Square Foot Gardening
At Linwell Farms we utilize a lot of the concepts of "square foot gardening". This practice is defined - from wikipedia - as: "... the practice of planning and creating small but intensively planted gardens. The practice combines concepts from other organic gardening methods, including a strong focus on compost, densely planted raised beds andbiointensive attention to a small, clearly defined area. This method is particularly well-suited for areas with poor soil, beginner gardeners or as adaptive recreation for those with disabilities (Bartholomew, 2005). The phrase "square foot gardening" was popularized by Mel Bartholomew in a 1981 Rodale Press book and subsequent PBS television series."
In our raised beds we try and utilize all spaces to maximize our production and ultimately what we have for the kitchen. Planning with the needs of each plant in mind, their height, need for sunlight or shade, need for trellising, etc, can create both highly productive beds, but also interesting landscaping given the various textures, colors and shapes of the plants as well. We also do some pruning as the plants grow to allow necessary space or sunlight for others in the same bed.
In the photo with this post we have a 10' x 3' bed with a 3.5' trellis on one side. The sunniest side of the bed (faces approximately East / Southeast) is home to the lower growing plants and our climbing plants are placed against the trellis. In the middle is a mix of various heights with most being medium growing. It's May, and the bed has a mix of Spring and Summer plants with some changeover in process - the beans will seen be pulled and already-planted cucumbers will take over in their place.
From the sunny side to the trellis this bed has nasturtium, Vietnamese cilantro, parsley, mustard greens / beets / chard (also on the way out), a couple residual scallions, thyme, a durst melon that will spill over and grow outside the box, jalapeno / scotch bonnet / cayenne peppers, lemon basil, snap peas and green pole beans.
As various plants peak and go, others will taken their place. For these bed we'll end the summer by pulling everything, turning the soil and adding lots of compost, spent coffee grounds and other nutrients to replenish this densely planted area. Then the Fall and Winter plants go in...