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Square foot gardening

From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Square foot gardening is a method of gardening made popular by Mel Bartholemew in 1981. It is based on the idea that wide rows, used in traditional gardening, waste time, work, water, seeds and soil. It shows that quality vegetables can be grown in less space with less work. In this method, the garden space is divided into beds, separated by paths. Each bed measures 4' × 4' (120 cm × 120 cm), therefore covering an area of 16 sq ft (1.4 m²). These beds are further divided into sixteen squares of about one square foot (30 cm per side, 0.09 m²). A different type of plant is grown in each of those squares. A single large plant, like broccoli, will use one of the squares. Smaller plants can be spaced more tightly; for example, four heads of lettuce together in one square, or sixteen carrots. All work (planting, removing weeds, watering and harvesting) is done from the pathways. This stops the soil from being compacted.

Benefits of square foot gardening

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  • Less work. In traditional gardening methods, heavy tools are used to loosen the soil. In this method, the soil is never compacted and it remains loose. Weeding takes much less time.
  • Water savings. The loose ground holds the water better. This type of garden needs water less often than other methods. Also, water is poured by hand near the plant roots. Less water is wasted.
  • Very little weeding. The vegetables form a living mulch and shade out many weeds before they can start to grow.
  • Pesticides or herbicides are not needed. Natural ways to keep insects away, like companion planting, work well in a tight space. Growing many different types of plants in a small area also makes it more difficult for plant diseases to spread.

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