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Plan Review

Posted by bwaynef z7 SC (My Page) on
Thu, Mar 15, 12 at 21:57

I'd planned to start a garden this year, but my father-in-law's tiller is still on loan to my brother-in-law (apparently in perpetuity...). Square-foot gardening looked like a viable alternative to me having to till ...then I started considering it further. I've spent a little time reading online, and Mr. Bartholomew's new book is on order.

I'm planning on 4 4'x4' beds. The strawberries will be in a 3 tiered pyramid (4', 2' and 1' square tiers). The tomato bed will be simultaneously under-planted with the mostly-herb bed. North is pointing (mostly) up (about 15ºccw).

One of the catalysts behind this whole gardening thing is my 2 young kids (5 & 3) who eat fresh fruits and veggies all the time. My son and I are the only tomato eaters, but he's the only person I've ever met who would eat them as much as I. My son and I are the only canteloupe eaters. They both love green beans and even eat greens. Everybody but my son eats zucchini, and we all eat squash. My son could gobble up the all the strawberries I could grow. How am I on estimating productivity of plants for my family?

Is there anything glaringly wrong with this plan?

Here is a link that might be useful: My Plan

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Plan Review

Hi, bwaynef,
I am still a rookie on this sfg thing so I cannot comment on your plan. Only one thing stood out for me on my viewing- your perennial herbs thyme and rosemary. Both of these are hardy in zone 7 and could be grown elsewhere in your landscape as permanent plants that will last for many years.

You may want to investigate gardening practices in your area for keeping these plants year round. Growing these perennial herbs as garden plants elsewhere also frees up those square foot lots for other garden goodies that can be rotated out seasonally.

Depending on variety chosen, both can grow to be beautiful, generous, spreading garden specimens. Then again, if you are short on space, there are smaller cultivars available. I grow a cultivar of rosemary called Roman that stays reasonably small in my tiny back yard but blooms mightily and draws many bees. I have larger rosemary plants in my front yard spilling over a retaining wall which draw an impressive amount of bees.

Happy growing,

RE: Plan Review

I took a quick look last night from the iPhone while we were traveling. Don't remember exactly how it was laid out, but one thing that jumped out at me was ... No trellis ? A lot of your plants could be grown vertically in ONE square, and also that keeps your veggies much easier to access, keeps them up off the ground out of the dirt, bugs, possible rotting, etc.. I LOVE growing on my trellis !!

Pics of my trellis are in this thread ...
On my trellis I grow peas, beans, cucumber, tomato, canteloupe, honeydew, watermelon. Winter squash can also be grown on it (I don't have that). There are prob other things that I am forgetting.

My other thought ... You did not show the layout of your yard and the boxes, but a lot of space can be saved by having larger boxes. With no walkways in between 4ft boxes, you don't have to worry about how you will keep the grass/weeds in control between the boxes. Also the initial material costs are less because there is no 4th side to enclose on a bunch of boxes. And it gives you more garden in the same amount of space (or same amount of garden, but using less space).

My garden is 2'8" x 18'. My front two squares are 1 ft each and the back trellis square is only 8" deep. My trellis straddles the 8" square. I think, if you have a longer box, it is better to have it only 3 ft wide so you can reach all the veggies. With the 4x4 box, you are able to reach 2 feet in from each side so everything is accessible. Or, if you have a 4x4 box with a trellis on one side, you can still reach in from 3 sides. But if your box is longer, the trellis keeps you from reaching that 3rd square. Hope that makes sense ? A lot of people also will do a 4x8 or 4x12 or up to any size! box with no trellis, so they are able to access 2 ft in from each of the long sides. Another idea is to build your garden in a U shape with walking around the outside and a walkway up the middle. Just some ideas to help you think outside "the box".

RE: Plan Review

I appreciate the tips. With this being my first foray back into gardening, I opted for 4'x4' and will adjust as necessary or, ...more importantly, as the wife permits. Similarly, I'm going to try to contain the herbs in the garden for now.

I plan to trellis the pumpkins, tomatoes, zucchini, and squash. (I didn't want to have to figure out how to depict trellises in OpenOffice Calc (an Excel clone).) I've got bush-type beans so was hoping I'd be able to get away from supports for them.

With that in mind, have I done ok on placement/spacing? Think I've got too many or not enough of anything?

Thanks for the tips. Keep them coming!

RE: Plan Review

I couldn't quite read all the things in your plan but a couple caught my eye. If you can, either trellis or stake the tomatoes and they'll only need 1 square foot of space.
Zukes and summer squash usually need 9 sq feet but you can sometimes get away with putting them in a corner with 4 sq ft allowed and let them hang over the bed. They do not vine like toms and cukes. Anything that can grow up, I'd trellis it.
I have no knowledge of the strawberry pyramids I'm afraid, so someone else can help you there. Mine have their own 16-ft long bed. They don't produce well til their 2nd year so don't expect miracles the first.
Stick to small cantaloupes so they don't need as much space.

Here is a link that might be useful: quiltbeagardens

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