This method of dividing 1.2 metres by 1.2 metres into 16 squares is really neat for the average household, as long as enough light can get to the plants. It’s relatively fool-proof if the conditions are right. One is left with a variety of veges in a small space. It’s written that 2 of these patches can considerably supplement a family’s grocery supply, while three of them might just provide enough to give away to the neighbours.
Our method was to double dig the appropriately sized area – say 1.3 metres by 1.3 metres. Double digging turns the grass deep enough into the soil so that it does not grow again, and in fact the grass decomposes and adds nitrogen to the soil – just be sure to get all big grass roots out of the soil mix. We added cardboard on top of the area after the double dig, placed the salvaged cement slabs in place as the walls (wood is usually used), and added a nice mix of manure, soil, and compost.
The original soil recipe – if one listens to the guy who put the trademark on square foot gardening, Mr Bartholomew, and indeed one might wish to – calls for vermiculite. We did use it in the pictured square foot garden and were very impressed by the results, but it is not a sustainable resource. Later, we found out that chopped straw acts similarly as a moisture retainer and soil aerator. Using excellent compost by itself also yields good results, so it is not necessary to use Mr Bartholomew’s mix, though a beginner may benefit from doing so.
The pictured ‘sfg’ has tomatoes, mustard leaf, rocket, beetroot, cabbage, and a pepper plant thriving in it. A Squash plant has been trained to grow around the outside of the sfg. What is planted and what will grow depends on the season and climate, generally.