Let the planting fun begin !
Here are the basic steps of your starting herb garden, vegetable garden, potager …. get ready to grow your own organic food for delicious recipes!
This technique has been used for centuries (check out the recommended reading list) ----but the simplest method …perfect for beginners….is outlined in the book “The All New Square Foot Gardening” by Mel Bartholomew.
Even more starting herb garden, vegetable garden ideas can be found at the official Square Foot Gardening website...
Planter boxes are best….why?
1. Simplify and organize your gardening tasks.
2. Holds a nutrient rich soil mix above ground.
3. Makes it very easy to add protective covers/netting/screens.
4. Looks balanced, symmetrical and beautiful just like historic kitchen gardens.
5. In the unlikely event that you selected a box location that does not have sunshine 6 - 8 hours per day, then you can move your box to a sunnier spot.
Starting herb garden, vegetable garden Basics:
1. Pick your box location … here are a few guidelines to follow.
a. Select a site close to your house, especially good if you can see it from the house
b. Choose an area that gets 6 - 8 hours of daily sunshine…if your site proves to be too sunny it is easy to create a simple sun shade for your planting box
c. Avoid shrubs and trees since roots or shade may hinder growth
d. Do not place your planting box in a area that puddles after heavy rain
e. Do not worry about evaluating existing soil…this is an unnecessary step, you will be mixing your own nutrient rich planting material.
Mel Bartholomew recommends a 4 foot by 4 foot box to start with.
You’ll see in my example photos that 4 ft x 4 ft size didn’t work in my available yard space…SO….modify to fit your needs!
What shape box works best for you?
Here's the technique we followed for starting herb garden, vegetable garden planting boxes !
Following the step-by-step instructions in "The All New Square foot Gardening" book, we built four planter boxes that were 7 feet long, 2 feet wide and the minimum 6 inches deep.
A depth of only 6 inches is adequate for most vegetables utilizing the special planting mix.
Once the planter box “walls” were in place, we followed Mel's recommendation to remove the grass layer and cover the bottom with weed cloth to inhibit any unwanted growth.
As you can see in the photos, I needed a bit of help with this task (due to a back injury I was not up to the job!).
Okay - so we've set up our containers for our vegetable garden or herb garden right?...you have your planting containers...or planting boxes in place right?
You've measured them to be at least six inches deep...right?You've set them in a sunny spot with at least 6 - 8 hours of daily sunshine, right?
You are ready to mix your planting mix ... this is one task we must not skimp on...The mix is essential for square foot gardening success...Why ?
Remember our boxes only need to be 6 inches deep! The planting mix is so nutrient rich that a 1 foot by 1 foot square that is 6 inches deep will ensure success.
Note to Beginner Gardeners: You may have to "stand your ground" with traditional gardeners/nursery staff when purchasing the ingredients for your Square Foot Gardening mix....do not give in to the "experts"...no kidding! Do not be swayed with evidence for using soil that needs regular fertilizing, amending and pH testing. NOT NECESSARY. Your Square Foot Gardening Mix formula was devised decades ago, then tested, improved and re-tested to eliminate the frustration, mess and extra work while ensuring successful growing.
If there is a "secret" to growing food in small spaces ...well, then here it is....Your planting boxes will be filled with equal parts of the following measured by volume, not by weight:1/3 Peat Moss1/3 Coarse Vermiculite1/3 Blended Compost
******Must be at least 5 different compost types******
possible types: mushroom compost, cotton compost, worm castings compost, organic hummus, hen manure compost, actually manure from any "plant eating animal"
...sorry no cat or dog manure guys! but horse manure is fine.
REMEMBER: MEASURE BY VOLUME, NOT BY WEIGHT
Fellow Gardeners...this is important!!!!
THE ONLY TIME you will need to create this mix is the FIRST time you set up your planter boxes....from then on you only add a small amount of the blended composts ... that's it!!!!!
From season to season you just add a little more of the blended composts because the vermiculite and peat will be retained in the boxes!!!!!
HOW EASY IS THAT ???
Confused? Don't be...just check out my photos on the next page!
You are closer to your garden recipes than you think !
Let start planting !