The specific soil mixtures increase their moisture retention; the garden therefore needs less additional water than in conventional systems. Mel Bartholomew - [ Square Foot Gardening ] recommends using a soil mixture: one-third blended compost , one-third sphagnum peat moss, and one-third expanded vermiculite.
A few handfuls of compost should be added with every successive harvest to maintain soil fertility from season to season, the condition of the beds underlying soil is not as relevant.
Water is used more sparingly by watering directly at the plants base / root system, there is very little waste and seedlings and tender under developed plants are preserved. The Dense mass of useful plants / crops prevents weeds from establishing or in some cases even germinating.
| || || |
The principles of companion planting when incorporated into Square Foot Gardening become more effective. The large variety of crops in a small space may also halt the progression of plant diseases.
Biodiversity Loss Affects Global Disease Ecology
To extend a square foot gardens growing season a cold frame can also be built around the bed, and by facing the frame south, the garden captures more light and heat during the colder months of spring and winter
Each of the beds is divided into approximately one foot square units and marked out with twine, slats or whatever is available to ensure that the square foot units remain easily visible as the plants progress.
The square-foot-gardening method as pioneered by Bartholomew uses a topless bottomless square box which contains a limited amount of soil. The soil was divided with a grid into subsections.
To encourage variety of different crops over time, each square would be planted with a different cultivar; the number of plants per square naturally would depend on an individual plant's anticipated full grown size. Strawberry plants could be planted four per square, Radishes 16 per square. Tall or climbing plants such as corn or sweet peas should be planted to the north so as not to block sunlight from their shorter neighbors. They should also be supported with a lattice or similar system.