heads steam. When: Harvest asparagus in late spring. Hints and Tips After the spring harvest. standing on end on a w e t pad or in a jar of cold water. the second year. M a l e plants are the m o s t desirable as they are the m o s t p r o d u c t i v e a n d do n o t set seed. asparagus beetle. steamed. Preparing and Using Asparagus is best used as fresh as possible. Fusarium root rot. . Tall narrow asparagus kettles are designed to c o o k the spears upright. Asparagus can be eaten raw. for a b o u t 6 weeks.

b u t keep the leaves dry. t h e n served i n d i v i d u a l l y w i t h a little seasoning. Beans do n o t store well. b l i g h t . each plant yields o n e large crop all at once. as well as calcium a n d iron. Pole beans. Seeds Indoors: N o . S o u n d s like a lot b u t t h e y are still w o r t h w h i l e . B. b e a n s — w h e t h e r of the b u s h or p o l e v a r i e t y — a r e a terrific c r o p for a n y garden. w i t h a smaller c r o p a few w e e k s later. For a c o n t i n u o u s harvest of bush beans. the m o r e tender it will be. or m i x e d vegetable dishes. a n d C. w h i l e a d d i t i o n a l plantings of the b u s h types are n e e d e d to have a c o n s t a n t harvest. D o n o t pull o n the plant w h e n harvesting. In the old days. the smaller the b e a n . Do n o t allow the soil to d r y out. When: P i c k beans w h e n they are still small a n d tender. I've even heard o f p e o p l e a d d i n g m a r i n a t e d beans t o a s a n d w i c h . A lot of gardeners t h i n k that pole beans have better flavor. a n d deer. Beans are excellent a d d i t i o n s to s o u p s . Maintenance: W e e d w e e k l y if y o u see a n y weeds sprouting. the plant will stop p r o d u c i n g a n d the best flavor is past. birds. stews. w o o d c h u c k s . Seeds Outdoors: Presoak seeds thirty minutes for faster sprouting. Seeds sprout in 5 to 10 days. Harvesting How: Break or cut each stem h o l d i n g the bean p o d (there's no h a r m d o n e if the bean breaks a n d part o f the p o d stays o n the vine). w h i l e the b u s h types taste m o r e like "green beans. Leftovers are easily m a r i n a t e d for a d d i t i o n to a salad or use as a relish. C o o k a n y size b e a n . a n d cheese! H o w does that s o u n d ? Problems A p h i d s . Beans are g o o d eaten r a w w h e n t h e y are s m a l l — r e m e m b e r . R a w beans can be served w h o l e w i t h a d i p or cut into pieces for addition to a salad. Beans contain lots of vitamins A. t o m a t o . w h i c h are g r o w n on a vertical frame. a l o n g w i t h lettuce. rust a n d m i l d e w . so try to use t h e m the same day they are picked. g r a t e d cheese. T h e r e are p r o b a b l y as m a n y w a y s to prepare a n d serve beans as there are varieties in the seed catalogs. beans were called string beans a n d the string had to be pulled o f f before c o o k i n g . Starting Location: Full sun. Do n o t allow t h e m to get so large that p o d s bulge w i t h seeds. N e w e r varieties—called snap b e a n s — o n l y f o r m strings if y o u let t h e m get too t o u g h and large. rabbits. b u t p r o v i d e a steady c o n t i n u o u s y i e l d all season l o n g . . o r stir-fried. b o i l e d . Preparing and Using W a s h a n d refrigerate if n o t using immediately. Transplanting: D o e s n o t transplant well. Growing Watering: Beans m u s t have regular waterings. take l o n g e r to grow. T h e y c a n b e s t e a m e d .196 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Description Prolific a n d easy to grow. plant a n e w square of a different color or variety every 2 weeks all s u m m e r long." B u s h beans g r o w lower to the ground. remove cage after t w o weeks. Japanese a n d M e x i c a n b e a n beetles. A single p l a n t i n g of p o l e types is a d e q u a t e . or parsley. W a t e r soil and cover square w i t h a chicken-wire cage to keep o u t birds.

individual leaves can be cut at any time. Seeds Outdoors: E a c h seed in the packet is actually a cluster o f t w o to five individual seeds. so start p u l l i n g w h e n the roots are approximately the size of a P i n g .P o n g ball and c o n t i n u e until they are full size. A f t e r the sprouts are a b o u t 1 i n c h tall. p l a n t a n e w square every three w e e k s except in the hottest part of the s u m m e r . T h e y are m o s t l y pest. just run a string around them as a g r o u p to keep t h e m in their square. Transplanting: D o e s n o t transplant well.Basil and Beyond 197 Hints and Tips If your square of bush beans gets floppy and starts spreading over adjacent squares. T h e root gets very hard w h e n g r o w n in the h o t s u m m e r season. Maintenance: K e e p Harvesting How: Pull up the entire plant w i t h the largest top. Starting Location: Partial shade or full sun. When: R o o t s are the m o s t tender w h e n h a l f size. It won't h a r m the harvest. c u t o f f all e x c e p t the strongest p l a n t f r o m each seed cluster. but don't take m o r e than one or t w o from each plant. .a n d disease-free a n d resistant to b o t h fall and spring frosts. Growing Watering: Plants need constant and even moisture. d a m a g e d leaves picked off. m u l c h in h o t weather. If you're n o t sure of bulb size. To harvest greens. Seeds Indoors: N o . and w e e d weekly. dig around the root with your fingers to uncover the top to c h e c k the size. Description Beets are a w o n d e r f u l vegetable to g r o w because they're easy and b o t h the roots and the greens (tops) are suitable for eating. so several l sprouts will c o m e up f r o m each seed p l a n t e d . Leaves are usable at any size. Plant o n e p r e s o a k e d seed in each space li inch deep three w e e k s before the last spring frost. To have a c o n t i n u o u s harvest.

slugs and snails. w o o d c h u c k s . M a r i n a t e leftovers for a salad or relish. Seed will s p r o u t i n d o o r s in 5 to 10 days at 70°F. sliced. as the season is too short before h o t weather arrives. rabbits. It is very frost hardy and grows well in the spring and fall. Problems C u t w o r m s . Transplanting: Plant outside approximately five weeks before the last spring frost. Seeds Indoors: Plant 5 to 10 seeds in a c u p o f vermiculite. m o v e to full s u n l i g h t as s o o n as the first shoots appear. salad dressing. or place o n e seed ' A i n c h d e e p in p o t t i n g soil in each i n d i v i d u a l c o m p a r t m e n t of a seedling tray. Serve h o t — b o i l e d or s t e a m e d . K e e p seed w a r m (70°F) until s p r o u t e d .198 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Preparing and Using Use greens w h o l e or c h o p p e d in fresh salads. or a spoonful of sour cream. and deer. Hints and Tips T r y a square each of several varieties for different tastes. a p p r o x i m a t e l y 12 w e e k s before y o u r last spring frost. it doesn't do well in the s u m m e r heat. Roots are rich in iron and v i t a m i n B. and colors. Relatively disease-free. texture. Broccoli Description Broccoli requires cool weather b u t is great in a Square Foot G a r d e n . . or c o o k them like spinach. or try t h e m c o o k e d and chilled (shredded. Seeds Outdoors: N o t satisfactory. Starting Location: N e e d s full sun. Small w h o l e beets can also be c o o k e d and served w i t h an orange sauce. leaf miners. T r y s a u t e i n g shredded raw beets quickly and serve hot. or diced) in salads or m i x e d w i t h cottage cheese.

B . a s w e l l a s c a l c i u m . w h i c h n e e d consistent moisture. o r can b e c h o p p e d fresh i n t o a salad. w h i c h y o u w a n t t o harvest before the f l o w e r b u d s o p e n . as n e w smaller heads w i l l f o r m for a s e c o n d harvest. leaving as m a n y leaves on the plant as possible. T o c o o k it. a n d C . Refrigerate if you're n o t using immediately. It's still edible w h e n it's small. m i x it w i t h interesting c o m b i n a t i o n s of meats a n d vegetables. T r y it p l a i n w i t h just a little dressing. I f y o u h a v e several plants. p h o s p h o r u s . serrated k n i f e or clippers. Broccoli can be served fresh a n d raw w i t h m a y o n n a i s e . It's an excellent addition to any stir-fried dish. Problems C u t w o r m s . boil. or t o p p e d w i t h a cheese sauce. don't w a i t t o o l o n g to c u t the first o n e after the heads start f o r m i n g . and cabbage w o r m s . Maintenance: W e e d weekly. T h e h e a d is actually a flower head. o r a n y d i p . root maggots.Basil and Beyond 199 Growing Watering: L i k e all m e m b e r s of the c a b b a g e family. even if it l o o k s a little small. green w o r m s . N e v e r let broccoli d r y o u t or wilt. a n d iron. y o u can steam. When: Harvest as s o o n as a h e a d appears full a n d tight. sour c r e a m . don't r e m o v e the plant. Hints and Tips After y o u c u t the m a i n stalk. . you're g r o w i n g leaves a n d flowers. Preparing and Using Broccoli contains v i t a m i n s A . m u l c h in w a r m e r weather. Harvesting How: C u t o f f the m a i n central h e a d at its base w i t h a sharp. n e w side-shoots (miniature heads) will form and g r o w f r o m the original plant to provide y o u w i t h a second harvest. C o o k e d leftovers can be marinated for addition to salads or relishes. W a s h u n d e r running water and soak in c o l d salted water for t w o hours if there's any chance that a green cabbage w o r m is present in the head. W i t h i n a few weeks. S o m e claim the smaller side-shoots are even m o r e flavorful than the central head. or stir-fry. club root.

a n d leaf textures. Seeds Indoors: Plant o n e seed '/4 i n c h d e e p in p o t t i n g soil in individual c o m p a r t m e n t s o f a seedling tray 12 w e e k s before y o u r last spring frost. Maintenance:^?:^ hurt the plant. . serrated knife or clippers. colors. and sometimes flower the first year if allowed to get too large. sizes. Seeds Outdoors: T h e starting the fall c r o p f r o m seed o u t d o o r s w o u l d tie up t o o m u c h valuable garden space that c o u l d be used m o r e productively. Crowing Watering: C a b b a g e needs lots o f water to head u p properly. a n d form g o o d heads.or long-season variety is usually bigger. Late transplants d o not season is t o o short to plant seeds directly in the garden for the spring c r o p . Starting Location: Full sun. the early-season variety is smaller and faster growing. For a s e c o n d c r o p in the fall. but after the head is formed and while it is w e e k l y . Start all seeds in individual containers for transplanting into the garden. cut away any portions that are "over the line. If large lower g r o w i n g to full size. c u t a w a y a n y extra-large b o t t o m leaves if they are yellow.200 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Cabbage Description C a b b a g e is a very easy vegetable to grow: it's frost hardy and takes very little w o r k . m o v e to full s u n l i g h t as s o o n as first shoots appear. repeat the process a n y t i m e in the m i d d l e of June (or b a c k up 16 w e e k s f r o m y o u r first fall frost date)." T h i s will not Harvesting How: C u t off the entire head w i t h a sharp. leaves are spreading to other squares. C a b b a g e c o m e s in a variety of shapes. Transplanting: D o n ' t let transplants get too large before planting t h e m outside.to late-season crop. and can be g r o w n as an early. while the late. cut back on watering or the head will grow too fast and split. All varieties grow best in cool spring or fall weather. In m o s t places y o u can usually start seeds of a n e w c r o p as s o o n as y o u ' v e harvested y o u r spring c r o p . K e e p w a r m (70°F) until s p r o u t e d . Seeds s p r o u t in 5 to 8 days at 70°F.

Preparing and Using C a b b a g e is delicious c o o k e d or raw and contains a lot of vitamin C. practice d r o p p i n g a p i n c h (2 or 3 seeds) on s o m e w h i t e paper until y o u get the hang of it. Transplanting: D o e s not transplant well. don't wait until all the heads are large. p i c k the shape and size that best suits your garden. Seeds are v e r y small. Problems Slugs and snails. w a t c h for eaten leaves and then p i c k the green cabbage w o r m s off by hand. Water soil and cover the square w i t h a plastic-covered cage. Hints and Tips C o v e r cabbages w i t h a b o n n e t of insect n e t t i n g or floating cover to k e e p o u t the cabbage m o t h . Otherwise. but y o u hope it's a whopper. try pelleted seeds if necessary. T h e y m a y split in h o t weather and go to seed. K e e p the g r o u n d m o i s t at all times. aphids. Seeds Outdoors: Sprouts in t w o to three w e e k s o u t d o o r s . but can stand partial shade. . even if it means daily spraving in s u n n y weather. Starting Location: Full sun. and you'll be left with nothing. Carrots can be either l o n g and thin or short and stubby.Basil and Beyond 201 When: A n y t i m e the head starts to develop and feels firm. If y o u have several plants. T h e seeds are so small that planting t h e m can be very tedious. Carrot Description Carrots are related to the wildflower Q u e e n A n n e ' s lace. Plant t w o or three seeds in each of the 16 spaces in a square. Seeds Indoors: N o . T h e r e is n o t h i n g m o r e exciting for kids (including kids my age) than pulling up a carrot they planted m o n t h s ago! It's sort of like fishing—you don't k n o w h o w big it is until y o u see it. and cabbage w o r m s (their worst e n e m y ) .

m u l c h heavily to k e e p the g r o u n d f r o m freezing to protect y o u r fallplanted carrots. Cauliflower . T h e y can be served in a variety of dishes. b u t s e e m best w h e n served w i t h a dressing. Hints and Tips T h e l o n g and thin ones can be g r o w n in y o u r S F G w i t h the addition of a high-rise b o x (see C h a p t e r 4 ) . or a d d e d to soups a n d stews. If you're n o t sure w h i c h are biggest. sliced thinly. or cut into sticks for snacking. Maintenance: W e e d weekly. b u t don't peel t h e m . Problems C a r r o t rust fly. Harvesting How: Pull up those w i t h the largest tops. a d a b of sour c r e a m . rabbits. w h e n they're o n l y half size and at their sweetest and most tender. or sprinkled w i t h parsley a n d grated cheese. Virtually disease-free. C a r r o t s are delicious fresh and r a w — s h r e d d e d . otherwise carrots are relatively work-free. M o s t of the v i t a m i n s are in the skin or close to the surface. carrots also c o n t a i n c a l c i u m . C a r r o t s are so versatile y o u c a n even m a k e a w o n d e r f u l l y m o i s t cake w i t h t h e m . When: P i c k t h e m early. w o o d c h u c k s . T h e n reduce w a t e r i n g s o the carrots don't crack f r o m overly rapid g r o w t h . Preparing and Using S c r u b w i t h a vegetable b r u s h . and voles. T h e y can be c o o k e d by s t e a m i n g or b o i l i n g . R i c h in v i t a m i n A a n d t h i a m i n e (vitamin B i ) . dig around the plant w i t h y o u r fingers to test the size. deer.202 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Growing Watering: C a r r o t s m u s t have c o n s t a n t m o i s t u r e until they're a l m o s t m a t u r e to g r o w q u i c k l y a n d c o n t i n u o u s l y . For a late w i n t e r harvest.

T h e w h i t e variety needs 1 4 t o 1 5 w e e k s t o m a t u r e w h i l e the purple variety c a n take up to 19 w e e k s . boiling. C o o k by steaming.b l a n c h i n g . C h o p p e d cauliflower is excellent in tossed salads. Do n o t delay harvest. T h e n tie or h o l d w i t h a rubber b a n d to cover and protect the head from exposure to the sun. root maggots. cauliflower soup is superb and quite unusual. b e n d or break large leaves over the t o p w h e n heads start to form. as the h e a d w i l l g r o w fast a n d pass the ideal harvest p o i n t in just a f e w days. Place a c u t w o r m collar a r o u n d the stem. Preparing and Using Serve florets fresh and raw w i d i any salad dressing or dip. it is n o t as c o l d h a r d y a n d is m o r e susceptible to the heat. season is too short before h o t weather arrives. Marinate any leftovers for addition to salads or relishes. m o v e to full s u n l i g h t as s o o n as first shoots appear. cauliflower suffers m o r e f r o m t r a n s p l a n t i n g t h a n a n y o t h e r c a b b a g e f a m i l y m e m b e r .Basil and Beyond 203 Description Even t h o u g h cauliflower is a m e m b e r of the c a b b a g e family. w h i c h can turn the head yellow. Plant 5 to 10 seeds in a c u p of v e r m i c u l i t e . Maintenance: W e e d weekly. For a s e c o n d c r o p in the fall. It makes a marvelous addition to any s o u p or stew. Transplanting: Set o u t in the g a r d e n four w e e k s before t h e last s p r i n g frost. Seeds Outdoors: N o t satisfactory. a n d p r o v i d e a shade cage. W h i t e cauliflower is the m o s t p o p u l a r variety b u t the p u r p l e o n e is c o n s i d e r e d to b e m o r e f l a v o r f u l a n d does better i n the heat. Be extra careful w h e n p l a n t i n g . a n d has a nice w h i t e color. Seeds Lndoors:Wi\\ s p r o u t in 5 to 10 days at 70°F. or stir-frying. Growing Watering: N e v e r let plants d r y out. club root. before the b u d s separate or o p e n . is firm. water. m u l c h in h o t weather. b u t will tolerate partial shade. . Harvesting How: C u t off the entire head at its base w i t h a sharp knife or clippers. Fall is the best season for p l a n t i n g because the p l a n t will m a t u r e in the cool weather. or just sprinkled w i t h grated cheese. occasionally cabbage w o r m s . Hints and Tips For w h i t e varieties that are n o t s e l f . Serve h o t w i t h cheese sauce. and cabbage loopers. When: Harvest as s o o n as the h e a d enlarges. K e e p w a r m (70°F) u n t i l s p r o u t e d . Problems C u t w o r m s . repeat the process a n y t i m e f r o m June 15 to July 1. Starting Location: Full sun. or plant o n e seed U i n c h d e e p in p o t t i n g soil in i n d i v i d u a l c o m p a r t m e n t s of a seedling flat ten l w e e k s before the last s p r i n g frost. salad dressing.

a n d c a n be g r o w n in the sun or shade. C h a r d is available in white. or place one seed lli inch deep in potting soil in individual c o m p a r t m e n t s of a seedling tray 7 weeks before y o u r last spring frost. Transplanting: Plant into the garden three weeks before the last spring frost.and disease-free.or red-stemmed varieties and is also available in m a n y rainbow colors. S w i s s Description Swiss chard is k n o w n best for its v i t a m i n . It's o n e of the easiest vegetables to g r o w in a n y part of the country. cut o f f any yellow or overgrown outer leaves. or twice w e e k l y in h o t weather. K e e p w a r m (70°F) until sprouted. s u m m e r . a n d fall for a c o n t i n u o u s harvest. Water and cover w i t h a presoaked seeds V2 inch deep in each square three weeks before y o u r last spring plastic-covered cage. Seeds will sprout in 5 to 10 days at 70°F. Don't let outer leaves get t o o large before harvesting. . When: Start harvesting w h e n the outer leaves are a b o u t 6 to 9 inches tall (approximately eight weeks after planting seeds). whichever y o u like. Water and cover w i t h a plastic-covered cage. Seeds sprout o u t d o o r s in t w o to three weeks. Seeds Outdoors: Plant frost. all spring. T h e smaller inner leaves will continue to grow. Like all leaf crops. m o v e to full sunlight as s o o n as first shoots appear. In m o s t climates it c a n even be carried over the winter.r i c h leaves a n d its s u c c u l e n t stems. for luxurious leaf g r o w t h . Seeds Indoors: Plant 10 seeds in a c u p o f vermiculite. It can have either s m o o t h or crinkled leaves. Growing Watering: Weekly. try both! It is also virtually pest. Maintenance: Harvesting How: Carefully cut off each outer stem at the plant base w i t h a sharp knife w h e n the leaves are 6 to 9 inches tall.204 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Chard. Starting Location: D o e s best in full sun. and c o n t i n u e harvesting outer leaves (stalk and all) every w e e k or so. Swiss chard needs lots o f water W e e d weekly. b u t can g r o w in partial shade.

T h e stalks can be c o o k e d and served like asparagus. Hints and Tips Harvest the outer leaves continuously. Plants will only produce a crop in early spring the second year. or grated cheese. Plant a square each of all the colors a n d get o u t y o u r camera for great ground-level shots. a n d deer. the leaves are used fresh or c o o k e d . refrigerate if not using immediately. C h o p the central stem or stalk into convenient-size pieces a n d boil or steam like asparagus or celery. but milder in taste than. Gradually remove the m u l c h in early spring and be rewarded by the first fresh greens from y o u r garden.Basil and Beyond 205 Preparing and Using Both leaves and stems are edible. and iron. M o s t of the varieties for h o m e use are planted 4 per square foot. so start n e w plants every year. Free of most diseases. w o o d c h u c k s . so m a n y plant a w h o l e 4' x 4' S F G of just corn. or boil or steam as y o u w o u l d spinach. and are similar to. later they will go to seed. C u t out the central stalk a n d use the leaves as fresh greens for salads. W i t h a complete m u l c h cover. o n l y one crop can be g r o w n per season because it needs a l o n g time to mature and lots of hot weather. it will also winter over and resprout the second year for a very early spring harvest. If m u l c h e d w i t h loose hay it can be harvested into the winter in most climates. Corn Description C o r n is a l o n g . After harvest.b o u g h t corn can't c o m p e t e w i t h h o m e g r o w n corn.t i m e favorite of m o s t gardeners. Marinate leftover stalks overnight for a salad or appetizers. spinach. c u t w o r m s . rinse and pat dry like lettuce or spinach. A d d freshly c h o p p e d greens to a n y appropriate s o u p for a garden-fresh taste. leaves are very rich in vitamins A a n d C. a n d leaf m i n e r s . Serve w i t h your favorite salad dressing. a l l o w i n g a fall harvest. Swiss chard will survive several frosts even if it's u n p r o t e c t e d . calcium. occasionally rabbits. Problems Slugs a n d snails. . covered w i t h bread crumbs. T h e taste of s t o r e .

As n e w varieties o f c o r n are d e v e l o p e d . Problems C o r n has m o r e p r o b l e m s t h a n a n y o t h e r g a r d e n c r o p . If there are no other ears left on that stalk it's best to cut it d o w n to the g r o u n d . Preparing and Using C o r n loses its sweet taste very q u i c k l y after b e i n g picked. P l a n t y o u r p r e s o a k e d seeds 1 to 2 inches d e e p .206 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING T h e r e m a n y colors and varieties of corn. D r i v e a p o s t . d e p e n d i n g on the weather. b u t the best tasting are the bicolor and w h i t e varieties. Seeds Indoors: N o . r a c c o o n s . i n c l u d i n g c o r n borer. D o n ' t pull it o u t or y o u m a y disturb the roots of the s u r r o u n d i n g stalks. Starting Location: Full sun. T h e r e are relatively f e w diseases that b o t h e r the h o m e gardener. c h e c k w i t h the seed c o m p a n i e s for the latest r e c o m m e n d a t i o n s o n h o w far apart to plant various types of corn so they don't cross-pollinate. Seeds Outdoors:Sprouts in 5 to 10 days o u t d o o r s . If y o u harvest m o r e than y o u eat. a d d to a relish dish. Maintenance: Weed w e e k l y . Transplanting: D o e s n o t transplant well. cut the kernels off the c o b a n d freeze t h e m . birds. a n d squirrels. ear w o r m . If y o u can't use it immediately. To get a c o n t i n u o u s harvest. Harvesting How: U s e t w o hands to h a r v e s t — o n e to h o l d the stalk a n d the other to pull d o w n and break off the ear-—otherwise y o u m a y break the stalk. protect corn f r o m b l o w i n g over in late s u m m e r storms w i t h the s i m p l e a d d i t i o n of steel fence posts a n d a little t o m a t o n y l o n netting. it's ready. the c o r n is n o t quite ready to p i c k . locate corn where it won't shade other crops because it gets so tall. husk a n d refrigerate it. or serve w a r m w i t h butter and parsley. m o r e if it's n o t refrigerated. Of course. Hints and Tips C h a p t e r 4 has s o m e great tips on h o w to keep the critters o u t of y o u r corn patch. If m i l k y juice squirts o u t . T h e later season types taste better than the earlier season varieties. Up to 50 percent of the flavor is lost in the first 12 hours of storage. T h e y s h o u l d be p l u m p a n d full. corn is excellent a d d e d to a n y k i n d of s o u p or stew. Place a r a c c o o n . T h e m o s t c o m m o n color of corn is yellow. if the juice is clear.p r o o f fence a r o u n d y o u r squares w h e n the ears are starting to f o r m . When: C h e c k the ears daily w h e n the silk first b r o w n s a n d the ears feel full a n d slightly b u m p y . p l a n t a n e w c r o p every t w o w e e k s w i t h several varieties o f different m a t u r a t i o n dates.w i r e cage w h e n the c o r n is 6 inches tall. r e m o v e the c h i c k e n . p u n c t u r e a kernel w i t h y o u r t h u m b n a i l . W a t e r the soil a n d cover w i t h a c h i c k e n w i r e cage to k e e p o u t birds. so try to c o o k a n d eat it as s o o n as possible. at the p r o p e r s p a c i n g . the "extra sweet" variety is u n u s u a l l y g o o d a n d keeps its sweetness even after p i c k i n g . Since y o u r Mel's M i x stays so loose a n d friable. m o r e in the h o t weather. To see if the ear is ready. Growing Watering: Weekly. T h e final test of each ear before harvesting is to peel a w a y a small strip of the h u s k to expose the kernels.

avoid disturbing the roots. Cucumber Description T h e c u c u m b e r is a g a r d e n favorite. shape. a n d use. place presoaked seeds at proper spacing. water. Water and cover w i t h a shade cage. and keep soil moist until seeds sprout.Basil and Beyond 207 in each corner of y o u r 4' x 4' garden and then stretch a 4' x 4' piece of netting between the 4 posts. m o v e to full s u n l i g h t as s o o n as the first shoots appear. T h e r e are m a n y varieties r a n g i n g in size. I f the c u p is w a x e d cardboard or a heavy paper. Transplanting: Plant the c u p and all in the g r o u n d at the proper plant spacing. T h e slicing types are g r o w n larger a n d are m o r e c o m m o n l y used for salads or s a n d w i c h e s . as this spreads any fungus disease that m a y be present. tear away the b o t t o m carefully. Growing Watering: Weekly. Maintenance: W e e d weekly. N e v e r let the soil d r y out. to 8 days at 7 0 ° F . although Seeds Indoors: Sprouts in 4 the vine types will toletate some shade. Plant o n e seed in individual paper cups f i l l e d w i t h Mel's M i x . b u s h c u c u m b e r s take a lot of r o o m a n d don't p r o d u c e like the v i n e types. m u l c h in h o t weather. T h e pickling varieties are p i c k e d m u c h earlier w h e n they are s m a l l e r — j u s t the right size for the pickle j a r — b u t they can also be eaten. will sprout even faster at 80°F. i n c l u d i n g ones for p i c k l i n g or serving raw. so plenty of moisture is required for proper g r o w t h . C u c u m b e r s have the highest water c o n t e n t of any vegetable. about 3 feet o f f the g r o u n d . A l t h o u g h b o t h v i n e and bush varieties are available. P u n c h holes i n the b o t t o m for drainage. w h i c h will support them w i t h o u t any extra w o r k on y o u r part. twice w e e k l y in h o t weather. w a t c h o u t for beetles. A v o i d w e t t i n g the leaves. Seeds Outdoors: Sprouts in five to ten days. keep vines o n the trellis. K e e p w a r m (at least 7 0 ° F ) until s p r o u t e d . . Starting Location: Full sun. Use the vertical m e t h o d to g r o w y o u r vine c u c u m b e r s . T h e plants will easily g r o w right up t h r o u g h the netting. a n d is v e r y easy to g r o w in w a r m weather.

l o o k i n g p l a n t w i t h fruit that c o m e s in a w i d e variety of colors a n d shapes. Serve fresh. Preparing and Using W a s h and scrub w i t h a vegetable brush. or c u t t i n g into l o n g sticks. m o s t types yield a rather large. pick early and often. or the plant will stop producing. Eggplant yields a very large harvest a n d are used in m a n y different styles of c o o k i n g . slender burpless varieties w i t h the skins left on. . s o m e of the n e w e r varieties are yellow. thin varieties for a fun crop. Don't try the old practice of eating the large cukes and leaving the smaller ones on the vine. b u t take a l o n g t i m e to m a t u r e — s o y o u need to start plants i n d o o r s in early spring or b u y transplants locally. o r m a r i n a t e for relish. c u b i n g . Serve long. T h e y are easily g r o w n . and mosaic. wilt. K e e p picking even if y o u have to toss s o m e on the c o m p o s t pile because y o u can't use them. because in o n l y o n e or t w o days the little ones will be big. Eggplant Description E g g p l a n t is a n i c e . M a n y gardeners like c u c u m b e r s simply soaked in vinegar overnight and served w i t h lots of pepper. sliced on sandwiches w i t h o n i o n s a n d m a y o n n a i s e . Peel the fatter varieties before slicing. When: Harvest continually! N e v e r allow any c u c u m b e r s to b e c o m e yellow or overly large.s h a p e d fruit that is b l a c k to purple. Instead. Problems C u c u m b e r beetles. c o m p o s t the v e r y large c u c u m b e r s a n d eat the smaller ones. or w h i t e and are smaller and rounder. e g g . T h e y also go well in any salad or arranged around a spoonful of cottage cheese. Try some of the long. H o w e v e r .208 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Harvesting How: C u t (don't pull) the stem c o n n e c t i n g the fruit to the vine. Hints and Tips Don't let the fruit get too large. mildew. b r o w n .

When: Edible almost a n y t i m e after the fruit turns dark a n d glossy ( w h e n it's a b o u t 6 inches). won't sprout below 65°F. Problems C u t w o r m s and flea beetles. stir-fry. t h e n p o t up in seedling trays as s o o n as plants are large e n o u g h (usually o n e to three w e e k s ) . fry. a d d a t h i c k m u l c h w h e n h o t weather sets in. because a n y pause or s t o p p a g e of the g r o w t h will affect the u l t i m a t e bearing capacity o f the p l a n t . store it on the kitchen counter a n d enjoy its g o o d looks! H a n d l e carefully or fruit will bruise. K e e p w a r m (at least 7 0 ° F ) u n t i l sprouted. as the season is too short before h o t weather arrives. Eggplant mixes especially well w i t h tomatoes and onions. disturb the roots as little as possible. S h o w the pretty flowers to y o u r children and then have t h e m w a t c h the fruit f o r m and g r o w bigger every day. and will be supported w i t h o u t staking. especially w h e n fruits are f o r m i n g and enlarging. instead. t h e n stew. especially after t r a n s p l a n t i n g t h e m into seedling trays. Maintenance: W e e d weekly. In a f e w days the sun shade c a n be r e m o v e d . Provide a w i d e mesh. Seeds Outdoors: N o t satisfactory. o p e n wire cage support w h e n the eggplant is half g r o w n . If they turn a dull color they are overripe a n d the seeds will be large and hard. don't let them get too large. cover the w i r e cage w i t h a clear plastic cover as w e l l as a s u n shade to p r o v i d e a g r e e n h o u s e atmosphere if it is at all chilly. the plants will g r o w right t h r o u g h it. Growing Watering: Eggplant needs constant moisture. p i c k y o u r sunniest spot for eggplant. or bake. Since e g g p l a n t is so v u l n e r a b l e to c o l d weather. b u t o n l y requires 6 days at 85°F. Transplanting: Plant into the garden t w o weeks after the last spring frost. W a t e r a n d cover w i t h a shade cage. If you're n o t g o i n g to use the eggplant right away. w a t c h o u t for sharp spines on the stems a n d fruits. m o v e to full s u n l i g h t as s o o n as first shoots appear. K e e p a careful w a t c h over the plants. Preparing and Using Peel and slice or dice. Hints and Tips M a n y cooks use eggplant as a substitute for meat in various dishes. don't refrigerate it. Sprinkle 5 to 10 seeds lA i n c h d e e p in a c u p filled w i t h v e r m i c u l i t e 7 w e e k s before y o u r last l spring frost. Harvesting How: Mways c u t the fruit f r o m the b u s h w i t h clippers. verticillium wilt. Seeds Indoors: Sprouts in 12 days at 70°F. a d d to casseroles. or bread a n d fry by itself.Basil and Beyond 209 Starting Location: Full sun and lots of heat. .

T h e R o m a i n e leaf is comprised of m a n y tight. and d r y soil of s u m m e r cause lettuce to bolt to seed. the loose head. this m e t h o d is time-saving but space-consuming. .or b o l t resistant. L o o k for the types that are suitable for s u m m e r or winter seasons. If space is y o u r concern. the higher the vitamin C content will be. they can be g r o w n in s u m m e r and even in winter in m a n y parts of the country. Transplants seem to bolt to seed more easily than direct-seeded plants. m o v e to full s u n l i g h t as s o o n as first shoots appear. w a r m nights. Seeds sprout q u i c k l y o u t d o o r s a n d g r o w fairly rapidly. and extremely suited for S F G — i t grows quickly. Seeds Indoors: filled w i t h v e r m i c u l i t e 7 w e e k s before y o u r last spring frost date. a faster g r o w i n g . Sprouts in 2 to 3 days at 70°F. very gratifying. Seeds Outdoors: Sprouts in 5 to 1 0 days. and smaller variety of head lettuce. K e e p w a r m (70°F) until s p r o u t e d . Plant o n e or t w o seeds in each hole. T h e h o t weather. Start 5 to 10 seeds o f several different varieties in c u p s the stronger the light. l o n g days. it tolerates s o m e heat and can be g r o w n nearly year-round. but w i t h care and protection. A s w i t h all leafy vegetables. After s u m m e r is over y o u can start planting the same varieties y o u did in the spring. W h i l e it does g r o w best in the cool seasons and withstands cold weather. start all seeds indoors or off to the side of the garden and m o v e plants into the garden w h e n they're half g r o w n . T h e r e are several types of lettuce: the solid head usually found in grocery stores. Transplanting: M o v e plants into the garden anytime until they are half g r o w n . w h i c h is a loose head w i t h a rougher texture than the leaf types. prolifically and looks great. or B i b b . then p o t up in seedling trays as s o o n as plants are large e n o u g h (usually o n e to three w e e k s ) . so plant the s u m m e r crop directly in the garden. upright leaves and is probably the best pick for h o m e g a r d e n e r s — b u t there are also so m a n y great types of leaf and B i b b lettuces that every gardener should try to g r o w at least four varieties at all times! T h e y do best as a spring or fall crop.210 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Lettuce Description Lettuce is so easy to grow. water daily until they sprout. shade is w e l c o m e d in the h o t summer. Plant special varieties sold as heat. Starting Location: Full sun to partial shade. R o m a i n e or cos. however. Plant a n e w square or r w o o f lettuce every o t h e r w e e k until early s u m m e r .

y o u m a y spread fungal diseases. T h i s m a k e s a surprisingly large harvest w h e n c o m b i n e d w i t h a few leaves of beet. Provide shade covers for plants in summer. L e t t u c e w i l l stay fresh a n d crisp for several days. Maintenance: W e e d weekly. If y o u take just o n e leaf f r o m each plant. or harvest outer leaves f r o m either o n e w h e n the p l a n t is h a l f g r o w n . in fact. c u t w o r m s . a n d B i b b varieties at nine w e e k s . Y o u c a n also c u t the entire p l a n t at a n y time. deer. spinach. and iron (especially the d a r k green outer leaves). a n d Swiss chard. don't let any weeds grow. L e t t u c e c o n t a i n s v i t a m i n s A a n d B. it doesn't have to g r o w to full size to be edible. Hints and Tips G r o w as m a n y different colors a n d textures as possible to have unusual salads. slugs. T h e r e are n o t m a n y diseases to be concerned a b o u t unless the lettuce is quite w e t at g r o u n d level. . P i c k outer leaves daily to fill y o u r salad b o w l . y o u can still harvest a lot a n d hardly notice w h a t has been harvested. spin or pat dry. take y o u r salad b o w l right o u t to the garden! . s o w bugs. a l t h o u g h it's even better to harvest almost daily for m a x i m u m n u t r i t i o n a l value. . c a l c i u m . and wire w o r m s . w o o d c h u c k s . If y o u w a i t until all y o u r plants reach full size y o u will have to harvest a l m o s t all of t h e m at o n c e or they will go to seed. a n d store in the refrigerator in a plastic b a g until you're ready to use it. m o r n i n g is the best followed by n o o n or late afternoon. D o n ' t water at night. If you're g o i n g to c u t outer leaves y o u can start w h e n the p l a n t is h a l f g r o w n . Lettuce has such a shallow root system it can't compete w i t h weeds. Harvesting How: Y o u can cut individual outer leaves or the entire plant. Preparing and Using Rinse lettuce u n d e r c o o l water. When: Harvest leaf varieties at seven w e e k s .Basil and Beyond 211 Growing Watering: Try n o t to w e t the leaves. Problems Rabbits.

If each m e l o n is held in a sling it won't roll around and accidentally twist itself off w h e n it's ripe. a s t h e y will mature s o o n e r a n d save space. O f course. even u p to 90°F for s p r o u t i n g . Transplanting: Plant o u t d o o r s t w o w e e k s after the last frost date. Plant single seeds in individual paper cups. R e m o v e weakest one later. small melons near the end of the g r o w i n g season so that all the plant's strength goes into ripening the larger melons that are already set.212 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Melon (Cantaloupe. If it resists parting. K e e p the leaves dry to avoid fungal diseases and mildew. g r o w o n a vertical frame. but are a fun and exciting c r o p — e v e n t h o u g h the yield isn't large. pinch out all new. T h e y s h o u l d be g r o w n o n vertical frames. T h e stem will slip off easily w h e n the melon is rotated. it all seems v e r y w o r t h w h i l e . and the netting pattern o n the rind (if it's a cantaloupe) becomes very p r o m i n e n t . one w e e k after last frost. Watermelon) AT A GLANCE S e e d to Harvest/Flower: 12 weeks S e e d s Storage: 5 to 6 years Indoor S e e d Starting: 2 w e e k s before transplanting Earliest O u t d o o r Planting: 2 weeks after last spring frost Additional Plantings: no Description M e l o n s need about 3 m o n t h s of h o t weather to grow. support the half-grown melons in slings. takes 5 days in 70°F soil. Seeds Indoors: S p r o u t s in 5 to 10 days at 7 0 ° F . Plant a presoaked seed in each square foot. C o v e r w i t h a plastic-covered cage. S i n k the entire c u p in the g r o u n d after tearing o f f the b o t t o m . Harvesting How:Tw\st the m e l o n w i t h one hand while h o l d i n g the stem w i t h the other. Seeds Outdoors: Won't sprout in soil below 65°F. Plants do n o t transplant well. Crowing Watering: M u l c h heavily in hot weather. the hotter the better. M u s k m e l o n . R e d u c e water w h e n melons are almost ripe to develop their sweetness. When: Harvest w h e n e v e r it has a strong m e l o n scent. so don't start them until t w o weeks before planting outside. . Maintenance: Weed weekly. w h e n the harvest finally c o m e s . the m e l o n is n o t ripe. o n e o f the biggest rewards is seeing m e l o n s h a n g i n g 4 to 5 feet o f f the g r o u n d on y o u r vertical f r a m e — t h a t ' s n o t s o m e t h i n g you're used to seeing in y o u r o l d single-row gardens! Starting Location: Full sun.

or green. O k r a loves h o t weather. a n n u a l vegetable. blueberries. a n d get s o m e g o o d pictures! Okra Description O k r a is a tall. the p o d s g r o w v e r y quickly.'lt w o u l d also be prudent to start b y g r o w i n g the smaller varieties. and cut into wedges. and m a y n o t get a l o n g e n o u g h p e r i o d of heat to g r o w well in areas w i t h a short g r o w i n g season. scoop out the seeds. M e l o n s get v e r y heavy. are very sweet. Yes. m o r e c o m m o n varieties. fuzzy p o d that can be yellow. C u t m u s k m e l o n s or cantaloupes in half. they p r o d u c e well. or serve an entire half filled w i t h ice cream. p u m p k i n s ! Be prepared to attract a c r o w d . It is a pretty p l a n t w i t h large hibiscus-like y e l l o w flowers. Watermelon: A l l data and advice above is about the same for this giant o f a s u m m e r crop. but try it a n y w a y as it does g r o w very quickly d u r i n g the hottest days of summer. . T h e edible part is a l o n g . Pumpkin: T h e same scenario will a p p l y t o g r o w i n g p u m p k i n s o n y o u r vertical frame. so c h e c k the plant daily for y o u n g p o d s as these have the best flavor a n d texture. Problems C u t w o r m s . short-season varieties. They're excellent for breakfast or served as a dinner dessert. so m a k e sure y o u r vertical frame is strong a n d w e l l . Y o u might also look for smaller. and w o u l d be a g o o d trial for y o u r experiment. w a r m . O n e big caution: m a k e darn sure y o u r vertical frame is strong. red. chilled. m i l d e w and wilt disease.Basil and Beyond 213 Preparing and Using S o m e people like melons w a r m . as they grow well vertically.s e a s o n . a n d a t h i c k w o o d y stem. or custard. O n c e the flowers have b l o o m e d . heart-shaped leaves. ribbed. Hints and Tips B e the f i r s t o n y o u r b l o c k t o g r o w m e l o n s ! T h e r e are s o m a n y varieties t o c h o o s e f r o m — s t a r t w i t h the smaller. T h e flesh of all melons can also be scooped out using a melon-baller or cut into cubes and mixed w i t h or added to a fresh fruit salad.s u p p o r t e d . some.

it m a y be frozen for up to 12 m o n t h s after b l a n c h i n g w h o l e for 2 minutes. verticillium or fusarium wilt. A n d don't forget t o m a k e s o m e g u m b o ! Problems A p h i d s a n d cabbage w o r m s . c o r n . fresh o k r a p o d s also m a k e excellent pickles. o r c o o k e d o n its o w n . p e p p e r s . Seeds Outdoors: S o a k seeds overnight. o n i o n s . W h o l e . hard p o d s f r o m the p l a n t unless y o u are saving t h e m for seed or dried arrangements. Preparing and Using O k r a c a n be stored in the refrigerator in a paper b a g or w r a p p e d in a p a p e r t o w e l in a perforated plastic b a g for 2 to 3 days. Maintenance: R e m o v e o l d . Seeds Indoors: 6 to 8 w e e k s before the last spring frost. O l d e r pods can be t o o t o u g h to eat. and at least 3 m o n t h s before the first fall frost. 2 weeks after the last frost.214 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Starting Location: Full sun. then plant 1 i n c h deep. S o a k seeds o v e r n i g h t a n d p l a n t at a d e p t h of 1 inch. When: Harvest p o d s daily w h e n they are y o u n g . a n d goes w e l l w i t h t o m a t o e s . Transplanting: Set seedlings o u t after the soil has w a r m e d . Harvesting How: C u t pods from plants w i t h a pruner or knife. Breaking or pulling the pods can damage the plant. . O k r a can be served raw. Hints and Tips T r y s o m e t h i n g different: barbeque s o m e y o u n g p o d s at y o u r next party. marinated in salads. no m o r e than 4 inches long. m u l c h in very h o t weather. 7 to 10 days after the last frost. Growing Watering: K e e p soil fairly moist. a n d e g g p l a n t . C o o k e d okra can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.

m o v e to full s u n l i g h t as s o o n as first shoots appear. O n i o n s c a n be p l a n t e d f r o m sets. to small. don't bother w i t h s e e d s — g e t the plants or sets ( w h i c h l o o k like m i n i a t u r e o n i o n s ) . and that's all there is to it. w i t h their tops just s h o w i n g above the soil. S p r i n k l e a b o u t shade. they don't take m u c h care b u t are a little unsightly near the end w h e n the tops turn b r o w n a n d fall o v e r — b u t that just m e a n s t h e y are n e a r i n g harvest t i m e . 20 seeds o f each variety desired into cups filled w i t h v e r m i c u l i t e 8 to 12 w e e k s before y o u r last spring frost. dead tops t o k e e p the g a r d e n l o o k i n g g o o d . Transplanting: Four weeks before the last spring frost. w h e n bulbs start e x p a n d i n g use y o u r finger to remove s o m e o f the soil . If y o u have a short g r o w i n g season. t h e n p o t up in seedling trays as s o o n as plants are large e n o u g h (usually o n e to three w e e k s ) . from large. T r i m o f f the b r o w n . Growing Watering: W i t h h o l d water w h e n the tops start to fall over. b u t will tolerate some Seeds Indoors: S p r o u t s in 5 days at 70°F. Push the tiny o n i o n sets into the ground. pointed side up at the proper spacing.Basil and Beyond 215 Onion Description O n i o n s are easy to grow. S o m e need to be used soon after harvest. shake most o f the vermiculite from y o u r y o u n g plants and gather t h e m t o g e t h e r i n small b u n c h e s . a n d slip in a plant. Starting Location: O n i o n s like a s u n n y spot. the b u l b reaches harvest s o m e t i m e in the middle of the summer. firm the soil. fat ones. C h e c k the seed catalog descriptions and pick y o u r favorites. D r i l l a h o l e at each space in y o u r square w i t h a p e n c i l . plants. or seeds. W i t h scissors. golf-ball-sized varieties. If y o u live in a m i l d e t climate y o u c o u l d try the seed m e t h o d . Maintenance: W e e d weekly. T h e size of the b u l b is determined by the length of the g r o w i n g season before the s u m m e r solstice (June 2 1 ) . T h e r e are m a n y types of onions. c u t o f f b o t h the tops a n d the roots so the p l a n t is b a l a n c e d w i t h a b o u t 2 inches of each. w h i l e others are fine are for storing. a n d water. use sets. Water. Seeds Outdoors: If the season is n o t l o n g e n o u g h for seeds. K e e p w a r m (70°F) until sprouted.

For a real treat. a n d o u t e r skin o f each o n i o n w i l l t h e n d r y thoroughly. it's k i n d of exciting to see t h e m getting bigger a n d bigger every week! Harvesting How: Pull the o n i o n s o u t of the g r o u n d a n d place on chicken wire or a w i n d o w screen laid out in the s u n for several days. crisp c u c u m b e r slices to the sandwich for a delightful c o m b i n a t i o n . Or a d d fresh. A n y o n i o n s w i t h green o r t h i c k tops s h o u l d n o t b e stored b u t used immediately. roots. Hints and Tips Scallions a n d g r e e n . or roots by r u b b i n g t h e m between y o u r p a l m s . Preparing and Using You'll find h o m e g r o w n o n i o n s m u c h milder a n d sweeter than store-bought ones. especially for those folks w h o m u s t be careful of eating too m a n y onions. In a short while. or braid tops together and h a n g in a cool. t h e n store for later use. T h e t o p s . Problems O n i o n fly m a g g o t . b e n d over the remaining ones w i t h y o u r hand. W h e n the majority have fallen. It will n o t h u r t if y o u can actually see the top of every bulb. . d r y area for storage all winter. w h i c h will give y o u twice the w h i t e stalk. T h i s makes t h e m m o r e useful. H a n g dried onions in a m e s h bag. dried tops. in fact.b u n c h i n g o n i o n s are v e r y easy to g r o w using y o u r high-rise boxes. T h i s makes it easier for the b u l b to expand.216 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING a r o u n d each b u l b and partially uncover it. try a n o n i o n s a n d w i c h — t h i n slices o f o n i o n w i t h m a y o n n a i s e a n d lots o f p e p p e r o n y o u r favorite bread. the tops will d r y up w h i l e the bulbs attain their m a x i m u m size. When: A b o u t the middle of the s u m m e r you'll see y o u r o n i o n tops turning b r o w n and falling over. Resistant to m o s t diseases. B r u s h t h e m off and clean off any loose skins.

. and it's disease-resistant too. but basically t w o kinds: flat-leaved and curly.Basil and Beyond 217 Parsley AT A GLANCE Botanical Information Family: Carrot Height: 6 to 12 inches S p a c i n g : 4 per square Growing Season Spring: yes S u m m e r : yes Fall: yes Winter: yes* Description Parsley is a w o n d e r f u l h e r b that looks great in the g a r d e n . yields a b i g c o n t i n u o u s harvest. c u t o f f the entire p l a n t slightly above tiny m i d d l e shoots. It's said the flat-leaf varieties taste better. M u l c h heavily for c o n t i n u a l harvest in winter. Seeds are v e r y slow to g e r m i n a t e . A l l in all. K e e p w a r m (70°F) until sprouted. a n d doesn't need a great deal of care! Pests don't seem to b o t h e r it. E i t h e r way. parsley is a very easy addition to y o u r S F G . is extremely n u t r i t i o u s . then p o t up in seedling trays as soon as plants are large e n o u g h (usually one to three weeks). m o v e to full sunlight as s o o n as first shoots appear. p l a n t t h e m at the same d e p t h they g r e w in the p o t . S p r i n k l e ten p r e s o a k e d seeds in a c u p filled w i t h vermiculite 12 weeks before last spring frost. but the curlyleaf types are better l o o k i n g . for a large harvest. Seeds Outdoors: Better to start indoors because seeds are slow a n d difficult to germinate. Harvesting How: C u t outer leaves as n e e d e d . and m o r e c o m m o n l y g r o w n . Maintenance: W e e d weekly. When: H a r v e s t as s o o n as the p l a n t gets 3 to 4 inches tall a n d a n y t i m e thereafter. Transplanting: M o v e o u t d o o r s five w e e k s before the last spring frost or a n y t i m e plants are large e n o u g h . a n d s h o u l d be soaked in l u k e w a r m w a t e r for 24 hours before p l a n t i n g . Crowing Watering: N e v e r let parsley d r y o u t completely because it becomes t o u g h a n d bitter and m a y bolt to seed in the first year. a n d for early-spring g r o w i n g the f o l l o w i n g year. T h e r e are m a n y varieties. Starting S e e d t o H a r v e s t / F l o w e r : 14 w e e k s S e e d s S t o r a g e : 2 to 3 years W e e k s to Maturity: 7 w e e k s I n d o o r S e e d Starting: 12 w e e k s before last spring frost Earliest O u t d o o r Planting: 5 w e e k s before last spring frost Location: Full sun to partial shade. the p l a n t will c o n t i n u e t o g r o w w i t h n o h a r m . Seeds Indoors: S p r o u t s in 1 0 to 1 5 days at 70°F.

Sugar Snap Description W h o doesn't like the taste of fresh peas? Yet until the introduction of sugar snap peas. it doesn't seem to add up to m u c h ! T h e sugar snap peas. and effort to harvest. or even plan ahead a n d p o t up several for holiday. . and I r e c o m m e n d them as the o n l y pea w o r t h growing. Even w h e n you're all finished. and y o u can eat the entire p o d . Hints and Tips Pot up a plant or t w o in the fall for a k i t c h e n w i n d o w s i l l g a t d e n . Very few of the pea pods even m a k e it to the kitchen now. Sugar snap peas are juicy. T h e y have about five times the harvest of conventional peas. T h e y are a m u s t in my garden. casseroles. n o t to m e n t i o n the shelling. Seeds Indoors: N o . or C h r i s t m a s gifts. and crisp. T h e y are extremely high yielding. stews. sweet. and are absolutely wonderful. it was hard to g r o w e n o u g h for m u c h more than a few m e a l s — p e a s used to take time. and w i t h fish or any k i n d of meat. birthday. because they are such a treat to eat right in the g a r d e n — y o u m i g h t n e e d to m a k e a family rule: p i c k a n d eat all y o u w a n t b u t leave e n o u g h for dinner! O n c e the kids are told t h e y can eat right f r o m the g a r d e n . Parsley is loaded w i t h vitamins A and C. T h e y can be eaten raw or c o o k e d . C u t up leaves w i t h scissors and sprinkle on food for that decorative g o u r m e t c h e f look! Problems Relatively free from pests and diseases. shaded toward s u m m e r if possible. space. have c h a n g e d all o f that. Pea. o r edible p o d varieties. particularly potatoes. they'll b e c o m e m u c h m o r e interested in eating vegetables! Starting Location: Full sun in spring. it's excellent over boiled vegetables.218 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Preparing and Using Parsley is g o o d in soups.

and C. because i f y o u don't harvest t h e m t h e y will cause the v i n e t o stop p r o d u c i n g n e w peas. plain. or stir-frying. If the p o d s start to lose their nice pea-green color and turn b r o w n on the vine. As the p o d s get nearly full size. When: T h e beauty of these peas is that y o u can eat t h e m at any stage of g r o w t h . Growing Watering: N e v e r let the peas d r y out. K e e p the vines trained up the vertical frame. Hints and Tips Let the kids g r o w t h e m and you'll have a vegetarian in the m a k i n g . . B i . store w h a t y o u can't use right away in refrigerator. b u t it's easy to remove: just snap o f f the s t e m e n d a n d p u l l d o w n . W a t e r a n d cover w i t h a plastic-covered t u n n e l . M i x p r e s o a k e d seeds w i t h l e g u m e i n o c u l a n t p o w d e r for an a d d e d b o o s t . b u t sometimes prone to p o w d e r y mildew. t h e n p l a n t 1 i n c h d e e p a b o u t 5 w e e k s before the last spring frost. a n d b o t h strings w i l l easily peel off.Basil and Beyond Transplanting: D o e s n o t transplant well. Sugar snaps are rich in vitamins A. Harvesting How: Carefully (with t w o hands) p i c k or cut p o d s o f f their stems. T h e p o d i s still v e r y crisp a n d tasty even w h e n full size. s o m e d e v e l o p a string a l o n g each e d g e . o r m i x e d w i t h o t h e r fresh vegetables i n v i n e g a r o r sour c r e a m dressing . T r y t h e m r a w in salads. . keep water off the vines. Problems No pests to speak of (except those people in the family that eat t o o m a n y ) . m u l c h as weather gets w a r m . a n d contain p h o s p h o r u s and iron. M u n c h on a few every time you're in the g a r d e n — w h a t a treat! Preparing and Using Just wash a n d they are ready to eat or c o o k . T h e versatility of these tasty peas stretches the i m a g i n a t i o n . . T r y to use t h e m as fresh as possible. o r c o o k t h e m b y b o i l i n g . They're just as tasty (raw or c o o k e d ) w h e t h e r their p o d s are fully m a t u r e a n d b u l g i n g w i t h peas. s t e a m i n g . w i t h a d i p . they are overripe. Maintenance: W e e d weekly. 219 Seeds Outdoors: Sprouts in 10 to 15 days o u t d o o r s . P i c k t h e m i m m e d i a t e l y a n d a d d t h e m t o the c o m p o s t pile. especially d u r i n g w a r m weather w h e n the leaves get w e t . or still thin a n d barely starting to s h o w the peas inside.

and produce a lot for the space allotted. hot chili peppers. in fact. Peppers can still be eaten w h e n red or yellow. K e e p w a r m (70°F) until sprouted. cover w i t h 'A inch m o r e vermiculite. if y o u w a n t green peppers p i c k t h e m as soon as they are big e n o u g h for y o u r use. Seeds Indoors: Sprouts in 1 0 to 1 5 days at 70°F. S p r i n k l e 5 to 1 0 seeds in a c u p o f v e r m i c u l i t e approximately 7 weeks before the last spring frost. . Y o u can leave them on the vine and they will turn red or yellow after they b e c o m e full g r o w n . so w o r k carefully a m o n g t h e m w h e n harvesting. plants w i t h an o p e n . from the bell shape to the skinny. Transplanting: Peppers need w a r m soil so don't transplant Seeds Outdoors: T h e season is too short to start outdoors. When: Harvest at almost any stage o f development! Basically. If all you've g r o w n are the green bell p e p p e r s . orange and yellow. or start seeds yourself. T h e y look great in the garden. Select the type y o u w a n t for c o o k i n g and go for it! Starting Location: Full sun. this causes fungal and wilt infections.and disease-free. a n d s o m e p e o p l e g r o w several types for their decorative aspect. Y o u can b u y transplanrs locally. cover half-grown easily. pest. Maintenance: W e e d weekly. m u l c h in hot weather. Peppers c o m e in several different shapes.m e s h wire cage to s u p p o r t plants w i t h o u t staking.220 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Pepper Description M o s t gardeners love to g r o w peppers: they're easy to grow. Leave a b o u t 1 inch of stem on each pepper for a longer storage life. then pot up in seedling trays as s o o n as plants are large e n o u g h (usually one to three weeks). m o v e to full sunlight as soon as first shoots appear. Watering: D o n ' t w e t the leaves. curved. Stems and branches of pepper plants are brittle and break Harvesting How: Carefully cut the fruit from the bush (don't pull or you'll accidentally break other branches). Growing until t w o weeks after the last spring frost. red. T h e y range in color from green. give the sweet y e l l o w b a n a n a varieties a try.

tasty nuggets. A n d the p o t a t o p l a n t itself is b u s h y a n d pretty. just look through any seed catalog and pick your poison. Potato Description Potatoes need no introduction. the h o t chili peppers should turn color before y o u use them. B u t g r o w i n g y o u r o w n potatoes is the best w a y to sample the large variety of p o t a t o shapes. Their shape is very attractive as a garnish. n e w potatoes are ready to harvest o u t of the g r o u n d a n d o n t o the table. sizes a n d colors. Peppers are excellent as a salad or casserole garnish. rice.Basil and Beyond m a n y people prefer t h e m . C u t them into strips. No diseases to speak of except an occasional wilt or fungus problem. T h e w h i t e flowers are the indicator that the small. or vegetable mixture and then baked makes a great summer supper. Problems Cutworms and flea beetles. cubes. Grow enough to have some to grill on the barbecue. Peppers are high in vitamins A and C. H a r v e s t t h e m early for small. d o i n g d o u b l e d u t y as an o r n a m e n t a l a n d an edible. or dig t h e m later for large tubers to store over the winter. as their taste is sweeter and n o t as spicy w h e n they lose their green color. Seeds Indoors: N o . Of course. Starting Location: Full sun. Planting: Don't plant seeds. or thin slices as y o u w o u l d a tomato. we've all eaten t h e m at some point. in a recipe. baked. Let each child or grandchild pick and grow a different color pepper plant. Peppers stuffed with a meat. or out of a bag of chips or container of French fries. . Hints and Tips If you like the hot pepper taste. cut u p potatoes in small pieces and let the eyes sprout. then plant those. 221 Preparing and Using Use peppers raw or cooked.

a n d can be lifted all at o n c e for storing. Growing Watering: Increase watering d u r i n g flowering. use the high-rise m e t h o d described i n C h a p t e r 4 .). and slugs. T h i s will t o u g h e n the skin for storage. Yellow-fleshed p o t a t o e s are g o o d for s t e a m i n g . T a k e care n o t to stab or cut the potatoes as y o u dig. roasting. u n t i l the plants b e g i n t o f l o w e r . and just barely cover t h e m . or baked.222 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Outdoors: P l a n t in the s p r i n g w h e n the soil has reached 45°F. steamed. To peel or n o t to peel is generally a result of the preparation m e t h o d or personal preference. C o v e r the plants every w e e k o r s o w i t h m o r e Mel's M i x . place four seed pieces at the proper spacing w i t h eyes u p . leaving the smaller ones t o c o n t i n u e g r o w i n g . grilled. R o u n d red p o t a t o e s h a v e a rather w a x y texture. boiling. C h o o s e the t y p e of p o t a t o to use in a recipe based on its qualities. O b l o n g mature w h i t e potatoes are rather d r y a n d starchy. leave the potatoes on t o p of the soil for 2 to 3 days to dry. M a k e certain a n y n e w p o t a t o e s that are f o r m i n g are w e l l covered. add e n o u g h Mel's M i x to again cover the green leafy sprouts. m a k i n g t h e m ideal for b o i l i n g a n d m a s h i n g . T h e exception is thin-skinned n e w potatoes. Maintenance: Protect f r o m frost. T h e y are the m o s t p o p u l a r p o t a t o to use for French-fries a n d they are great for b a k i n g a n d m a s h i n g . and in salads. R e m o v e about 5 inches of y o u r soil in that square foot. Store potatoes in a cool (40°F. Preparing and Using Potatoes c a n be boiled. If the weather is dry. fried. a n d m a s h i n g . K e e p d o i n g this until the hole is filled back to the top. When: S m a l l early p o t a t o e s c a n be harvested as n e e d e d in early s u m m e r after the plants finish flowering. If the weather is wet. Harvesting How: G e n t l y loosen the soil a r o u n d early potatoes a n d remove the largest tubers. Tubers exposed to sunlight while g r o w i n g will turn green and are m i l d l y toxic. scab. as u n c o v e r e d s p u d s w i l l t u r n green. N e w p o t a t o e s are m o i s t a n d w a x y a n d are best for steaming. leaf hoppers. w h i c h give o f f a chemical that will d a m a g e the potatoes. and root k n o t n e m a t o d e . g e n t l y d i g o u t s i d e the p l a n t a n d r e m o v e the potatoes as y o u find t h e m . A day or t w o before planting. Problems Flea beetles. R o u n d w h i t e p o t a t o e s are t h i n . dark location for 3 to 6 m o n t h s . Later potatoes can be left in the soil until 2 to 3 weeks after the foliage has died b a c k in fall. dry. Potatoes do n o t freeze. blight. . cut potatoes into "seed pieces" a b o u t I V 2 " square w i t h at least one "sprouted eye" per section. or can well. w h i c h should n o t be peeled. W h e n sprouts appear. For later p o t a t o e s .s k i n n e d a n d h o l d their shape in salads as w e l l as b o i l i n g a n d roasting. A l l potatoes should be c o o k e d or placed in water i m m e d i a t e l y after peeling to prevent discoloration. bring the potatoes into a garage or basement to dry. For an extra harvest. Sprout potatoes a w e e k before planting time by placing t h e m in a tray where they will receive light (not sun) a n d temperatures of a b o u t 65°F. Do n o t store potatoes near apples. U s e o n l y certified disease-free seed potatoes.

It's easy to plant too m a n y radishes. Growing Watering: D o n ' t let radishes stop g r o w i n g or d r y o u t . Starting Location: Full sun to partial shade. they're referred to as winter radishes. If y o u really like radishes a lot. even through the h o t weather.k e e p i n g varieties need t w o m o n t h s to mature. harvest.Basil and Beyond 223 Hints and Tips Let the plant continue to g r o w for a late harvest of bigger potatoes. but controlled. lack o f w a t e r causes hot-tasting and p i t h y radishes. P l a n t li i n c h d e e p in spring. W h o can pass up a vegetable that matures in o n l y three weeks? Plus. Radishes c o m e in a m u l t i t u d e of shapes from small and round to l o n g carrot shapes. D e c i d e h o w m a n y y o u can use each w e e k and then plant no more than double that n u m b e r every other w e e k for a c o n t i n u o u s . lots of water. a n d a t h i c k m u l c h . so start t h e m at least that l o n g before the first fall frost. Plant a square foot x every o t h e r w e e k for a staggered b u t c o n t i n u o u s harvest. T h e y don't like being crowded. 1 inch deep in summer. Transplanting: D o e s not transplant well. white. plant s o m e every w e e k of the g r o w i n g year. Seeds Outdoors: Sprouts in five to ten days outdoors d e p e n d i n g o n temperature. so the S F G m e t h o d is very suitable for this vegetable. T h e kids will love planting the blue or purple potato variety. and even s o m e black varieties. T h e y vary in color from red. . Radish Description Radishes are a great crop for all g a r d e n e r s — f r o m experts to beginners. and will mature in 3 to 4 weeks. Radishes planted in the spring are normally red or w h i t e colored. W i n t e r or l o n g . Fall radishes take 6 to 8 weeks and store very well. T h e plants will still do fairly well then if y o u give t h e m some shade. they are zesty and tasty in any dish. Seeds Indoors: N o . pink.

in w a r m e r climates. Hints and Tips Teaching a child to garden? T h i s is the perfect first crop. the smaller y o u pull t h e m . except possibly root maggots. Problems N o n e to speak of. Spinach is very cold hardy and in m a n y areas of the c o u n t r y it will winter over. it can be g r o w n all winter. Refrigerate edible p o r t i o n s if they're n o t used immediately. A rapid grower. the sweeter t h e y taste. but a very popular plant. m u l c h i n h o t weather. Radishes will keep for up to a w e e k before g e t t i n g soft. It usually does well if it stays cool in the spring. . let each child p i c k a color. It will quickly bolt to seed in the s u m m e r heat. T h e l o n g fall varieties can be left in the g r o u n d until frost. If y o u have too m a n y all at o n c e . When: H a r v e s t as s o o n as they are m a r b l e size u p to P i n g . b u t grows very well in the early spring and then again in the fall. and take it from there. keep covered w i t h screen-covered cage i f root m a g g o t s are a p r o b l e m . Spinach Description Spinach is s o m e w h a t difficult to grow. it can be g r o w n in a fairly small space and looks great in the garden.224 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Maintenance: W e e d w e e k l y . t h e n either m u l c h e d to keep the g r o u n d from freezing.P o n g ball size. Preparing and Using Slice. a n d for garnishes. twist or cut o f f the tops and store in a plastic b a g in the refrigerator. dice. or pulled and stored in d a m p peat moss or sand after the tops are removed. or cut into fancy shapes for eating o u t of h a n d or to a d d to salads. Harvesting How: Pull up the entire p l a n t a n d trim o f f the t o p .

especially on the ones w i t h crinkled leaves. eat spinach right away. w h i c h is more popular and m o r e attractive. so judge y o u r spring and fall planting accordingly. Better yet. or c o o k by steaming lightly. No diseases to speak of. c o o k slighdy for a w i l t e d spinach salad. . N e i t h e r will endure heat and should be g r o w n in cool weather. hard-boiled egg. Hints and Tips If y o u w a n t to g r o w s p i n a c h in the w a r m e r weather. If it's a s p r i n g c r o p a n d y o u t h i n k the plants are g o i n g to b o l t soon. B i . Plant seeds h inch deep. water. Harvesting How: C u t outer leaves as needed. search the seed catalogs for bolt-resistant varieties a n d p r o v i d e shade. Problems L e a f miners a n d aphids. small inner leaves will c o n t i n u e to g r o w rapidly. S o m e varieties are m o r e resistant to frost a n d are particularly adaptable for g r o w i n g in the fall. full sun to partial shade. Spinach goes great w i t h any meal. Growing Watering: B e i n g a leaf crop. Serve fresh in salads. soil tends to cling to the undersides. m u l c h in w a r m weather.Basil and Beyond 225 T h e r e are t w o types of s p i n a c h — t h e smooth-leaved k i n d a n d a crinkly-leaved type called Savoy. cut off the entire plant for a little extra harvest. It's high in vitamins A. Seeds Outdoors: Sprouts outdoors in o n e to t w o weeks. and C. K e e p picking and the plant w i l l k e e p g r o w i n g right up until h o t weather. Seeds Indoors: N o . Preparing and Using W a s h carefully. Plants can w i t h s t a n d any temperature between 2 5 ° F and 75°F. a h e a v y m u l c h . and is a valuable source of iron. and possibly into the winter season. Starting Location: A n y location is suitable. a n d lots of water in the w a r m e r weather. When: Harvest as s o o n as the plants l o o k like they won't miss an outer leaf or t w o . spinach needs constant moist soil. Transplanting: D o e s n o t transplant well. Maintenance: W e e d weekly. especially w h e n garnished w i t h a c h o p p e d . D o n ' t w o r k in the spinach square if the leaves are very w e t — t h e y are brittle and break easily. C h e c k y o u r seed catalog for appropriate varieties. Spin or pat dry and store in refrigerator just like lettuce. and cover l w i t h a plastic-covered cage.

Growing Watering: W e e k l y . a n d day-neutral. Outdoors: M o s t gardeners b u y strawberry plants in packets o f a dozen or so. ever-bearing. s o m e p e o p l e like to let t h e m . Soak first. w h i c h is n o t affected by the length of the d a y as the others are. as soon as the soil is not frozen. a n d p l a n t 4 per square foot. w h i c h will set fruit twice d u r i n g the g r o w i n g season. E a c h plant sends out runners that p r o d u c e a n e w plant. Transplanting: Early spring. B e sure soil is n o t wet. A n d don't overlook the A l p i n e strawberry. T h e r e are three m a i n types of strawberries: June-bearing. m o r e d u r i n g d r y periods. G r o w i n g y o u r o w n strawberries is fun and rewarding. it is best to p u l l o u t those plants a n d replant. as they take so m u c h energy from the parent plant. Strawberry plants bear fruit for at least 3 or 4 years. Seeds Indoors: N o . perhaps in a different square w i t h b r a n d . then yields will decrease and eventually the plant will die. I r e c o m m e n d y o u not let t h e m root. increase w a t e r w h e n strawberries are fruiting. Maintenance: C u t off all the runners as soon as y o u see t h e m each week.226 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Strawberry Description P i c k i n g strawberries on a clear June d a y is a treat for y o u n g . However. then trim off the roots slightly. w h i c h sets fruit in June. It's true that those runners will p r o d u c e b a b y plants a n d it seems a waste n o t to use t h e m . a n d e v e r y o n e in b e t w e e n — o n l y a b o u t h a l f the harvest actually m a k e s it into the basket! Since strawberries are so popular. A f t e r 3 or 4 years w h e n the harvest starts to d i m i n i s h . K e e p the soil moist. Leave a saucer-shaped depression a r o u n d each p l a n t for effective w a t e r i n g . w h i c h will reward y o u w i t h tiny b u t incredibly tasty fruit over a l o n g period! Starting Location: Full sun. o l d . Y o u m i g h t also like to build a pyramid box and plant it in all strawberries.n e w certified disease-free plants f r o m the nursery. that w a y all the energy will stay in the parent p l a n t for an increased harvest each year. w h i c h can be used as the next generation of strawberries in the garden. m o s t families like to plant an entire 4' x 4' in strawberries—it's easy to protect a n d harvest. I'll explain a better w a y for y o u r S F G .

T h e y can be used in fruit salads. p o p a few right in y o u r m o u t h . b u t is unbelievably prolific. However. but needs h o t weather to do well. on cakes. Preparing and Using Use strawberries as soon as possible after picking. (especially zucchini). . so you'll have to assign a larger space (a 3' x 3' area) to just one plant. for 2 to 3 weeks. M o s t of the varieties sold are the bush types. the p r o b l e m c o m e s f r o m t o o m a n y runners p r o d u c i n g too m a n y baby plants 227 (because the gardener forgets to cut t h e m off). Problems Birds and slugs. use scissors for a clean cut. reducing the harvest. Harvesting How: Pick the fruit leaving a short piece of stem attached.Basil and Beyond grow. T h e r e are m a n y colors and s h a p e s — r o u n d . Hints and Tips Cover plants w i t h bird netting to preserve harvest. and in pies. so most gardeners think it's w o r t h w h i l e . verticillium wilt. at least for one or t w o plants. However. those plants can p r o d u c e a vast a m o u n t of fruit. Freeze w h o l e strawberries for use in s m o o t h i e s — t h e y will be soft w h e n they defrost. c r o o k n e c k and f l a t — e a c h w i t h its particular taste. When: Harvest as fruit ripens. It is easy and fast to grow. straight. Summer Squash Description S u m m e r squash needs a lot of r o o m to grow. but still flavorful. People w h o p u t too m a n y in their m o u t h and too few in the basket. they take all the energy from the parent.

or just as an appetizer a n y t i m e . Place a plastic-covered cage over the seeds to w a r m the soil. w i t h a d i p . M a k e sure y o u h o l l o w o u t a dish shape a r o u n d the p l a n t e d seeds to h o l d p l e n t y of water. Problems Squash vine borer a n d squash b u g . seasoned w i t h a little dressing. w h i c h contains the p o l l e n — o h . and C. grated cheese. y o u k n o w the rest o f the story. i n a n y n u m b e r o f dishes o r c o m b i n a t i o n s . call the seed c o m p a n y ' s toll-free n u m b e r a n d ask. S q u a s h is high in vitamins A. C o o k lightly b y s t e a m i n g o r stir-frying. p o w d e r y mildew. T h e male blossom. or c h o p p e d parsley. Growing Watering: K e e p the leaves d r y to prevent p o w d e r y mildew.) C h e c k the seed p a c k e t or catalog to m a k e sure y o u are g e t t i n g a v i n e type. Squash loses flavor as the seeds inside mature. F o r v i n e types. Hints and Tips If y o u need or w a n t to tell the kids a b o u t the birds a n d bees.228 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING An alternate s o l u t i o n is to g r o w the v i n i n g types on vertical frames. P l a n t 2 w e e k s before y o u r last frost date. p l a n t 2 p r e s o a k e d seeds in the center of a nine-square space. Transplanting: Plant outdoors on y o u r last spring frost date. A f t e r s p r o u t i n g . D o n ' t let t h e m g r o w a n y longer. Starting Location: Full sun. if the seed p a c k e t or catalog doesn't say so. H a n d l e the squash g e n t l y as their skins are v e r y soft a n d easily d a m a g e d by fingernails or if d r o p p e d . Seeds Outdoors: Sprouts in 5 to 10 days o u t d o o r s . It's best to start seeds o u t d o o r s . c u t o f f the w e a k e s t p l a n t i f b o t h seeds s p r o u t . they g r o w that fast. Seeds Indoors: D o e s n ' t transplant w e l l because of the l o n g t a p r o o t . p l a n t o n e seed i n a paper c u p o f Mel's M i x 1 i n c h d e e p . I f y o u d o w a n t t o start i n d o o r s . Serve squash b y itself or w i t h o t h e r vegetables. and until the fruits are 6 to 9 inches long. For b u s h types. Harvesting How: C a r e f u l l y c u t t h r o u g h the fruit s t e m b u t d o n o t c u t the m a i n v i n e o r leaf stems. S o m e t i m e s y o u have to harvest at least three times a week. T h e female already has a m i n i a t u r e fruit right before the blossom. Preparing and Using Rinse l i g h t l y a n d serve sliced or c u t i n t o sticks. P o i n t o u t to a n y eager faces the difference b e t w e e n the m a l e a n d female flower. B i . also p l a n t 2 p r e s o a k e d seeds in the m i d d l e of a 2-square-foot space u n d e r y o u r vertical frame. w h i c h is quite a space saver. the garden is the right place to do i t — a n d s u m m e r squash is the right p l a n t for y o u to use. ( Z u c c h i n i can be trained to g r o w vertically. Didn't y o u r m o t h e r or father talk to y o u in the garden? . keep vines trained up vertical frames or w i t h i n b o u n d s of the square. Maintenance: W e e d weekly. When: Harvest as soon as the blossoms wilt. b u t it still takes a lot of r o o m because of those h u g e leaves a n d prickly stems.

When: Harvest after the first light frost. Transplanting: D o e s n o t transplant well because o f the l o n g taproot. All winter squashes have thick skins that harden in the fall. . Y o u don't get y o u r c o m p e n s a t i o n until season's end. b u t before a very hard frost. it retains its delectable flavor l o n g after b e i n g harvested. Starting Location: Full sun. the winter squash is very w e l c o m e d . Seeds Indoors: N o . C u t off the weakest plant if b o t h seeds sprout. How: C u t the squash from the vine. leaving as l o n g a stem as possible. w h i c h will kill the leaves and vines. Maintenance: W e e d weekly. Seeds Outdoors: Since the seeds s p r o u t quickly. b u t butternut and acorn are the most popular. M a k e sure you've left a 2 . Plant t w o presoaked seeds in the center of 2 square feet.Basil and Beyond 229 Winter Squash Description A s p a c e .i n c h depression around the seeds to h o l d lots of w a t e r d u r i n g the season. T h e fruit has a m i l d flavor and is fine grained. and are generally picked after the vines have been killed by frost. y o u m i g h t as w e l l start t h e m o u t d o o r s .h o g g i n g p l a n t that m a n y gardeners w o n ' t g r o w because of its large leaves a n d r a m p a g i n g vines. Crowing Watering: K e e p soil moist. winter squash can take over the entire garden. at least 2 inches. b u t since there is almost no fresh produce then. T h e n set the fruit out in the sun to cure for a few days. b u t tolerates a little shade. and after the main vine wilts. T h a t ' s w h y we g r o w it vertically! T h e fruit can be picked in the late fall a n d stored w i t h o u t difficulty to be used d u r i n g the w i n t e r . T h e r e are m a n y varieties to select from. C o v e r w i t h a plastic covered cage to w a r m the soil and encourage fast seed sprouting. Harvesting keep vines trained u p the vertical frame. protecting it at night w h e n frost is in the forecast.

and N is for nematodes. T h e r e are s o m e v e r y g o o d non-resistant traditional varieties. Excellent served m a s h e d or in c h u n k s w i t h butter a n d parsley. They're available in early. and yellow. Butternut can be used in p u m p k i n pie recipes (many c o o k s say it's better tasting than p u m p k i n itself).a n d diseaseresistant. cut in hall. a n d prepare for b o i l i n g or baking. Store winter squash in a c o o l . F indicates it will resist Fusarium wilt. T h i s squash is so prolific and vigorous that it is a perfect plant for an arbor or extended vertical structure. c h e c k often and use if y o u see a n y bruised or rotten spots. tiny w o r m s that infect the roots. so m a k e sure y o u o n l y g r o w winter squash vertically. c o o k i n g . V indicates the plant is resistant to Verticillium wilt. d r y place at 40° to 50°F.p o u n d types that w i n awards at the c o u n t y fair. it's v e r y i m p o r t a n t to consider w h e t h e r they are pest. W h e n picking the squash. w i n t e r squash will take over y o u r g a r d e n . orange. Problems A few beetles. midseason. w h i c h are tiny. Tomato Description If y o u don't plant a n y t h i n g else. pink. Size also varies from the small cherry t o m a t o to the extra large 4 . and vines too rambunctious to control. or late types in different colors ranging from red.230 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Preparing and Using Peel. p o w d e r y mildew. W i n t e r squash can even be a d d e d to s o m e soups a n d stews. W h e n c h o o s i n g varieties. or canning. This is very important. some specifically suited for eating. juicing. Hints and Tips W i t h o u t a vertical frame. y o u should plant t o m a t o e s — a few different varieties at the very least. s c o o p o u t seeds. handle the fruit carefully and cut the s t e m — don't break it off. . T h e r e is a h u g e selection available. so make a note: resistant varieties are labeled V F N .

Seeds Outdoors: T h e season is t o o short to start outdoors. it's o n e of the pleasures y o u ' v e b e e n w a i t i n g for all year. especially after transplanting t h e m into seedling trays. y o u can g r o w a f e w different varieties that will p r o d u c e all season l o n g . a n d in fact m a n y have been written. or even better. K e e p a careful w a t c h over the plants. Soak a plate full in vinegar overnight for the next . Just barely cover w i t h vermiculite a n d water. K e e p a d d i n g m u l c h as the season gets hotter. Leave the cage on until the plants are at least 18 inches tall and p u s h i n g at the top. or late season. try p o u r i n g y o u r favorite salad dressing over that same dish of sliced tomatoes. T h e y take u p s o m u c h r o o m that I n o w g r o w o n l y v i n e . " Starting Location: Full sun.t y p e varieties. Bush varieties that g r o w no m o r e than 3 feet tall are the determinate kinds. w h y g r o w t h e m yourself? S o m e gardeners like to p i c k t h e m just slightly before that p o i n t (say a d a y or t w o ) if t h e y w a n t extra-firm t o m a t o e s for s a n d w i c h e s o r a particular dish. T h e resistant varieties taste great a n d also m a t u r e in early. Tomatoes have t w o different g r o w t h habits: determinate and indeterminate (in other w o r d s . are also the m o s t c o m m o n a n d usually m a t u r e i n m i d . Plant one vine-type plant per square foot. the v i n e types. Y o u can enjoy plate after plate of sliced tomatoes seasoned w i t h lots of pepper a n d sometimes a little mayonnaise. and plant outside on or after y o u r frostfree date. you'll understand the value of the varieties that are disease. W a t e r and cover w i t h a plastic-covered wire cage for protection f r o m the c o l d a n d w i n d . Indeterminate types. If y o u live in a longer-season climate. Transplanting: H a r d e n o f f transplants for o n e to t w o weeks. Growing Watering: K e e p water off the plant leaves. Prune o f f lower dead or y e l l o w leaves. cut the stem so as n o t to disturb the rest of the remaining fruit. m i d s e a s o n . Harvesting How: G e n t l y twist a n d pull ripe tomatoes so the stem breaks (if it's ripe it should easily break away). T h e y g r o w the biggest t o m a t o e s . so inspect daily.Basil and Beyond 231 but if y o u are hit w i t h any of these problems and lose y o u r plants virtually overnight just w h e n they're starting to produce. Y o u c a n amaze y o u r family a n d friends b y r e m e m b e r i n g t h e n a m e o f the t w o different types this w a y : "It is indeterminate how tall the v i n e types w i l l g r o w . take the longest to m a t u r e . b u s h or vine). Maintenance: Prune off side branches (suckers) w e e k l y for vine types a n d guide plant tops up t h r o u g h netting.a n d pest-resistant. Preparing and Using T h i s is a subject fit for an entire b o o k . Seeds Indoors: Sprouts in o n e w e e k at 70°F. When: If you're n o t g o i n g to w a i t until they're red a n d ripe. because any check or stoppage of the g r o w t h will affect the ultimate bearing capacity of the plant. T h e n p o t up in seedling trays or individual pots as s o o n as plants are large e n o u g h (usually 1 to 3 weeks). m o v e to full sunlight as s o o n as first shoots appear. I f y o u leave t h e m o n the v i n e t o o l o n g t h e y w i l l t u r n soft a n d mushy.t o late season. W h a t can one say in a few paragraphs? Tomatoes can be used in a multitude of ways. a n d last until frost kills t h e m . B u s h types are planted in the center of a nine square f o o t area. Sprinkle 5 or so seeds of each variety y o u w a n t to g r o w in individual c u p s filled w i t h v e r m i c u l i t e six w e e k s before y o u r last s p r i n g frost. U s u a l l y the early season fruits are best suited to the colder climates in the n o r t h .

various wilt diseases. but in m a n y Asian cuisines. ( O h . Seeds germinate q u i c k l y Transplanting: Set o u t after all d a n g e r o f frost has passed a n d the soil has w a r m e d . 'Sweet Genovese' is the pesto basil. it is planted around the temples and is a part of m a n y religious ceremonies. and the big. whitefly. bad. licorice. . Hints and Tips D o n ' t let a n y o n e . Seeds germinate in 7 to 10 days. Basil is used not only in Italian c o o k i n g .) HERBS Basil Description Basil is a non-invasive m e m b e r of the m i n t family. but beautiful t o m a t o horn w o r m . use t h e m fresh in c o o k i n g instead of canned tomatoes. Basil also comes in flavors such as c i n n a m o n . t h e y s h o u l d even w a s h their h a n d s before e n t e r i n g the garden if t h e y are g o i n g t o h a n d l e a n y o f the plants.232 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING day's treat. Seeds Indoors: Start seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost. and l e m o n . well. a n y t i m e ever s m o k e i n y o u r garden. If y o u have a lot of tomatoes. A d d thick slices of fresh tomatoes to any casserole and enjoy a flavor n o t experienced the rest of the year. G o ahead a n d s p l u r g e — g r o w a few different k i n d s a n d discover the w o n d e r s o f this beautiful a n d delicious herb. In fact. there goes all y o u r s m o k i n g friends. Basil will the w e a t h e r has settled. and the plants g r o w quickly. stop g r o w i n g if the w e a t h e r is c o o l a n d take a w h i l e to catch u p . Problems C u t w o r m . Starting Location: Full sun. T h e y m a y c o n t a m i n a t e y o u r plants w i t h a t o b a c c o disease. so w a i t to transplant basil until Seeds Outdoors: S o w basil seeds where the plants are to be g r o w n in w a r m soil. In India.

round leaves are h o l l o w and have a mild onion scent w h e n cut. In fact.Basil and Beyond 233 Crowing Watering: Keep well-watered. a n d o d d l y e n o u g h . Maintenance: P i n c h basil often to keep the plant bushy. A l t h o u g h chives are cold-hardy. Use o n l y the leaves in cooking. discarding stems. Fusarium wilt. For energetic. Excess basil can be processed with olive oil. Problems Aphids and Japanese beetles. w r a p p e d tightly in plastic wrap. It is s i m p l y a u n i q u e garden plant that has e n h a n c e d the flavor of savory foods for centuries. Harvesting How: Pinch stems just above leaf nodes where n e w stems will sprout. C h i v e s are a m e m b e r of the o n i o n family. Preparing and Using Use fresh leaves in c o o k i n g . T h e p i n k i s h . the more it will grow. Seeds Indoors: Plant seeds indoors in late winter. remove flower b u d s as they appear. When: Harvest basil anytime. it is best to set n e w plants out Seeds Outdoors: Sprouts in late spring to early summer. after all danger of frost has passed. and stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. tasty plants. days to germinate. Chive Description T h i s is a fun little plant w i t h a spiky hairdo. it is o n e herb that hasn't really been used for m e d i c i n a l purposes d u r i n g its l o n g history. . H a r v e s t i n g basil for c o o k i n g will also keep the plant strong and bushy.p u r p l e flowers are edible a n d appear in late spring and m a k e a pretty garnish for salads. Seeds can take u p to 2 1 Transplanting: Set plants o u t in spring. Starting Location: Full sun. the m o r e y o u pinch o f f leaves and stems. D r i e d basil does not retain its flavor. T h e slim.

Cilantro S e e d to H a r v e s t / F l o w e r : 5 w e e k s (leaves). Harvesting so divide clumps every few years to rejuvenate the plants. Indian. sauces. Problems Insufficient water can cause leaf tips to turn b r o w n . Southeast Asian. Use it like parsley in smaller quantities for a unique tang. T o enjoy the tasty p i n k flowers. Preparing and Using C u t ' / 3 of the tops off all leaves if y o u like the flat-top look. soups. A n c i e n t s used to c h e w coriander seeds to c o m b a t h e a r t b u r n ( p r o b a b l y after w e e d i n g their l o n g single-row gardens). . and S o u t h A m e r i c a n cuisines. don't harvest the p l a n t until y o u can see the flower b u d s . it becomes another herb altogether—coriander.234 Growing Watering: K e e p soil moist. t h e n clip a r o u n d t h e m o r w a i t until they b l o o m . T h e f l o w e r s m a k e a lovely garnish. W h e n cilantro goes to seed. ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Maintenance: Plants will spread. or cut a few leaves d o w n to V. When: Chives can be harvested anytime after the n e w leaves have reached 6 to 8 inches.3 of each leaf. Cilantro is a pretty plant that looks s o m e w h a t like parsley. or dips. D o n ' t cut off more than V3 of the plant at a n y o n e time. How: Snip the tips of the leaves as needed to garnish baked potatoes and creamed soups. Snip the fresh h o l l o w leaves into salads. It is used in M i d d l e Eastern. but terribly bitter w h e n immature. T h e seeds are sweet w h e n they're ripe. 12 weeks (coriander seeds) S e e d s S t o r a g e : N/A W e e k s to Maturity: 5 w e e k s Indoor S e e d Starting: n o Earliest O u t d o o r Planting: after last frost A d d i t i o n a l P l a n t i n g s : 2-week intervals until early s u m m e r for continuous harvest Last Planting: not n e e d e d Description T h e fresh leaf of cilantro is p r o b a b l y the m o s t w i d e l y used of all flavoring herbs t h r o u g h o u t the world.

Cilantro self-sows with abandon. cut w h o l e plants and h a n g to dry. spicy leaves can be added to salads. and then shake the dried seeds i n t o a paper bag. Transplanting: D o e s n o t transplant well. and other m e m b e r s of the m i n t family. M i n t plants c o m e in m a n y flavors. Harvest the seeds (coriander) after the plants have turned b r o w n but before the seeds start to fall. fish. even if the p l a n t is o n l y 6 inches tall. or beans. sweeter seeds can be g r o u n d and used in breads or cakes. the plants from w i n d . .Basil and Beyond 235 Starting Location: Full sun to partial shade. Problems Cilantro is usually pest. Growing Watering: Weekly. and it is f o u n d as an ingredient in m a n y ethnic recipes. T h e plant does suffer in h u m i d . Seeds Indoors: N o . Mint Description M i n t . Preparing and Using Cilantro leaves and coriander seeds are b o t h used in curries and pickles. Seeds Outdoors: After last frost. When: Harvest the cilantro leaves anytime after the plant has reached 6 to 8 inches. has the distinguishing characteristic of square stems. otherwise cilantro needs little care beside watering. rainy weather.and disease-free. Maintenance: Shelter Harvesting How: Pick cilantro leaves as y o u n e e d t h e m . T h e milder. For coriander seeds. You can see this best by l o o k i n g at the cut end of a m i n t stem. T h e strong.

salads. It sends o u t t o u g h runners that g r o w roots and leaves every few inches. p e p p e r m i n t . and will crop up anywhere it can. cover the b o t t o m h o l e w i t h a piece of b r o k e n crockery or bottle cap. Plants m a y wilt a n d turn b r o w n w i t h o u t sufficient water. Harvesting How: C u t m i n t stems back to a pair of leaves. Preparing and Using Use fresh m i n t leaves in sauces. and all mints give o f f a lovely scent w h e n the leaves are crushed. m i n t jelly. To keep m i n t plants in b o u n d s . does n o t c o m e true f r o m seed. . do n o t harvest the leaves of creeping (groundcover) mints. If u s i n g a pail. because the benefits truly o u t w e i g h the extra w o r k . a n d pull o u t a n y runners outside the circle. B u t b e w a r e — m i n t is invasive. c u t a 6-inch diameter circle around the plants in late spring a n d again in early fall. drill s o m e small drainage holes in the b o t t o m . When: H a r v e s t m i n t a n y t i m e after the p l a n t has reached 6 inches tall. In a Square Foot G a r d e n . T u c k a sprig of m i n t into a fruit c u p for color and scent.236 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING s u c h as spearmint. don't use a c o n v e n t i o n a l p o t w i t h holes on the side or a r o u n d the b o t t o m . and chocolate. b u t should spring right b a c k after a g o o d soaking. apple. Maintenance: C u t back to p r o m o t e bushiness. Seeds Outdoors: N o . Float a sprig of m i n t in y o u r favorite s u m m e r drink.i n c h square or r o u n d plastic pail or clay p o t in that square. or to flavor herb teas. T r y n o t to leave any small pieces in the g r o u n d — t h e y t o o will sprout. T h i s is where n e w branches will form. sink a 1 2 . Seeds Lndoors: N o . Problems M i n t is basically disease. Use the leaves as a flavoring a n d sprigs as a garnish. D o n ' t let this discourage y o u from g r o w i n g m a n y different kinds of mints. If u s i n g a clay p o t . however. l e m o n . Growing Watering: Weekly. bruising the b o t t o m leaves a little to impart that refreshing flavor. Transplanting: Plant divisions a n y t i m e f r o m spring t h r o u g h fall. Pull the entire p o t up in the fall a n d take it inside as a houseplant.a n d pest-free. Starting Location: S u n to partial shade.

Basil and Beyond 237 Oregano AT A GLANCE S e e d to H a r v e s t / F l o w e r : 16 weeks. When: O r e g a n o can be harvested anytime d u r i n g the s u m m e r m o n t h s . t o o m u c h w a t e r will cause root rot. Seeds Indoors: 4 to 6 weeks before last spring frost. . Preparing and Using O r e g a n o loses its distinctive flavor d u r i n g c o o k i n g . poultry dishes. It is a pretty p l a n t w i t h r o u n d leaves tightly covering the stems. Crowing Watering: Weekly. c r u m b l e t h e m lightly a n d store in an airtight container. It is one of few herbs w h o s e flavor is stronger dried than fresh. after last frost. D r i e d oregano has a stronger flavor than fresh and goes especially well w i t h t o m a t o or rice dishes. so always a d d it in the last few m i n u t e s . and of course. pizza. Use oregano in salads. Transplanting: Plant divisions anytime after the temperatures reach 4 5 ° F Seeds Outdoors: Spring. Maintenance: W a t e r sparingly. hardy perennial S e e d s S t o r a g e : n/a W e e k s to Maturity: 8 to 10 w e e k s I n d o o r S e e d Starting: 6 w e e k s before last spring frost Earliest O u t d o o r Planting: after last frost A d d i t i o n a l P l a n t i n g s : anytime throughout growing season Last Planting: not needed Description W h a t w o u l d Italian food be w i t h o u t a sprinkling of oregano to give it flavor and color? O r e g a n o is a native of the M e d i t e r r a n e a n area a n d enjoys lots of sunshine. T h i s is where n e w branches will form. casseroles. seeds need light to germinate. Harvesting How: C u t stems back to a pair of leaves. b u t the variegated plants are n o t q u i t e as h a r d y as the green ones a n d are used m o s t l y as ornamental plants. H a r v e s t o r trim m a t u r e plants often to keep t h e m in b o u n d s . V a r i e g a t e d o r e g a n o is particularly lovely w i t h the leaves e d g e d in w h i t e or gold. soups. G i v e oregano frequent trimmings to keep it neat and so y o u can dry the leaves. Starting Location: Full sun. b u t the flavor is best after the buds have formed but just before the flowers open. D i v i d e every 2 to 3 years. W h e n the leaves have dried. sauces.

Seeds Indoors: Start seeds 6 to 8 weeks before last spring frost. d i g up the n e w l y f o r m e d tubers a n d store in a frost-free area until the next spring.and disease-free. o r b u y roots (called tubers) for special. Border or d w a r f dahlias g r o w 12 to 24 inches high and rarely need staking. cactus. . T h i s gets c o m p l i c a t e d .238 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Problems O r e g a n o is usually pest. T h e y are g r o u p e d into nine sizes based on the diameter of the flower. from the daisy-like decorative f o r m . dahlias literally c o m e in all shapes a n d sizes. If y o u get h o o k e d (I did). In the fall. w h i l e giant f o r m s have been k n o w n to g r o w to 10 f e e t — b u t n o t in a Square F o o t G a r d e n ! Start y o u r o w n plants f r o m seed (no guarantee w h a t c o l o r you'll get). especially s h o w y types. and 18 classifications of form. T h e r e is i n d e e d a dahlia for e v e r y o n e . Seedlings emerge in 5 to 2 1 days. a n d m u l t i c o l o r s a b o u n d . they are said to guard n e i g h b o r i n g plants against n e m a t o d e s . Flowers c o m e i n every c o l o r except blue a n d g r e e n . G a r d e n dahlias are in the 2 to 4 foot range. T o o m u c h water can cause root rot. join y o u r local Dahlia Society and you'll fit right in! Starting Location: Full sun to partial shade for best results. f r o m light green to deepest green to b u r g u n d y . E v e n the leaves c o m e in colors. t o p o m p o m . a n d the fully d o u b l e stellar f o r m . W a r n i n g : dahlias can be habit-forming. Plus. FLOWERS Dahlia Description N a t i v e to M e x i c o .

Growing Watering: W a t e r dahlia tubers w h e n first setting t h e m o u t . .i n c h s t u m p . sear the cut e n d w i t h a m a t c h or c a n d l e . time is too short for seeds. C h e c k the dahlias each m o n t h over the w i n t e r a n d discard a n y rotten tubers. M u l c h dahlias t o k e e p the soil m o i s t . 239 Seeds Outdoors: N o . Hint: Be careful of the w o r d "miniature" w h e n purchasing d a h l i a s — i t usually refers to the flower size. S p r a y a n y tubers that start t o shrivel w i t h w a r m water. after the first frost has killed the foliage. y o u m a y n o t w a n t t o b o t h e r d i g g i n g u p the t i n y tubers o f s e e d . a n d a sticky w h i t e substance will o o z e f r o m the cut. b u t y o u can plant tubers anytime after the last frost. I f y o u d o w a n t t o dig up the tubers. When: C u t dahlias w h e n the flowers are fully o p e n . r e m o v e excess soil. a n d store in a b o x filled w i t h peat m o s s or v e r m i c u l i t e . frost-free l o c a t i o n . R e m o v e a n y leaves that w i l l fall b e l o w the waterline. l e a v i n g a 2 .g r o w n plants. C u t o f f the stems. T h i s will prevent the tubers f r o m rotting. Since dahlias are easily g r o w n f r o m seed. give dahlia plants daily water. Problems Earwigs and slugs. carefully d i g dahlia tubers a n d let t h e m d r y for a f e w h o u r s . Harvesting How: D a h l i a s have h o l l o w stems. O n c e the root system is established a n d shoots begin to show. S u p p o r t tall varieties. T h i s is a nutrient that the c u t flower needs to stay alive. D e a d h e a d t o encourage r e b l o o m i n g . Maintenance: W h e n the p l a n t reaches a b o u t 3 inches tall. p i n c h o f f the g r o w i n g tip to e n c o u r a g e b u s h y g r o w t h . especially during the hottest s u m m e r m o n t h s . S i m p l y start t h e m f r o m seed again next year. t h e n w a i t u n t i l y o u see shoots before watering again unless the soil is unusually dry.Basil and Beyond Transplanting: After last frost date. To preserve the flower. n o t the plant size. p o w d e r y mildew. D a h l i a s will last 5 to 7 days in a vase. A f t e r searing. in a c o o l . p r i c k a h o l e in the s t e m just u n d e r the h e a d of the flower.

Watering: W a t e r Maintenance: regularly w h e n y o u n g . a n d interesting texture m a k e it a gardener's favorite. T h e r e are other annuals. it will do best if watered regularly. D u s t y miller is fairly hardy and will overwinter in m a n y areas. If the plant in q u e s t i o n has w h i t e daisylike flowers. too. especially if cut back and m u l c h e d in the late fall. and even perennials. Prune second-year plants back severely to maintain the plant's shape and remove any flowering stems as they appear. T h e soft. weekly o n c e established. seeds need light to germinate. Transplanting: D u s t y miller is u n i q u e in that it can be set o u t into the garden Seed Outdoors: O n l y in Crowing truly frost-free areas as it is a slow grower. silvery foliage is a beautiful addition to just a b o u t a n y g a r d e n t y p e . then it is most likely a perennial Regardless of w h i c h plant y o u actually have. Harvesting C u t branches at any time for flower displays. it is probably Silver Lace. m o s t l y distinguished by the d e p t h of the "cuts" in the f o l i a g e — s o m e are scalloped. Starting Location: Full sun to partial shade. T h e r e are a few different kinds of d u s t y miller. a n d the c o l o r blends o r contrasts w i t h m a n y other leaves a n d flowers. that are easily c o n f u s e d w i t h d u s t y miller. 2 to 3 weeks before last frost. W a i t i n g until other annuals are ready to be planted after the last frost is fine. Even t h o u g h dusty miller is d r o u g h t tolerant.240 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Dusty Miller Description O n e o f m y favorites for the Square F o o t G a r d e n ! T h e c h a r m i n g d u s t y m i l l e t has been g r o w n b y generations of gardeners. Its carefree nature. . If it has purple flowers. s o m e are lacy. Centaurea. Seeds Indoors: 10 to 15 weeks before last frost. f r o m f o r m a l t o casual. enjoy it as a lovely garden accent. and for g o o d reason. u n i q u e color. D u s t y miller plants have unattractive mustard-yellow flowers that g r o w on plants that have overwintered.

or roses. asparagus. I w a n t to tell y o u a little story about w h a t is g r o w n around the globe. potatoes. strawberries. " W e are g o i n g to grow n e w things so y o u r children can have m o r e nutrients a n d better health than they n o w have. especially if they are g r o w n for several seasons in g r o u n d where nematodes are suspected. h o w do y o u k n o w those things will grow there?" . O t h e r w i s e . or crested. We tell t h e m . Marigolds also repel the M e x i c a n bean beetle w h e n planted around bean plants. but they can be f o u n d in burgundy. T h e smaller marigold plants are sometimes called French marigolds. M a r i g o l d s are said to discourage n e m a t o d e s w h e n p l a n t e d near t o m a t o e s ." A n d still we are asked. red. and red/orange bicolor. Japanese beetles are attracted to the odorless varieties of marigolds. double. they are also indigenous to the Americas. T h e most c o m m o n flower colors are orange. Marigold Description Just about everyone will recognize the p o m p o m flowers of the marigold. but like their smaller cousins. W h e n e v e r we do a h u m a n i tarian project overseas. " W e specifically tell the people we do not try to c o m p e t e w i t h the farmer or try to grow the basic things they normally eat as part of their Square M e t e r G a r d e n . where they can be trapped and d r o w n e d in soapy water placed near the marigolds. people ask m e . " H o w do y o u k n o w w h a t crops they can grow in that country?" I answer. T h e larger marigold plants are k n o w n as African marigolds. Marigold leaves are d i s t i n c t i v e — s l i m and l a c y — a n d give off a p u n g e n t scent w h e n cut or crushed. Flowers can be single. D o n ' t be fooled by the n a m e — d w a r f refers to the plant size. " B u t . but all marigolds are native t o subtropical A m e r i c a a n d have b e e n g r o w n i n M e x i c o for t h o u s a n d s o f years. yellow.Basil and Beyond 241 Problems Rot can be a problem in w e t soil. G i a n t marigolds can g r o w to over 3 feet tall and are a little too big for a Square Foot G a r d e n . dusty miller is nearly problem-free. and between 1 and 6 inches in diameter. and even a creamy white. not necessarily the flower size. T h e d w a r f plants range in size from 6 to 8 inches tall.

m a r i g o l d s don't i m m e d i a t e l y spring t o m i n d . Seeds Outdoors: O k a y . t w i c e w e e k l y w h e n larger. so try to cut where the flower stem meets a m a i n stem. as l o n g as the stems are n o t bent. D o n ' t let m a r i g o l d s d r y o u t — t h e plants w i l l w i l t a n d die quickly. Transplanting: After last frost date. Harvesting How: W h e n t h i n k i n g o f flowers t o c u t for the vase. R e m o v e the leaves that will be under water.242 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING T h e answer was illustrated w h e n I w e n t to India to attend the grand o p e n i n g ceremonies of Father A b r a h a m ' s n e w Square F o o t G a r d e n T r a i n i n g C e n t e r . Crowing Watering: W e e k l y w h e n y o u n g . broccoli turned o u t to be their m o s t popular a n d bestselling vegetable. Fully o p e n marigolds will die q u i c k l y in the vase. . b u t usually n o t practical as the season is too short. T h a t m a d e me realize that everything we g r o w in our U S A Square Foot Gardens can usually be g r o w n just a b o u t anywhere in the w o r l d . Seeds Lndoors: M a r i g o l d seeds will g e r m i n a t e in a b o u t 7 to 14 days. M a r i g o l d stems are short. H o w e v e r . Starting Location: G r o w in a s u n n y location. Maintenance: P i n c h the g r o w i n g tips b a c k w h e n the p l a n t reaches a b o u t 3 inches tall to e n c o u r a g e b u s h i n e s s . T h e y gave u s garlands o f their locally g r o w n special flower—and guess w h a t it was? Marigolds! Even m o r e astounding. Botrytis blight and wilt. P i n c h o r c u t o f f spent b l o o m s t o p r o l o n g f l o w e r i n g . Problems Slugs a n d mites. a n d the stress will attract insects a n d diseases. ideal for a child's first foray into the w o n d e r s of g r o w i n g plants f r o m seeds. To reduce the aroma. When: C u t marigolds w h e n the flowers are one-half to three-quarters o p e n . t h e y m a k e a c u t e b o u q u e t that c a n last for 7 to 14 days. add a spoonful of sugar to the water.

leggy plants to stimulate n e w g r o w t h . as l o n g as y o u remember that they like cool. plan to either discard or m o v e y o u r pansies. Barely cover the seed. In w a r m e r climates. and as a last h o o r a h of color in the fall. O n c e exposed to r o o m temperatures. Pansies c o m e in so m a n y colors and color c o m b i n a tions that it's difficult to keep up w i t h the changes and even m o r e difficult to choose w h i c h ones to plant. set t h e m o u t in fall for early spring b l o o m ." T h e little "faces" l o o k up at y o u w i t h hope for a lovely spring after a cold winter. Seeds Indoors: G r o w i n g before the last frost date. T h e y are easy to grow. When: C u t Problems pansy flowers just after they unfurl. moist conditions. keep in m i n d that the stems are quite short. l o o k for heat-resistant types a n d p l a n t in m o d e r a t e shade. Growing Watering: Weekly. Seeds Outdoors: N o t practical. Starting Location: In hotter areas. Slugs and snails. W h e n the weather gets hot and dry. insufficient moisture. seeds s h o u l d s p r o u t in 10 days. water m o r e often if the plants wilt and in the heat o f the summer. and again in early fall to bring the gardening season to a colorful close. Maintenance: K e e p pansies c o o l a n d moist. Pansies can be pansies f r o m seed i n d o o r s can be a challenge. S o w i n d o o r s 1 4 to 1 6 w e e k s planted in full sun w h e r e s u m m e r s are c o o l . Even the flowers w i t h o u t the actual black blotches l o o k like h a p p y faces. and cut b a c k Harvesting How: Pansies make a cute cut flower. D e a d h e a d pansies for c o n t i n u o u s b l o o m .Basil and Beyond 243 Pansy Description T h e best w o r d to describe pansy flowers is "adorable. Transplanting: Set pansies o u t in early spring as soon as the g r o u n d can be w o r k e d . . t h e n refrigerate for 2 w e e k s .

gray m o l d and soft rot can occur in h u m i d areas. T h e seeds are so tiny.i m p o s s i b l e yellow. T r y a t i n y vase on the k i t c h e n table or sink area w i t h just o n e stem in water. striped. and prune back by half if the plant gets scraggly. Problems A p h i d s . c r e e p i n g plants w i t h lightgreen. multifloras have 2 to 3 i n c h flowers. Maintenance: Harvesting How: Petunia flowers m a k e an excellent c u t flower for v e r y small containers.s h a p e d f l o w e r s c o m e i n just a b o u t every c o l o r i m a g i n a b l e . T h e t r u m p e t . Seeds Outdoors: N o . especially if they ate purchased as plants. ruffled. Petunia flowers c o m e in a range of sizes—grandifloras have 4 to 5 inch flowers. . and scalloped. 1 2 to 1 4 weeks for slower g r o w i n g varieties. a n d the flower f o r m s range f r o m single to d o u b l e . a t e a s p o o n c o n t a i n s over 10. Seeds Indoors: Start seeds indoors Transplanting: Set 8 to 10 weeks before last frost. better b r a n c h i n g .000 seeds! T h e y are b r a n c h i n g . Petunias can germinate slowly. hairy leaves that c a n b e sticky. a n d millifloras have an a b u n d a n c e of t i n y 1-inch flowers. then keep t h e m deadheaded and pruned t h r o u g h o u t the g r o w i n g season for a nonstop performance. from 7 to 21 days. even the o n c e . Starting Location: Full sun to partial shade. D e a d h e a d to encourage b l o o m . Crowing Watering: Weekly. petunias o u t w h e n all d a n g e r o f frost has passed. P i n c h petunia plants back by a b o u t one-third before planting. P i n c h at transplanting for G r o w t h from seed takes too l o n g to be practical.244 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Petunia Description Petunias are o n e of the easiest annuals to grow. D o n ' t cover the seeds. When: Just as the b u d is o p e n i n g .

When: A s Problems soon as half the buds have o p e n e d o n the flower stalk. to a pair of leaves where y o u see n e w sprouts e m e r g i n g t o e n c o u r a g e bushiness. Slugs. C u t the plant back by one-third at planting time. aphids and whitefly. D o n ' t cover the tiny seeds. a n d h e i g h t . n o t e n o u g h time. texture. . T h e s e lovely plants are w o r k h o r s e s in the h o t . Seeds Indoors: S o w seed i n d o o r s 6 to 8 w e e k s before the last frost. Starting Location: Full sun to partial shade. salmon. Salvia splendens is an a n n u a l salvia w i t h tall spikes o f red or w h i t e flowers. a n d k e e p i t d e a d h e a d e d t h r o u g h o u t the g r o w i n g season for a l o n g display of color.Basil and Beyond 245 Salvia Description T h e r e are so m a n y different salvias that an entire garden can be d e d i c a t e d to t h e m w i t h o u t duplication. K e e p the m i x just slightly m o i s t t o a v o i d d a m p i n g . a n d are q u i t e d r o u g h t tolerant o n c e they're established. mildew. and a deep purple that looks almost black. need light t o g e r m i n a t e .o f f . s u n n y g a r d e n . b e a r i n g the t r a d e m a r k square stem. salvia is actually a m e m b e r of the m i n t family. cut all the main stems back to a pair of leaves again in late s u m m e r and you'll have a late season showcase of color. they soil has w a r m e d as they can be very frost sensitive. D e a d h e a d often to p r o m o t e branching and uninterrupted flowering. Transplanting: Set salvia o u t after the Seeds Outdoors: N o . Also k n o w n as scarlet sage. Maintenance: Harvesting How: To encourage a fall crop of b l o o m s . a l t h o u g h hybridizers have c o m e up w i t h pink. Growing Watering: Weekly.

Square F o o t G a r d e n i n g is sort of like a picture puzzle of an attractive garden ready for h a r v e s t — a n d there's o n l y sixteen large pieces t o fit t o g e t h e r t o p r o d u c e t h e f i n i s h e d picture (that is. the smaller size m a k e s e v e r y t h i n g easier to m a i n t a i n a n d c o n t r o l . notice a n d appreciate it m o r e and as a result. That's where you'll pass it m o r e often. Location Since Square F o o t G a r d e n i n g takes o n l y 2 0 p e r c e n t o f the space to p r o d u c e 1 0 0 p e r c e n t of the harvest. it c a n be l o c a t e d a l m o s t a n y w h e r e — a n d the best location is close to the house. To p r o d u c e the same harvest-picture. H e r e are the most i m p o r t a n t and far reaching of those features. In c l o s i n g . this m a n a g e a b l e size m e a n s e v e r y o n e — e v e n those w i t h limited time o r e n e r g y — c a n enjoy the benefits of the garden. T h i s w i l l p r o d u c e a better a n d m o r e productive garden. w e a t h e r a n d pests b e i n g the m o s t destructive. the single-row garden has 4 8 9 tiny pieces to fit together! T h e features o f S F G will h e l p y o u u n d e r s t a n d h o w o n e t h i n g relates to another a n d h o w all the simplifications of S F G fit together to help each other p r o d u c e a m u c h better garden for y o u — w i t h o u t a lot of w o r k and k n o w l e d g e . I'd like to h i g h l i g h t the m o s t i m p o r t a n t features of S F G for y o u s o y o u truly u n d e r s t a n d w h y it's s o different f r o m the o l d . o u t d a t e d single-row g a r d e n i n g system we've all b e e n taught at o n e time or another. Soil Requirements W e ' v e eliminated all the things y o u used to have to learn a b o u t soil a n d the special requirements for each individual v e g e t a b l e — b e c a u s e . the harvest). you'll take better care of it. Size also applies to w h o can garden. Size T h e same t h i n g applies t o p r o t e c t i n g y o u r g a r d e n f r o m just a b o u t a n y t h i n g h a r m f u l .f a s h i o n e d .I I Mel's Final Summary W e l l — t h e r e y o u have it! T h e A L L N E W Square F o o t G a r d e n i n g System w i t h the latest updates a n d i m p r o v e m e n t s I've m a d e to the original system I invented thirty years ago.

and it is readily available for t h e m . T h e general directions for watering in the Square Foot Garden are to m a k e sure the soil stays moist. 247 Location for Sunlight All the vegetables need lots of sun: six to eight hours per day. I'm sure y o u are tired of h e a r i n g about it. I f y o u m a k e y o u r s a c c o r d i n g to the f o r m u l a a n d if y o u use a g o o d b l e n d e d c o m p o s t m a d e from at least five ingredients. a n d minerals that any o f the plants c o u l d possibly w a n t .Mel's Final Summary n o w you're u s i n g n o t h i n g b u t Mel's M i x . you're g o i n g to have a perfect garden because you're starting w i t h a perfect soil. please be as e m p h a t i c as I am about the proper soil m i x . Mel's M i x — w i t h its rich c o m p o s t — h a s all the natural nutrients. . Fertilizer W e don't use fertilizer a n y m o r e . A l t h o u g h that sounds nebulous at . Watering T h e same goes for watering. . i f y o u r entire g a r d e n gets the same a m o u n t o f sunlight. It's t h a t s i m p l e . Y o u w o n ' t h a v e t o learn a n y t h i n g a b o u t fertilizer o r t h e various formulas or w h a t N P K m e a n s . T h o s e that n e e d it. that's the place to p u t y o u r w a r m w e a t h e r o r s u m m e r crops. or that this crop needs a higher pH or a well-drained s o i l . T h o s e that don't n e e d it. T h i n k o f the t i m e a n d m o n e y you'll save! T h e best p a r t — i t ' s all natural a n d organic. and give the plants as m u c h water as they need. W e don't need it. O f course. take it. Is that easy gardening or what? But besides all that. o r any o f those things that m o s t books have t o tell y o u . you'll have a perfect soil for every single crop in y o u r garden. If any of y o u r garden area gets m o r e sun than other areas. it's that easy. After y o u b e c o m e successful w i t h y o u r garden and begin helping others start their n e w S F G . You're starting out w i t h a perfect soil for every single crop. but the value a n d importance of the proper soil m i x c a n n o t be overemphasized. don't take it. It virgually guarantees success. Y o u won't need to learn that this p l a n t needs extra n i t r o g e n or that p l a n t needs extra p o t a s s i u m — b e c a u s e M e l ' s M i x has e v e r y t h i n g e a c h p l a n t needs. So we don't have to give y o u different or special directions a b o u t soil for every single plant. . trace elements. a n d in fact will do better in the s u m m e r if they do n o t have as m u c h s u n as the o t h e r s u m m e r crops. y o u w o n ' t have to go t o the store t o b u y fertilizer a t all. T h e s p r i n g a n d fall c o o l weather crops can get by w i t h less s u n . . We won't have to tell y o u to screen for stones. or add extra h u m u s . plant c o o l w e a t h e r crops in the partial shade of a taller p l a n t — o r provide t h e m w i t h one of the simple sun shades described in C h a p t e r 4.

and the growth pattern of that particular plant. O u r feeling.) A n y one can see that a large bushy plant needs m u c h m o r e than a y o u n g seedling just starting. So if y o u o n l y w a n t to have t w o heads a w e e k . weather. I n a d d i t i o n . b u t h o w t o get rid o f it. Pests and Diseases We also won't go into any detail of possible pests a n d diseases of each individual plant. I've h a d gardeners tell me that w h e n they read a l o n g list of potential threats. i t all d e p e n d s o n size. indoors or out. o f course. it is a b o u t healthy productive plants g r o w i n g in a garden starting w i t h healthy natural soil.w e e k harvest period. y o u won't have m o s t problems. a planting of broccoli will all be ready to harvest over a period of just a couple of weeks in late spring (after that it will go to seed). " H o w m u c h do I really w a n t to harvest ( n o t plant) in the time period that this crop will be ready?" For example. Remember. another important feature of Mel's M i x is that y o u or y o u r sprinkler system can't overwater. so y o u get to plant it again in the fall. N o matter w h a t m e t h o d o f watering y o u use. the plants will g r o w healthy and they'll be m u c h m o r e resistant to any disease or pest. because in all likelihood. I t h i n k y o u have seen by n o w that S F G is n o t about all the problems and diseases of plant g r o w t h . season. t h e y k n o w y o u r e x p e c t e d frost dates a n d the best varieties to g r o w in y o u r local area. they often decide they don't w a n t to g r o w that c r o p — a n d that's a shame. w h i c h has a l o n g e r harvest p e r i o d since it's g e t t i n g colder rather t h a n warmer. T h e y c a n n o t o n l y tell y o u w h a t i t is. if y o u have a p r o b l e m or s o m e pests (if y o u c a n first i d e n t i f y o r d e s c r i b e i t ) .248 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING first. this is n o t single-row gardening w h e r e y o u usually p l a n t o n e r o w o f everything. How Much to Plant Use extreme caution here. T h e y also indicate w h e n t o replant a n a d d i t i o n a l c r o p i n order t o have a c o n t i n u o u s harvest t h r o u g h the g a r d e n i n g year.) . and you'll k n o w w h i c h plants require m o r e . i s that w i t h y o u r natural rich soil. call y o u r l o c a l c o u n t y e x t e n s i o n a g e n t a n d describe it. y o u will soon b e c o m e acclimated to those directions. When to Plant C h a r t s in this A p p e n d i x will give y o u all of the information y o u need to k n o w a b o u t w h e n to plant b o t h seeds or seedlings. because this m i x drains o u t all the excess water. Start o u t b y asking yourself. ( O f course. As we explained in an earlier chapter. then plant no m o r e than four or five plants for that t w o . D o n ' t forget broccoli is a cool weather crop. they'll never see that pest or disease.

parsley. y o u can take y o u r t i m e a n d e n j o y the actual harvest. t h e n place it in y o u r salad b o w l or harvest basket. unfortunately. So just strike that out from any literature y o u get f r o m y o u r c o u n t y agent. w i t h S F G o u r plants are g r o w i n g in a v e r y loose and friable soil. spinach. A l l the literature that the governm e n t spends all that m o n e y o n p r i n t i n g still s h o w s the h a n d .Mel's Final Summary For crops that give y o u a c o n t i n u o u s harvest like Swiss chard.f o o t r o w of b u s h beans. it'll just m a k e it m u c h easier. so y o u have to be wise e n o u g h after reading this b o o k t o interpret those differences a n d c o n v e r t t h e m into the Square F o o t m e t h o d . Since y o u won't be overburdened w i t h too m u c h harvest in y o u r S F G . B a c k t h e n . t o m a t o e s . T h e n y o u h a d t o get the h o e o u t again t o f i n i s h the morning's w o r k o f w e e d i n g ! H a r v e s t i n g the S F G w a y i s k i n d of like the difference b e t w e e n l o a d i n g sand bags in the t r u c k versus p u t t i n g the children in their car seat. For example. T h e only thing y o u have to be careful a b o u t is they're still teaching single-row gardening. or p a r s l e y — d o the same t h i n g . g r o w i n g . It w o n ' t c h a n g e a n y t h i n g . Harvesting Method Be gende w h e n y o u harvest if you're p i c k i n g s o m e t h i n g w i t h a stem. t w i s t i n g a n d y a n k i n g the beans off. g r o w o n l y e n o u g h plants to give y o u as m u c h as y o u w a n t to harvest each w e e k . a n d harvesting patterns in y o u r area. It's a h a p p y c o n c l u s i o n t o g r o w i n g plants a n d s h o u l d b e quite different from the o l d days o f r o w g a r d e n i n g . Swiss chard. A s k t h e m for their leaflet o n w h a t e v e r c r o p you're interested i n — t h e y have m o r e t h a n e n o u g h p r i n t e d inform a t i o n o n just a b o u t every single c r o p . Y o u don't have to feed the n e i g h b o r h o o d — a l t h o u g h s o m e t i m e s y o u have to offer a f e w tomatoes in order to get rid of y o u r z u c c h i n i . C u t the leaf or stem w i t h y o u r scissors. R e m e m b e r . squash or even peas a n d beans. For leaf crops w h e r e you're p i c k i n g i n d i v i d u a l leaves o r s t e m s — like lettuce. y o u won't have to thin seedlings or improve soil by adding this or that special k i n d of fertilizer or h o e weeds or do all the other things we used to have to learn or d o . C u t the stem w i t h y o u r garden scissors w h i l e y o u h o l d the fruit w i t h the other hand. like a pepper. t o m a t o .m e d o w n row system f r o m farming. A l o t of folks like to d i p their harvest in the water bucket to wash it o f f — y o u c o u l d use a colander as y o u r harvest . 249 Specific Questions If you're the k i n d of person w h o needs to k n o w everything y o u can find out about the plant and its planting. so it's i m p o r t a n t to be careful and n o t t u g or y a n k on the plant. y o u h a d t o m o v e fast to p i c k a w h o l e t h i r t y . or p o l e beans. then it w o u l d be wise to call the c o u n t y agricultural extension agent.

. leave the m e a t o u t . A Word About Plant Families I've m e n t i o n e d all t h r o u g h this b o o k h o w I feel that all of y o u r plants are just like y o u r children and should be treated as such. " M o r e important. and derives a sense of a c c o m p l i s h m e n t and pride f r o m his efforts. a n d p r o b l e m s related to g r o w i n g (not that we expect to e n c o u n t e r a n y of that in our natural a n d rich Mel's M i x soil). A n d w h a t a b o u t celery? It's in the carrot family! There's a lot y o u c a n learn f r o m this. You'll find yourself g r o w i n g s l i m m e r b y the d a y a s y o u f i l l u p o n all these g o o d i e s f r o m the garden. for e x a m p l e . ) I f y o u b e c o m e familiar w i t h the p l a n t families y o u w o n ' t have t o learn a n d digest a s m u c h inform a t i o n a b o u t individual crops because. f l o w e r s . T h e n y o u can w a s h o f f y o u r harvest right in the garden a n d any water a n d soil will fall right back into the garden. T r y n o t to c o o k in water and. h a p p y hobby. diseases. E a c h family m e m b e r usually has the same frost resistance a n d is in the same c o o l or w a r m weather category. n o w I g r o w t h e m a n d love t h e m . if y o u get the entire family to start o u t by eating half of the harvest raw a n d directly from the garden. "I've never eaten a radish before. W h e n y o u d o c o o k . it's in the sunflower family . So it's fun a n d w o r t h w h i l e to visit s o m e of the plant families and get to k n o w t h e m a little better. of course. you'll find that n o t o n l y y o u r family life will improve. ( C h e c k the "At a G l a n c e " feature for m o r e i m p o r t a n t facts t o k n o w a b o u t s o m e o f the vegetables. healthy. all the m e m b e r s b e l o n g to the h o t w e a t h e r or s u m m e r crop. W h i c h o n e of the three Rs is that? Harvesting and Eating T h e r e are so m a n y different ideas a n d recipes that I just w a n t to encourage y o u to spend m o r e time harvesting a n d using the produce. that student takes an interest in his garden. b u t the kids will eat m o r e v e g e t a b l e s — m o r e often t h a n y o u c o u l d ever i m a g i n e . all plants in the same family have the same pests. so they all need the same requirements a n d conditions o f g r o w i n g . T r y a f a m i l y p i c n i c s u p p e r s o m e d a y — h e l d right i n the garden. W o u l d n ' t y o u t h i n k that w o u l d be in the leafy vegetable family? B u t n o . It w o r k s for families t o o — t h e w h o l e idea o f S F G i s t o m a k e gardening a family-oriented. In . S o m e members of different families will surprise y o u — l i k e lettuce. Y o u can see that in the N i g h t s h a d e family. a n d herbs y o u m i g h t b e g r o w i n g i n y o u r S F G . See w h o c a n m a k e the m o s t u n u s u a l salad! We just had a letter f r o m a schoolteacher q u o t i n g a student w h o said. and saute and broil m o r e often. . Eat m o r e things raw a n d fresh right o u t of the garden. Y o u have the t i m e because y o u r garden is no longer a lot of w o r k .250 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING basket. I w o u l d e n c o u r a g e y o u t o use less fat.

So if y o u learn the families and the care of each family. C a n y o u visualize h o w attractive a quilt-like g a r d e n can be w h e n y o u plant something different in every square foot? C a n y o u see h o w little y o u really have to k n o w about plants and gardening to be successful? Start small and expand as y o u gain experience and success. H a p p y Gardening! . T h e n spread the w o r d and help others start their o w n S F G . .Mel's Final Summary 251 CHART OF P L A N T FAMILIES A N D M E M B E R S Carrot Carrot Celery Parsley Parsnip Goosefoot Beet Spinach Swiss Chard Gourd Cucumber Gourd Cantaloupe Pumpkin Squash Watermelon Grass Corn Lily Asparagus Mallow Okra Mustard Bok Choy Broccoli Brussel Sprouts Cabbage Chinese C a b b a g e Cauliflower Collards Cress Kale Horseradish Kohlrabi Mustard Greens Radish Rutabaga Turnip Nightshade Eggplant Pepper Potato Tomato Onion Chive Garlic Leek Onion Shallot Pea Beans Peas Sunflower Endive Chicory Globe Artichoke Jerusalem Artichoke Lettuce Sunflower addition. and herbs y o u can g r o w in y o u r Square Foot G a r d e n . vegetables. We love letters and pictures. this always encourages others to get started! T h a n k y o u for all y o u r support. Conclusion T h e s e are just a few of my favorites of the m u l t i t u d e of flowers. you'll have a m o r e satisfying garden experience. T h i s is M e l B a r t h o l o m e w w i s h i n g y o u . . S o g o o d luck w i t h y o u r g a r d e n — a n d please let m e k n o w h o w you're doing. they all require pretty m u c h the same type of care.

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this usually affects the quality a n d flavor of the foliage crop. compost. T h e y m a y be flying insects s u c h as l a d y b u g s . To b e c o m e a c c u s t o m e d to a different e n v i r o n m e n t . T h e ability of a perennial p l a n t to survive the w i n t e r c o l d in a particular area. cold hardiness. there is an office in every county. Insects or their larvae that prey on pest o r g a n i s m s a n d their eggs. A d d e d to soil of a n y t y p e . and die the same year. a n d ants. T h e t e n d e n c y of a leafy p l a n t s u c h as lettuce. A plant that lives its entire life in one season. A p l a n t that grows vertically by m e a n s of e l o n g a t i n g stems. fluffy texture. grow. or soil dwellers s u c h as p r e d a t o r y n e m a t o d e s . or use holdfasts to c l i m b vertical surfaces or supports. Usually. spiders. It is genetically determined to germinate. it i m p r o v e s its ability to h o l d air a n d w a t e r a n d to drain well. cling. It m a y twist. O f t e n in response to v e r y h o t weather. a n d soldier bugs. p r a y i n g m a n t i d s . spinach. annual.Glossary i i i I i i i I i i 1 1 i i 1 1 i i 1 1 i i i I i i i I i i i 11 i i I i i i I i i i I i i i I i acclimate. bolting. O r g a n i c m a t t e r that has u n d e r g o n e progressive d e c o m p o s i t i o n by m i c r o b i a l a n d m a c r o b i a l activity u n t i l it is r e d u c e d to a spongy. An e m p l o y e e of the state university w h o is trained to p r o v i d e i n f o r m a t i o n a n d assistance to farmers a n d h o m e o w n e r s a b o u t agricultural a n d horticultural t e c h n i q u e s . set seed. s u c h a p l a n t sends up tall stalks that bear flowers. or even cabbage to seed prematurely. soil analysis. a n d pest c o n t r o l . . County agent/extension agent. A p l a n t that is genetically p r o g r a m m e d to g r o w over t w o seasons before setting seed a n d d y i n g . t h e n seeds. beneficial insects. flower. parasitic w a s p s . biennial. climber.

laid t h r o u g h p l a n t e d beds. usually winter. Splitting apart perennial plants to create several smaller r o o t e d segments. T h i s pedigree is expressed by the m u l t i p l i c a t i o n s y m b o l in b e t w e e n the t w o w o r d s in its botanical (scientific) n a m e . deciduous. x 261 division.Glossary deadhead. An efficient w a t e r d e l i v e r y s y s t e m t h r o u g h special lines. W a t e r either soaks t h r o u g h the hoses or leaks t h r o u g h special emitters inserted in t h e m to go directly to p l a n t roots. to enter a fertile seed's first stage of development. a n d stimulate further flowering. To s o w seeds directly i n t o the g a r d e n rather t h a n starting t h e m in small pots for later t r a n s p l a n t i n g . or hoses. describes trees a n d shrubs that lose their leaves in the fall. To remove faded flowerheads from plants to improve their appearance. a n d rest. dormancy (dormant).b l o o m i n g b u l b s . s o m e act on seeds. . To s p r o u t . T h e process o f gradually a c c l i m a t i n g i n d o o r plants o r seedlings raised indoors to o u t d o o r w e a t h e r c o n d i t i o n s . Describes plants that have fleshy or soft stems that die b a c k w i t h frost. herbaceous. hardiness. handpick. To e l i m i n a t e pest insects or slugs a n d caterpillars by r e m o v i n g t h e m f r o m p l a n t foliage or k n o c k i n g t h e m i n t o a plastic b a g or jar of soapy or salty w a t e r to kill t h e m . A n y p r o d u c t or c h e m i c a l agent that kills plants. A plant that is the result of either i n t e n t i o n a l or natural cross-pollination b e t w e e n t w o or m o r e plants of the same species or genus. the opposite o f w o o d y . direct-SOW. S o m e plants. germinate. Useful for c o n t r o l l i n g a plant's size a n d for a c q u i r i n g m o r e plants. S o m e act on foliage and stem tissues. See c o l d hardiness. herbicide. abort seed p r o d u c t i o n . go d o r m a n t in the s u m m e r . T h e o p p o s i t e of evergreen. hardening-off. w h e n perennial plants temporarily cease active g r o w t h . T h e p e r i o d . s u c h as s p r i n g . it is also essential to the health a n d c o n t i n u e d f l o w e r i n g o f certain species. drip irrigation. hybrid.

A n y p r o d u c t . T h e process b y w h i c h plants.b a s e d material that is capable of u n d e r g o i n g d e c o m p o s i t i o n a n d decay. C a r b o n . larva(e). Just t w o or three seeds for each h o l e . A flowering plant that lives over three or m o r e seasons. after it hatches f r o m an e g g . or beetle. or w e e d s . O r g a n i c m a t t e r f r o m peat sedges ( U n i t e d States) or s p h a g n u m mosses ( C a n a d a ) . larvae are v o r a c i o u s l y h u n g r y .262 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING insecticide. T h e yellow. transform c a r b o n d i o x i d e in the air a n d w a t e r f r o m the soil i n t o carbohydrates that fuel their g r o w t h . organic material. pollen. T h e sweet f l u i d p r o d u c e d b y glands o n f l o w e r s that attracts pollinators s u c h a s h u m m i n g b i r d s a n d h o n e y b e e s . pinch of seeds. c o m p o u n d . or device that kills pest insects. p i n e needles. perennial. t h e y are transferred to the female p l a n t parts b y m e a n s o f w i n d . o r garden aid f o r m u l a t e d specifically to kill insects. often used t o i m p r o v e soil texture. A n y material or debris that is derived f r o m plants. A n y p r o d u c t . peat moss. A layer of material over bare soil that protects the soil f r o m e r o s i o n a n d c o m p a c t i o n b y rain. T h e a c i d i t y o f s p h a g n u m peat m o s s m a k e s i t ideal for b o o s t i n g o r m a i n t a i n i n g soil acidity w h i l e also i m p r o v i n g its drainage. c o m p o u n d . nectar. . disease p a t h o g e n s . I t m a y be i n o r g a n i c (gravel. b u t their roots survive the w i n t e r a n d generate n e w shoots in spring. mulch. T y p i c a l l y a w o r m or caterpillar f o r m of a butterfly. photosynthesis. c h o p p e d leaves). insects o r a n i m a l p o l l i n a t o r s . An insect in its i m m a t u r e stage. pest animals. c o l l e c t i n g e n e r g y f r o m the s u n b y m e a n s o f the c h l o r o p h y l l i n their foliage. pesticide. matter. fabric) or organic ( w o o d chips. t o fertilize t h e m a n d create seeds. M a n y die b a c k w i t h frost. for w h o m the fluid is a source of energy. p o w d e r y grains in the center of a flower. this is the stage at w h i c h insects are m o s t destructive to plants. a n d also d i s c o u r a g e s w e e d s . A plant's m a l e sex cells. bark. m o t h .

or m o t t l e d w i t h a contrasting color. W a t e r a n d m u l c h are m o s t effectively applied to the soil surface over the root z o n e .Glossary potbound. e d g e d . a p p e a r i n g above the seed leaves. its roots h a v i n g been forced to w r a p a r o u n d themselves a n d even swell o u t o f the container. true leaves. M o s t effective in raised beds w h e r e the soil is rich e n o u g h to support several crops over a season. w a t e r . root zone. it maximizes production in a limited space. As a seed sprouts. T h i s sucker will g r o w into a side b r a n c h . A y o u n g p l a n t that is m a t u r e e n o u g h to be p l a n t e d o u t d o o r s in a garden b e d or decorative container. transplant. T h e practice o f p r o m p t l y replacing f o o d crops that have passed peak p r o d u c t i o n w i t h seeds or transplants of a different crop. T h e area that the roots of a g i v e n p l a n t currently o c c u p y or can be expected to spread to w h e n mature. A natural mineral that. T h e second set of leaves that appear on a y o u n g seedling. succession planting. A n e w g r o w i n g s h o o t . rootbound (or potbound). T h e c o n d i t i o n of a plant that has b e e n confined to a container t o o l o n g . sucker.a b s o r b e n t material ideal for soil mix. vermiculite. Successful transplanting or r e p o t t i n g requires u n t a n g l i n g a n d t r i m m i n g a w a y s o m e o f the m a t t e d roots. T h e y resemble the leaves of the species. b l o t c h e d . T o m a t o plants p r o d u c e a sucker in the crotch of the m a i n s t e m a n d a leaf. expands into a l i g h t w e i g h t . m a k n g the p l a n t v e r y bushy. thinning. are the true leaves. the first leaves to appear are the seed leaves. seed leaf. U s u a l l y refers to plant foliage that is streaked. variegated. Usually r o u n d or b r o a d . often green w i t h cream or w h i t e .000° F. T h e next leaves. or colonies. H a v i n g various colors or color patterns. T h e process of r e m o v i n g extra s p r o u t s f r o m a single p l a n t i n g o f a p i n c h o f seeds o f n e w l y g e r m i n a t e d seedlings t o create sufficient space for the r e m a i n i n g o n e to g r o w a n d m a t u r e . U n d e r g r o u n d p l a n t roots p r o d u c e suckers t o f o r m n e w stems a n d spread b y m e a n s o f these s u c k e r i n g roots to f o r m large plantings. 263 . g r o u n d up a n d heated to over 2. See r o o t b o u n d . these leaves eventually fall o f f the plant.

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