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Square foot vegetable gardening

Square foot vegetable gardening

Short of space in your garden? Then why not try a single raised bed to enjoy a wide variety of fruit and veg all year round? Here's how:

Build your raised bed: a raised bed: 1.2m x 1.2m (4' x 4') gives you 16 square feet – and with one type of veg in each, that's quite a range of home-grown produce to pick. Alternatively, ready-cut raised beds click together in moments for instant results and are usually available instore.

Find the right spot: choose a sunny spot for your square-foot veg garden. Place it on bare soil, or turf.  You can even put your raised bed on concrete, but we suggest that you drill drainage holes to let excess water run off.

Fill your bed with compost: a 50:50 mix of multipurpose compost and a soil-based mix like John Innes no. 3.  Alternatively we usually stock a peat-free alternative suitable for growing food. Fill the bed level to the top and then firm down gently.

Mark out the squares: you can do this with string attached to nails in the sides of your raised bed, or by tying together a grid of canes. Either way, your squares should measure 30cm x 30cm each.

Plant your veg: sow one type of veg into each square, at slightly closer spacings. One square foot holds four 'Cos' type lettuces; a tomato plant; 16 leeks; four dwarf French beans or 16 carrots. Taller plants grow better at the back allowing smaller ones at the get their share of light.

Keep the harvest coming: as soon as you harvest from one of your squares, replace the crop with fresh starter plants or the next batch of seedlings that you've sown in preparation. With a little bit of planning, you'll be picking a dazzling array of veg from your square-foot garden from early summer through till spring.

If you require further help or advice about what's best to grow in your Square Foot Garden, the plant team at Merryhatton will be delighted to help.