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Square Foot Gardening for Hard Times and Survival

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posted on Feb, 8 2009 @ 09:45 PM
reply to post by worldwatcher
Hi Neighbor! (Tampa) I started square foot gardening last summer and was amazed at how much I grew in a 6x6 plot. Grew corn, summer squash, beans, peas, peppers and, of course, tomatoes.
Highly reccomend you look into companion planting, as without it, there was no way I could've grown so much diversity in so small an area.
Also, didn't bother with raised beds, being a glutton for punishment, I double dug the plot and modified the soil as needed.
This year, am going into a 6x12 area and I AM doing a modified raised bed type of garden. That double digging is a pain.
Any way, got some fresh seed and hope to squeeze out 2 harvest before Thanksgiving.

posted on Feb, 22 2009 @ 06:03 PM
trying out the new image codes and upload along with current growth of the sq foot garden. I've transplanted a tomato, eggplant, cucumber, cilantro, and a bush pepper that I grew from seed, also put in some onion sets I bought and shared with my sister in law.

posted on Feb, 22 2009 @ 06:07 PM
new image upload is pretty cool and easy...

as you can see.. the lettuce, spinach, carrots, marigolds and radishes all planted from seed are doing well

posted on Feb, 22 2009 @ 06:12 PM
Have you figured out how to support those beans in the middle? They look about two weeks from away from covering another square

LaughingCat, have you heard of the Ruskin Tomato Festival?

posted on Feb, 22 2009 @ 06:12 PM
WW, I have been doing a SFG for three years in Maine. I do it by the book and have has spectacular results. Esp with the one foot deep potato boxes. The only thing you need to be careful of that was not emphasized in the book is to watch the sunshine and planting patterns. You do not want a fast/tall grower shading out plants behind them from the sun.

posted on Feb, 22 2009 @ 06:24 PM
reply to post by worldwatcher

So glad you posted, I have had this thread on my mind recently and even thought about u2uing you to ask where it is... hehe

I was taking pictures of the entire process from here in the midwest, during freezing temps, snow and ice, preparing for next years abundance.

I was thinking that your space is so beautiful and wanted to share, but my son used the camera for a school project and left it in his locker where it was stolen...

I guess what I wanted to show our membersis that it does not always have to be so perfect and estetically appealing, the main thing is that you utilize all available space when thinking ahead and preparing for hard times.

So many of us are on a shoe string and I know that even buying the basics can seem expensive in the beginning. The most important thing is to use ingenuity and imagination. You can grow in a boot or a toilet for that matter, whatever you have.

One more thing I wanted to say is that the most important thing is to let some of what you grow go to seed, you can for instance clip with scissors your lettuces, and the stem will continue to grow and eventually go to seed, those are the flowers that will eventually dry up and become the seed pods.

I also liked what you said about using the hybridized seeds to simply eat or even give away, not to waste just because they will not produce year after year. My concern about that is in the polination if they will contaminate our nonGMO seeds. I have a few apckets I will grow anyway... Nothing wasted you know.

Anyway, sad to say you wont be getting a birds eye view of how to start an indoor production center. My whole dinning room is filled with babies right now, so sweet.

posted on Feb, 22 2009 @ 07:28 PM
thanks for the replies guys..

beaver, those are supposed dwarf bush beans, self supporting variety, no staking needed according to the label. that's why I planted them there.

I still have a net trellis to add to the row with the cucumber, eggplant and tomato.

mainer, any tips on plant location, as to what you noticed worked, would be helpful. I did put marigolds in, in hope to help combat the bugs naturally.
I planted my potatoes in smart pots, those fabric pots and I bought a quarter barrel today to put a few caribbean sweet potatoes sprouts.

antar, I hope you get some pics done, I'd love to see your babies. Last couple of weeks we've had some unusually cold temp in Florida, I took over the downstairs bathroom and filled it up with all my seedlings.

posted on Feb, 23 2009 @ 10:17 AM
Looking good!

Years ago we began our garden along the lines of a square foot method, some raised beds and some directly into the ground. There was a PBS program running at the time that gave lots of info and encouragement.

After the first year with the wood and stone supported raised beds the slugs hit us with a vengence......they hid in the nooks and crannies, coming out at night in droves, in spite of our efforts at control. We hand picked them off, and drowned them in stale beer by the plateful......still they came.

We did not want to spread poisonous snail bait due to our small children and pets. Finally we pulled out the stone and wood and allowed the raised beds to 'melt' back into the ground.

We've continued to garden, and over the years the size of the plot has expanded to fill the yard......we use a tiller between the rows and have had had better control over the slugs and other pests like whiteflies and aphids by having more open spacing.......but then we had the room to do that.

As I am getting older and stiffer, the idea of raising the picking/weeding level for things like strawberries and carrots really appeals to me!! So this year I am going to venture into raised/container beds again. The old horse passed away during the winter ( the dear fellow in my avatar) and left me with two old bath tubs that we used for watering troughs.

After we drag them into the right spot, we are going to take out the plugs and fill with layers of drainage material and fluffy potting soil and compost.....hopefully allowing me to harvest the most perfectly unblemished carrots ever!! ( the rocky garden soil always made for some what crooky carrots before!) And I shall be able to pull up a foot stool and weed in style!!

And hopefully the height and smooth metal sides will offer the slugs a less attractive home.....

posted on May, 1 2009 @ 08:31 PM
Been so busy, I keep forgetting to take pictures and update this thread.

This pic is from the third week of March

I have since been picking a steady supply of two kinds of lettuce, baby spinach and radishes...since I did that alternate week planting and also replanting as I pull up the radishes.

I was only able to get one handful of beans before the plants succumbed to the heat.

My tomatoes are currently turning red

I've also been picking peppers from my various pots, but mainly banana peppers right now.

I'll update with new pics tomorrow because since we had relative success with this first 3x6 plot, we added a second in which I planted more peppers, okra and corn.

So far I can say we won't be able to live completely off of my square foot garden as of yet, but it has saved me money especially having fresh herbs without having to pay for more than I use at once. Hopefully when the yard long beans, okra and eggplant start producing we'll have more to harvest.

posted on May, 1 2009 @ 08:59 PM
Some of you might find my "specimen" plants of interest. I grow these for medicinal use and also because many are plants and fruits I grew up with. All of these plants are grown in containers and will probably be in my house with me during a hurricane though my husband isn't aware of that fact as of yet
These are old pics but all of these plants are currently thriving in my pot ghetto. You might see them in the backdrop of future updates.

My Acerola cherry tree aka Barbados Cherry with cherry on it waiting to turn red. It currently resides in a pot and produces a few dozen cherries 2-3 times a year, currently in production right now. It has a very high content of Vitamin C and is delicious when ripe.

My Aloe Vera plant. Every home should have an aloe vera plant. There are so many uses and benefits..I use it mainly for stings, scrapes, burns and bruises.. but relatives use it to make a tea...

One of my favorite's tropical fruit.... we call it Golden Apple, but it is also called June Plum and Hog Plum aka Spondias Ambarella. I have 2 trees and both are under 5 feet tall and producing fruit in their containers. I like the fruit in both green and ripe stages. It is sweet and tart with a spiny prickly seed in the middle. The skin of the fruit makes a wonderful drink.

Holy Basil aka Tulsi is a wonderful plant revered by Hindus with lots of medicinal values. Worshiped and used in Ayurvedic practices. I believe it's the same variety used in Thai cooking.

posted on May, 2 2009 @ 12:36 PM
I was reviewing my gardening notebook and noting what's has been working and what hasn't and I couldn't figure why my garden bush beans failed so quickly... then it dawned on me... it wasn't just the heat, I planted them next to Onions!!!!!

and according to this great link which provides a companion planting guide...

Beans and Onions don't do well together

posted on May, 2 2009 @ 12:42 PM

Could Food Shortages Bring Down Civilization?
Interesting article I thought I'd post....
Thanks for the thread and posts!

posted on May, 3 2009 @ 08:15 PM
This is the second box we made after the success of the first one. You can see the corn and okra just sprouting up. The others are more different variety of peppers and herbs.

This is today's harvest, I had to thin out some of the carrots, I pulled about 6 those size, they were beginning to shade the other squares... also lettuce, baby spinach, banana pepper and a few tomatoes.

posted on May, 3 2009 @ 11:31 PM
I'm pretty excited, I set my raised bed garden up today. Well one of the anyway. I plan to construct and ready the other one tomorrow. I still don't know what all I want to grow. I love Salads so Lettuce is a must, Ive already planted 8 Tomato plants. I have some Bell peppers and 2 Jalapeno plants. Now if I could only grow steak.

posted on May, 4 2009 @ 08:44 AM
reply to post by way2slo

I hear ya, I wish I could grow chicken on plants too

Don't forget to throw some herb plants into your raised bed or in individual containers. Why pay $3-4 for a bunch of herbs from the grocery when you only need a few sprigs, just snip from your plants as you need.

Shorter varieties of carrots do well in the raised bed too, try the Nantes variety which is the one pictured above.

posted on May, 7 2009 @ 06:23 PM
Advice to all gardeners... LABEL your Seedlings!!!!

I planted a hanging basket with TinyTom and another variety of jellybean size tomatoes and what I thought was black eye susan (flower).. Well a couple months later and my tomatoes are growing and full with little maters but the black eye susan which was supposed to be a vine with yellow flowers seemed to be growing straight up and well the leaves looked familiar... not quite like picture on the package of the black eye susans...but I didn't put two and two together...

Imagine my surprise today i saw the first PURPLE flower!!! I planted Eggplants instead of flowers in the same hanging basket
and now it's too late to separate the eggplant from the tomato plants without probably killing them all.

So label your seedlings and know what you're planting

posted on May, 8 2009 @ 01:20 AM
Good on ya!

I too have just started with this method myself... your post gives me some motivation to get out there and snap some pics of it before it gets too overgrown.
When I do, hopefully you won't mind me adding them here.

As to the poster that mentioned potatoes, I have built a separate box for them... I won't go into the gory details here but in theory it should produce a good yield and keeps me from digging way down into the dirt. More to come on that though...


posted on May, 8 2009 @ 05:03 PM
reply to post by worldwatcher

Great thread, and as someone already mentioned, nice setup.

It shows that with a little planning and research, you can make very efficient use of limited space. This is very encouraging, especially to urban and suburban dwellers.

The link to companion plants was very interesting. I suggest all novice 'farmers' look at it and take heed.

Fresh veggies from the work of your own hands is one of life's greatest little pleasures, imo.

posted on May, 17 2009 @ 02:43 PM
I'm so excited. I grew Potatoes!!!!!
I was told you had to buy certified potato seeds and while there may be advantages to organic seed potatoes, I didn't have the luxury of buying them and also I already had potatoes sprouting in my cupboard.

So I took the sprouting potatoes and dropped them in a grow sack and in a window box, covered them with dirt and just let them, watering when I watered everything else. Well after weeks of growing well, I noticed that the plants were drying up and looked like they were suffering from the heat, so I stopped watering and gave up thinking that I planted them at the wrong time.

Well today I went reuse the containers and pulled up the plants and to my surprise and delight look at what I found!!!

the above is all from that window box container, regular grocery store yukon gold potatoes.

This is the potato sack with scraggly plants before we pulled them up...

And our total potato harvest

I am so growing potatoes again, it was fun and easy and the best part was finding these little jewels in the dirt. Next time though I plant at the correct dates and hope to keep the plants living longer for some bigger potatoes.

posted on May, 17 2009 @ 02:49 PM
This is the first time I've seen this thread, and I'll be honest... I haven't had time to read it. But I'd like to let the readers know that back in about 1987-89 there was a TV show called "Square Foot Gardening". I became real interested in it, and built a raised garden in 3' x 3' boxes... 9 of them. And I'm here to attest to the fact that the benefits of this method are understated.

It's absolutely fantastic how much production of clean, weedless veggies you can achieve. In all honesty, in these 9 little boxes, I was able to produce way more veggies than my wife and I, and 2 young'uns would normally have eaten in 6 months or more.

Give it a try... you'll love it!

[edit on 17-5-2009 by Albertarocks]

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