Square foot vegetable gardening
Short of space in the garden? Then this is the technique for you. All you need is 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 gives you 16 squares – and with one type of veg in each, that's quite a range of home-grown produce to pick. Ready-made raised beds, available from your favourite garden centre, click together in moments for instant results.
Find the right spot: choose your sunniest corner for your square-foot veg garden. Place it on bare soil, or turf: you can even put your raised bed on concrete, though 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 is ideal for growing veg: you'll find both in your favourite garden centre. Fill the bed level with 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; smaller ones get more light at the front.
Keep the harvest coming: as soon as you harvest from one of your squares, replace the crop with fresh plug plants bought ready-grown from your favourite garden centre, or raised from seed. You should be picking a dazzling array of veg from your square-foot garden from early summer through till spring.