Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Square Foot Gardening- Lettuce

One reason why I really love the square foot gardening method is.....efficiency. Who would have thought that you can grow 64 heads of lettuce in a 4 foot by 4 foot bed? After a year of broken tillers and hoeing by hand this is good news:).

The picture above is the beginning of a 4 x4 bed that will eventually be planted entirely in lettuce. I tried this a bit skeptically a couple of years ago and it really works. The heads grow such that they are touching and this drowns out any possibility of weeds. Not only is it a much more efficient use of space its pretty too.

Even though we live on twenty acres and space for a garden is not a problem I find that wastefulness is. Our tendency over the years has trended more towards spreading out thus making our work less effective instead of concentrating our resources.

Through the square foot method I've learned that small can be good- especially when it comes to the work of weeding, watering, and planting. By the way, if you have been a traditional gardener and planted by the row method you must read the introduction to this book it is hilarious.

We still plant a few things by the row method, but most of what we plant goes in the the 4 x 4 beds. I find myself continually referring back to his book for tips and planting instructions. There is a wonderful quick resource at the back of the book that give planting instructions and tips listed by each individual plant.

What about you? Are you planning a fall garden?


Anne said...

I enjoyed reading your review of the book, Seeds to Sew! By the way, did you know that Square Foot Gardening is used in a home ec curriculum called Training Our Daughters To Be Keepers At Home? It's copyright 1995, though, so it might be hard to find. Thanks again!


thebridledtongue said...

I love square foot gardening! While a recent move has forced us to miss the spring, and summers in the desert are pointless, we are looking forward to new beds for the fall.

Fun, Fun, Fun!

Texas Mom said...

I might just go ahead and order this book, but now I'm interested in that home ec curriculum. (Have to go check it out!)

Before I forget, my daughter baked those blueberry muffins! They were great!

Homemanager said...

Hello Jane,
I was looking for information about where "mint seed" grows (where on the plant) and it brought me to your sight!
I also use the Square foot gardening method and have been very pleased with it.
You mention starting a fall garden, what would you include in a fall garden? I'm from NY where it gets rather cold. :)

Jane said...


We live in Alabama and are blessed with a long growing season. I have started lettuce, cabbage, pumpkins, broccoli, and a second crop of beans. Check a zone map to see what zone you are in (if you don't already know) then read the back of your seed packets. There is a suggested planting schedule for each zone. By the way, another gardening book I love is The Garden Primer by Barbara Damrosch. I don't know if your library carries her book or not, but it is very informative. I believe she is from New York and has some great tips for protecting tender plants and shrubs. She also gives tons of planting tips.

For the fall garden you want to focus on plants that thrive in cool temperatures and shorter days-cabbages, lettuces, broccoli, carrots, etc. Good luck to you.

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