Small is Beautiful: The Chronicles of an Allotment Garden

What can you grow in a 12 foot by 3 foot raised bed? Let me tell you – an awful lot. Right now this little bed has rhubarb, strawberries, bush beans, cucumbers, zucchini, green onions, beets, several kinds of lettuce, Swiss chard, arugula, dill and spinach! With some careful succession planning, it will also produce garlic, sprouting broccoli and kale.

square-foot-gardening-book-410x640Of course, you can’t see it all right now since some of the seeds are just emerging from the soil, but all this has been accomplished in less than 2 weeks. The ambitious amount of vegetables is made possible by a gardening practice called Square Foot Gardening. Instead of planting in rows, you plant in square foot blocks and eliminate the traditional space between rows used to walk on. Not only can you get more plants per square foot, but because you’re not walking on and compacting the soil adjacent to the plants, their roots are happier and plants are more productive.

Other advantages of Square Foot Gardening are less weeding, easier to water, you don’t over plant and end up with more lettuce, carrots, zucchini, etc. than you and your family can use, and succession planting is a snap.

Next month I’ll share more pictures and tips about this super easy low space gardening technique.

allotment-garden-may-25-360x640The allotment garden before I started, full of buttercups and other weeds, and the occasional strawberry plant.