DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!
Apr 4 2012

Gardening for squares

by Dea Anne M

I’ve posted here before about gardening and particularly food gardening for small or unusual spaces.  You might have decided by now that I’m a little fanatical on the subject and all I can say to that is…you might be right. This year, we’ve expanded our gardening ambitions around my place a bit and have put in some raised beds at the side of the house and in the back yard. The strawberry pyramid measures 6ft. X 6ft.at the base, 4ft. X 4ft. in the middle, and 2 ft. X 2 ft. at the top.  The rectangular beds measure 4 ft. X 8 ft. I have great hopes for this project and I’ve already planted potatoes, peas, radishes, beets, carrots, lettuce, spinach, chard, and tomatoes. Strawberries are coming out now, and we’ll soon be putting in tomatillos, eggplant, beans, melons, and corn (notoriously difficult to grow so we’ll see). Here’s a picture…

You might notice the grid pattern laid across two of the beds. Allow me to explain. We’ve taken our planting  inspiration from Mel Bartholomew’s All-New Square Foot Gardening. The idea is that you measure your raised bed out into square feet and plant a specific number of vegetables in  each. There’s much more to it than that, but suffice it to say that  Bartholomew’s technique promises to produce healthy, densely planted beds that are easier to tend than the traditional row garden set-up. He provides clear instructions on plant spacing as well as various tips on vertical gardening. More vegetables and fruit in less space…who doesn’t love that? I highly recommend this book, even to those who are new to vegetable gardening. It’s well-illustrated and very user friendly.

Are you interested in small space gardening? Be sure to check out these titles as well:  Lasagna Gardening for Small Spaces by Patricia Lanza,  The Edible Container Garden by Michael Guerra, and The Vegetable Gardener’s Container Bible by Edward C. Smith.

Finally, let me brag a little and show you my beloved Top Hat blueberry bush. I’ve had it in a pot on my deck for 4 years now and it’s still going strong. It’s a “dwarf” variety but it’s put out an increasingly larger crop each year of deep blue, intensely flavored fruit. Let me tell you, there’s nothing quite like the taste of a muffin filled with berries you’ve grown yourself. Tri it and see!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Karen April 6, 2012 at 2:47 PM

I’ll be experimenting with square-foot gardening this year too! I have a raised bed in our driveway on the side of our house. Keep us posted about your experiences with it.

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