Square Foot Gardening Makes Garden Maintenance a Snap

The salad gardens I planted by the square foot method back in February have already yielded copious amounts of lettuce, spinach and radishes and should be producing for awhile still. If you read my earlier blog, you know how easy I found planting my square foot garden plots, even though it was my first year trying this time-saving method. But what I have found even more remarkable is how little maintenance is required after the plants start growing. I am used to having to thin out my plants, a process that can be tasty, but takes a lot of time. This year, I have plants coming up exactly where I want them without the need to pull half of them out to give them more room. I was worried that planting so few seeds would result in barren patches where the one seed assigned to that area didn’t germinate. That has only been a problem with one of my lettuce varieties, whose seeds were probably getting a bit old. Check out this picture of our rooftop salad garden to see what I mean:

The salad garden is a 4’x4′ square with fishing line dividing the space into individual squares. The physical separators are not necessary, but I wanted to provide a visual for people visiting the garden. You can plant as many square feet of something as you want. The photo below shows kohlrabi and chinese cabbage, each planted in 2’x2′ squares.

Now that Mother’s Day is behind us and the chance of frost is slim, we are getting ready to plant our heat loving crops. You can help plant a roof top Salsa Garden and climbing beans and melons on our vertical growing trellis while learning all about the square foot method at the Civic Garden Center’s Square Foot Gardening class on Monday, May 21 from 6:00-7:30 pm.

The class is being taught by Brad Rogers, owner and operator of Urban Harvest; a local, natural food production company. Brad grew up on a farm in rural Indiana and learned a lot of what he knows from working side by side with grandparents and parents in the family’s 2 acre garden. Brad moved to Cincinnati 7 years ago, and discovered that 2 acres isn’t available in the city to garden. Research and study led him to Mel Bartholomew’s book, Square Foot Gardening. The book details how to plant closely and maximize the gardening space for total production. Brad has been teaching and utilizing this technique for the past 5 years, and has enjoyed great success personally and for his clients.

– Ryan Mooney-Bullock, Green Learning Station Program Manager

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