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

iiIiiiIiiiIiiiIiiiIiiiIiiiIiiiIiiiIiiiIiiiIii
^ 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 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. " C a n we do this again next w e e k ? " A n d I said. 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 . 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. 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. after the g r o u n d w a s all fertilized a n d p l o w e d u p . H o w e v e r . 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. 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. . so I visited m a n y backyard gardens. So. a n d .Introduction b o o k in A m e r i c a . 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. 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. In celebration. "Sure. 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. As we prepared to leave. w e laid o u t plots a n d aisles a n d o p e n e d for business. 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. a n d the ultimate success of S F G . 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 . 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 . 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 . b u t no instructor ever s h o w e d u p . 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. I decided to take up gardening as a hobby. rather than disband. 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. s o m e o n e asked m e . 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. 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 . 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 . 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. 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. 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. 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 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. 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. b u t the plants are o n l y placed in long. these individual gardens were also filled w i t h overgrown weeds. . Too Much As I analyzed these traditional gardening m e t h o d s .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. s k i n n y rows w i t h 3-foot w i d e aisles on b o t h sides. a b o u t as close to the neighbor's property line as possible. 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. 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 . 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. 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.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. p a c k i n g d o w n all that newly tilled soil? A n d . 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. In m o s t cases. 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.

so I traveled all over the c o u n t r y seeking o u t the best experts: agricultural college professors. I kept receiving the same answer. 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." . b o o k writers. I sought answers to all the gardening questions I h a d a n d .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. Because That's the Way I soon realized that I h a d a lot of questions w i t h very few answers. G a r d e n i n g shouldn't be a lot of hard w o r k . "let's face it. "Because that's the way we've always done it!" R i g h t then and there I said. " he replied. 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. " he said. " I protested. for example. 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. 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. " T h a t ' s t o o much work. c o u n t y agricultural agents. 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. 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 . 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.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 . " T h i s triggered another red flag in my m i n d . 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. 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 . garden writers. 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 . radio a n d T V gardening personalities. won't it also be ready to harvest all at once? It sounds like farming to m e . "I'm g o i n g to invent a better w a y to garden. G a r d e n i n g is a lot of hard w o r k . 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 ." " W e l l . gardening publishers. 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. 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. T h i s led t o further questions.

a n d the seed packet says to thin plants to 6 inches apart in the row. T h e n . is 6 i n c h e s — n o t 3 feet! . unnecessary w o r k . t w o h u n d r e d . 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. lettuce. 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.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 . F o l l o w m e along now.m e ." 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. 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. w a s that s i n g l e . inefficient. h o w far a w a y does the next r o w really need to be? T h e answer. 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 . 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. every single direction for h o m e g a r d e n i n g still instructs. 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. Before I sold my engineering c o m p a n y . the challenge of inventing a n e w w a y to garden was right up my alley.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 . b u t it involved a little out-of-the-box thinking. " 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. " S p a c e rows 3 feet apart. of course. if you're g r o w i n g . I should m e n t i o n here that besides b e i n g a civil engineer. 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 . I realized. 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 . to find a better way. T h e sequence of questions I asked a n d simple solutions I developed was actually very easy and straightforward. I was also an efficiency expert. One Thousand Seeds I have fun w h e n teaching a class or seminar by asking. 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. In other w o r d s . 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. o n e h u n d r e d .ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Farming Part of the p r o b l e m . there is no l o n g e r a n e e d for all that w a s t e d space. T h e next t h o u g h t was. 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. T h u s . for e x a m p l e .

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. . space a couple of seeds or transplants one. A g a i n . as w i d e as y o u can reach in to maintain y o u r garden. to see h o w well the plants w o u l d d o . 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. I asked? T h e answer is. 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. I p l a n t e d t w o rows. Double Row. as l o n g as y o u r arms. But I still had a harvest too large to utilize. in other words.Introduction 15 Single Row. 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. Depending on the mature size of each plant. nine. four. Triple Row Eager to test my reasoning. 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. 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. or sixteen per square foot. as l o n g as each p l a n t had 6 inches all around.

a n d t u r n i n g . 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. 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 .f o o t area. a n d money. y o u e n d up h a v i n g a 4 x 4 . 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. m i x i n g . T h u s . 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. time. as a teenager. A s laborers i n M o m ' s g a r d e n every spring. N o w . i f plants s h o u l d b e t h i n n e d t o 1 2 inches apart.f o o t area is never p a c k e d d o w n . y o u can g r o w sixteen in that same square foot. i m p r o v e d . A f t e r w e d u m p e d it into the garden area. T h i s initial step r a n g a bell w i t h me because. A n d . 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 .16 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Plant Spacing S o . i n s u m m a r y . S o . d i g g i n g the w h o l e t h i n g u p every year. 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 . an a d d e d benefit is the g r o w i n g soil in the 4 x 4 . a l t h o u g h she w a s thrilled w i t h the results. 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. 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 . I h a d to do all of the spreading. p l a n t o n e per square foot. 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 n d fertilized is a 4 x 4 . the o n l y soil that needs t o b e d u g u p .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. 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.f o o t g a r d e n area a n d n o t all the aisles. . If plants are t h i n n e d to 3 inches apart. If plants s h o u l d be t h i n n e d to 6 inches apart. m y d a d a n d I were n o t h a p p y campers. 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. 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. p l a n t four per square foot. w a t e r e d .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. the o n l y o p t i o n seemed to require a great deal of w o r k . T h u s . Soil Improvement T h e next step w a s h o w t o i m p r o v e the soil. 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 .

searching for water a n d nutrients many. 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. h e l p i n g to retain water . " H e n r y . T h e s e i n g r e d i e n t s are available a t a n y nursery. 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 . " I t h o u g h t . R e m e m b e r that after I d i d the m a t h . a n d if vermiculite a n d peat moss are m i x e d in. 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. " 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 . There's s o m e t h i n g definitely w r o n g w i t h this scenario. w i t h traditional b i g g a r d e n areas. I f o u n d that by switching f r o m a traditional single-row garden to a 4 x 4 . 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. n o m a t t e r w h e r e y o u live?" O f course. a n d every year thereafter. let's pave over that garden area.Introduction 17 The Seven-Year Itch I o n c e c o n d u c t e d a survey. 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. 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 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. it w o u l d m a k e a great p l a c e to park the trailer. 2 inches of v e r m i c u l i t e . T h i n k o f it. W i t h the S F G m e t h o d . w a t e r e d .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. 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 . 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 . b u t i t d o e s have t o b e w e e d e d . " 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. 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 . o r i m p r o v e d . 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 . 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." Seven years w o r t h of effort lost. m a n y feet b e l o w the surface of the soil. " B u t . a n d 2 inches of c o m p o s t .

I m i g h t add. 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. all properly spaced.18 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING in the soil. nine. 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. I grew up in the days of the "victory garden. a n d o t h e r h o m e . R e m e m b e r . 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.m e . 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. I'm n o t t a l k i n g a b o u t c a n n i n g . O f course. If you're farming for commercial purposes. also f r o m all the w o r k of c a n n i n g a n d freezing. so that y o u r harvest is also staggered? M a k e s sense. or sixteen plants.s t o r a g e measures. 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. I'm tired and don't w a n t to do it a n y m o r e .d o w n technique f r o m large-field crop farming. 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. B u t w i t h h o m e gardening. T h e n I have to can a n d freeze it. A n d . freezing. "I have a b i g single-row garden. 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 . and I g r o w a lot of p r o d u c e . 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 ." 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 . " O h . " A n d the w o m a n responds. it turned o u t they were w r o n g . four. 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. b u t I w i s h he'd stop. w h y n o t stagger y o u r vegetable plantings. 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. 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. 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. it wouldn't be necessary to plant a w h o l e r o w of just o n e crop. 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 . 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 . 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 . 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 . However." Besides that. 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 . So. .

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 . 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. y o u pass b y the garden m o r e often. it increases the n u m b e r of places w h e r e a garden w i l l fit. 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. 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 . T h e w h o l e package fits together nicely.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. Up Close and Personal "Closer is better" is o n e S F G m o t t o . it c a n n o w be l o c a t e d near the h o u s e . a n d w e e d the aisles. . water. 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. 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 . 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 . A n d since y o u don't have to fertilize.

I decided to do three things: o n e for m y country. 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 . and. 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. First. 1981 to 1984 At the same time. talks. 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. 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. Y o u can imagine h o w "retired" I was now. 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 . T h e m e d i a attention grew a n d grew. we tried all these n e w ideas in the c o m m u n i t y garden the next year.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 also began d o i n g gardening consulting w o r k for several companies. a n d o n e for myself. 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. —Kanas from California my ideas. 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. " 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. test a n d evaluate t h e m . 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 . 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. Sharing Ideas.20 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING The Square Foot Gardening Story Community Garden W e l l . 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. originally for tomatoes b u t later for all v i n e crops. T h e n I began writing and producing pamphlets. so I t h o u g h t . 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 . m a k e r e c o m m e n d a t i o n s . 1 9 7 6 . A l l t h e schools g r e w sunflowers. Garden Consulting. 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. W e h a d a n all-day c e l e b r a t i o n o f displays. a n d then . b o o t h s . 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 . Soon. I began to develop vertical gardening m e t h o d s . a n d . using their products. 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. O n e was a fence c o m p a n y . o n e for m y family. 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. T h a t next year.

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. I discovered that y o u don't. 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. 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. an o p p o r t u n i t y we couldn't pass up. A n d . and several appearances o n A B C . 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 . 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. So. 21 PBS One Minute. 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 . G o o d M o r n i n g B o s t o n . 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 . 1982 to 1986 To m a k e a l o n g story short.Introduction arrange the w r i t i n g o f s a m p l e descriptions for the catalog. Virginia. D u r i n g this t i m e . b e c a m e the s h o w director. as you'll learn. 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. 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 . a n d m a n y other TV spots all a r o u n d the country. Fortunately. 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 . 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. 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. M y oldest s o n . b u t it w a s all v e r y exciting. T h i s i n v o l v e d a lot of travel. 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. Steve. G o o d M o r n i n g Philly. once a w e e k they came t o m y garden a n d taped f i v e different segments. 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 . 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. 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. C B N i n V i r g i n i a Beach. Georgia. T h e response to that short segment was explosive. 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. Y o u bet I was! Thirty-Minute PBS TV Series. 1981 to 1986 M y publishers predictions for m y b o o k were very modest.

I t h o u g h t . A t the same t i m e . w h e n I was traveling in northern California. s o m e o n e invited me to c o m e see a school garden." Discovery Network 1989 to 1991 A few years later. B u t w h e n he offered to do all the w o r k and take care of all the details. T h i s t i m e . 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 . " W e l l . 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 i n u t e b o o k tag a t the e n d o f each show. T h i s was exciting a n d eventful. m y retirement w a s "for sure. they all do that. T h r o u g h all o f it. 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. y e t a t times stressful a n d e x h a u s t i n g . A t that t i m e . 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. 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. I again t o o k the s h o w off the air. 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. of course. As a result. 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 . " they explained. "It's a Square F o o t G a r d e n . P B S was commercial-free a n d h a d n o corporate sponsors. A f t e r six years. y e t t h e y still w a n t e d the s h o w free. 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. S o . 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. 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 . 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. 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. 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. T h e children were really enjoying the gardening experience. N o w . 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. 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 . 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. . 1996 Five years later.22 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING b i g companies such as R u b b e r m a i d . again. I didn't w a n t a n y t h i n g to do w i t h it. 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. do we?) I finally agreed. 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 . I w e n t a n d t h o u g h t it was so impressive. I w a s happily retired. sure!) California Schools.

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 . I d i d . 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 . 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 ) . T h e y liked o u r idea so m u c h that they said. let's see w h a t we can d o . 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 e l l . 1999 to 2001 O v e r the next t w o years. 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. As I developed n e w staff m e m b e r s .Introduction One of the truly great features of SFG is how easy it is for children (of all ages!) to participate. " We g u l p e d and said. 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 . 1998 T h i s phase of my life also involved a lot of travel. " Thanksgiving Point. 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. 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 . 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. Utah Schools. 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. T h o u s a n d s visited the garden and. 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. " 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 . N e x t . S F G gained the attention o f m a n y L D S church leaders. w e tried s o m e t h i n g new. 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 . we were able to do just that.

C . 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. he n o w operates a sizeable. it's very easy to find materials that can be used to generate c o m p o s t . 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 . 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 . U t a h . 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. . D . It is s o m e t h i n g that c a n be readily d o n e . SFG International Training Center in Homestead. 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. plants.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 . 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 . Overseas W h e n w o r k i n g w i t h people overseas. 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. w e l l . Square Meter Gardening: SFG Humanitarian Efforts Go Global. 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. 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 . 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 . 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. 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. " W e c a n do this!" As a result. 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. w h i c h w e had converted f r o m the Square Foot Gardening method.24 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Training C e n t e r i n Provo. 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. 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.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 . Since m o s t T h i r d . 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. the first step is to teach t h e m c o m p o s t i n g . 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. H e read i t a n d said.

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. 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 . as she is m o s t concerned w i t h the children's nutrition. 25 Single Rows Throughout the World Believe it or n o t . 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." —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 . a n d that's the w a y his father taught h i m . she started m a n y S F G projects. and they can sell the excess at market. U t a h . 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. 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 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 . small m o u n t a i n c o m m u n i t y of E d e n . w i t h the next row 1 meter away. W h e n I was in the m o u n t a i n s of N e p a l . 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. 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. was "That's the w a y we've always d o n e it. " 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 . T h e w o m a n of the family is our p r i m a r y target for this project. 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. easy. At the same time. as y o u can probably guess. M y father taught m 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. 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. 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. 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. Utah.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 . 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. her stories of success were h e a r t w a r m i n g a n d inspiring. T h e answer. I intended to o n l y stay and write for a . T h r o u g h the interpreter I asked w h y they space and plant their crops this way. anywhere in the w o r l d can do. 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.

a n d it's time for an all new S F G book for a n e w generation of gardeners. 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 . B a c k t h e n . exciting experience! B u t n o w that's all history. 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. 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 . 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. we have the website a n d e-mail t o replace the T V s h o w and snail mail. 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 professor f r o m Tennessee. K n o w i n g I w o u l d need s o m e clerical help. 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. 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. S u c h a report c a m e f r o m o n e of o u r certified teachers. 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. b u t s o m e are v e r y funny. 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! . 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. Letters c o m e f r o m people in Switzerland. G e r m a n y . Boy.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 .squarefoot gardening. 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 .26 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING few m o n t h s . The Story Goes On And On Recently. Argentina. the w o r l d has literally b e c o m e m y next-door neighbor. 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 . 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 . 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. H e still has his father's original b o o k . E g y p t . T h o s e initial f e w m o n t h s stretched into years. M o n g o l i a . France. a l o n g w i t h p h o t o s o f her international project in Ecuador. Jordan. a representative f r o m Guadalajara. A really b i g and impressive project has b e e n started i n Sri L a n k a . W h a t a hectic. Spain. An entire S F G generation has passed by since I started. 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 . Iraq. 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. marigolds) i f viewers sent i n a S A S E . M e x i c o . am I getting that old? A n d n o w in the electronic age.

You'll use a m i n i m u m of seeds. 3. N o m o r e hard w o r k o r heavy-duty tools needed. it's true. 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 Depth—Only 6 Inches Deep 5. 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. New Boxes—Above the Ground 7. 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. so y o u won't have to b u y n e w packets every year. w i t h these i m p r o v e m e n t s . Best of all. 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 . 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. New Aisles—Comfortable 8. 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. N o w . this i m p r o v e d gardening m e t h o d makes gardening even easier than before. . New Location—Close to the House 2. You're going to love every o n e of these improvements. 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 . 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 . anyone c a n be a successful gardener. New Soil—Mel's Not Down Mix 4. organic m e t h o d . New Direction—Up. No Fertilizer—You Don't Need It 6. Yes. New Width Grids—Prominent and Permanent 9.Ten Major N e w Improvements to the Original Square Foot Garden Method 1. 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. New Idea—Don't Waste Seeds 1 0 .

y o u r garden doesn't have to be all in o n e place. 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 . S F G takes o n l y 20 percent of the space of a s i n g l e . 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. Your S F G becomes a c o m p a n i o n rather than a burden. 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 .l o o k i n g garden a n d a m o r e usable harvest. . while more boxes can be located elsewhere in the yard. resulting in a b e t t e r . It c a n even be located in a patio or p o o l setting. It became less and less tended as the year w e n t o n . T h a t usually m e a n t i t w a s o u t o f sight. 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. But. or w h e r e y o u can v i e w it f r o m the house. 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.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. 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.r o w garden. resulting in out of m i n d . where y o u relax. Small. 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. 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. W i t h o u t y o u r attention they'll take over the garden. Split It Up for Best Location In a d d i t i o n .

S F G isn't b i g .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. In fact. Hey. . New and Improved 29 2 N e w Direction—Up. a n d y o u don't h a v e to have a pH test m a d e . A n d m o s t i m p o r t a n t l y . S o . 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. So. i f w e c o u l d f i n d a perfect soil m i x . 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. . If y o u start w i t h a perfect soil m i x . 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. Everyone w a n t s a simple. " 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.r o w gardens. b u t hey. 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. easy w a y to garden. 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. 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 . 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 . gardening can be fun now! ." 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. the q u e s t i o n I hear m o s t is. I asked myself. In fact. 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 . . . 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. 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. 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. C o u l d I find a better w a y ? S o . it's one-fifth the size of c o n v e n t i o n a l gardens. back to the d r a w i n g board. 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 .SFG. T h i s g o t me to t h i n k i n g . Not Down! Build Up. it w i l l save a lot of t i m e a n d m o n e y . 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. 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 . 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. 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 .

However. What Do These Ingredients Do? A l l three of these ingredients are n a t u r a l — n o t manufactured. Finally. it is n u t r i e n 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. First of all. o n e w o r d of caution here: Y o u must have a blended c o m p o s t . a n d smells g o o d . 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 . T h e first t w o ingredients have n o nutrients. T h e n . so don't b u y all the same kind. 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. T h e y all drain well. T h i s m i x is a pleasure to w o r k w i t h . N e x t . it holds moisture. 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. m o r e a b o u t that i n C h a p t e r 5. 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. After m a n y experiments.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 . . " 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 . But. start y o u r o w n c o m p o s t pile as soon as possible. has a light fluffy texture. ask yourself. • 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. so there are no puddles to w a t e r l o g the plant roots. 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. 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. 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 . 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. w h a t is it a n d h o w a n d where do y o u get it? So. P h o n e ahead to be sure it's available in that size. then b u y bags of c o m p o s t at the garden center to get started. 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.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. 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. b u t the l a s t — c o m p o s t . yet drains well.30 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING So. 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. 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. 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. 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 .

I asked myself. b u t it's really n o t necessary. 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 . there are t w o reasons: One. "Don't bother. heads shaking and hands rising w i t h the usual question. 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. 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 . old-fashioned." —Manjajrom Oregon . B u t my experiments were proving otherwise. 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. the experts still p o o h p o o h e d the idea. s o m e even said 18 inches.SFG. " 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. S o . Just t h i n k — i t is one-half of the cost and one-half of the w o r k . 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. For years. 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. In addition. I can see the audience squirming in their seats. experts said y o u r garden soil had to be improved at least 12 inches deep. 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 . 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. easier. 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." I said. a n d less w o r k . 31 "Go deep. n o o n e ever t h o u g h t o f i t — a n d two. " 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 . a We owe much of our love of gardening to the simplicity of SFG. e v e r y o n e realizes that y o u couldn't do that in a h u g e . Y o u b u y a b a g o f perfect p o t t i n g soil. a n d i t really w o r k s . 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 ." they said. B u t guess w h a t ? I t works! O f course. it is m u c h cheaper. 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. 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). single-row garden or even in raised b e d gardening. 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. O f course in my lectures w h e n I m e n t i o n the 6 inches.

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. 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.32 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING T h e next question is. all the experts p o o h . no more digging. Just t h i n k — n o more tilling. again. a n d c o m p l e t e l y eliminate the use and expense of fertilizer. " 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 . 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.p o o h e d t h e idea a n d still d o . 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. 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 . 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 . 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. b u t y o u are g o i n g to love it.squarefootgardening. If y o u go to o u r w e b s i t e at www. a n d t h e y still n e e d e d fertilizer. 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 . A l l the experts agreed. 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 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.com. 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. So m u c h simpler than the original one-page formula and w h a t a savings! W e l l . a n d the list goes o n a n d o n . 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. vermiculite. Besides. 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 . 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. display. 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. 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 . 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 . a n d blended c o m p o s t . So. all a b o u t N P K a n d w h a t that m e a n s . 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 . h o w a b o u t a box? . 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 .

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. will g r o w five times as m u c h as the same space in a single-row garden. you're ready to plant.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. 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 . 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 . . 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 . bricks. 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. add six inches of Mel's Mix.f o o t bottomless boxes are easy to build o u t of c o m m o n lumber.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.SFG. n o t o n l y t o y o u r garden b u t t o y o u r life. T h e s e small boxes. and add the square foot grid. 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. w h i c h then eliminates the need Once you build the basic 4v.4 SFG box with rotated corners. T h e 4 x 4 . W h y . T h e basic 4 x 4 . No existing soil to till. T h e r e are no weeds to hoe. Now. 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 . You'll w o n d e r w h y no one ever t h o u g h t of it before. or even stone. So. o n c e your boxes are built and y o u r perfect soil is added. there is virtually no w o r k at all. filled w i t h the perfect soil mix. blocks. New and Improved 33 6 New B o x e s . y o u don't need m a n y of the boxes.

i n c h boards. or cedar or r e d w o o d for l o n g e r lasting use. 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 . there were no boxes and the aisles were 1 x 1 2 . y o u couldn't get close to each 4 x 4 . and one says to the other. g a r d e n cart. In addition. or building. safety. If y o u r b o x is located next to a wall. 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. y o u don't w a n t a n y t h i n g harmful to leach into the soil. yet reach in. I do n o t r e c o m m e n d using pretreated w o o d for the same reason. 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 . Boxes can be m a d e f r o m a n y type of w o o d . "Excuse m e .i n c h w i d e paths. If y o u notice the garden on the cover of the original Square Foot Gardeningbook. than for efficiency. Just ask the foreman of the project if y o u can have the scrap 2 x 6 . o n c e y o u r boxes are built (and before y o u fill . " 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. so hey. 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. 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. a n d looks. 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 . the ideal distance w a s 3 or even 4 feet b e t w e e n boxes.i n c h boards separating the 4 x 4 . 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 . y o u c a n v a r y the aisles.f o o t areas. T h e y can be a n y length. fence. I need to get t h r o u g h . 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. 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.i n c h w i d e board was difficult t o maneuver o n . can y o u b l a m e me? Straight and Narrow T h e 1 2 . or harvest basket. In fact. T h e best is free w o o d that is f o u n d at a construction site. I designed it that w a y to be the m o s t space-efficient b u t . and harvesting.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 .34 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING to d i g or loosen it. if y o u r g a r d e n has several b o x e s . kneeling. 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 . It turned o u t that for accessibility. 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 . " 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 . a s s o m e o n e o n c e said. boxes c a n be m a d e f r o m p i n e or fir for the least cost. 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 . 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 .

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. " 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 . Forget what the experts have been telling us for years. 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. 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. c o m p o s t . so it'll take sixteen different crops! Later. New and Improved them w i t h soil. "Aha! I see! Sixteen spaces.SFG. " B u t w h e n I w e n t to see t h e m . . I advocated laying o u t a 12 x 12-inch grid for the garden." Bingo!They see the light. and start planting! You won't be sorry. As s o o n as we lay d o w n the grid. fill youi boxes with just 6 inches of Mel's Mix. 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. we just removed any weeds or grass. 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. the size was right b u t they had no grid! In our introductory film. T h i n k of it as arranging furniture in y o u r yard. 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 . I n o u r T V show. I do Square F o o t G a r d e n i n g . they suddenly light up and say. " O h . in fact. I should add). T h e n . " or "I have a Square Foot G a r d e n . in my travels a r o u n d the country. add a grid. as s o o n as o n e square is harvested. 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. At other times. you'll be amazed at the results. or g r o u n d bark. I heard a lot of people say.

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

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 . 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. "Let's just plant a few seeds every 3. single row. D i d no one ever think. 4.SFG. New and Improved 9 New Idea Don't Waste Seeds New Seed Planting Idea W h e n I first started gardening. 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. lonely. 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. When your seeds sprout from the pinch of seeds you planted in your squares. snip out all but one of them. . 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.

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?

" T h a t cuts that half in half again. as I say. you'll n o longer need everything o n this side. " E v e r y t h i n g on that side we don't n e e d . stretch o u t my arms sideways. " T h a t ' s still t o o m u c h r o o m . equipment. standing in the center. You can enter the number of boxes-big for adults. " Try it in the r o o m you're in right n o w and see if y o u aren't impressed. 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 . 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. 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. 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 . small for kids— or square feet. 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 . T h e n I turn to the side that remains. w h e n y o u switch t o Square F o o t G a r d e n i n g . Y o u suddenly begin to think of the reduced a m o u n t of w o r k . some dogs eat veggies and cats love catnip." T h a t cuts the r o o m in half. and say. 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 . supplies. A n d t h e n I a d d . cut it in half w i t h my arms again. " I f this w h o l e r o o m were o u r garden. a n d fencing. . 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.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.

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. 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 e n y o u can go into phase t w o . . 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. T r y a three-phase plan instead.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. So as an illustration.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 . A t the e n d o f the s u m m e r c r o p . m o v e o n t o phase three. to prepare for p l a n t i n g a fall c r o p . keep in m i n d y o u don't have to build the entire garden right at the start. or the s u m m e r crop. 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.

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. T h e o n e dollar variety w o r k s just fine and can last a lifetime. 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. Now with your method. In fact. 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. I cant wait to start. b u t for n o w y o u c a n figure on a 3 . a n d try p l a n t i n g this way. p u t d o w n the grid.) 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. N e x t year. Take it easy and start small. the next step is to determine the d i m e n s i o n of the aisles. 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. 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)." —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. 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. T h i s way. 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. 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.Plan Your Garden Yes. We'll cover this in m o r e detail later.f o o t aisle between all 4-foot boxes. If y o u have a single-row garden and don't really w a n t to give it up yet. 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 . or 4 x 1 2 . I suggest t a k i n g o n e small corner of y o u r o l d . those boxes s h o u l d be o n l y 2 feet w i d e . 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. expensive k i n d f r o m S w e d e n . 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. 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. 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 — . Just don't do everything the first season. (It doesn't have to be the strong. stepping in y o u r garden. "Gardening has always seemed too overwhelming.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. 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. 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 . 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.

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

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 . 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. o r r u n a n d get s o m e tools). 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 .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. If y o u r S F G is near traffic paths. 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 . If it is close. T h e area s h o u l d n o t p u d d l e after a heavy rain. w i l t i n g plants. 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.f o o t boxes. convenience is king so m a k e sure y o u follow Rule 1. a n d y o u k n o w y o u . 3. consider where y o u can frequently see i t — e s p e c i a l l y from inside the house. since y o u won't be using it. Later in this chapter we'll discuss design in m o r e detail. 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.) 1. Y o u don't need graph paper (unless you're a designer or w a n t to use it). 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. 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. 4. 1. 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 . 5. (Remember.) 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. 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 . m a k e a quick sketch m o r e or less to scale. 2. Stay clear of trees a n d shrubs w h e r e roots and shade m a y interfere. T h e existing soil is n o t really important. 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. ( 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 will see problems (like deer. Place it close to the house for convenience. just draw the 3-foot aisles slightly smaller t h a n the 4 . Pick an area that gets six to eight hours of sunshine daily. you'll w a l k past the garden m o r e often.

mouse. l o o k h o w big I'm getting. rabbit. H o w m u c h they need depends on the type of plant. the house. large-flowering or fruiting plants need a l o t — a t least eight hours a day. So they're suggesting you plant four times as much as what you really want or need.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 . 2. l o o k at my n e w blossom. G r o w i n g plants need sunlight. I believe that every plant out there is constantly seeking y o u r attention by saying. 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 . In general. a n d harvest it. enjoy. NURSERY RHYME? One for the One for the One for the And one for blackbird." 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. 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 . 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 . a p p r e c i a t e . but what a waste of resources and energy. " L o o k at m e . that's cute. 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 . Well.

. 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. a s w e l l a s m a n y f l o w e r s . 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. a n d lettuce. 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. 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 . Of course. 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 . S o . T h a t ' s all c o v e r e d in C h a p t e r 4. O f course. Or y o u can use a c e m e n t block. there are m a n y flowers a n d herbs that love shade. that as trees and shrubs grow. then there is a w a y to counteract that situation. from sunup t o s u n d o w n . 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. if they sense a well-watered perfect soil nearby.Plan Your Garden favorite things that people grow. 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. 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 . M o s t shrubs are m o r e shallowrooted than trees. and sunflowers. obviously. such as tomatoes. Avoid Trees and Shrubs W h e n c h o o s i n g y o u r S F G location. squash. T h e n . 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 . peppers. you'd stay a w a y f r o m the tomatoes. 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. peppers. S e c o n d . a n d squash a n d plant the root a n d leaf crops like radishes. B u t w i t h a Square F o o t G a r d e n . w i t h a b i g . these roots will c o m e straight as an arrow into y o u r soil." —Guy from Utah 3. beans. K e e p in m i n d . stay clear o f trees a n d shrubs for two reasons. of course. If that's the o n l y location y o u have. the tree's roots won't even k n o w that the garden is there. 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. 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. T h e first is shade as we just discussed. their shade will increasingly cover a larger area. CC I want to convert my entire garden to your method. spinach. y o u can still have a thriving garden b u t you'll have a limited selection of crops to grow. 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 . A n d of course. t o o . 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. so c h e c k w i t h y o u r local nursery if y o u are in this situation.

bricks. you'll love Square Foot Gardening for so many reasons. Existing Soil Who Cares? W h e n you're c h o o s i n g a location. 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. It's simple and easy to understand. No Puddles. 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. It requires few tools and equipment. w h i c h makes gardening less fun. It fits anywhere in an existing or planned landscape. 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. 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 . 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.50 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING 4. 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 . Please R o o t s will d r o w n in accumulated and stagnant water. It has every benefit you can think of. 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 . 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. It's quick and practical to do. 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. cinder blocks. It costs very little. If y o u have no other place and can't drain the area. 5. or s o m e t h i n g similar.

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. a n d p l a n t . 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. . 51 The Envelope. Line Them Up Y o u can p r o b a b l y guess that.Plan Your Garden percolation test. K e e p 3. 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 . even intersect each other. Don't m a k e dead ends or narrow places. 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. . 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). 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. blah . 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. 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. . . b e i n g a former a r m y officer. 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. fill it w i t h water. it's t i m e to t h i n k a b o u t design. O r . b l a h . 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. Gardens Aren't Just for Yards Anymore Here's another i d e a — n o matter the season. even p e r h a p s having t h e m i n a r o w (oh. benches. 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. 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 . 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 . b l a h .or 4-foot aisles. in w h i c h y o u have to dig a hole. see h o w l o n g i t takes t o drain. W o u l d n ' t that be a great f a m i l y project? T h e n . b u i l d . and leave bigger areas for chairs. a n d entranceways. 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. b u t that's just m e . We're g o i n g to b u i l d bottomless boxes above the g r o u n d . 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. 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. M a y b e everyone c o u l d have an area to d e s i g n .

T h e design is just as i m p o r t a n t as the size. but just enjoying and relaxing. Be sure to m a k e r o o m for s o m e chairs. 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 . S e e i n g a picture is so h e l p f u l . . 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 .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. 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 . a water fountain.squarefootgardening. a b e n c h . so take the garden tour and see w h i c h o n e y o u like the best.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 . " Everyone likes to see w h a t others have d o n e . or a bird bath. g o t o www. 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 .

" —Ross from South Carolina E709X-K01-NHXD-QQDF-F8 • • 1 x 6-inch lumber for the most economical. there are several reasons we build boxes for o u r Square F o o t Gardens. l o w traffic garden. W h e n garden beds have no borders b e t w e e n p l a n t . or 2 x 6-inch lumber for sturdier boxes or heavy traffic garden areas. it has already-established limits for y o u . Why Boxes? Just as a reminder. 1. 4. y o u are g o i n g to love this chapter. 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. L i n c o l n Logs®. Let's start w i t h the basic 4 x 4 S F G box.n o for this S F G method. . or money. 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 . 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. Holds a special soil mix aboveground.g r o w i n g soil a n d w a l k w a y s . Organizes and simplifies your gardening chores. it's a movement. 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. A n d if y o u m a k e sure to a d d a grid. it establishes n o t o n l y a pattern but a formula for success. Looks neat and tidy. 2.If y o u like to b u i l d things. 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. space. or Legos®. 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 . It's easy to add protective features. If y o u r garden is b o x e d in. 3.

.

Building Boxes and Structures 55 .

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

If y o u w a n t to preserve the w o o d . z yy> if you're starting with used lumber and it already has paint on it. W h e n y o u r frame is all s c r e w e d together. you must make sure that it's not old paint especially if it's peeling or crumbling. outside. It's also possible to paint or stain the b o t t o m . I also don't recommend using pretreated timbers or lumber because it also can leach chemicals. lay it d o w n . 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 . which is toxic. some older paints contain lead. with three deck screws. . the side of one board is attached to the end of another.Building Boxes and Structures This is an example of corner 57 construction. p a v e m e n t . Construction Details W o r k on a hard s u r f a c e — l i k e a driveway. y o u c o u l d use linseed oil. You don't want that in your garden. 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. a n d see h o w it l o o k s . a n d t o p . carry it to the garden area.

o r large rocks. 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. it requires thicker p l y w o o d . drill holes in the plywood bottom of your tabletop garden—one per square foot and one extra in each corner. 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 . 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. r o u n d .58 For proper drainage. 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.i n c h drainage holes. 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. c e m e n t b l o c k s . prefabricated stone. 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. o n e per square foot plus an extra 1 h o l e i n each corner. u n s u p p o r t e d distance.f o o t boxes n e e d / s . . 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 . marine o r w a t e r p r o o f p l y w o o d . riverbed. 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 . Plywood Bottom If y o u decide to create a b o t t o m for y o u r S F G .or even ^/4-inch p l y w o o d 5 b o t t o m s . use p l y w o o d sheeting a n d drill / 4 . Y o u r 4 x 4 . s c r e w i n g it d o w n . 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. b u t m u c h m o r e expensive. I use regular p l y w o o d although some like to spend extra for the longer lasting.

If y o u can't bolt your boxes d o w n and you're higher than the first floor. Railing Boxes If y o u have flat railings. we'll explain that i n C h a p t e r 9 . 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. boxes can b e equipped with double decks. 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 . Y o u will determine the best m o d i f i c a t i o n s . covers. and/or winter boxes. extensions. 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. it should be bolted to the w o o d railing. summer. y o u can create spring. For stability. and m a k e sure y o u r railing boxes aren't too big. You can build a Square Foot Garden box that bolts to your deck railing. D e p e n d i n g o n the t i m e o f year. . or special modifications to allow a longer g r o w i n g season. I w o u l d place the boxes on the floor. 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 . fall.Building Boxes and Structures 59 Special Structures For out-of-season gardening. it is very easy to set a b o x right on top of it.

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. . 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. 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. if y o u r b o x is on the inside of the railing. 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. particularly if y o u add trailing types of plants that add some color and character. Pyramid Boxes B e creative and m a k e y o u r S F G uniquely yours. T h e r e are m a n y arrangements y o u c o u l d design. Step Up. H a n g the b o x over the o u t s i d e e d g e . and they w o u l d be limited o n l y by y o u r imagination. a n d . One-foot-square boxes are the perfect size for the steps leading to your font door. and they will be the highlight and focal point of y o u r entire garden.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 . the w a t e r will bypass the d e c k below. it w o u l d be m u c h safer. s h o u l d i t drip w h e n you're w a t e r i n g . H o w e v e r . 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. 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.

and potatoes. and if y o u visit a local thrift shop y o u can usually find a used set at a great price.i n c h l u m b e r instead of the n o r m a l 6 inches. 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 u n i q u e garden. 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. 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 . so stick w i t h me on this one a n d build a grid for all of y o u r boxes. 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 . B u t w i t h a grid. it is n o t a Square Foot G a r d e n . 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.. T h e y c o m e i n m a n y w i d t h s a n d lengths. we take the easy w a y and build u p . or 1 2 . F i n d o n e that's at least 4 feet w i d e . Leeks. 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 . 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 . Grids and Materials Grids are a must.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 . leeks. 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. spectacular l o o k n o w . 1 0 . " Don't! M o s t soils don't drain w e l l a n d h a v e weed seeds. it's an attractive. 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. T h e o n l y d r a w b a c k is cost. A Special Box for Carrots. It tells the story of S F G in one glance. 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. In addition it has m a n y unseen benefits. B u i l d a 1 x 1-foot b o x either 6. C u t off the strings a n d lay o u t the strips. 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 . Blinds T h e first P e n n y Pincher tip is slat-type or Venetian blinds. unusual. fill a n y space b e l o w 6 inches w i t h just ordinary sand. 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 ." s o m e o n e says " a n d save even m o r e m o n e y . drill holes at the h a l f a n d . See Chapter 6 for details on planting a n d g r o w i n g . "I'll just use m y existing yard soil. 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. just use 8-. 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. T r i m the ends w i t h a pair of scissors so they fit y o u r b o x . 9.

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 . or break easily. it's usually w i n d y . so sort t h r o u g h t h e m . 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 . or snap-fastener. w h i c h is sold in h o m e i m p r o v e m e n t centers. 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 . 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. 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. nail. S o m e t i m e s they're a little c r o o k e d . . t h e y already c o m e 4 feet l o n g w i t h square ends. 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. filled w i t h k n o t s . Believe i t o r n o t .i n c h intersection. Wood Lath T h e s e c o n d inexpensive material is w o o d lath. B u t they're very. v e r y i n e x p e n s i v e — l e s s than a quarter each.62 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING quarter points. O n c e y o u lay t h e m o u t a n d drill holes at the 1 2 .i n c h intersections. and attach t h e m together w i t h s o m e sort of screw.

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

fold the grid. fastener. O t h e r w i s e . your square foot garden is ready for planting.64 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Once the grid is attached. 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. it can just lie on t o p of the soil. If y o u r grid spans across the b o x sides. Because the w o o d lath is rigid. 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 . U n s c r e w the four screws. 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. 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. . a n d h a n g it on the garage w a l l .

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

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

Roll out one long piece of chicken wire and place your frame close to the center. so be sure to wear gloves. or strong w i n d gusts d u r i n g the w i n d y season. 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. 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. Then. 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. bend the chicken wire up. do this again for the other side. 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. 3 or 4 feet w i d e . 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. It's sharp. cats that like to dig in the soil. Bracing the frame with your foot. 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. T h e 1-inch size is m u c h stronger b u t will cost a little m o r e . too m u c h sun on newly planted and delicate seedlings. C h i c k e n wire can be cut w i t h pliers or cutting shears. birds that d i g up a n d eat newly planted seeds.i n c h o p e n i n g s . 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. ( O n c e plants start g r o w i n g t h r o u g h the wire. It comes in smaller 1-inch o p e n i n g s or larger 2 . 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.Building Boxes and Structures 67 pliers and easily b e n t over a straight edge to almost any shape. it is very difficult to . Y o u m a y w a n t to call ahead to several places to find the best choice.

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. .

Use a bolt and nut that won't tear the plastic or net covering. 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. For those of y o u thinking. Place some heavy objects such as bricks on the edges to secure it." that won't w o r k .74 Use a thick plastic cover to protect your plants from frost. T y i n g the intersection will n o t w o r k in this design. 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. so y o u have to drill holes in the center of the arches and in each e n d of the strut. It requires the same t w o 1 0 . 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. For those that don't w a n t s u c h a h i g h frame. 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. a n d it makes it easier to t h r o w a blanket over the entire 4 x4 on a cold night. T h i s takes a little longer to m a k e and requires just a bit more material. 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. . T h e n . "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.

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

76 Place each pipe in a corner and bend as shown. 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. ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Drill holes in the ends of a 4-foot PVC pipe.

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.f o o t area. 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. 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. after the plants reach a h e i g h t of a b o u t 3 feet. Hold Me Up Tall l a n k y plants s u c h as dahlias. It won't b o t h e r a n y of the shorter plants either. 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 c o u l d be for 1 square foot. . or.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 . 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 . 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 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. or for the w h o l e 16 square feet in a 4 x 4 garden. eggplants. T h e cage's height depends on the height of the mature plants. 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. 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 . 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 . 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 . 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. 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. 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. T h e cage c a n be s e l f .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 . 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. if y o u are s u p p o r t i n g the entire 4 x 4 . Y o u can also use P V C pipe or even metal pipe or fence posts. 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. 2. gladiolas. 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 . E v e n better.f r a m e p r e v i o u s l y m e n t i o n e d . T h e n .

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. 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.FG is great for the family. However.s t o r y structures that sprawl o u t w a r d over the landscape. 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. I t h o u g h t of buildings in a city." —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 . b u i l d i n g straight up into the air. 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. space is t o o valuable to do this. 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. Instead. 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. W h y can't plants be g r o w n the same way? W e l l . S. Put one steel fence post in each corner of y o u r 4 x 4 foot garden. 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. as the corn grows. try this foolproof secret. 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. a n d m a n y get d a m a g e d or ruined f r o m foot traffic. floor after floor after floor. A l s o . 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. squirrels.or 6-foot fence posts. Since it is chicken wire. and then. the result is a spectacular sight w i t h very little wasted g r o u n d space. tomatoes can attract additional pests. N e x t . if left to sprawl over the g r o u n d . Use tall metal 5. 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. designers a n d contractors use w h a t is called air rights. D i d y o u k n o w . Each person has his or her own plot. b u t for all other vine crops too. Air Rights B e i n g an engineer. 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. 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. add one m o r e piece across the t o p at a height of a b o u t 4 feet. tomatoes are America's most-loved garden vegetable. w h e n corn reaches 4 feet. and raccoons! To keep t h e m o u t and y o u r harvest in. W i t h o u t a d o u b t . 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. it will g r o w right t h r o u g h the top of the wire.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 .

i n c l u d i n g w a t e r m e l o n s . 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.i n c h square . 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 . the stem supporting the heavy fruit grows thicker a n d heavier as the fruit becomes larger. To fit it into a 4 x 4 box. 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 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 . winter a n d s u m m e r squashes. w h i c h is steel. 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. 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 . 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. 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. O r . 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 . Best Material I use the strongest material I c a n find. Fortunately. a n d tomatoes. 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. 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. the plant will h o l d the fruit. It's v e r y s i m p l e a n d inexpensive t o assemble. easy. 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. 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. N y l o n netting won't rot in the sun a n d weather. 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 . these plant vines seemed to understand the situation. p u m p k i n s . t h e n the electrical c o n d u i t slips s n u g l y over the bars. I designed a frame that measured 4 feet w i d e a n d almost 6 feet tall. 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. 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 . I r e c o m m e n d that tall. 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 . I hear they get dizzy up h i g h . 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. Finally. b u t as it turned out. 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 . vertical frames be constructed on the n o r t h side of the garden. T h e n I b e g a n g r o w i n g all different types of plants vertically.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. 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 . To hold the plants to the frame. I settled u p o n one that was so simple.

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. 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 . or find caps that can be screwed on to prevent s o m e o n e f r o m tripping. It's s o m e t i m e s h a r d to find. 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. M a k e w i r e cylinders at least 3 to 4 feet in diameter. and kitchen scraps. keep things in their place. A l l w o r k w e l l . it can flop a r o u n d unless y o u tie it very tightly to the frame. 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. 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 . a n d r e a s o n a b l y p r i c e d . M o t h e r N a t u r e does it all the time. weeds. . paint it. Y o u can flag it w i t h brightly covered tape. s p e e d i n g u p the process. 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 . this is the first step. so call a r o u n d . 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. 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. 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 . 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 . We like to conserve space.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. T h i s c o m e s i n 4 . 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. w h i c h speeds up the operation by creating b u l k . Winter Storage Because the netting is loose. are attractive. 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 . B u t people are different. 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. 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.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 . Composters A c o m p o s t i n g operation can be as simple as a pile of leaves. I f y o u d o h a n g up y o u r metal frames in the winter. 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. It's fun at first b u t it gets o l d v e r y fast.

No b i g deal.f o o t diameter. 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. It's essential to the Square Foot Gardening method. M a k e the latch S . 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. 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. o r y o u can b u y this t y p e o f h o o k at the store.Building Boxes and Structures 81 S o . A n d . T h e n attach y o u r wire fencing to these posts. Y o u still tie or wire the fencing to both fence posts. if y o u don't like r o u n d c o m p o s t e r s . 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. m a k e t h e m a b o u t 3 or 4 feet apart. Start by driving t w o steel fence posts in the g r o u n d at y o u r selected location. 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 four 6-foot l o n g steel fence posts. a n d you'll have a square c o m p o s t e r . just lift up the w i r e cylinder. start one now. 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 . 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 . 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. If y o u w a n t a gate it will cost y o u an extra 3 or 4 feet of fencing. b e n d the w i r e a r o u n d those. place it next to the pile. the other the door latch. one becomes the hinge. m u c h m o r e suited to S F G .h o o k f r o m w i r e . b u y 1 0 feet o f fencing. W h e n full or ready to t u r n . 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. i f y o u w a n t a 3-foot diameter composter. .

B u t t h e n in o n e of the classes I was g i v i n g . brick. 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. Women tell me they love this because it requires no tools. cord. wire cutting. and it doesn't have to be real tight. w e had a small 1 5 x 1 5 area w i t h several boxes and plain dirt aisles. y o u m a y be able to get e n o u g h material to fill up one every week. w e laid d o w n m a n y layers o f newspaper. no one says y o u have to have an enclosure. 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. boards. A brick or stone under each corner helps keep the wood off the ground to keep it from rotting. or up to six bins all together for M o n d a y t h r o u g h Saturday. t w o . Brick Paths I n m y P B S T V garden. gravel. 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. but no o n e is g o i n g to build a composter o u t o f those materials. You may want to have the pallet boards face outside to look nice. T h i s helps keep a natural look. 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. Ask first. landscape timbers. 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. a n d it l o o k e d pretty nice. or chain. y o u can have one. You can find discarded pallets everywhere. equipment. T h e y w o u l d be too expensive and inefficient. or familiarity with construction. 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. Aisles " P u t y o u r best foot forward" is the saying. N e x t w e a d d e d . or logs. (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 . A n d don't worry. It doesn't have to be nailed or screwed together. your finished composter will look like it's custom made just for you. corners are tied with rope. I could include directions for other materials to use like bricks or c e m e n t blocks. The place to find them is behind the stores and shops where the dumpsters are. and you can make them all run either horizontally or vertically-whatever looks best. for m i x i n g (as explained in C h a p t e r 5 ) . Of course. T h e n . but w h a t are y o u g o i n g to p u t it on? Grass. 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 .82 Weekly Bins ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Just like the wire enclosures. 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 . 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. So w i t h o u t m o v i n g the boxes. Find four wood pallets of similar size and appearance. 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. just to make sure they are being thrown out. If you can fine four of about the same size and look.

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

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. 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. 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. W h e n w e g o t t o the existing 4 x 4 garden boxes. It even c o m e s in a grass style b u t . 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. d e p e n d i n g o n the situation. . 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. w e just w e n t right a r o u n d t h e m . 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 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. dogs. 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 . . 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 . voles. y o u c a n . 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. B u y n e w o r used indoor/outdoor patio carpeting. w a l l t o wall? W e l l . 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. don't worry. a n d even people w i t h special needs. f r o m apartment dwellers to the elderly.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. 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 . 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 . a small t r u c k l o a d actually) a n d a little sand. T h e n . A n d all for the price of a f e w bricks (well. 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 . 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.

add a blanket (a sweater). So relax and enjoy! Family B u t remember. if sleet and hail are predicted. talking about you!) (I'm not . add an extra shield against the w i n d (a windbreaker). l o o k i n g better and better every day. 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. For the most part. K e e p i n g this in m i n d . y o u r plants will just sit there quietly g r o w i n 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.86 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING structures for y o u r S F G . This simple PVC frame can protect your plants from many things including harmful weather and unwanted nibblers. 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. 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 clear plastic (a raincoat). 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. do the s a m e for y o u r plants. T h i s is readily d o n e since a S F G is so small and manageable. and if it's windy.

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. 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. study. Don't Skimp On This N o w . 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. 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 . Let's review w h a t this perfect soil will do for y o u r garden. 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 . 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. essential. 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 . 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. expense.c o n s u m i n g . Sorry to be so adamant. you'll be disappointed in all the rest. a n d place i t i n y o u r boxes. p a y a t t e n t i o n . But. I f y o u d o i t right. 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. peat m o s s . w h y y o u n e e d it. a n d t i m e . T h e n I'll discuss h o w t o m i x . 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 .Mel's Mix Mel's M i x is the m o s t i m p o r t a n t . b u t this is really w h a t makes S F G so different a n d successful. a n d w h e r e t o o b t a i n i t all. productive. 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. m o i s t e n . 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. 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. critical. please. yet a t the same time it is the m o s t cost effective. Y o u r h a n d w i l l just slip t h r o u g h . 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. S o . if y o u do it right. necessary. 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 . G e t it? It is the reason all the other improvem e n t s are possible.

minerals. W h y . 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 ) . blended. 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. y o u don't even have to learn a b o u t it. texture. 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. 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 . A . e a r t h y . Y o u won't have to learn that eastern U . W h y . getting it all over y o u r shoes and t o o l s — o h . No Fertilizer. w h a t a mess that was. In addition. a n d trace e l e m e n t s that plants need. So forget all a b o u t fertilizer. b u t it also balances the acidity in peat moss. w o r k i n g in lime. there is no g o i n g to the store. Isn't that amazing? N o t o n l y do y o u n o t have to b u y it. 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. a g o o d . No Mess Mel's M i x has all the nutrients. easily w o r k e d . 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. Y o u won't have to b u y a spreader or a n y of that stuff. and w h e n . 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 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 . l u g g i n g b i g bags or bales of soil additives h o m e . all-natural m e t h o d . 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 . S F G is an all-organic. C o m e spring you'll find there is no w o r k to d o . 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. 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 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.s m e l l i n g soil. m u c k y soil. h o w t o p r o n o u n c e it. h o w m u c h . B u t that is all a t h i n g of the past. a n d drainage.88 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING the loose. reading labels. For those of y o u w h o crave m o r e information. soils are slightly acidic while western soils are m o r e alkaline. 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. 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 . no spreading t h e m out. S . and y o u won't have t o learn w h a t t o add.

T h i s is just one m o r e simplification o f gardening the Square F o o t way. 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 . b u t w e ' v e c h a n g e d all that. 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. no fuss. H o w does that all sound? S i m p l e and e a s y — n o w o r k . .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 .Mel's Mix. 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 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. I have had people ask m e . " 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. and ready for the right t i m e o f year t o p l a n t . no muss. V 3 peat moss. 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. 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 ) . 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 . 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. 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 4 x 4 x l 2 . 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.i n c h . 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. a n d 1 / 3 vermiculite measured b y v o l u m e . It's always loose. 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. (What's the soilball test.

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

. This way. Buying peat moss in 3. go by the volume. Essential for Square Foot Gardening Success 91 An assortment of composts is shown here.0 cubic foot size. Make a neat cut in the top of your bags. Important Note: If volume is not marked on the bags. Don't settle for the small bags measured by quarts. The same goes for vermiculite. even if you have to estimate it. you can reuse the bags to store any leftover mix.9 cubic foot bales is the most cost-efficient.Mel's Mix. compare them to similarly sized bags where volume is marked to estimate. The smaller bags of loose peat moss are more expensive. when you've finished making your own Mel's Mix. You'll need at least 5 different types of compost for Mel's Mix. ask for the I 4. Pay no attention to weight.

A l l three ingredients in Mel's M i x are sold in different-sized bags or bales. 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 . It holds lots of moisture yet drains well. black-hat items will eventually d e c o m p o s e . w i t h o u t air. 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). 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. M o t h e r Earth process. or aerobic. a n d anaerobic. 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. First off. 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. 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. 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. n o t the materials. has no odor. there are actually t w o types of p r o c e s s e s — a e r o b i c . B u t . G o o d compost has all the nutrients needed for plant growth. It's loose and friable and easily worked. is messy. It's true all those bad-guy. smells. h o w do y o u m a k e it. 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. crumbly. 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. 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. don't worry. To complicate the understanding of the garden-related. "I can't wait . 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 . B u t the first. heats u p . 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). soil-like material used in gardening. S o m e people say. Good and Bad So. So w h a t is it. B o t h are a natural. 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 . As a n o u n . 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. It is o n e . breakingd o w n process ( c o m p o s t as a v e r b ) . It's easy to m a k e yet hard to find. w i t h air. T h e second. 1 a My square foot garden has been the most productive. c o m p o s t is described as a rich. B u t it takes time. 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 . As a verb. a n d is v e r y o b j e c t i o n a b l e . or anaerobic process. let's simplify garden c o m p o s t i n g and garden c o m p o s t . M o t h e r N a t u r e can't be hurried. T h e m o r e c o m m o n n a m e for this is rotting.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.t h i r d of the Mel's M i x .

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

94

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

96

ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING

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

garden supply centers. and c o a r s e — and is also tested a n d qualified for different types of uses. 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 a t ' s w h y plants do better in a loose. l o o k u n d e r "greenhouse supplies or suppliers" in the yellow pages for wholesale distributors. 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 . Locating it can be difficult. 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. 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. If that fails. 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. friable soil because the roots have an easy t i m e g r o w i n g . the story surfaces every few years as if it was new. t h e y g r o w a r o u n d soil particles. 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 . R e m e m b e r that roots don't g r o w t h r o u g h soil. C a l l all the major nurseries. H o w e v e r . S o m e people have f o u n d it at farm feed stores or even on the Internet. If y o u ask t h e m why. 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. 99 Certified Vermiculite is graded into several s i z e s — f i n e . Y o u m a y find that s o m e stores do n o t carry vermiculite. the bags w e b u y n o w even c o m e w i t h a "Certified Asbestos Free" sticker. However. 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 . 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. I personally don't like or use .Mel's Mix. shutting d o w n a m i n e because it contains asbestos makes sense. It was a serious situation. Let y o u r fingers do the w a l k i n g and call around. 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. N o w . thereby getting everyone upset all over again. m a k i n g the soil extremely friable a n d loose. Essential for Square Foot Gardening Success p o p c o r n . m e d i u m . b u t as a result. 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. just like a n E n g l i s h m u f f i n . T h e m o i s t u r e is always there for the roots to absorb. M i x o n l y o u t d o o r s on a c a l m day. 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 .

It doesn't h o l d moisture like v e r m i c u l i t e . In other w o r d s .100 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING perlite. 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. ( N o w don't laugh. in fact. It is hard as a r o c k . It's a matter of preference and availability. In a d d i t i o n . A n d it makes me sneeze! M a n y people do use perlite instead of vermiculite and. don't even bother w i t h v o l u m e . square feet (the area) times the d e p t h equals c u b i c feet. disregard w e i g h t a n d estimate by v o l u m e . a n d the packages for the different ingredients c o m e in different sizes. and I don't like the feel of it in the soil m i x . a n d here's w h y . b u t we're n o t m i x i n g a cake here. 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.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.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. 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. Peat Moss (Compressed bale) Full bale: 3. 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. ( 4 x 4 ) / 2 = 8. So. C a l l ahead to locate. 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.f o o t b o x is 16 square feet in area (that's 4 feet times 4 feet). O u r 4 x 4 . b u t I k n o w w h i c h o n e I'm b u y i n g . If n o t . 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. rather coarse a n d gritty. let's review h o w t o f i g u r e v o l u m e . kids. Or to s h o w it mathematically. If it were 1 foot deep. V o l u m e is merely: area x d e p t h = c u b i c feet. 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 .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. some of the parents will be thankful for this k i n d of help).) Vermiculite (coarse) D o n ' t b u y the small 4 . 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 . B u t it's n o t 1 foot d e e p . G e t the kids to do the m a t h for y o u . it looks rather unsighdy and unnatural. .

c u b i c . (Six boxes times 8 c u b i c feet for each b o x equals 48 cubic feet of mix. 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 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 . 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.Mel's Mix.c u b i c . h a l f o f a 3 . 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 .) O n e . If we h a d 4 x4 boxes. y o u w o u l d a d d t o g e t h e r just o n e 4 . or o n e 3 x3 b o x that needs 4 V 2 c u b i c feet. I f the c o m p o s t c o m e s i n other sized b a g s . 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 . split it into smaller batches. website and method are just fantastic. we w o u l d need 6 x 8 = 48 cubic feet of m i x ." —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.t h i r d of the total for each ingredient = 48/3 = 16 c u b i c feet of each.) 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.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 . as we determ i n e d already. 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. measure by v o l u m e .9-cubic-foot bale of peat moss (expands to 8 c u b i c feet). 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).f o o t b a g o f vermiculite.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). a n d t w o o f the 2 . Let's use a hypothetical example. 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. 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). • • o n e 3. they w o u l d each have a v o l u m e of 8 c u b i c feet.f o o t bale of peat m o s s (or if y o u c a n find the 2. Forget weight. S o . 9 .f o o t bags o f c o m p o s t . Your book. 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. B u t if it's too b i g a batch to handle. 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). (A total of 48 c u b i c feet divided by three different ingredients equals 16 cubic feet of each ingredient.

kinds of of a compost large in the tarp.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 . or a steel rake. 2. at least I 6 x l 6 . by 80 percent. C o u n t o u t the bags a n d boxes. so do this w h e n there is no w i n d . and 3. G e t a large tarp. "Are y o u sure this is where y o u w a n t all the boxes. D o n ' t forget to have a few m i x i n g tools ready like a s n o w shovel. and recycle. recycle plants in y o u r c o m p o s t . 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. m i x i n g itself. dear?" A l l of the three ingredients are d u s t y w h e n dry. 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.f e e t . 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. 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 . a h o e . O u r Square Foot G a r d e n i n g system is a great example of: 1. reuse. 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. reduce. D o n ' t do it in the garage. You'll see the material roll over. reuse. 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. At the same time explain to the kids the environmental three R ' s — r e d u c e . 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. save the bags.

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

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

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

y o u r existing soil.) 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 . so I'd like to summarize the critical facts about c o m p o s t . 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.106 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING The finished Mel's Mix should look in S F G . Y o u m a y have to keep one square just for show. y o u try it. B y themselves. 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. " H e r e . the g o o d n e w s is. "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. 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 . Just feel this soil." M a n y of y o u will then add. 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 . 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. If y o u followed the formula correctly. 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. . 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. visitors to y o u r garden will w a t c h as y o u say. 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 ." (But don't b e c o m e a pest. A n d no more work ever.

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

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

" Of course we don't have to "thin to" because we don't plant a whole packet of seeds anymore.How to Plant Your All New Square Foot Garden 109 To help keep up w i t h this. 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. four. or sixteen plants should be spaced an equivalent number of inches apart. or even putting in transplants that y o u purchased or grew from seed. 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. You can see that one. nine. This is the same distance the seed packet will say "thin to. just find the seed packet or planting directions to see what the distance is for . y o u may w a n t to c o p y this chart so y o u always have it handy. So if you're planting seeds.

110 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING .

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. divide the square into four sections and poke a hole in the middle of each section. thinning. This distance then determines whether you're going to plant one. or sixteen plants. or sixteen plants in each square foot. 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. and y o u don't have to do any complicated measuring or figuring either. Plant seeds—just a pinch of two or three seeds depending on size—into the holes you poked into the squares. W h e n your square foot is bordered by a grid. . Just because we're talking about measuring in inches doesn't mean you have to get out your ruler or yardstick. T h e plants go right in the center of these four smaller squares. four. This is when the grid becomes handy. nine. four. nine. it's m u c h easier to think one. For four per square foot.

It prevents y o u from overplanting any one particular item. y o u could start planting in any season odier than winter. photo-opportunity garden. It's too m u c h w o r k and I'm sorry now. plant each adjoining square foot with a different crop. Proof of the pudding . that's g o i n g right back to the single-row mentality. 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. and allows better plant hygiene and reduced pest problems. plus the visible grid will give y o u a very distinctive. and heights. "For every single square foot I plant.. crop rotation. Remember the saying. shapes. " 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 . fall. but one square of red and one square of green chard usually is more than most families eat. the different colors. W h y ? Here are several reasons: 1. summer." 5. and it looks good. It promotes conservation. 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 . 4. 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. Square Foot Gardening begins with visualizing the harvest. especially at the beginning. It automatically helps to improve your growing soil three times a year in very easy." 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. plant densities. . that y o u plant only what y o u want to eat. it's fresh. companion planting. 2. and even winter. Occasionally try something new. so w h y didn't y o u b u y any more than y o u did? Well.112 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING How Much to Plant I recommend. 3. leaf textures. Some people ask. small steps. For most of the country. it's the same answer as to w h y y o u shouldn't plant too m u c h of one thing. W h a t time of . 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. 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. of course. Besides all of the above. I can't take care of it. Remember. it looks pretty. Just like a patchwork quilt. You'll just love and admire it everytime y o u see it. "Square by square. you'll soon be there. but especially at first only grow those vegetables and herbs that y o u normally eat.

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

114 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING takes a little while to get used to which is which. It doesn't m e a n you're not g o i n g to be a great gardener. and C h i n a (also in English). 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. You can also call your local county extension agent or most area nurseries.victoryseeds. it helps to k n o w a plant's hardiness. the average is only a guide. T h a t will help us determine w h e n to plant. T h o u g h the weather is never exactly the same every year. 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. Of course. Europe. then look for the heading "Extension of [your state] University. 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. For plants. All we can do is go by the past and h o p e it will be similar this year." Frost Date Websites You can access your frost dates on any number of websites. and links for hardiness zones for Australia. by entering "frost dates" in the search engine. 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 ) . 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.com/hardzone. the government collects dates for your area and calculates the average date from the past 100 years. T h i s site also links to y o u r . 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 . but w i t h the first frost and continues until the first freeze of the fall. different years. To help. T h e best one I've f o u n d is www. look in the Government blue pages for your county in your telephone book. 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 e hardiness zone map for the United States is interactive. and y o u get the information. T h i s is not an exact science so relax if you're a beginner and just enjoy the ride. 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. Don't w o r r y — y o u ' l l learn it in time. y o u just point to where y o u live and click. In the spring we need to k n o w the date of the last frost in our area. the Ukraine (in English). plants don't give a hoot about our c a l e n d a r — they respond to weather. To find your local extension agent. and h o w best they fit in with your planting schedule. sometimes for no explainable reason.

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.

115

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

116

ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING

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.

111

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.

118

ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING

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.

119

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

especially if you're using darker colored seeds. and y o u may need a little practice. 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. Generally speaking. y o u may even want to use a spoon for picking up that pinch of seeds. T o o close to the surface and it can dry out from the h o t sun. If y o u scoop up too many. a seed's depth is t w o to four times the thickness of the seed. O n c e a seed receives moisture and begins sprouting (known as "breaking dormancy").120 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING m a n y seeds they end up planting. If y o u are having trouble. 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. It's in your finger dexterity. A white plastic spoon usually works great. It's important to place your seeds below a moist surface to prevent it from drying out. .

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

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

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

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

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

pop each plant out of its container. a little more direct light in the afternoon. . and then planting into the garden is all the same. regulate the sun exposure. Because of the saucer shape. Let them receive direct sunlight in the early m o r n i n g . place y o u r plants out in the sunlight in the m o r n i n g .' —Michael from Georgia N e x t . factoring in the slight depression of the saucer. water goes straight d o w n to the roots. 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. cut the root bottoms off. D r y ground will suck the moisture right out of THE roots. We don't w a n t to water the rest of the square foot if we don't have to. Late afternoon on a cloudy day is the best time. M a k e sure y o u plant at the level of the soil. 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. Saucer-Shaped Depression L was surprised at how much I could get from such a small area. 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. watering. T h e n take it out. and perhaps. w h e n the sun starts d o w n . 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. Your garden soil should be moist. 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. 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. shade at midday. Actually all that sun.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 . but at n o o n t i m e provide some shade. transplanting into 4-packs. and plant it. just in m u c h nicer weather. How's that for conserving water? Outdoor Seed Sprouting T h e procedure for o u t d o o r seed sprouting. N o w that's really pampering y o u r garden plants. Regulate Sunlight and Heat To help harden off plants. so you're not putting a wet plant into dry ground. then shade. A n d don't forget the little drinks of water every n o w and then. If it's h o t out.

three. 3. ." directions on a seed packet. y o u will recognize right away that these numbers happen to be the squares of 1. 2. ( G o to the chart in the Appendix to see mature plant sizes. and w h o doesn't. and 4. . " 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. cover the square w i t h a piece of cardboard cut to fit in the grid. you might consider other plants that could share the same support and plant them in adjacent squares. Of course.) You can also figure it out very easily from the "thin to. four. 9. A n d . or 16. W e i g h t d o w n the cardboard to keep it from flying away in the w i n d . every time y o u read "thin to. .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. you'll need to lift the cardboard before y o u sprinkle water on the soil surface to keep the soil moist. (Now. 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. If y o u like math. 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. Estimate the soil temperature and sprout time (see the charts in the A p p e n d i x ) . two. because it's as simple as one. 4. and then remove it a day or t w o before the sprout date." y o u will think of me and say to yourself. Spacing H o w many plants will fit into a square foot? T h e numbers are so simple and easy to remember: 1. in addition to the fact that we're gardening in square foot plots. that's h o w Square Foot Gardening got its name .

It's also very easy to spot and plant where you'd like some color. A n d perhaps in one corner some dwarf dahlias. We'll start with tall plants on the north side of the box so they don't shade shorter plants. of your garden and assigning those particular crops to each square foot. Carrots require little care until they're harvested. so we could put four pansies in each corner using our favorite colors. T h a t could be red or green cabbage. We can plant two or three varieties of leaf lettuce on the outside. Let's assume it is still springtime. or cauliflower.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. 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. 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. nine per square foot. . one square of sixteen onions and a low-maintenance square of sixteen radishes in the center. In another square we could p u t sixteen chives. 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. which w o u l d provide us a continual harvest. I don't usually do that. 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. but this time you'll put in the yellow variety instead of green. 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. I just like to plant as I see fit. and y o u should do whatever makes y o u happy. and four parsley plants in another. So let's plant t w o squares of different carrots in the center squares. So it means drawing a chart. 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. 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. but that we're past the last frost. 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. depending on your tastes. T h e n p u t some colorful flowers in each corner. broccoli. So we don't have to p u t all the cabbage into one S F G . But it's your Square Foot Garden. Despite being an engineer. T h e n depending on your family's taste we could have one or more squares from the cabbage family. Or maybe you'd like to have some more beans. For more color we might want to put a square of red salvia along the back. Or perhaps some nasturtiums spaced at one per square foot. w h o loves charts and diagrams. more or less to scale.

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. w o r k i n g your w a y to cascading flowers on the front corners to look pretty. as soon as y o u harvest. O n c e your newly planted garden starts maturing in the spring—for example. 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'll want to trim the matted roots before planting. and most of your summer crops can n o w be planted. your Mel's M i x has no w e e d seeds in it. This is a good example of a rootbound container plant. 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. end of story. 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. and shorter plants and those that need constant care or harvest to the outside just to make them easier to tend. (Don't worry. it's better for the plants anyway. You have to w e e d about once a month. T h e season has changed and it's warmer. Weeding T h i s could be the shortest paragraph in the entire book.) .How to Plant Your All New Square Foot Garden 129 Replanting Keep in m i n d that. Place plants that don't need m u c h attention and only occasional harvesting like peppers on the inside. that square foot of radishes will be ready to harvest in four weeks—you'll be ready to replant just that one square. 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. To start w i t h . E n d of paragraph.

Filling your salad bowl each day should not diminish the garden in any way. mature head. Okay. 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 . For example. if possible. Swiss chard. t w o . and even onion tops. parsley. beets. right after y o u harvest you'll find it hard to notice where y o u got everything and if anything is missing. 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 . three. the plant will easily survive and thrive. or by looking it up on the chart. spinach. a leaf lettuce is not allowed to wait until it forms a large. but with a pair of scissors and a salad bowl y o u can continuously trim the leaves from such things as lettuce. In fact. chives. four. calculating. You've Learned the Basics You've n o w learned all the basics of Square Foot Gardening. 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. 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. You've learned h o w it got its n a m e — f r o m the squares of one. As long as y o u don't take too m u c h at one time.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. Do y o u k n o w h o w to do a rain dance? .

You'll enjoy observing y o u r garden's g r o w t h until harvest. That's w h a t makes S F G s o interesting. 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 . and watering. every square is different because it was planted w i t h a different crop at a different time. 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. m o s t say it's t e n d i n g their garden f r o m aisles a n d .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 . 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 .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. r i d d i n g the g a r d e n o f a n y tiny. occasional w e e d s or pests. harvesting. 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.

and hoes. 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. So w h y are the experts still teaching us to do this? I say. just like people. o n l y to walk all over it again packing it d o w n . T h e y m a y n o t die. T h e plant roots need air and moisture. forks. If y o u pack the soil d o w n . and scissors— . L i k e m a n y others. So w h y not provide them w i t h nice. These are the only tools you need for your All New Square Foot Garden. friable soil like Mel's M i x ? T h i s way. loose. 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. 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. shovels. A trowel a pencil. 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 . w a t e r can percolate d o w n and air can circulate. but they certainly won't g r o w well.

A Trowel. Of course. 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 . y o u n o longer need a n y of those big.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. or Swiss chard leaves for supper. W i t h S F G . T h e other t w o tools you'll need are a pencil (yes. 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 . I love to splurge and keep o n e of each at every 4 x 4 . 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. a n d a pair of scissors for harvesting beet. 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. So instead of just one. c u t t i n g o f f dead blossoms. 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. I never have to l o o k for a tool. T h e y have all the features of a six dollar trowel. lonely tools. strong. 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. 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. 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 . and s n i p p i n g off extra seedlings if m o r e than one seed sprouts in a hole. 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 . They're attractive. Just t h i n k .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 . A Pencil. if y o u see an occasional w e e d . 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. lettuce. In fact. b u t they also cost m o r e . I've f o u n d that the o n e .000 in y o u r pocket. y o u r big. expensive. T h a t way. and Scissors T h e first t o o l of the three tools y o u n e e d is a trowel. 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 . 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. h e a v y .

This will be your "best friend" against future weeds. It wouldn't hurt to have a few of these pads scattered throughout your SFG. Weeds S F G has few o r n o w e e d s . 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. 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. They are available as scrap or samples at any place carpeting is sold.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. Unless y o u r boxes are p l a c e d on tabletops. For less than four dollars. remove any weeds or grass from inside your box. 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. 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. a n d as s o o n as t h e y sprout. 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 . 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 . 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. right? First. 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 . B u t h o w ? W e e d s p l a g u e every garden. 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. 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 . 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. then lay down landscape fabric as a weed barrier. . If you have some leftover indoor/ outdoor carpeting. N e x t . it won't matter if it gets wet. w h i c h i s f i l l e d w i t h w e e d s . PENNY PIN (HER You can even make your own kneeling pad out of scrap carpeting. Since w e are n o t using o u r g r o u n d soil. it dries quickly and folds up nicely to make a great kneeling pad. 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.

" 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. w h i c h still teach singler o w farming a n d h a n d ." 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. g r o w i n g conditions. y o u couldn't find a m o r e informative source." don't l o o k under "Agriculture. nine. 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.m e . U I've lived my life doing the backbreaking work of single row gardening— this is so much better!" —Gina from Kentucky . 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 . history. try t h e m o u t next season to help eliminate y o u r problems. 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. County Extension Agents T h e r e is a g o o d s o l u t i o n . So. It is a great service. 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. T o summarize pests a n d problems. p u l l i n g o u t the w e e d . it sprouts w e e d s . a n d then l o o k for the h e a d i n g "Extension of (your state) University. four. E n j o y y o u r g a r d e n . I'd give a great answer. 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 . roots a n d all. If the question came f r o m my 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. R e m e m b e r o n e . To find y o u r local extension agent. I f o n e square gets devastated. If y o u didn't use the protective structures of C h a p t e r 4. try n o t t o w o r r y a b o u t t h e m .d o w n gardening. find y o u r county. it's difficult to give an accurate answer.Growing and Harvesting w i l l d o the rest. 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 . 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. a n d present gardening c o n d i t i o n in an area. 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 r question is about pests or problems or even the best varieties to g r o w in y o u r area. a n d sixteen. and we often refer questions to the agents a n d their staff. I n a d d i t i o n . they are n o t the best source for answers to S F G questions. 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. 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). You'll have to c o m e to us for those questions.

" 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. . 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. such as tomatoes. T h e y are always u p . need a little help from you each week. Other vine crops. w h i l e most single-row gardens allow t h e m to sprawl.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. Notice how easily vine crops such as pole beans climb the trellis netting all by themselves. y o u will w a n t to train t h e m to a trellis.t o .d a t e o n all the n e w varieties and w h a t grows best in their area.

need no support. T h e taller crops m i g h t need a little help. c o r n . conservationist. 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. you're n o t w a t e r i n g the tops o f the plants or the leaves. W e d o get a f e w p e o p l e w h o say. it goes right into the soil a r o u n d the root system and stays there. N e x t . 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. " O h that w o u l d take t o o l o n g .Growing and Harvesting 137 Support Your Local Plants S o m e plants. first. e g g p l a n t . 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. W h e n y o u water. Everyone asks. 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 .g r o w i n g salad crops. h e l d tight by four c o r n e r posts. If a heavy w i n d and rain or hailstorm k n o c k s t h e m over. 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 . are y o u listening? .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. 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 . a n d b u s h t o m a t o e s . ladle a c u p of that water into the depression a r o u n d the plant. W i t h a saucer-shaped depression in the soil. so there is n o t h i n g to do for t h e m . their garden is o n l y a fraction of the size that it u s e d to be. 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 . giant m a r i g o l d s . " B u t they've failed to t h i n k a b o u t the fact that. such as root crops and l o w .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.) 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 . 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. (See C h a p t e r 4 for c o n s t r u c t i o n details. 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. " 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 . w i t h y o u r other h a n d . Watering Plants need water just like people do. 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. G e n d y lift the b o t t o m leaves of the plant and. o k r a . a n d tall dahlias. however. 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. 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 .

That's w h y people have greenhouses. the radiant heat from the sun will w a r m the soil from the surface d o w n . If y o u build a structure to form a miniature greenhouse around y o u r S F G . M o s t people don't realize that plant roots need air as well as moisture. 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. In spring and late fall. L u c k y for y o u . That's h o w Mel's M i x w o r k s .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. the faster they'll grow and the quicker you'll harvest." Usually it did hurt w i t h local soil that didn't drain well. it also has a tendency to d r y o u t quicker than most garden soils. Mel's M i x allows air into it because it's loose and friable. So they think. Don't Drown Me Invariably gardeners water plants too m u c h . It won't hurt. B u t because y o u r soil m i x drains readily w h e n saturated. ) W i t h Mel's M i x y o u c a n n o t overwater. " O h . and pour it in the saucershaped depression. I'll give it a little extra. T h e w a r m e r the weather. Regular . just dip a cup of water from your 5-gallon bucket of sun-warmed water. 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. W h e n that little sponge gets saturated. 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. the rest of the water drains right out t h r o u g h the b o t t o m . (Chapter 5 tells y o u h o w to m a k e Mel's M i x . 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 .w a r m e d water helps w a r m the soil. 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.138 When your plants need a drink. s u n . 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. perhaps out of kindness or fear that they will fail.

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 . 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.Growing and Harvesting soils stay saturated. 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. Your A l l N e w Square F o o t G a r d e n is different. . 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. 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. 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. It's a satisfying feeling to w o r k in y o u r garden w i t h each plant. Y o u c a n appreciate their b e a u t y a n d color. w h i c h is v e r y i m p e r s o n a l . I m u s t admit. 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. I repeat: you cannot overwater. 139 i i I i i i I I I With Mel's Mix you cannot overwater. 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 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. 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 . Perhaps the plants w i l l be slightly w i l t e d . 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. n o t i c e their blossoms and fruit. 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. of course. T h e secret. efficient. is l o o k i n g at the plants. It tells y o u w h e n the plant is g o i n g to be ready for harvest. ( A n d guess what? Irrigation water is filled w i t h w e e d seeds. Y o u have to water a little m o r e often and p a y m o r e attention to watering.

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 . . a mechanical timer turns the water on a n d off. 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. Yes. Drip. Drip. there is always the hose. 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 .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 . Y o u don't w a n t the water to b e t o o hot. 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. 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. 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 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. o n l y water as m u c h as each plant needs. b u t it c a n be adapted for S F G just as easily. m a y b e just to take the chill o f f tap water. y o u never get close to y o u r plants a n d they will miss y o u . 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. I f y o u d o use a hose. 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. Yes. 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. it's a n u i s a n c e to get o u t or p u t away. m a k e sure y o u h a v e o n e o f those s h u t . b u t gaining this experience brings a lot of pleasure. If y o u just turn a valve or worse yet. I k n o w it w a s d e s i g n e d for r o w gardeners. 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. it does take a little bit of experience to raise a family. 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. 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. it's also very inefficient.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. T h i s also allows y o u to water directly under y o u r plants. we do have water shortages all a r o u n d the country! How Much In conclusion.

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 . 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 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. b i n g . It takes a b o u t a m i n u t e . a n d plant a p i n c h in each hole. after the first few pickings. 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 n d it becomes an o v e r w h e l m i n g task. 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 . " 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 . b i n g . n o t a month's w o r t h of lettuce in one day.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. the rest becomes all drudgery. 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. this is w h y you're g r o w i n g all these plants in the first place. b i n g to m a r k the spacing. N o w . N o w . " Usually the answer is " N o ." 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. 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 . 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. Prepare the soil. A s k yourself. after all. " 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 . N o t so great for the h o m e gardener w h o just wants dinner tonight. 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. 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. As y o u s m o o t h the soil over the seeds. 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. p o u r s o m e i n t o the p a l m of one h a n d . it's all g o i n g to be ready to harvest all at once. W h a t should they d o . . T h e n ask yourself. y o u just live w i t h it. So. select the varieties y o u w a n t f r o m y o u r seeds. zap. I really don't w a n t a n y m o r e than this. Control That Planting E v e r y t h i n g i s different w i t h a S F G . do the zip. s m o o t h it out. 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. b i n g .

Y o u m i g h t p u l l o n e radish a n d o n e carrot. R o b e r t Schuller. 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. perhaps o n e f r o m each p l a n t . Snip 1 had always been a little afraid of composting. " W i t h S F G . Harvest and Replant W i t h Square F o o t G a r d e n i n g . remove what's left over. Just take o u t any debris like dead leaves. S o . s m o o t h it over. a n d c u t o f f a f e w o u t e r leaves. especially cool w e a t h e r p l a n t s . 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. a n d perhaps beet greens f r o m another." —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. y o u c a n get at least three crops a year i n every square foot. 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. 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. but Mel makes everything so logical and easy to understand. Snip. stems. p u t the tops in the c o m p o s t b i n . 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. just take four lettuce leaves. W h e n it sends up a seed stalk. y o u ' l l s o o n b e there. 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.w a r m e d water. parsley leaves f r o m another. it's t i m e to prepare the soil a n d p l a n t a n e w crop. 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. turn the soil over w i t h the trowel. " I n c h b y i n c h . w i l l e v e n t u a l l y go to seed. 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. and you're ready to replant. o u r s a y i n g i s g o i n g t o b e "square b y square.142 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING A Little of This. you're o n l y dealing w i t h o n e square foot at a time. R e m e m b e r . 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. anything's a c i n c h . w a s h t h e m o f f in y o u r bucket of s u n . T a k e one last harvest. 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 . To harvest a varied salad. 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. T h i s can't go on forever because the plant." 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 .

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. . Next Crop W h e n the s u m m e r is finished. you're ready to plant a fall crop. water. a n d d e c i d i n g what's next. N o heavy w o r k . b u t y o u are c r e a t i n g life. a n d finally. in the fall. s o a k t h e m for a little w h i l e . No getting all dirty a n d sweaty. you'll probably use it m u c h m o r e . a n d interesting. replaced it w i t h a fruit crop. A n o t h e r m i n u t e g o n e . get the seeds o u t . p o p t h e m in the g r o u n d . m i x i n g it in. children. 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). H o w a b o u t spinach? C h e c k the spacing. A n d they're fun things t o d o . 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. 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. harvesting. s m o o t h t h e m over. i f y o u ask m e ! O n t o p o f all that. Because y o u can do a litde bit here a n d a little bit there. O f course. s m o o t h i n g it over. T h e r e goes another minute o u t o f y o u r b u s y life. 143 A Little Now W h e t h e r you're planting. eat healthier. maintaining. 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. or watering y o u don't need hours and hours to enjoy y o u r garden. a n d you're all finished. 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. w h i c h will be a cool-weather crop. added a leaf crop. 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. a d d i n g a trowel full of c o m p o s t . In addition. 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. T h e s e are things y o u can d o right then and there. and that child will r e m e m b e r the experience forever. 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. exciting. You'll enjoy the fresh greens a n d salad m o r e often. Y o u started w i t h a r o o t crop. a n d feel better. 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. It's like straightening a crooked picture as y o u w a l k d o w n the hall. p l u c k t h e m out. S F G c o u l d be part of a weight-loss p r o g r a m . Harvest a few small plants w i t h a child.Growing and Harvesting choice i s g o i n g t o b e f u n .

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. 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 . 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. 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. rich soil like Mel's M i x . 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 . W h e n y o u begin gardening w i t h a healthy. I'll bet they will go somewhere else to set up residency.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. B u t if y o u replant every square three times a year. 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. 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. eventually pests or diseases m a y take over since they have lived and played in that spot for so long. T h e y will have t o m o v e every t w o m o n t h s . W h e n y o u decide y o u need a little color over here or there. w h i c h has all the nutrients and trace elements that plants need. N o w that you've b e c o m e a n accomplished gardener o n e square at a time. you've improved the look and landscape of y o u r garden and perhaps even y o u r yard and patio. crop rotation is really n o t critical. Mel's M i x gives y o u a garden soil that is 33 percent c o m p o s t .

the g r o w i n g in o n l y 6 inches of Mel's M i x . 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 . 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. 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.p r o d u c t i v e . I k n e w m y w o r k wasn't c o m p l e t e . " is d o w n r i g h t spectacular. 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 . "Vertical G a r d e n i n g . tested. b u t this t o p i c . 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 . 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 . 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. " T h i s is no w a y to treat a t o m a t o . 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 . T o m a t o e s are n o t o n l y America's favorite vegetable to grow.r o w gardens. 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 . ripe t o m a t o e s . y o u m i g h t feel that the 80 percent reduction in size. I t w a s a n A i l . 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. 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 .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. After g r o w i n g tomatoes this u n i q u e and attractive w a y for several years.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 . " Six m o n t h s later m y vertical frame w a s designed. At the time. a n d p u t into o p e r a t i o n . the no fertilizer needed. I said. 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 . snow. okay. We can't let it lie d o w n a n d sprawl all over the g r o u n d . I n a d d i t i o n . 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 . h o w a b o u t just impressive). sleet.

t h e n c u c u m b e r s a n d peas. 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. 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. 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 y all w o r k e d a n d grew well. How Do You Grow Vertically? • Build a super strong steel frame. T h e p u m p k i n s . beans ( a n o .b r a i n e r ) . " 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 . • It costs less then you could imagine! • It lasts for years. • Attach nylon netting. B u t since then—-Wow! Y o u should see the vertical gardens now. . • You grow better crops.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. " T h i s is a g o o d t h i n g . Where Do You Grow Vertically? • Along the north edge of your 4x4 • Next to any fence or building wall. T h e n even w i n t e r a n d s u m m e r squash. • It adds a third dimension to your SFG. When Do You Grow Vertically? • Anytime before vine crops start sprawling. • It saves space.

we w e r e g r o w i n g 3 5 . Growing vertically not only saves space but it also adds another dimension of beauty to your garden. . 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. y o u can enjoy g r o w i n g crops vertically. " B u t .Vertical Gardening 147 Vertical Gardening A few years a g o at o u r display gardens in U t a h . 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. 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 . 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. as soon as y o u master the basics of Square F o o t G a r d e n i n g .p o u n d p u m p k i n s 7 feet in the air. really.

c u c u m b e r s . hammer. 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 . one 4-foot conduit pipe ('/2-inch diameter). 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.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. . To t o p all that off. T h e y To construct a vertical frame. o r squatting d o w n t o tend y o u r plants. It's n o t o n l y a spectacular sight. kneeling. and trellis netting. two 18-inch long rebar supports of'/2-inch diameter. pole beans. you need: two 5 foot electrical conduit pipes ('/2-inch diameter). 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 . screwdriver. 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 . 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. 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. 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 . two elbow connectors.

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). 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 . 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. 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. 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. 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 . 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). For the corners y o u can b u y elbows. So. 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. 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 . 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 . 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. 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. and they b o t h usually cost less than a dollar. B u t . 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. . I f o u n d that electrical c o n d u i t is the cheapest. the frames w o r k best w h e n placed on the n o r t h side of each box. 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. 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 . 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 . 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 . strongest. and inexpensive to use that it was almost ridiculous. a n d o n c e y o u get the k n a c k o f it.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. M a k e a 2 x 1 2 .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. T h e c o n d u i t itself costs a few dollars for a 10-foot length. easy. a n d best material to use for the vertical s u p p o r t s . 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. 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. Y o u c o u l d even plant the front squares w i t h pretty flowers or any l o w . 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. that frame acts like a sail on a b o a t . T h i s could stand against a wall or fence. A n d the t w o posts and t o p are simple and inexpensive to b u y a n d install.

You '11 want to drive the rebar in about half its height. T h i s w o u l d give t h e m even m o r e stability. lay it against the north-facing board of your SFG. then the longer the bar should be. k e e p i n g it nice a n d straight. . I suggest y o u wear gloves for this. 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 . hammer the rebar where the elbows are located. 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. 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. 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. 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. ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Installing the Vertical Frame Your vertical frame should be installed outside the box. so it sits on the g r o u n d . T h e looser (sandier) y o u r soil is.150 Once you've attached the elbow connectors to your 4-foot conduit pipe. Next. Securing Vertical Supports In the Ground To secure the vertical frame. 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 . and slipping the c o n d u i t over t h e m . A s i d e from driving the concrete reinforcing bars (rebar) into the g r o u n d .

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

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

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. will last forever. call your superintendent and ask for permission to build a roof op garden. T h e netting is tied tightly and securely to the t o p and sides of the vertical frame. 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 .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 . W h e n we teach o u r classes. a n d is easy to w o r k w i t h . keeps its color. soft. It's white.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. 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 . T h e netting c o m e s in 4. 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. b u t then a l o n g c a m e this beautiful. . 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 . I used to use either special w i d e .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. they just can't do it! If you live in a city and have no plot of ground to call your own. can't be b r o k e n .

Try to keep the length uniform so your netting isn't crooked.) 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. (Be careful to cut on the same side of the connecting strand each time. Next.154 To attach the trellis netting to your frame. frst hook the netting on the two corners. cut the netting at each connection. .

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). .

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

T h e netting is so strong that it will easily h o l d up the plant and. 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 also p u t t h e m so that 1 foot is inside the path. 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. w i l l d o all the c l i m b i n g themselves. 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 . 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. 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.Vertical Gardening thumbelina. 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. 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 1 foot is outside. 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. 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. S o m e o f the vertical c r o p s . 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. T h e rest of the vine crops can be started f r o m seed directly in the garden. A s i d e f r o m watering. 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. like pole beans a n d c u c u m b e r s . a n d in order to find o u t the best ones that vine. in fact. 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. 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 . 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 . 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. and b a c k t h r o u g h another o n e . 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 . Planting Seeds or Transplants R e m e m b e r . after further studies I f o u n d o u t the netting will also h o l d up . 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.

it w o u l d require b e n d i n g the rebar. 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 . 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 . You basically just need to plant the seeds and watch them ?o! . Nature has already taught some vines to climb. 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 .158 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING all the fruit. or the electrical c o n d u i t . there are a few things y o u can do to increase y o u r yields. 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. before the frame w o u l d c o m e d o w n . and w h e n you're vertical gardening the S F G way.

y o u first locate the square foot it's g o i n g to be in. LvLore manageable. and bountiful than I'd ever imagined. To do this. 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. m o s t gardeners don't. It does n o t have to point straight u p . 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. T h a t means y o u have to cut o f f the branches. and the best time to do it is w h e n they're tiny. free plants for a late harvest for c a n n i n g . enjoyable. this is really a b e d ) . Fill in the rest of the trench a n d water well. very. P i c k y o u r best-looking plants. a n d w e a v e the t o p in a n d o u t of the netting. it just has to be aboveground. U n f o r t u n a t e l y ." —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 . 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. O r .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. 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 . all a l o n g that h a i r y s t e m . 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 . and if you're very gentle. a n d p u s h it underneath that bent t o p to act as a pillow (see. or preserving.d o w n p o s i t i o n . 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). 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 . . 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 . A t the same t i m e . 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. 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 . 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. very carefully b e n d the top so it starts p o i n t i n g up. a n d as t h e y g r o w bigger a n d bigger. m o r e productive plant. T h e y l o o k so small a n d c u t e . 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. w h i c h w i l l sustain a larger. T h e y are great. 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. y o u c a n root t h e m . T h e y will develop an e n o r m o u s n u m b e r o f roots. Y o u can take the Mel's M i x . 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 . take y o u r h a n d or a t r o w e l . 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. a n d k e e p that in a saucer of water. N o m a t t e r h o w large the sucker o r side b r a n c h . a n d t h e y w i l l also s p r o u t roots. 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 . juice. 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 .m e .

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

seal it. 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. stop its g r o w t h . a n d beautiful. large. (Be careful. It w i l l k e e p g r o w i n g until the e n d of the season. If y o u w a n t . a n d let it h a n g over the side. and cut off the leaf. ( C a u t i o n : do not pick it up. 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 . Gently weave a vine in and out of the trellis netting to help it keep a steady course. 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 .Vertical Gardening 161 Vines need a little direction from time to time. Put it in a paper bag. 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 . O r . and t h r o w it in the garbage. b u t they take strength from the plant as t h e y eat m a n y of the leaves. T h e y can actually hear t h e m c r u n c h i n g the leaves. 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. 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 . Usually thete are just one or t w o at the most. 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 . L o o k for little black specks (the droppings from the w o r m s ) . 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 . y o u m a y have the dreaded t o m a t o w o r m . If y o u r children are interested in a science project. Y o u can either c u t the t o p right off. 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. T o m a t o w o r m s don't usually harm the tomatoes themselves.) Play it safe. y o u can let the t o p c o n t i n u e t o grow. 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. G e t y o u r scissors. w h i c h for a t o m a t o p l a n t is the first frost.

Melons. and you're ready until the next threat o f frost. the vertical frame is designed so all y o u have to do is gently lay a tarp or blanket over it. I f the spacing for that particular vegetable (for example. 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. Pruning Cucumbers. If y o u plant one plant per square foot. 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. 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. 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 . 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. c u c u m b e r s that are spaced 2 per square foot). it can f i l l that 1 2 . 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). p u t it t h r o u g h the n e t t i n g . s o m e d o b r a n c h . fold it up. a n d sturdy. 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. W h e n it grows to the t o p . let it h a n g d o w n until it gets near the b o t t o m . t u r n it u p . A l l the v i n i n g plants are v e r y v i g o r o u s . 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.162 This vertical garden has bean and tomato plants. 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. a n d start all over again. 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. g o i n g right u p the netting. h o l d it w i t h t w o hands and be careful so it doesn't break. energetic. . T h o s e w i t h branches take l o n g e r t o have fruit.i n c h w i d e square. They are planted with sage and squash. 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.

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 .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. Remember.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 . the vine will be hard and fairly rigid. you might stuff something under it like an old wadded-up tee shirt. . the end is very supple and easy to maneuver. you can retrieve the shirt after the stem has taken the new shape. if you're bending a plant near the top or in through the netting. if you have to bend it there. 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 . you'll get used to their resilience. In a few days. You'll know how far they can bend and when not to push them. So. though. You have to use your own judgment. if you're trying to bend the stem closer to where it's planted.f o o t . However. For the n o r t h side. but after you get accustomed to bending plants. 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. 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.w i d e frames.

vertical dimension. N o t o n l y can y o u g r o w vining crops in less space. 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. 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 . Vertical frames add beauty to a garden as well as that unique. S o m e p e o p l e leave their vertical frame up all winter. 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. Y o u will b e s o glad y o u did! .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. a n d d u r i n g the h o l i d a y season. 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.

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 . 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. A n d i n a d d i t i o n t o the extra f o o d . 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 ! . 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 m o d e r n homesteaders and f o o d preservers find it an absolute blessing. 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. It's a pleasant experience. N a t u r e gives us o u r gardening cues as the seasons change. 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. 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 we say. it's t o o c o l d . 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 ." —Jefffrom North Carolina Lengthen Season by 50 Percent In most parts of the continental U n i t e d States. B u t f i r s t . the g r o w i n g season is e x t e n d e d by 33 percent.t o . N a t u r e says. 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 . the average g r o w i n g season runs f r o m M a y to September. For t h e m . a fantastic! It very much appeals to my innate sense of organization and efficiency. " 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 . 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. " Y o u can't p l a n t n o w . 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.m a k e i m p l e m e n t s . 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. W i t h a variety o f e a s y . g a r d e n i n g isn't a test of e n d u r a n c e . a natural talent. a n d a lot o f confidence. 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. H o w e v e r .Extending the Seasons We gardeners like to b e n d reality a bit. 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 .

Instead of gardening y o u could be satisfied and save time and w o r k . A f t e r all. T h e first planting is m a d e in the early spring and will mature in the cool weather of late spring. 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. relax. 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. try starting your own seeds. 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. T o d o this. y o u are basically creating an artificial e n v i r o n m e n t . 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 y o u r decision. 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. 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. 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.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. and just "go d o r m a n t " for a while. tures a w a y f r o m y o u r plants. W h a t m o r e c o u l d a p l a n t want? . Since early spring a n d late fall can b r i n g s o m e rather severe weather. you won't need all this expensive equipment and you won't have so many plants to take care of. 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. But with the SFG. C o o l . Sometimes it's just as g o o d to sit back.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.

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. 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. the soil is o n l y 6 inches deep. . it is relatively easy to protect y o u r crops. 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 . 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. Besides. 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. too. harden t h e m off before planting t h e m outdoors in y o u r spring box. it's easier than y o u think. 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. 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. 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 . an extra p l a n t i n g o f lettuce. deeper soils are raised to the top. try s p r o u t i n g y o u r seeds i n d o o r s . Spread clear or black plastic over the t o p of the soil. 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. take the cover off. s p i n a c h . 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. Begin b y w a r m i n g u p the soil i n y o u r S F G boxes. lift the grid out. they are q u i c k l y learned and easily practiced. After a couple of s u n n y days. T h e n . Before the plants get t o o large. 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. 167 Box with Cage Since a Square F o o t G a r d e n takes up so little space.Extending the Seasons In addition. a n d w e i g h it d o w n w i t h a brick in each corner. T h e n replace the plastic covers. 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 .

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. 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 .f o o t area.q u i c k soil w a r m . F o r a d o u b l e . believe m e . A s the w e a t h e r w a r m s u p . (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. 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.u p . 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. ) 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 . b u t t o o m u c h heat w i l l c o o k t h e m . cover the soil w i t h clear or b l a c k plastic. 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. 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. Climate Control W h e n you're using a spring b o x on y o u r early crops. . 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. 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 . Water with a cup of sun-warmed water. Do this a b o u t four weeks before it's time to plant y o u r seeds. If your plants begin to wilt or if the soil dries to a depth of l inch. W h e n the w e a t h e r is w a r m e n o u g h . a n d t h e n r e m o v e i t before p l a n t i n g .168 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Spring For y o u r first spring p l a n t i n g . 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. You must check your spring plant boxes every day in sunny weather. 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. it's time to water.

R e m e m b e r . 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 . For earlier harvests. a n d c u c u m b e r s — a head start. 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. W h e n all d a n g e r o f frost i s past. 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 . sticky weather. lettuce a n d radishes are no different. C o v e r the square w i t h a shade cage. 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 . 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 . 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 . l o o k for w o r d s like " l o n g s t a n d i n g . a n d b l e n d e d c o m p o s t .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. r e m o v e the covers. " "slow to b o l t . L o o k for special hot-weather varieties of y o u r favorite plants in y o u r seed catalog. w a t e r t w i c e as often as y o u usually w o u l d . squash. Summer As the spring season progresses. I t h o l d s lots o f m o i s t u r e . W e l l . and y o u literally w i l t in the sun. along w i t h s o m e extra water.w e a t h e r crops t o g r o w i n t o s u m m e r . 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. 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 . coarse v e r m i c u l i t e . 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). 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 . " a n d " h e a t resistant" in the seed catalogs or p a c k e t descriptions. a n d give the plants p l e n t y of w a t e r — a s a general rule. 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 . Shade and Water If you're the type of person w h o doesn't like hot. 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. 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.

I f y o u can protect y o u r garden f r o m that f i r s t frost. yet drains well so the roots can't b e c o m e waterlogged. Since m o s t of these crops . 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 . I t h i n k it certainly is. 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 . w h i c h means it is n o t the plant's natural inclination to g r o w then. w a r m w e a t h e r before the next frost.170 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING so t h e plant roots can take up all that's needed. K e e p in m i n d that you're g r o w i n g o u t of season. Y o u are urging these plants o n . 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. 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. 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.w e a t h e r crops. 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. 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. 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 .a u t u m n .

Fall W h e n fall arrives. a n d freezing for the future. p o l e beans. or stop y o u r garden. 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 .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 the h u m i d i t y needs to be fairly l o w — a t about 50 percent. t o m a t o e s . 5 degrees Celsius). a n d t h e n cover it w i t h a large sheet of plastic. Extending the Harvest by Storing It Let's l o o k at the easiest a n d l e a s t . 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. O r . 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 . c u c u m b e r s . a n d the flavor a n d nutritional value of each vegetable is greater than if it w a s frozen or canned. T h e r e ' s the o l d . y o u can start w i t h a P V C arch o r covered w a g o n frame. or c o l d a n d moist. T h e r e are really o n l y t w o : cool a n d dry.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 . 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. a n d similar s u m m e r crops on a vertical frame. the l o w . y o u a n d y o u r garden have three options: to store food for the winter.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. preserving. To protect v i n e crops f r o m frost. T h e r e is almost no w o r k and m o n e y involved. W h i c h ever y o u choose depends on y o u r t i m e and desire. a n d o n i o n s . T h e temperature should be a r o u n d 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit ( 1 0 to 1 5 . 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. . p u m p k i n s . floating cover. extend the harvest. a n d it has a place. 171 All Together Now T o protect y o u r crops f r o m frost. w i n t e r squash. or light blanket.Extending the Seasons have a six to eight w e e k harvest season. 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. 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.

W h e n you're o u t harvesting. 5 degrees C ) . 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 . leave as m u c h of the stem on as possible.6 b u t b e l o w 1 5 . 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. D o n ' t stack p r o d u c e up in a b i g pile.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. carrots. and at least an i n c h of the top g r o w t h . t u r n i p s . So keep an eye out for these pests and any damage they may be doing. For crops such as vine crops. Leave the b o t t o m of the root on root crops. a n d w i n t e r radishes plus all of the c a b b a g e family. b u t spread y o u r vegetables o u t evenly on a shelf (not on the floor). w h i t e p o t a t o e s . T h i s g r o u p also includes . A n y bruise or c u t will be the first s p o t to spoil. treat each vegetable as if it w e r e an egg. A d d s o m e insulation. If they do infest your winter storage plot it's best to harvest everything and store your produce in a different place. 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. O n l y store p r o d u c e that is in really g o o d condition. and r e m e m b e r to allow plenty of air circulation. 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 . 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 pile t h e m all together. y o u can build t w o walls to enclose a corner to provide an even-temperature fruit closet.

d o w n plastic sheet or tarp. Actually. flufiy covering of straw or leaves. 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 . peat moss. 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. M a k e sure the cover fits tightly.2 degrees C ) . 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 . or sand. b u t they won't do well under a solid bale of hay. 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 . Instead. simply roll the bale over.l y i n g areas. 6 t o 7. 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.f o o t . W h e n you're ready to harvest. R o l l a bale of h a y over the p l a n t e d area.Extending the Seasons fruit—especially apples. in fact. 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. 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. 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 . try p l a c i n g a 2 . 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 t h e n replace the bale. select a n area o n h i g h g r o u n d t o locate the storage container. 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 . 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. the simplest w a y to store root crops is n o t to dig t h e m up at all. I f y o u can. t h e n pile at least 12 inches of h a y or leaves over the t o p . d i g up a f e w vegetables. T h e c o l d air virtually rolls d o w n the slope a n d settles in l o w . I f you're feeling a d v e n t u r o u s . 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.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. 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. it is better to use a loose. this is called c o l d air . 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.

Plants that were b u s h y a n d colorful the d a y before are . and does. frost usually occurs in the v e r y early m o r n i n g h o u r s . 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. u n i f o r m areas. resulting in the deposit of ice crystals. O n e of the best websites is www. be ready. particularly after a still. 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 . 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. l o w .114 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING drainage. 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. C l i c k o n " H o m e and G a r d e n . at g r o u n d level. Frost can. 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. You'll get all the information y o u need to be ready for that first frost. 32 degrees Fahrenheit or b e l o w (0 degrees Celsius). 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 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. T h i s is because h o t air rises a n d c o l d air sinks. 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 . If a b o d y of water is nearby. 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.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 . it can greatly reduce the occurrence of frost as water holds heat very well. 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.com.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. A n o t h e r (perhaps better) source is the Internet. 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. S u m m e r vegetables c a n still be harvested if eaten r i g h t away. 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 . In general. c a l m n i g h t w h e n the w e a t h e r is dry. particularly the local o n e . 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. 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 . 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. 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.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. W h e n frost is p r e d i c t e d . " then " L a w n and G a r d e n " and enter y o u r zip code. 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. Surprisingly.weather.

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 . 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. 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.b l o o m i n g plants ( m u m s . 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. . C a l l y o u r c o u n t y extension service for local advice a n d conditions. 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 . b u t l o o k for special c o l d .t o l e r a n t varieties. " o r " S n o w M a n " ( I just m a d e that last o n e u p ) . asters. 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. 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 . 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. 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. 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." "Frost K i n g .g r o w i n g vegetables for y o u r w i n t e r garden. 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. As y o u c o n t i n u e gardening. 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. hardy leaf crops such as kale. 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. 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. 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 . 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. a n d y o u clean up the garden right away. 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.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. you'll learn w h i c h vegetables are hardier in y o u r particular area.

W e l l . T h e n it's finally lights o u t . or s n o w w i l l fall on it. 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 . T i d y it up a n d m a k e it l o o k g o o d . treat y o u r garden the same way.176 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Pick a Spot N o w . b u t also v e r y practical. y o u can plant y o u r p r o d u c e closer than the usual spacing. p i c k the sunniest. and start y o u r planting. get o n e last drink. 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. o r y o u ' l l risk the c h a n c e that rain. sleet. 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. 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. 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. wish I'd found it years ago. 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.r o w g a r d e n i n g . 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. 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 . It doesn't have to be in the m a i n g a r d e n . . —Mindy from New fersey Snuggle Up Install y o u r winter b o x . 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 . Putting Your Garden to Bed W h e n it is time to p u t the S F G to bed. 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. fill it w i t h Mel's M i x . 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 . 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. First. we do this the same w a y we p u t our children to bed. 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. n e x t to the h o u s e or garage is better. 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 . T h r o w a blanket or tarp on the b o x for those extra cold nights. fix the b e d just the w a y t h e y w a n t it. Insulate Provide s o m e insulation a r o u n d the w i n t e r b o x . even as close as one-half the r e c o m m e n d e d distance. D o n ' t leave it a mess w i t h dead plants a n d debris lying about. It doesn't have to be a p e r m a n e n t s p o t either. 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. N o w it's n o t o n l y possible. jBtfs* book on gardening I've ever read. 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 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. 177 Grids in Winter Y o u c a n r e m o v e . tidy. a tarp or table c l o t h . like a stack o f c o r n w i t h p u m p k i n s . clean. 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. M a y b e even a scarecrow in a box. 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. 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. 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 . 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. K e e p y o u r garden neat. special varieties of plants. 1 . 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 . or floating garden covers. 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. y o u will enjoy it so m u c h m o r e . 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. You'll simply go o u t . r e m o v i n g plants. or dead a n d pest-damaged leaves or entire plants. rake off the m u l c h cover (remember y o u r rototilling neighbor?). f o l d .w o r k garden). 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 tips for next year. and start planting either at the regular time or early.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 . a n d attractive. 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 . 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. dead blossoms.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. 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.

Add all the humus you can get 5. 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 . 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 . 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. c o l o r f u l r i b b o n . It can be a really fun challenge to a n y gardener—regardless of experience. Dig as deep as you can 11. T u c k i n greens a n d p i n e c o n e s .) 4 . a n d m a k e t h e m into bird feeders. pine cones. If y o u h a v e never g r o w n o u t . w i t h or w i t h o u t lights. 3 . p i n e branches. As w i t h all n e w g a r d e n i n g projects. rope. c o n f i d e n c e . 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 . After C h r i s t m a s . Perform a pH test 4. Use a fork. Dig in manure or leaf mold 8. a n d bird feeders. 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. Turn over the soil 3. stick a discarded C h r i s t m a s tree in the center of each box.o f . 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 . Clean off summer residue 2. Add new 3 to 6 inch layer 7. Deeper is better 12. a n d p l e a s u r e — t h e n e x p a n d . then decorative covers in the winter. ( R e m e m b e r now. Add some fertilizer 9. 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. D e c o r a t e y o u r vertical frames w i t h decorative lights. OUT WITH THE OLD OLD WAY NEW WAY 1. Add peat moss if no humus 6. U s e w i d e . 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. 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.178 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING 2 . don't worry. a d d just a few features here a n d there as y o u gain m o r e confidence.s e a s o n . 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. 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 i e a string f r o m each b o x corner to the treetop for support. shovel. spade 10. 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.

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. 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.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. o f course. I f these suggestions don't w o r k — i t ' s shade gardening for y o u . 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 .p r o p e r t y situation. Wooded Yard I f y o u have a h e a v i l y w o o d e d yard. A n o t h e r o p t i o n . a n d balconies always have r o o m for a small g a r d e n . 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. 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. For instance. 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. d e c k s . patios. y o u c o u l d p u t a double-decker l o n g box against the house.f o o t boxes. 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 . 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. t h i n k creatively a n d closer to y o u r front o r b a c k door.f o o t area. 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. 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 . If you're in a n o . Y o u c o u l d install 6. O t h e r than that.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. t h e n y o u don't h a v e t o o m a n y choices. 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? . If y o u had a southern exposure w i t h e n o u g h sunlight.

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

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. 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. Lt's such a positive thing you're doing. it's h i g h l y unlikely y o u will overwater. 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 . w i t h a 3-foot w i d e box. 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. 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. it s h o u l d be b o l t e d d o w n . 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 - . To get a 3-foot w i d e level spot. 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. T h e steeper the slope. since Mel's M i x holds water so well. If y o u have railings that are flat.w i d e b e d . t h o u g h . 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. 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. For stability. Basically. but o n l y a couple in o n e corner. 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. I w o u l d place the boxes on the floor. T h e n . 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. it is v e r y easy to set a b o x right on t o p of it. 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. If y o u w a n t a 4 . 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 . w h i c h will be higher than the d o w n h i l l aisle. 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. 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 . 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. 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. 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." —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. the harder it b e c o m e s . H o w e v e r . T h i n k ahead a b o u t water availability. 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. T h e r e are several things y o u can do a b o u t this situation. Just i n case. helping people around the world to grow their own food. First of all.f o o t . 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. 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.Special Gardens and Gardeners If its facing south. time.

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. N o w . 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 never any . o n c e they have a p l y w o o d b o t t o m installed. 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.d u t y tools. m a n u a l labor like d i g g i n g up the existing soil. 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 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. T h i s . plants should be easy to grow. encourage her to plant her garden. the water w i l l bypass the d e c k below. let h i m write his n a m e on the grid. 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. A n d . T h e r e is no w e e d i n g . Y o u can n o w p u t various sizes of boxes on patios. A little h i g h e r w o u l d be a s t a n d . near the p o o l . 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 . Selecting plants for children is quite simple. Of course. 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. a n d because we are starting w i t h a perfect soil mix. If y o u r b o x is on the inside of the railing.u p g a r d e n if that makes it easier to t e n d . even if the visit is short. 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. It can be a sit-down garden. A n d the gardens. 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. of course. W i t h S F G . a n d tools. d e p e n d i n g o n y o u r preference. I n a d d i t i o n . of course. it doesn't have far to fall a n d w o n ' t h u r t a n y o n e . 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. 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 . Gardening for Seniors S o m e people find it difficult to do hard.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. fast growing for q u i c k results. the simple answer is to just raise the garden up to the gardener's height. 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 . G i v e y o u r grandchild a garden or just a square. and s o m e t h i n g that will produce an exciting result. 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. 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. w o r k . 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. the b a c k door.

just o n e trowel. The least desirable method is a table with just a center support. The best support for a tabletop garden is a strong table with four legs. which could be unstable. giving all-around access. but limit the access. 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. 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.Special Gardens and Gardeners 183 heavy digging. T h e S F G F o u n d a t i o n has taught the blind. T h e y ' v e been placed on wheels. 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. The less desirable method is the use of sawhorses. T h e r e is no need to even have shovels or forks or a n y large tools. Special Needs Gardening S F G s have g o n e a lot of places over the years. 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. Wheelchair. . 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. Sometimes seniors enjoy out-of-season gardening because they have the time to tend their gardens d u r i n g the tricky. out-of-season weather. 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 . w h i c h is another asset. sitdown. or standup gardening is now a real possibility. U t a h . which may be sturdy.

you'll see another big advantage when you harvest 1 square foot and add that trowel full of compost. causing someone to give it up.184 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING EVEN FOR SENIOR CITIZENS As we get older. 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. and pleasant. task. growing. and raised boxes. that in fact. it almost boils down to just planting a few seeds. There's no heavy digging! You can readily visualize how conventional gardening would become too much work and too much effort. 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. Gardening then becomes a very simple. and caring for them. T h e y are so excited a b o u t g r o w i n g plants. no heavy equipment. 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. easy. With SFG. it may become harder to do certain things. F r o m the b e g i n n i n g . SFG has the advantages of small space.

history. 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. stage presence. c o s t u m e design a n d m a k i n g . "A Square Yard i n the S c h o o l Y a r d . 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 . as w e l l as e c o n o m i c s . As I m e n t i o n e d before. 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. T h i s . D u r i n g the year. O n e year. w h i c h equals a square yard. a n d the e n v i r o n m e n t a l issues. publicity. 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. and the brainstorming itself becomes another learning experience! Community Gardens W i t h S F G . " 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. the children learned the i m p o r t a n t values of sharing. 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. c o m m u n i c a t i o n . S a n d y c o v e r e d m a n y aspects of science a n d art. p r o m o t i o n . acting. letter writing. 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 . It doesn't take an entire e m p t y lot now. a n d responsibility. 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 . spelling. even right in a city. Instead they g a r d e n in a 3 x 3-foot b o x . 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. this is h o w we got the n a m e for our school program. and the ability to describe observations a n d feelings. 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. 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 . o f course. l a n g u a g e . 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. O n e of the best examples of this is a teacher in California n a m e d Sandy. 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. a n d so m u c h m o r e . and they can begin to see the value of the subjects they have been learning in the past. 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 . 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 . A side benefit is that. p r o n u n c i a t i o n .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. w h i c h . advertising. nurturing. in addition to school subjects. 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 . 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 .

M a s t e r G a r d e n e r s . g a i n e x p e r i e n c e . b o t a n i c a l gardens. 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. 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 . 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. at the e n d of a fair or show. 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. b e c o m e successful. a n d take it h o m e .H ' e r s . I n the l a y o u t o f the g a r d e n . 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 . Group Projects A S F G c o u l d be a demonstration project for m a n y different groups. gardening is an enjoyable hobby. Humanitarian Projects For some. 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. We have a billion people w h o need help. p u t it i n t o a v a n . 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 . A l s o ." -Rich from North Carolina neighbor's 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. scouts. i n c l u d i n g children's gardens. but for m a n y it can m e a n the difference between life a n d death. the guidelines s h o u l d also cover the h o u r s o f operation. and edible flowers. 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. and the . use of water. 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. 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 . and maintenance of the gardens so they l o o k neat a n d attractive. 4 . A n o t h e r nice t h i n g a b o u t it is. W e can h e l p solve the h u n g e r situation. root crops. a n d garden clubs. tomatoes. 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. In that situation. 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 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. b u t that issue c a n b e totally eliminated w i t h S F G .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. 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. 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 . I w o u l d e m p h a s i z e the n e e d again to start small. 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 . My 3-year-old and I have a blast with two4x 6boxes.

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 . We feel it can truly m a k e a difference in the everyday lives of so m a n y millions of people. take v e r y little effort. 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." . 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 . produce m o r e .Special Gardens and Gardeners solution is to teach t h e m h o w to help themselves. 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. anywhere in the w o r l d can n o w have a small square meter garden right at their back door. allow p e o p l e to b e c o m e self-sufficient. 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. 187 On My Soapbox Well. " S h o w a family h o w to Square M e t e r Garden. and yet deliver w o r t h w h i l e results. maybe the saying will be. and as they e x p a n d their garden. the rest will follow. 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 . 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 . " G i v e a m a n a fish a n d y o u feed h i m for a day. T e a c h a m a n to fish a n d y o u feed h i m for a lifetime. T h e nutritional value of the children's diet will improve dramatically a n d step-by-step. 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. and they will feed themselves forever. Y o u k n o w the saying. step-by-step. 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 . instead o f our governments and humanitarian organizations sending food. A n y o n e ." 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. 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 . square-by-square. T h e n . W e believe that. 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 . It w o u l d cost less. t h e y c a n create c o m p o s t for free. here I a m .

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 .

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. olive oil. a n d salt in a f o o d processor or blender. garlic. nuts. 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. a d d h c u p of l sun-dried t o m a t o e s . For a s u m m e r t i m e treat. L e t s t a n d 5 m i n u t e s before serving.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 . ' 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. w a s h a n d d r y 2 c u p s of leaves (a salad spinner works well). A m i x t u r e of basil. a n d balsamic v i n e g a r in a f o o d processor. 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. slowly a d d olive oil. 2 cups basil leaves 2 cloves garlic V2 cup grated Parmesan cheese 2 tbsp. basil. a n d sprinkle w i t h Parmesan cheese. pesto is a treat w i t h a distinctive Italian f l a v o r . and c h o p t h e m in a small f o o d processor w i t h . 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. ' 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. For a c o l o r a n d taste sensation. a n d olive oil. cheeses. 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. a d d 3 tablespoons of w h o l e m i l k ricotta cheese. 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. it is an i m p o r t a n t ingredient in A s i a n cuisine t o o . spread on crusty bread. garlic. T r y m a k i n g pesto b r e a d instead o f garlic bread. Parmesan cheese. Basil is used as the perfect c o m p l e m e n t to s u m m e r tomatoes. To freeze basil for p e s t o . For a creamier taste a n d consistency. garlic. Toss with c o o k e d pasta. W i t h the m a c h i n e r u n n i n g . c o m b i n e t o m a t o e s . gemelli and p e n n e h o l d the pesto nicely.

Basil plants will turn black a n d die at the slightest hint of frost. T r y it in place of parsley w h e n c o o k i n g rice or chicken. l e m o n juice. Scrape the mixture o n t o plastic wrap. bread. fold it u p . T h e plant will g r o w n e w stems from that point. 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. Just r e m e m b e r that there is already U c u p of olive oil in the patty.b o r d e r accent. T h e flavor of l e m o n basil. It grows in adorable little balls perfect for a f r o n t . defrost the patty. . Or choose plants at y o u r local g a r d e n center. basil is the o n e to c h o o s e . 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. the stems go to the m u l c h pile. 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 . basil plants will g r o w quickly. O n l y the leaves are used in fresh or frozen recipes. O n c e h o t w e a t h e r sets in. 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.o f . sweet pesto w i t h l e m o n basil. 'Spicy G l o b e ' d w a r f basil is a beautiful plant. To use. 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 layer of basil leaves over a b o w l of tomatoes will repel fruit flies. 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.190 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING 1 /4 c u p olive oil. they are an acquired taste for s o m e people. b u t k e e p t h e m sheltered u n t i l that last frost. a n d p u t it in the f o o d processor w i t h all the other ingredients. a n d the basil will prevent s o m e of the insects and diseases associated w i t h tomatoes. 'Sweet D a n i . 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. 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. 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. W h e n planting basil close to tomatoes and peppers. m a k e i t 'Sweet Genovese. cut w h o l e stems just above a pair of lower leaves.t h e . 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 . Or m a k e a light. 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. ' an A l l A m e r i c a Selections w i n n e r in 1 9 9 8 . olive oil. a n d use t h e m all year l o n g in the recipe above. a n d p u t the resulting patty in the freezer. on the other h a n d . To harvest basil. 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 indoors a b o u t 4 to 6 weeks before.' 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). a n d Parmesan cheese to t o p s u m m e r tomatoes. Freezing basil in this w a y does no noticeable h a r m to the color or flavor. or pasta. 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 .

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

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

Because it is a perennial a n d takes a c o u p l e of years before the first harvest. overnight in a hole between h and 1 inch deep. as it can last for up to 20 years. Growing Watering: Weekly. w h i c h covers the roots an i n c h or t w o . often w i t h less than perfect results. consider the location very carefully. . but costs peanuts. to total 6 inches deep). Soak seeds overnight and plant at least /2 inch deep. 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 . four per square foot will produce a m u c h bigger crop earlier. 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. It takes an extra year or t w o . If y o u have lots of time but little money. Seeds Indoors: l 10 to 1 2 weeks before last spring frost. Starting Location: Full sun. one per square foot. x Traditionally. m o r e in the summer. plant seeds that have been soaked in water Transplanting: 2 to 4 weeks before last spring frost. p r o d u c i n g o n l y o n e crop a year. 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. 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. W h e n y o u invest in an asparagus plant. m a r k y o u r spacing (either the one or four per square foot).194 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Asparagus Description Fresh. raise y o u r o w n transplants from seed. y o u b u y and plant 2-year-old roots. Seeds Outdoors: 2 to A weeks before the last spring frost. 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 . 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. 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 . Asparagus self-sows readily. m a k e little m o u n d s at the plant location. we suggest y o u p l a n t an entire 4' x 4' b o x o n l y in asparagus.

immersing the stems while the tender heads steam. Fusarium root rot. lacy plant in the garden. Asparagus can be eaten raw. a n d the fronds are lovely to use as filler in flower b o u q u e t s . roasted. the r e m a i n i n g shoots g r o w i n t o a large. When: Harvest asparagus in late spring. but it can be stored for a couple of days in the refrigerator. w h e n the shoots are 4 to 6 inches tall. Problems Slugs.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. asparagus beetle. Spears taller than 6 inches can be t o u g h . C o o k asparagus briefly as it can b e c o m e m u s h y if overcooked. 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. rust. Three-yearold plants are considered mature. Hints and Tips After the spring harvest. . boiled. steamed. grilled. for a b o u t 6 weeks. 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. Tall narrow asparagus kettles are designed to c o o k the spears upright. say one or t w o shoots per plant. m a k i n g a slanting cut. standing on end on a w e t pad or in a jar of cold water. the second year. Preparing and Using Asparagus is best used as fresh as possible. and only sparingly. or c o o k e d in casseroles and salads.

Seeds sprout in 5 to 10 days. the plant will stop p r o d u c i n g a n d the best flavor is past. the m o r e tender it will be. a n d deer. each plant yields o n e large crop all at once. o r stir-fried. Beans contain lots of vitamins A. B. Preparing and Using W a s h a n d refrigerate if n o t using immediately. Growing Watering: Beans m u s t have regular waterings. t h e n served i n d i v i d u a l l y w i t h a little seasoning. Seeds Outdoors: Presoak seeds thirty minutes for faster sprouting. w o o d c h u c k s . take l o n g e r to grow. Seeds Indoors: N o . w i t h a smaller c r o p a few w e e k s later. C o o k a n y size b e a n . g r a t e d cheese. 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. 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). When: P i c k beans w h e n they are still small a n d tender. a l o n g w i t h lettuce. Do n o t allow the soil to d r y out. Transplanting: D o e s n o t transplant well. rust a n d m i l d e w . rabbits. Beans are excellent a d d i t i o n s to s o u p s . Japanese a n d M e x i c a n b e a n beetles. or parsley. A lot of gardeners t h i n k that pole beans have better flavor. so try to use t h e m the same day they are picked. W a t e r soil and cover square w i t h a chicken-wire cage to keep o u t birds. 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. birds. 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 . In the old days. 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 . as well as calcium a n d iron.196 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Description Prolific a n d easy to grow. Beans do n o t store well. Pole beans. 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. Maintenance: W e e d w e e k l y if y o u see a n y weeds sprouting. 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. Starting Location: Full sun. w h i c h are g r o w n on a vertical frame. 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 t keep the leaves dry. b o i l e d . 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 . For a c o n t i n u o u s harvest of bush beans. T h e y c a n b e s t e a m e d . a n d C. b l i g h t . remove cage after t w o weeks. or m i x e d vegetable dishes. w h i l e the b u s h types taste m o r e like "green beans. 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 ." B u s h beans g r o w lower to the ground. D o n o t pull o n the plant w h e n harvesting. 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 . the smaller the b e a n . stews. . t o m a t o . Do n o t allow t h e m to get so large that p o d s bulge w i t h seeds. 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. 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. 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 . a n d cheese! H o w does that s o u n d ? Problems A p h i d s .

If you're n o t sure of bulb size. 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 .Basil and Beyond 197 Hints and Tips If your square of bush beans gets floppy and starts spreading over adjacent squares. To have a c o n t i n u o u s harvest. A f t e r the sprouts are a b o u t 1 i n c h tall. Starting Location: Partial shade or full sun. 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. Seeds Indoors: N o . 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. so several l sprouts will c o m e up f r o m each seed p l a n t e d . and w e e d weekly. . 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.P o n g ball and c o n t i n u e until they are full 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. but don't take m o r e than one or t w o from each plant. Maintenance: K e e p Harvesting How: Pull up the entire plant w i t h the largest top. Leaves are usable at any size. T h e y are m o s t l y pest. dig around the root with your fingers to uncover the top to c h e c k the size. To harvest greens. It won't h a r m the harvest. d a m a g e d leaves picked off.a n d disease-free a n d resistant to b o t h fall and spring frosts. individual leaves can be cut at any time. m u l c h in h o t weather. When: R o o t s are the m o s t tender w h e n h a l f size. Growing Watering: Plants need constant and even moisture. Transplanting: D o e s n o t transplant well. just run a string around them as a g r o u p to keep t h e m in their square. 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 .

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

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. I f y o u h a v e several plants. . Maintenance: W e e d weekly. C o o k e d leftovers can be marinated for addition to salads or relishes. It's an excellent addition to any stir-fried dish. T h e h e a d is actually a flower head. a n d C . B . p h o s p h o r u s . or stir-fry. S o m e claim the smaller side-shoots are even m o r e flavorful than the central head. w h i c h n e e d consistent moisture. a s w e l l a s c a l c i u m . m u l c h in w a r m e r weather. you're g r o w i n g leaves a n d flowers. 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 . T r y it p l a i n w i t h just a little dressing. boil. a n d iron. Broccoli can be served fresh a n d raw w i t h m a y o n n a i s e . serrated k n i f e or clippers. leaving as m a n y leaves on the plant as possible. T o c o o k it. root maggots. Problems C u t w o r m s . as n e w smaller heads w i l l f o r m for a s e c o n d harvest. y o u can steam. even if it l o o k s a little small. club root. and cabbage w o r m s . 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. or t o p p e d w i t h a cheese sauce. It's still edible w h e n it's small. N e v e r let broccoli d r y o u t or wilt. Refrigerate if you're n o t using immediately. 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 . green w o r m s . When: Harvest as s o o n as a h e a d appears full a n d tight. don't r e m o v e the plant. o r a n y d i p . Preparing and Using Broccoli contains v i t a m i n s A . 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. W i t h i n a few weeks. 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. o r can b e c h o p p e d fresh i n t o a salad. sour c r e a m . 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. Hints and Tips After y o u c u t the m a i n stalk.

a n d form g o o d heads. Starting Location: Full sun. leaves are spreading to other squares. Transplanting: D o n ' t let transplants get too large before planting t h e m outside. cut back on watering or the head will grow too fast and split. but after the head is formed and while it is w e e k l y . colors. m o v e to full s u n l i g h t as s o o n as first shoots appear. Start all seeds in individual containers for transplanting into the garden. while the late. Seeds s p r o u t in 5 to 8 days at 70°F. Maintenance:^?:^ hurt the plant. K e e p w a r m (70°F) until s p r o u t e d . 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. 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). For a s e c o n d c r o p in the fall. a n d leaf textures. 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 . Crowing Watering: C a b b a g e needs lots o f water to head u p properly. 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 . and can be g r o w n as an early. the early-season variety is smaller and faster growing. sizes.to late-season crop. c u t a w a y a n y extra-large b o t t o m leaves if they are yellow. and sometimes flower the first year if allowed to get too large. .or long-season variety is usually bigger. C a b b a g e c o m e s in a variety of shapes. If large lower g r o w i n g to full size.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 ." T h i s will not Harvesting How: C u t off the entire head w i t h a sharp. serrated knife or clippers. All varieties grow best in cool spring or fall weather. 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. cut away any portions that are "over the line.

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. try pelleted seeds if necessary. Carrot Description Carrots are related to the wildflower Q u e e n A n n e ' s lace. Carrots can be either l o n g and thin or short and stubby. 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.Basil and Beyond 201 When: A n y t i m e the head starts to develop and feels firm. Starting Location: Full sun. Plant t w o or three seeds in each of the 16 spaces in a square. but y o u hope it's a whopper. 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 . If y o u have several plants. even if it means daily spraving in s u n n y weather. Problems Slugs and snails. p i c k the shape and size that best suits your garden. Seeds are v e r y small. Water soil and cover the square w i t h a plastic-covered cage. 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. but can stand partial shade. and cabbage w o r m s (their worst e n e m y ) . K e e p the g r o u n d m o i s t at all times. and you'll be left with nothing. Seeds Outdoors: Sprouts in t w o to three w e e k s o u t d o o r s . aphids. Transplanting: D o e s not transplant well. Seeds Indoors: N o . . T h e seeds are so small that planting t h e m can be very tedious. 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. Otherwise. T h e y m a y split in h o t weather and go to seed. don't wait until all the heads are large.

b u t s e e m best w h e n served w i t h a dressing. carrots also c o n t a i n c a l c i u m . deer. w h e n they're o n l y half size and at their sweetest and most tender. or a d d e d to soups a n d stews. When: P i c k t h e m early. For a late w i n t e r harvest. C a r r o t s are delicious fresh and r a w — s h r e d d e d . Preparing and Using S c r u b w i t h a vegetable b r u s h . 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 . 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 . 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 ) . 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. Harvesting How: Pull up those w i t h the largest tops. M o s t of the v i t a m i n s are in the skin or close to the surface. Maintenance: W e e d weekly. or cut into sticks for snacking. or sprinkled w i t h parsley a n d grated cheese. and voles. Virtually disease-free. b u t don't peel t h e m .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 . dig around the plant w i t h y o u r fingers to test the size. 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 . sliced thinly. a d a b of sour c r e a m . rabbits. otherwise carrots are relatively work-free. If you're n o t sure w h i c h are biggest. w o o d c h u c k s . 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 ) . Problems C a r r o t rust fly. Cauliflower . T h e y can be served in a variety of dishes.

Serve h o t w i t h cheese sauce. Harvesting How: C u t off the entire head at its base w i t h a sharp knife or clippers. or stir-frying. before the b u d s separate or o p e n . Seeds Outdoors: N o t satisfactory.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. water. 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. Marinate any leftovers for addition to salads or relishes. Hints and Tips For w h i t e varieties that are n o t s e l f . When: Harvest as s o o n as the h e a d enlarges. repeat the process a n y t i m e f r o m June 15 to July 1. w h i c h can turn the head yellow. cauliflower soup is superb and quite unusual. Problems C u t w o r m s . Growing Watering: N e v e r let plants d r y out. . a n d p r o v i d e a shade cage. Place a c u t w o r m collar a r o u n d the stem. Starting Location: Full sun. or just sprinkled w i t h grated cheese.b l a n c h i n g . K e e p w a r m (70°F) u n t i l s p r o u t e d . is firm. Maintenance: W e e d weekly. a n d has a nice w h i t e color. m o v e to full s u n l i g h t as s o o n as first shoots appear. 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 . 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. Preparing and Using Serve florets fresh and raw w i d i any salad dressing or dip. Be extra careful w h e n p l a n t i n g . Plant 5 to 10 seeds in a c u p of v e r m i c u l i t e . It makes a marvelous addition to any s o u p or stew. occasionally cabbage w o r m s . For a s e c o n d c r o p in the fall. 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. C o o k by steaming. 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. salad dressing. and cabbage loopers. C h o p p e d cauliflower is excellent in tossed salads. b u t will tolerate partial shade. season is too short before h o t weather arrives. 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. boiling. 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. Seeds Lndoors:Wi\\ s p r o u t in 5 to 10 days at 70°F. 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. club root. root maggots. b e n d or break large leaves over the t o p w h e n heads start to form. m u l c h in h o t weather. 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 .

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

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

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 . Transplanting: D o e s n o t transplant well. Seeds Indoors: N o . m o r e if it's n o t refrigerated. Since y o u r Mel's M i x stays so loose a n d friable. a d d to a relish dish. 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. m o r e in the h o t weather. 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. T h e m o s t c o m m o n color of corn is yellow. ear w o r m . a n d squirrels. 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 . As n e w varieties o f c o r n are d e v e l o p e d . Up to 50 percent of the flavor is lost in the first 12 hours of storage. locate corn where it won't shade other crops because it gets so tall. 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. 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 . T h e later season types taste better than the earlier season varieties. at the p r o p e r s p a c i n g . If y o u can't use it immediately. If m i l k y juice squirts o u t . 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. 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 . T h e r e are relatively f e w diseases that b o t h e r the h o m e gardener. 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. so try to c o o k a n d eat it as s o o n as possible. Seeds Outdoors:Sprouts in 5 to 10 days o u t d o o r s . To see if the ear is ready. 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. Maintenance: Weed w e e k l y .206 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING T h e r e m a n y colors and varieties of corn. corn is excellent a d d e d to a n y k i n d of s o u p or stew. D r i v e a p o s t . Of course. the c o r n is n o t quite ready to p i c k . 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. Place a r a c c o o 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 . or serve w a r m w i t h butter and parsley. To get a c o n t i n u o u s harvest. birds. 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.w i r e cage w h e n the c o r n is 6 inches tall. If y o u harvest m o r e than y o u eat. 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 . r e m o v e the c h i c k e n . 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 . 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. Growing Watering: Weekly. Starting Location: Full sun. cut the kernels off the c o b a n d freeze t h e m . if the juice is clear. it's ready. T h e y s h o u l d be p l u m p a n d full. r a c c o o n s . i n c l u d i n g c o r n borer. husk a n d refrigerate it. 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 five to ten days. and keep soil moist until seeds sprout. A v o i d w e t t i n g the leaves. tear away the b o t t o m carefully. I f the c u p is w a x e d cardboard or a heavy paper. about 3 feet o f f the g r o u n d . P u n c h holes i n the b o t t o m for drainage.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. i n c l u d i n g ones for p i c k l i n g or serving raw. will sprout even faster at 80°F. 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. so plenty of moisture is required for proper g r o w t h . T h e plants will easily g r o w right up t h r o u g h the netting. 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. a n d use. 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 . K e e p w a r m (at least 7 0 ° F ) until s p r o u t e d . 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 . 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. w a t c h o u t for beetles. twice w e e k l y in h o t weather. Starting Location: Full sun. shape. water. . as this spreads any fungus disease that m a y be present. avoid disturbing the roots. C u c u m b e r s have the highest water c o n t e n t of any vegetable. Transplanting: Plant the c u p and all in the g r o u n d at the proper plant spacing. to 8 days at 7 0 ° F . N e v e r let the soil d r y out. m u l c h in h o t weather. T h e r e are m a n y varieties r a n g i n g in size. Water and cover w i t h a shade cage. Plant o n e seed in individual paper cups f i l l e d w i t h Mel's M i x . Maintenance: W e e d weekly. Cucumber Description T h e c u c u m b e r is a g a r d e n favorite. although Seeds Indoors: Sprouts in 4 the vine types will toletate some shade. A l t h o u g h b o t h v i n e and bush varieties are available. place presoaked seeds at proper spacing. keep vines o n the trellis. a n d is v e r y easy to g r o w in w a r m weather. Growing Watering: Weekly. m o v e to full s u n l i g h t as s o o n as the first shoots appear.

mildew. 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. Hints and Tips Don't let the fruit get too large. 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. . H o w e v e r . Don't try the old practice of eating the large cukes and leaving the smaller ones on the vine. because in o n l y o n e or t w o days the little ones will be big. or the plant will stop producing. 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 . 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. b r o w n . o r m a r i n a t e for relish. Instead. c u b i n g .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. Problems C u c u m b e r beetles. m o s t types yield a rather large. and mosaic. Eggplant Description E g g p l a n t is a n i c e . or w h i t e and are smaller and rounder. T h e y are easily g r o w n . Try some of the long. pick early and often. 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. 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. e g g . s o m e of the n e w e r varieties are yellow.s h a p e d fruit that is b l a c k to purple. wilt. T h e y also go well in any salad or arranged around a spoonful of cottage cheese. Serve fresh.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. thin varieties for a fun crop. 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. Serve long. Peel the fatter varieties before slicing. 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.

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

w a r m nights. and extremely suited for S F G — i t grows quickly. 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 . T h e r e are several types of lettuce: the solid head usually found in grocery stores. this m e t h o d is time-saving but space-consuming. Start 5 to 10 seeds o f several different varieties in c u p s the stronger the light. water daily until they sprout. and smaller variety of head lettuce. 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 . L o o k for the types that are suitable for s u m m e r or winter seasons. very gratifying. shade is w e l c o m e d in the h o t summer. a faster g r o w i n g . w h i c h is a loose head w i t h a rougher texture than the leaf types. Transplanting: M o v e plants into the garden anytime until they are half g r o w n . or B i b b . Sprouts in 2 to 3 days at 70°F. 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. K e e p w a r m (70°F) until s p r o u t e d . but w i t h care and protection. the loose head. 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 ) . Plant special varieties sold as heat. 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. it tolerates s o m e heat and can be g r o w n nearly year-round. and d r y soil of s u m m e r cause lettuce to bolt to seed. m o v e to full s u n l i g h t as s o o n as first shoots appear. Seeds Outdoors: Sprouts in 5 to 1 0 days. T h e R o m a i n e leaf is comprised of m a n y tight.or b o l t resistant.210 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Lettuce Description Lettuce is so easy to grow. If space is y o u r concern. 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. l o n g days. W h i l e it does g r o w best in the cool seasons and withstands cold weather. 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. the higher the vitamin C content will be. so plant the s u m m e r crop directly in the garden. T h e h o t weather. . Plant o n e or t w o seeds in each hole. however. Transplants seem to bolt to seed more easily than direct-seeded plants. prolifically and looks great. R o m a i n e or cos. 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. A s w i t h all leafy vegetables. Starting Location: Full sun to partial shade.

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

pinch out all new. takes 5 days in 70°F soil.212 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Melon (Cantaloupe. 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. g r o w o n a vertical frame. Plants do n o t transplant well. and the netting pattern o n the rind (if it's a cantaloupe) becomes very p r o m i n e n t . Plant single seeds in individual paper cups. If it resists parting. T h e y s h o u l d be g r o w n o n vertical frames. it all seems v e r y w o r t h w h i l e . 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. a s t h e y will mature s o o n e r a n d save space. Seeds Outdoors: Won't sprout in soil below 65°F. T h e stem will slip off easily w h e n the melon is rotated. 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. 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 . O f course. C o v e r w i t h a plastic-covered cage. even u p to 90°F for s p r o u t i n g . the hotter the better. R e d u c e water w h e n melons are almost ripe to develop their sweetness. M u s k m e l o n . the m e l o n is n o t ripe. K e e p the leaves dry to avoid fungal diseases and mildew. Seeds Indoors: S p r o u t s in 5 to 10 days at 7 0 ° F . Crowing Watering: M u l c h heavily in hot weather. . support the half-grown melons in slings. Maintenance: Weed weekly. Transplanting: Plant o u t d o o r s t w o w e e k s after the last frost date. one w e e k after last frost. so don't start them until t w o weeks before planting outside. w h e n the harvest finally c o m e s . 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. R e m o v e weakest one later. 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. Plant a presoaked seed in each square foot. 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. When: Harvest w h e n e v e r it has a strong m e l o n scent.

'lt w o u l d also be prudent to start b y g r o w i n g the smaller varieties. Problems C u t w o r m s . they p r o d u c e well. 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. m i l d e w and wilt disease. O n c e the flowers have b l o o m e d . a n d get s o m e g o o d pictures! Okra Description O k r a is a tall. heart-shaped leaves. blueberries. or custard. p u m p k i n s ! Be prepared to attract a c r o w d . a n n u a l vegetable. the p o d s g r o w v e r y quickly. M e l o n s get v e r y heavy. 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. chilled. 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.s e a s o n . so m a k e sure y o u r vertical frame is strong a n d w e l l . ribbed. short-season varieties. and cut into wedges. They're excellent for breakfast or served as a dinner dessert. C u t m u s k m e l o n s or cantaloupes in half. O k r a loves h o t weather. as they grow well vertically. O n e big caution: m a k e darn sure y o u r vertical frame is strong. and w o u l d be a g o o d trial for y o u r experiment. or green. T h e edible part is a l o n g . some. red. It is a pretty p l a n t w i t h large hibiscus-like y e l l o w flowers. m o r e c o m m o n varieties. a n d a t h i c k w o o d y stem. Y o u might also look for smaller. are very sweet. w a r m .s u p p o r t e d . 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. scoop out the seeds. 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. . Yes. 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. or serve an entire half filled w i t h ice cream.Basil and Beyond 213 Preparing and Using S o m e people like melons w a r m . fuzzy p o d that can be yellow. 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.

no m o r e than 4 inches long. Breaking or pulling the pods can damage the plant. o n i o n s . then plant 1 i n c h deep. Transplanting: Set seedlings o u t after the soil has w a r m e d . . m u l c h in very h o t weather. 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. When: Harvest p o d s daily w h e n they are y o u n g . and at least 3 m o n t h s before the first fall frost. Seeds Outdoors: S o a k seeds overnight. p e p p e r s . a n d e g g p l a n t . marinated in salads. 7 to 10 days after the last frost. 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.214 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Starting Location: Full sun. Growing Watering: K e e p soil fairly moist. Maintenance: R e m o v e o l d . W h o l e . verticillium or fusarium wilt. C o o k e d okra can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. c o r n . 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. 2 weeks after the last frost. 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. O l d e r pods can be t o o t o u g h to eat. Seeds Indoors: 6 to 8 w e e k s before the last spring frost. 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 . o r c o o k e d o n its o w n . a n d goes w e l l w i t h t o m a t o e s . fresh o k r a p o d s also m a k e excellent pickles. O k r a can be served raw. Harvesting How: C u t pods from plants w i t h a pruner or knife. 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.

Seeds Outdoors: If the season is n o t l o n g e n o u g h for seeds. 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 . 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 ) . firm the soil. Push the tiny o n i o n sets into the ground. the b u l b reaches harvest s o m e t i m e in the middle of the summer. If y o u have a short g r o w i n g season. a n d slip in a plant. T r i m o f f the b r o w n . w h i l e others are fine are for storing. b u t will tolerate some Seeds Indoors: S p r o u t s in 5 days at 70°F. S o m e need to be used soon after harvest. and that's all there is to it. Starting Location: O n i o n s like a s u n n y spot. 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 . or seeds. 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 . fat ones. O n i o n s c a n be p l a n t e d f r o m sets. 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 .Basil and Beyond 215 Onion Description O n i o n s are easy to grow. 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 . T h e r e are m a n y types of onions. pointed side up at the proper spacing. Maintenance: W e e d weekly. to small. W i t h scissors. Growing Watering: W i t h h o l d water w h e n the tops start to fall over. 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. Transplanting: Four weeks before the last spring frost. w i t h their tops just s h o w i n g above the soil. K e e p w a r m (70°F) until sprouted. use sets. a n d water. 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 ) . 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 . plants. 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 ) . from large. m o v e to full s u n l i g h t as s o o n as first shoots appear. 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. Water. golf-ball-sized varieties. S p r i n k l e a b o u t shade. C h e c k the seed catalog descriptions and pick y o u r favorites.

especially for those folks w h o m u s t be careful of eating too m a n y onions. B r u s h t h e m off and clean off any loose skins. or braid tops together and h a n g in a cool. w h i c h will give y o u twice the w h i t e stalk. b e n d over the remaining ones w i t h y o u r hand. Resistant to m o s t diseases. 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. 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. T h i s makes it easier for the b u l b to expand. Problems O n i o n fly m a g g o t . the tops will d r y up w h i l e the bulbs attain their m a x i m u m size. T h e t o p s . 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. t h e n store for later use. d r y area for storage all winter.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. roots. Or a d d fresh. 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 . It will n o t h u r t if y o u can actually see the top of every bulb. or roots by r u b b i n g t h e m between y o u r p a l m s . H a n g dried onions in a m e s h bag. dried tops. Hints and Tips Scallions a n d g r e e n . 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. 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. in fact. W h e n the majority have fallen. T h i s makes t h e m m o r e useful. For a real treat. .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. In a short while.

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 . a n d doesn't need a great deal of care! Pests don't seem to b o t h e r it. It's said the flat-leaf varieties taste better. a n d for early-spring g r o w i n g the f o l l o w i n g year. is extremely n u t r i t i o u s . Seeds are v e r y slow to g e r m i n a t e . 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 . but the curlyleaf types are better l o o k i n g . Maintenance: W e e d weekly. yields a b i g c o n t i n u o u s harvest. m o v e to full sunlight as s o o n as first shoots appear. A l l in all. and m o r e c o m m o n l y g r o w n . K e e p w a r m (70°F) until sprouted. 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). but basically t w o kinds: flat-leaved and curly. 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. E i t h e r way. 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 . 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 . 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. 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. T h e r e are m a n y varieties. Harvesting How: C u t outer leaves as n e e d e d . 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 . Seeds Outdoors: Better to start indoors because seeds are slow a n d difficult to germinate. for a large harvest. parsley is a very easy addition to y o u r S F G . and it's disease-resistant too. 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. . Seeds Indoors: S p r o u t s in 1 0 to 1 5 days at 70°F. M u l c h heavily for c o n t i n u a l harvest in winter. c u t o f f the entire p l a n t slightly above tiny m i d d l e shoots.

sweet. Parsley is loaded w i t h vitamins A and C. Sugar Snap Description W h o doesn't like the taste of fresh peas? Yet until the introduction of sugar snap peas. 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. Pea. particularly potatoes. or even plan ahead a n d p o t up several for holiday. it doesn't seem to add up to m u c h ! T h e sugar snap peas. or C h r i s t m a s gifts. birthday. T h e y can be eaten raw or c o o k e d . 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 .218 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Preparing and Using Parsley is g o o d in soups. and are absolutely wonderful. shaded toward s u m m e r if possible. T h e y are extremely high yielding. T h e y are a m u s t in my garden. 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. Even w h e n you're all finished. n o t to m e n t i o n the shelling. Seeds Indoors: N o . casseroles. 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 . 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. . it's excellent over boiled vegetables. and w i t h fish or any k i n d of meat. o r edible p o d varieties. Sugar snap peas are juicy. stews. space. Very few of the pea pods even m a k e it to the kitchen now. T h e y have about five times the harvest of conventional peas. 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. and crisp. have c h a n g e d all o f that. and y o u can eat the entire p o d . and effort to harvest.

or stir-frying. T h e versatility of these tasty peas stretches the i m a g i n a t i o n . 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. or still thin a n d barely starting to s h o w the peas inside. 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 . s t e a m i n g . . T r y t h e m r a w in salads. . If the p o d s start to lose their nice pea-green color and turn b r o w n on the vine. 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. 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. a n d contain p h o s p h o r u s and iron. store w h a t y o u can't use right away in refrigerator. Growing Watering: N e v e r let the peas d r y out. 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 . plain. 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. 219 Seeds Outdoors: Sprouts in 10 to 15 days o u t d o o r s . especially d u r i n g w a r m weather w h e n the leaves get w e t . T r y to use t h e m as fresh as possible. keep water off the vines. 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 . 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. 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 . As the p o d s get nearly full size. they are overripe. o r c o o k t h e m b y b o i l i n g . . B i . s o m e d e v e l o p a string a l o n g each e d g e . and C.Basil and Beyond Transplanting: D o e s n o t transplant well. a n d b o t h strings w i l l easily peel off. 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 . Maintenance: W e e d weekly. Problems No pests to speak of (except those people in the family that eat t o o m a n y ) . w i t h a d i p . Sugar snaps are rich in vitamins A. W a t e r a n d cover w i t h a plastic-covered t u n n e l . 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 . K e e p the vines trained up the vertical frame. b u t sometimes prone to p o w d e r y mildew. m u l c h as weather gets w a r m . Harvesting How: Carefully (with t w o hands) p i c k or cut p o d s o f f their stems.

a n d s o m e p e o p l e g r o w several types for their decorative aspect. m u l c h in hot weather. plants w i t h an o p e n . give the sweet y e l l o w b a n a n a varieties a try. m o v e to full sunlight as soon as first shoots appear. If all you've g r o w n are the green bell p e p p e r s . Peppers c o m e in several different shapes. so w o r k carefully a m o n g t h e m w h e n harvesting. Transplanting: Peppers need w a r m soil so don't transplant Seeds Outdoors: T h e season is too short to start outdoors. curved. 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. Maintenance: W e e d weekly. Leave a b o u t 1 inch of stem on each pepper for a longer storage life. 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. Growing until t w o weeks after the last spring frost. and produce a lot for the space allotted. orange and yellow. hot chili peppers.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. Y o u can b u y transplanrs locally. from the bell shape to the skinny. . or start seeds yourself.and disease-free. cover w i t h 'A inch m o r e vermiculite. red. 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. in fact. 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 . Watering: D o n ' t w e t the leaves. 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). 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). When: Harvest at almost any stage o f development! Basically. Peppers can still be eaten w h e n red or yellow.m e s h wire cage to s u p p o r t plants w i t h o u t staking. this causes fungal and wilt infections. pest. K e e p w a r m (70°F) until sprouted. Seeds Indoors: Sprouts in 1 0 to 1 5 days at 70°F. T h e y look great in the garden. cover half-grown easily. T h e y range in color from green.

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

For later p o t a t o e s . leave the potatoes on t o p of the soil for 2 to 3 days to dry. and root k n o t n e m a t o d e . 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. 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.). For an extra harvest. bring the potatoes into a garage or basement to dry. place four seed pieces at the proper spacing w i t h eyes u p . w h i c h should n o t be peeled. W h e n sprouts appear. 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 . 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. and in salads. dark location for 3 to 6 m o n t h s . R o u n d w h i t e p o t a t o e s are t h i n . grilled. If the weather is wet. or can well. To peel or n o t to peel is generally a result of the preparation m e t h o d or personal preference. Do n o t store potatoes near apples. Potatoes do n o t freeze. or baked. use the high-rise m e t h o d described i n C h a p t e r 4 . T h e exception is thin-skinned n e w potatoes. 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. K e e p d o i n g this until the hole is filled back to the top. Yellow-fleshed p o t a t o e s are g o o d for s t e a m i n g . scab. Tubers exposed to sunlight while g r o w i n g will turn green and are m i l d l y toxic. R e m o v e about 5 inches of y o u r soil in that square foot. and just barely cover t h e m . steamed. . a n d m a s h i n g . fried. leaving the smaller ones t o c o n t i n u e g r o w i n g . Store potatoes in a cool (40°F. Later potatoes can be left in the soil until 2 to 3 weeks after the foliage has died b a c k in fall. add e n o u g h Mel's M i x to again cover the green leafy sprouts. Preparing and Using Potatoes c a n be boiled. Problems Flea beetles. roasting. 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. 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 . as u n c o v e r e d s p u d s w i l l t u r n green. 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 . A day or t w o before planting. and slugs. dry. 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. 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. Maintenance: Protect f r o m frost. a n d can be lifted all at o n c e for storing. leaf hoppers. 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 .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. w h i c h give o f f a chemical that will d a m a g e the potatoes. blight. T a k e care n o t to stab or cut the potatoes as y o u dig. 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. If the weather is dry. 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. U s e o n l y certified disease-free seed potatoes. Growing Watering: Increase watering d u r i n g flowering. T h i s will t o u g h e n the skin for storage.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. O b l o n g mature w h i t e potatoes are rather d r y a n d starchy. u n t i l the plants b e g i n t o f l o w e r .

Seeds Indoors: N o . W i n t e r or l o n g . T h e kids will love planting the blue or purple potato variety.k e e p i n g varieties need t w o m o n t h s to mature. Fall radishes take 6 to 8 weeks and store very well. W h o can pass up a vegetable that matures in o n l y three weeks? Plus. 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. lots of water. they're referred to as winter radishes. 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. pink. so the S F G m e t h o d is very suitable for this vegetable. even through the h o t weather. 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 . P l a n t li i n c h d e e p in spring. plant s o m e every w e e k of the g r o w i n g year. so start t h e m at least that l o n g before the first fall frost. and will mature in 3 to 4 weeks. Growing Watering: D o n ' t let radishes stop g r o w i n g or d r y o u t . 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. 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. Transplanting: D o e s not transplant well. Radishes planted in the spring are normally red or w h i t e colored. a n d a t h i c k m u l c h . If y o u really like radishes a lot. Seeds Outdoors: Sprouts in five to ten days outdoors d e p e n d i n g o n temperature. and even s o m e black varieties. 1 inch deep in summer. white. but controlled. .Basil and Beyond 223 Hints and Tips Let the plant continue to g r o w for a late harvest of bigger potatoes. lack o f w a t e r causes hot-tasting and p i t h y radishes. T h e y vary in color from red. harvest. Starting Location: Full sun to partial shade. It's easy to plant too m a n y radishes. T h e y don't like being crowded.

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

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

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

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

and until the fruits are 6 to 9 inches long. Place a plastic-covered cage over the seeds to w a r m the soil. F o r v i n e types. w h i c h contains the p o l l e n — o h . ( Z u c c h i n i can be trained to g r o w vertically. 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. 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. S o m e t i m e s y o u have to harvest at least three times a week. if the seed p a c k e t or catalog doesn't say so. C o o k lightly b y s t e a m i n g o r stir-frying. Didn't y o u r m o t h e r or father talk to y o u in the garden? . 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. grated cheese. p o w d e r y mildew. call the seed c o m p a n y ' s toll-free n u m b e r a n d ask. B i . Serve squash b y itself or w i t h o t h e r vegetables. or just as an appetizer a n y t i m e . p l a n t 2 p r e s o a k e d seeds in the center of a nine-square space. I f y o u d o w a n t t o start i n d o o r s . Growing Watering: K e e p the leaves d r y to prevent p o w d e r y mildew. 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. 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 . seasoned w i t h a little dressing. D o n ' t let t h e m g r o w a n y longer. When: Harvest as soon as the blossoms wilt. or c h o p p e d parsley. 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 . Squash loses flavor as the seeds inside mature. 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 . Seeds Outdoors: Sprouts in 5 to 10 days o u t d o o r s . 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.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. w h i c h is quite a space saver. y o u k n o w the rest o f the story. w i t h a d i p . S q u a s h is high in vitamins A. A f t e r s p r o u t i n g . 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. 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. 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 . T h e female already has a m i n i a t u r e fruit right before the blossom. It's best to start seeds o u t d o o r s . 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. P l a n t 2 w e e k s before y o u r last frost date. they g r o w that fast. Transplanting: Plant outdoors on y o u r last spring frost date.) 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. and C. Starting Location: Full sun. Problems Squash vine borer a n d squash b u g . 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 . 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. T h e male blossom.

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

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

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 . Plant one vine-type plant per square foot. take the longest to m a t u r e . m i d s e a s o n . 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. 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 . 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. 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 . 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). B u s h types are planted in the center of a nine square f o o t area. Preparing and Using T h i s is a subject fit for an entire b o o k . 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. 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. K e e p a d d i n g m u l c h as the season gets hotter. " Starting Location: Full sun. T h e y g r o w the biggest t o m a t o e s . the v i n e types. Soak a plate full in vinegar overnight for the next . a n d in fact m a n y have been written. or even better. W h a t can one say in a few paragraphs? Tomatoes can be used in a multitude of ways. cut the stem so as n o t to disturb the rest of the remaining fruit. Seeds Indoors: Sprouts in o n e w e e k at 70°F. m o v e to full sunlight as s o o n as first shoots appear. Seeds Outdoors: T h e season is t o o short to start outdoors. Growing Watering: K e e p water off the plant leaves. Indeterminate types. you'll understand the value of the varieties that are disease. K e e p a careful w a t c h over the plants. Prune o f f lower dead or y e l l o w leaves. If y o u live in a longer-season climate. 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 . Transplanting: H a r d e n o f f transplants for o n e to t w o weeks. 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 y p e varieties. because any check or stoppage of the g r o w t h will affect the ultimate bearing capacity of the plant. 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. 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. a n d last until frost kills t h e m . and plant outside on or after y o u r frostfree date. T h e resistant varieties taste great a n d also m a t u r e in early. or late season. Bush varieties that g r o w no m o r e than 3 feet tall are the determinate kinds. Tomatoes have t w o different g r o w t h habits: determinate and indeterminate (in other w o r d s .a n d pest-resistant. Leave the cage on until the plants are at least 18 inches tall and p u s h i n g at the top. 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 . 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. try p o u r i n g y o u r favorite salad dressing over that same dish of sliced tomatoes. Just barely cover w i t h vermiculite a n d water.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. 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 . b u s h or vine). especially after transplanting t h e m into seedling trays. so inspect daily.t o late season.

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

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

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

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

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. T u c k a sprig of m i n t into a fruit c u p for color and scent. Plants m a y wilt a n d turn b r o w n w i t h o u t sufficient water. In a Square Foot G a r d e n . Seeds Lndoors: N o . . apple. T h i s is where n e w branches will form. If u s i n g a pail.i n c h square or r o u n d plastic pail or clay p o t in that square. bruising the b o t t o m leaves a little to impart that refreshing flavor. 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. Preparing and Using Use fresh m i n t leaves in sauces. Problems M i n t is basically disease. does n o t c o m e true f r o m seed. Pull the entire p o t up in the fall a n d take it inside as a houseplant. Seeds Outdoors: N o . or to flavor herb teas. however. Maintenance: C u t back to p r o m o t e bushiness. B u t b e w a r e — m i n t is invasive. Use the leaves as a flavoring a n d sprigs as a garnish. Transplanting: Plant divisions a n y t i m e f r o m spring t h r o u g h fall. 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 . If u s i n g a clay p o t . drill s o m e small drainage holes in the b o t t o m . and all mints give o f f a lovely scent w h e n the leaves are crushed. sink a 1 2 . b u t should spring right b a c k after a g o o d soaking. 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. do n o t harvest the leaves of creeping (groundcover) mints. c u t a 6-inch diameter circle around the plants in late spring a n d again in early fall. 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. salads.236 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING s u c h as spearmint. Starting Location: S u n to partial shade. and will crop up anywhere it can. Growing Watering: Weekly.a n d pest-free. Harvesting How: C u t m i n t stems back to a pair of leaves. m i n t jelly. Float a sprig of m i n t in y o u r favorite s u m m e r drink. l e m o n . and chocolate. To keep m i n t plants in b o u n d s . a n d pull o u t a n y runners outside the circle. because the benefits truly o u t w e i g h the extra w o r k . p e p p e r m i n t . It sends o u t t o u g h runners that g r o w roots and leaves every few inches.

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. Starting Location: Full sun. seeds need light to germinate. It is one of few herbs w h o s e flavor is stronger dried than fresh. 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. and of course. so always a d d it in the last few m i n u t e s . It is a pretty p l a n t w i t h r o u n d leaves tightly covering the stems. 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 . after last frost. 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. b u t the flavor is best after the buds have formed but just before the flowers open. Crowing Watering: Weekly. pizza. Harvesting How: C u t stems back to a pair of leaves. 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. c r u m b l e t h e m lightly a n d store in an airtight container. T h i s is where n e w branches will form. soups. t o o m u c h w a t e r will cause root rot. sauces. 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 . Seeds Indoors: 4 to 6 weeks before last spring frost. . G i v e oregano frequent trimmings to keep it neat and so y o u can dry the leaves. 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. W h e n the leaves have dried. casseroles. Maintenance: W a t e r sparingly. D i v i d e every 2 to 3 years. Use oregano in salads. poultry dishes. Transplanting: Plant divisions anytime after the temperatures reach 4 5 ° F Seeds Outdoors: Spring. 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 .

T h e r e is i n d e e d a dahlia for e v e r y o n e . dahlias literally c o m e in all shapes a n d sizes. 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). In the fall. f r o m light green to deepest green to b u r g u n d y . and 18 classifications of form. cactus. .238 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING Problems O r e g a n o is usually pest. 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. Seeds Indoors: Start seeds 6 to 8 weeks before last spring frost. join y o u r local Dahlia Society and you'll fit right in! Starting Location: Full sun to partial shade for best results. T o o m u c h water can cause root rot. W a r n i n g : dahlias can be habit-forming. a n d m u l t i c o l o r s a b o u n d . T h i s gets c o m p l i c a t e d . FLOWERS Dahlia Description N a t i v e to M e x i c o .and disease-free. Flowers c o m e i n every c o l o r except blue a n d g r e e n . 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 . T h e y are g r o u p e d into nine sizes based on the diameter of the flower. If y o u get h o o k e d (I did). Border or d w a r f dahlias g r o w 12 to 24 inches high and rarely need staking. especially s h o w y types. Seedlings emerge in 5 to 2 1 days. o r b u y roots (called tubers) for special. G a r d e n dahlias are in the 2 to 4 foot range. E v e n the leaves c o m e in colors. t o p o m p o m . Plus. from the daisy-like decorative f o r m . a n d the fully d o u b l e stellar f o r m .

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

and even perennials. T h e r e are a few different kinds of d u s t y miller. f r o m f o r m a l t o casual. D u s t y miller is fairly hardy and will overwinter in m a n y areas. 2 to 3 weeks before last frost. that are easily c o n f u s e d w i t h d u s t y miller. weekly o n c e established. Harvesting C u t branches at any time for flower displays. . and for g o o d reason. T h e r e are other annuals. especially if cut back and m u l c h e d in the late fall. Even t h o u g h dusty miller is d r o u g h t tolerant. D u s t y miller plants have unattractive mustard-yellow flowers that g r o w on plants that have overwintered. too. If it has purple flowers. Starting Location: Full sun to partial shade. then it is most likely a perennial Regardless of w h i c h plant y o u actually have.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. seeds need light to germinate. 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. it will do best if watered regularly. Centaurea. 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. 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 . a n d interesting texture m a k e it a gardener's favorite. s o m e are lacy. Prune second-year plants back severely to maintain the plant's shape and remove any flowering stems as they appear. W a i t i n g until other annuals are ready to be planted after the last frost is fine. enjoy it as a lovely garden accent. Seeds Indoors: 10 to 15 weeks before last frost. Watering: W a t e r Maintenance: regularly w h e n y o u n g . If the plant in q u e s t i o n has w h i t e daisylike flowers. 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. T h e soft. it is probably Silver Lace. u n i q u e color. Its carefree nature.

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

H o w e v e r . Crowing Watering: W e e k l y w h e n y o u n g . 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. To reduce the aroma. 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. t w i c e w e e k l y w h e n larger. 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. b u t usually n o t practical as the season is too short. 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. 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 . 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 . 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. a n d the stress will attract insects a n d diseases. as l o n g as the stems are n o t bent. M a r i g o l d stems are short. 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 . Starting Location: G r o w in a s u n n y location. broccoli turned o u t to be their m o s t popular a n d bestselling vegetable. . R e m o v e the leaves that will be under water. When: C u t marigolds w h e n the flowers are one-half to three-quarters o p e n . Seeds Outdoors: O k a y . 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 . Transplanting: After last frost date. Problems Slugs a n d mites. so try to cut where the flower stem meets a m a i n stem.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 . Fully o p e n marigolds will die q u i c k l y in the vase. Botrytis blight and wilt. 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.

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. Slugs and snails. Starting Location: In hotter areas. plan to either discard or m o v e y o u r pansies. moist conditions. 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. and again in early fall to bring the gardening season to a colorful close. In w a r m e r climates. as l o n g as y o u remember that they like cool. When: C u t Problems pansy flowers just after they unfurl. and cut b a c k Harvesting How: Pansies make a cute cut flower.Basil and Beyond 243 Pansy Description T h e best w o r d to describe pansy flowers is "adorable. Seeds Outdoors: N o t practical. Pansies can be pansies f r o m seed i n d o o r s can be a challenge. . seeds s h o u l d s p r o u t in 10 days. 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 y are easy to grow. leggy plants to stimulate n e w g r o w t h . t h e n refrigerate for 2 w e e k s . Maintenance: K e e p pansies c o o l a n d moist. W h e n the weather gets hot and dry. water m o r e often if the plants wilt and in the heat o f the summer. 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 . insufficient moisture. Seeds Indoors: G r o w i n g before the last frost date. 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. 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. Barely cover the seed. O n c e exposed to r o o m temperatures. and as a last h o o r a h of color in the fall. keep in m i n d that the stems are quite short. Growing Watering: Weekly.

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

texture. n o t e n o u g h time. Starting Location: Full sun to partial shade.o f f . Transplanting: Set salvia o u t after the Seeds Outdoors: N o . a n d are q u i t e d r o u g h t tolerant o n c e they're established. Maintenance: Harvesting How: To encourage a fall crop of b l o o m s . 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. salmon. and a deep purple that looks almost black. they soil has w a r m e d as they can be very frost sensitive. a l t h o u g h hybridizers have c o m e up w i t h pink. D e a d h e a d often to p r o m o t e branching and uninterrupted flowering. a n d h e i g h t . mildew. C u t the plant back by one-third at planting time. Also k n o w n as scarlet sage. aphids and whitefly. 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. 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. 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. need light t o g e r m i n a t e . 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. Slugs. 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 . When: A s Problems soon as half the buds have o p e n e d o n the flower stalk. T h e s e lovely plants are w o r k h o r s e s in the h o t .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. 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. D o n ' t cover the tiny seeds. Growing Watering: Weekly.

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 . 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. the harvest). 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. w e a t h e r a n d pests b e i n g the m o s t destructive. Size also applies to w h o can garden. That's where you'll pass it m o r e often.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. notice a n d appreciate it m o r e and as a result. H e r e are the most i m p o r t a n t and far reaching of those features. 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. you'll take better care of it. 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 . To p r o d u c e the same harvest-picture. 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 . 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. 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 .f a s h i o n e d . In c l o s i n g . 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. 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 . 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.

you'll have a perfect soil for every single crop in y o u r garden. y o u w o n ' t have to go t o the store t o b u y fertilizer a t all. but the value a n d importance of the proper soil m i x c a n n o t be overemphasized. please be as e m p h a t i c as I am about the proper soil m i x . T h o s e that n e e d it. . 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. 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. It's t h a t s i m p l e . 247 Location for Sunlight All the vegetables need lots of sun: six to eight hours per day. 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. Fertilizer W e don't use fertilizer a n y m o r e . I'm sure y o u are tired of h e a r i n g about it. or that this crop needs a higher pH or a well-drained s o i l . take it. You're starting out w i t h a perfect soil for every single crop. A l t h o u g h that sounds nebulous at . . 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. 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 . Is that easy gardening or what? But besides all that. you're g o i n g to have a perfect garden because you're starting w i t h a perfect soil. o r any o f those things that m o s t books have t o tell y o u . . 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. and give the plants as m u c h water as they need. If any of y o u r garden area gets m o r e sun than other areas. 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. it's that easy. O f course. and it is readily available for t h e m . a n d minerals that any o f the plants c o u l d possibly w a n t . T h e general directions for watering in the Square Foot Garden are to m a k e sure the soil stays moist. 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. W e don't need it. . 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 . T h o s e that don't n e e d it. Watering T h e same goes for watering.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 . don't take 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 add extra h u m u s . We won't have to tell y o u to screen for stones. So we don't have to give y o u different or special directions a b o u t soil for every single plant. 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 . trace elements.

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. As we explained in an earlier chapter. weather. ( O f course. and the growth pattern of that particular plant. 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. i s that w i t h y o u r natural rich soil. 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 in all likelihood. i t all d e p e n d s o n size. 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). b u t h o w t o get rid o f it. then plant no m o r e than four or five plants for that t w o . and you'll k n o w w h i c h plants require m o r e . 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 ) . 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. So if y o u o n l y w a n t to have t w o heads a w e e k . season. N o matter w h a t m e t h o d o f watering y o u use.248 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING first. How Much to Plant Use extreme caution here. 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 .) 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. indoors or out. " 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. 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.w e e k harvest period. 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. 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. o f course. I n a d d i t i o n . so y o u get to plant it again in the fall. another important feature of Mel's M i x is that y o u or y o u r sprinkler system can't overwater. 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. D o n ' t forget broccoli is a cool weather crop. because this m i x drains o u t all the excess water. they'll never see that pest or disease. O u r feeling. Remember. y o u will soon b e c o m e acclimated to those directions. 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.) . 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. 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. Start o u t b y asking yourself. y o u won't have m o s t problems.

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 . 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. 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 . parsley. 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. unfortunately. 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 . 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. a n d harvesting patterns in y o u r area. Swiss chard. 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.f o o t r o w of b u s h beans. 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 . 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 . 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. squash or even peas a n d beans. 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 o m a t o . t w i s t i n g a n d y a n k i n g the beans off. 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. t h e n place it in y o u r salad b o w l or harvest basket. 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.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. 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 . 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. t o m a t o e s . 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 . it'll just m a k e it m u c h easier. For example. C u t the leaf or stem w i t h y o u r scissors. then it w o u l d be wise to call the c o u n t y agricultural extension agent. spinach. 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. like a pepper. or p o l e beans. 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 . 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 . or p a r s l e y — d o the same t h i n g .m e d o w n row system f r o m farming. 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 . 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 . R e m e m b e r .

and saute and broil m o r e often. h a p p y hobby. n o w I g r o w t h e m a n d love t h e m . of course. 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. ) 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. you'll find that n o t o n l y y o u r family life will improve. diseases. so they all need the same requirements a n d conditions o f g r o w i n g . 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. " M o r e important. 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. it's in the sunflower family . 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 . In . f l o w e r s . 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. for e x a m p l e . 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. 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. ( 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. "I've never eaten a radish before. Eat m o r e things raw a n d fresh right o u t of the garden. healthy. Y o u can see that in the N i g h t s h a d e family. S o m e members of different families will surprise y o u — l i k e lettuce. 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. . I w o u l d e n c o u r a g e y o u t o use less fat. 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). that student takes an interest in his garden. . 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. 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. W h e n y o u d o c o o k . 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. 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 . 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 . leave the m e a t o u t . 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 . 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. all plants in the same family have the same pests.250 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING basket. 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. 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.

. this always encourages others to get started! T h a n k y o u for all y o u r support. and herbs y o u can g r o w in y o u r Square Foot G a r d e n . We love letters and pictures. . 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 . they all require pretty m u c h the same type of care.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. 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. vegetables. So if y o u learn the families and the care of each family. 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. you'll have a m o r e satisfying garden experience. H a p p y Gardening! . 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. T h e n spread the w o r d and help others start their o w n S F G .

.

.

254 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING .

Charts 255 .

256 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING .

Charts 257 continued on following page .

258 ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING .

Charts 259 .

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 . 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. spinach. Insects or their larvae that prey on pest o r g a n i s m s a n d their eggs. t h e n seeds. grow. a n d pest c o n t r o l . County agent/extension agent. or use holdfasts to c l i m b vertical surfaces or supports. 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. 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. cold hardiness.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. soil analysis. O f t e n in response to v e r y h o t weather. Usually. . 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. annual. spiders. and die the same year. flower. beneficial insects. climber. bolting. A plant that lives its entire life in one season. or even cabbage to seed prematurely. 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 . 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. biennial. 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 . p r a y i n g m a n t i d s . a n d ants. 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 . a n d soldier bugs. It is genetically determined to germinate. It m a y twist. parasitic w a s p s . this usually affects the quality a n d flavor of the foliage crop. fluffy texture. s u c h a p l a n t sends up tall stalks that bear flowers. compost. set seed. A d d e d to soil of a n y t y p e . T h e y m a y be flying insects s u c h as l a d y b u g s . there is an office in every county. cling.

dormancy (dormant). See c o l d hardiness. a n d rest. describes trees a n d shrubs that lose their leaves in the fall. To s p r o u t . hybrid. herbicide. T h e o p p o s i t e of evergreen. s u c h as s p r i n g . . deciduous. or hoses. 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. T h e p e r i o d . the opposite o f w o o d y . To remove faded flowerheads from plants to improve their appearance. 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. 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 . handpick. germinate. 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 . x 261 division. to enter a fertile seed's first stage of development. laid t h r o u g h p l a n t e d beds. hardening-off. drip irrigation. herbaceous. 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. Describes plants that have fleshy or soft stems that die b a c k w i t h frost. A n y p r o d u c t or c h e m i c a l agent that kills plants. hardiness.Glossary deadhead. w h e n perennial plants temporarily cease active g r o w t h .b l o o m i n g b u l b s . s o m e act on seeds. 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. Splitting apart perennial plants to create several smaller r o o t e d segments. go d o r m a n t in the s u m m e r . usually winter. 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. a n d stimulate further flowering. 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 . S o m e act on foliage and stem tissues. 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 . S o m e plants. abort seed p r o d u c t i o n . direct-SOW.

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

m a k n g the p l a n t v e r y bushy. 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. T h e next leaves. variegated. sucker. A n e w g r o w i n g s h o o t . or colonies. T h e second set of leaves that appear on a y o u n g seedling. true leaves. T h i s sucker will g r o w into a side b r a n c h . 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. these leaves eventually fall o f f the plant. expands into a l i g h t w e i g h t . 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 . 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. U s u a l l y refers to plant foliage that is streaked. 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. As a seed sprouts. T h e y resemble the leaves of the species. seed leaf. 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. transplant. vermiculite. Usually r o u n d or b r o a d . See r o o t b o u n d . 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 . 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.000° F. often green w i t h cream or w h i t e . 263 . w a t e r . g r o u n d up a n d heated to over 2. a p p e a r i n g above the seed leaves. or m o t t l e d w i t h a contrasting color. A natural mineral that. root zone. H a v i n g various colors or color patterns. thinning. the first leaves to appear are 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. 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. e d g e d . it maximizes production in a limited space. succession planting. rootbound (or potbound).a b s o r b e n t material ideal for soil mix. b l o t c h e d .Glossary potbound. 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 . are the true leaves.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful