Today we planted our square metre garden. The square metre garden methodology comes from the square foot garden promoted in the 1970’s. The idea behind this type of garden is you plant a lot of plants close together to reduce the amount of hoeing and weeding required, produce as much possible food in a small space and ease access by raising the height of the garden you are working with.
We have planted silver-beet, spinach, carrots, peas, pak choy and micro greens. The soil came from the chicken run area and has been part of a compost for the last year or two so should be high in nutrients.
The garden was made with fence palings. We purchased 6 of 150 x 25 x 1800 fence palings. Each layer uses 3 palings, two full length ones for the sides and one cut in half for the short sides. This means we have a garden that is 1.8 Metres long, 900mm wide and 300mm high.
Making the garden is as simple as getting some thick tomato stakes, nailing the palings to them with galvanised nails (flat head not jolt head) and then placing it where you want it to sit..
Because we are renting we have lined the garden with thick polythene plastic so we don’t stain the concrete. This also means we can control the content of the soil from being contaminated or affected by the ground in the rental. The polythene has been pierced to allow water to escape otherwise we will end up with a swamp.
The green string is put there so we know where each of our veges are planted. We are using a simple calculation to figure out where and how much to plant.
- Tallest plants go at the back of the garden (e.g the sun shines on the front of the garden)
- Large plants like cabbage, broccoli – 1 plant per square
- Medium plants like silver beet, lettuce, spinach, peas – 6 plants per square
- Small or skinny plants like carrots, spring onion, leek – 12 – 20 plants per square
The other part of our plan is crop rotation. The idea behind crop rotation is to avoid having the same types of plants in the same area too many times in a row. If you keep planting the same plants then the soil gets leeched of nutrients required by that plant, unhelpful bacteria nd pests start to build up and the garden becomes less productive.
The general rule is to rotate brassicas, to legumes, to root and then start again. Obviously you can start with root and then go to brassicas or legumes then go to root.
- Brassicas: and salads: e.g. cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, lettuce, silver-beet, mizuna and rocket.
- Legumes: Peas, beans, celery, onion.
- Root: Potatoes, kumara, yams, tomatoes, capsicum, chillies, pumpkins, carrots and courgettes.