Has anyone tried the Square Foot Gardening Method? I've started adding veggie plants to the flower beds the last couple of years, and done some instensive planting of veggies in the cold frame. Now I've discovered Mel Bartholomew's method of gardening and I can't wait to get organized for this summer's crop of vegetables, with a few flowers too.
I'm already planting intensive plants successfully. I really like the oraganization I have discovered in the square foot gardening! Plus there are lots of other tips in the book. Like ways to water conservativly, ease in making a cover to get an early start on plants - very important to me, methods to encourage me to plant what I can use! not that whole row of lettuce that will go to seed before I can eat it, etc. The book is just brimming with great ideas!
The one drawback I'll have here, is my season is not long enough to use sucessive planting sufficiently. I believe all methods of gardening have to be adapted to each individual's garden
mamakane, I've tried that method before. Unfortunately, it did not work very well for me. My summers are very hot and humid and I experienced the increase in diseases that Brook mentioned. There just wasn't enough air flow to keep my plants healthy. Some folks have great success with Mel's method. I just wasn't one of them.
Twern't me what said that. I believe it was Byron.
Even if Mel's method doesn't work for a particular gardener, everybody can grow more intensively than is usually thought. Most plant spacing charts, for instance, are based on two things: long rows of one plant, and spacing them in order to accomodate mechanical equipment.
Generally speaking, you can space plants slightly wider than their crowns. This leaves plenty of air space without crowding.
I know many people, for instance, who space peppers at only 13 inches---when the literature says they should go at 2 feet.
If you mix & match, which is one of the key's to Mel's system, spacing becomes even less of a problem. In other words, rather than a group of tomatoes, you have, say, one tomato plant, and some lettuce, and maybe a patch of carrots, and a pepper plant, and some beans. Etc. Etc.
Trick is to arrange things so the soil in that bed can support the total biomass.
I _know_ these things work. But for me, all that graphing and math is too much. So I plant intensively, but not to any particular formulas.
A couple of books that might be of interest are "The Sustainable Vegetable Garden," by John Jeavons and Carol Cox, and "The Postage Stamp Garden Book," by Duane and Karen Newcomb.