As promised, here is my garden plan reveal!!!! I’m sorry it’s taken so long to get it out to you, but as with all good plans, there have been many revision with a sprinkling of reality added to my hopes and dreams. But, I am finally here to tell you how to grow as much food as you can while increasing your vegetable garden yields!
And, along the way, I’ll share some pictures of how my garden is growing and blooming. If you are just coming on board, you can find out about the new 600 square foot vegetable garden that we put in this year, as well as our other goals in the garden, in 5 Gardening Goals for 2017.
When I began planning our garden space, my goal was simply this: Grow as much food as humanly possible in the space we have. I’m not a beginning gardener, but I’m by no means an expert either. So, I started crawling the internet late at night to see what others had done that yielded great results.
With our past vegetable gardens we have always done raised garden beds with Square Foot Gardening. The results have been good, but the cost of setting up the raised beds can add up pretty quickly. So, I opted for a more traditional looking country garden with “rows” of raised soil instead.
The couple has a beautiful vegetable garden with rows and rows of different goodies growing!
I wanted to know how they grew so much food in such a small space. After some internet research, I stumbled across Victory Gardens. They were backyard gardens encouraged during the first and second world war to increase food availability and also decrease the resources needed to transport food.
The Smithsonian Institute recreated a war time pamphlet to teach people about growing Victory Garden year round. (Check it out here.) There was some very general information on gardening and seasonal crop selection.
Then, I came across some old war time victory garden plans that fit my garden size! I was really excited to see all that I could grow! I found this picture on The Historian in the Garden along with a lot of great information on the gardens themselves and the reality of growing a garden like this.
The only downfall to row gardening is the loss of so much space for walking between the rows. Yes, even at 600 sq. ft. my gardening appetite is bigger than my plot! And after several over-the-fence conversations with my gardening neighbour, I went with my guy instinct. Limit my rows.
Square foot gardening offered many rewards:
Then it hit me! What I needed to do was combine the functionality of square foot gardening with my love of straight rows (can someone say Type A personality…)
I put as many 3 foot wide beds into my garden area as I could. Why 3 feet wide? Well, Mel Bartholomew, author of The Square Foot Garden, recommends beds that are 3-4 feet wide so that you can reach all the areas of the garden easily from one side or the other. I opted for 3 feet because I have short arms.
By the way, I highly recommend his book, All New Square Foot Gardening II: The Revolutionary Way to Grow More in Less Space if you are new to square foot gardening (SFG). We followed it the first year we had a garden in our old house and we had great results! Mel really walks you step by step through exactly what you need to do and how to do it.
I ended up with 6 beds altogether. This was one less than I had planned out on paper, but I attribute that to my measuring. Each bed is equally spaced 2 of my boot lengths apart and is 5 of my boot lengths wide. Isn’t that how you measure things too – based on finger widths, boot lengths, and arm spans?
Bed 1: Garlic (88) and potatoes (8).
Bed 2: Snap peas and shelling peas in the first 2 feet of the bed. Lettuces, cilantro, nasturtiums and radishes in the remaining “row”
Bed 3: Front of the bed has green onions (27) and leeks (12). 3 rows run behind that; carrots (54), beets (54) and spinach (54). Parsley (6) runs along the bottom end of the bed.
Bed 4: Beans, beans, the magical fruit… The first 2 feet house pole beans (54) and drying beans (36). The last row has bush beans ().
Bed 5: The collards. The front section houses my rosemary plant. The first row has brussel sprouts (3) followed by cabbages (4). The second and third rows have 2 different types of kale (14). Chives round off the end of the bed.
Bed 6: This bed runs along the fence line and is only 2 feet wide in most places. Against the fence are sunflowers (6) and borage (4). The middle of the bed has scallopini (2), green zucchini (1), golden zucchini (2), and a butternut squash plant. There is still room to plant a pumpkin plant in the front of this bed as Mickey Blue talks incessantly about growing his Halloween pumpkin!
While we were in the midst of creating our new garden, we took out an old decorative garden that was right smack dab in the middle of our yard. It must have been beautiful at some point, but due to our neglect it had become a tangle of unidentifiable plants.
However, cinder blocks had been used to frame in the old garden bed. So, I reused the cinder blocks to plant our strawberries in. I spaced them a couple blocks apart each. This left room for me to plant the cucumber plants and trellis them up the back wire fence!
So, there it is, in all it’s glory; my square foot victory garden!! And I can’t wait to see how well it produces this summer. I am looking forward to the increase in my vegetable garden yields! I’m going to track what we get out of the garden (by weight) this year!
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What did you do this year for gardening? Any container gardeners here? That’s where most of my fruit is this year! I’d love to know what you’re up to. Leave me a comment down below! I love reading them and respond to each one personally.
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