Square Foot Gardening (or in Dutch ‘de Makkelijke Moestuin’) is based on the method invented by Mel Bartholomew. It is introduced in the Netherlands and Belgium by Jelle Medema.
As a kid I had to play outside a lot. My sister and I played in the streets, in the woods, in the meadow or near a ditch. Playing soccer, jump ropes, catch butterflies, pass a ball, feed small ducks and occasionally some fishing (we needed our neighbor to unhook the fish). Only during pouring rain we stayed inside, most likely playing a board game or fight each other. But most of that time we were getting really bored. There was no distraction yet via daytime TV or internet. We only had TV after 17.00 or 18.00 pm watching series like the A-team, Miami Vice, Dynasty and Dallas. Those were the days!
Taking care of nature
Most of the time I took nature for granted, but in some moments I was in awe. At those moments I could feel both overwhelmed and astonished by nature and its way of interaction. I felt small and insignificant AND part of nature at the same time. Fascinated by all species (including myself) interacting with each other and their physical environment. Ecology wasn’t something I had heard of at that time, but as a child I was able to witness it.
Being part of nature means taking care of nature. Taking care of nature means taking care of yourself and thus taking care of your body (which is an entire sub-ecology in itself). Eating organic food is just one of the natural things to do. And that’s where Square Foot Gardening comes in.
Square Foot Gardening method
Fresh organic homegrown vegetables and eatable flowers sounds awesome. But just like everyone else there isn’t much time left next to raising children, running a household, earning a living and do some sports. And the time I can find I don’t like to spent on digging and weeding in the garden, so it seemed like a dead end. But now with the Square Foot Gardening method I think it is feasible. So, all plants need sun, water, nutrients, air and space to grow. The SFG-method consists of three basic steps, supporting these 5 elements:
- The Box (on landscape fabric (Dutch: worteldoek) to prevent weeds), which must be placed in the sun
- SFG-potting soil, a special mix of Coarse Grade Vermiculite, Spagnum Peat Moss and Blended Compost. This mix can be used for all type of plants and flowers and will provide the plants with water, nutrients and air
- Add a grid (to divide the box in smaller boxes) to make sure all plants have sufficient space to grow
Combined with a handy app, developed by Jelle and his team, telling you exactly what to do, when and how. I can actually see myself mastering this. And so my childish fascination for nature awakened and wants to do this! A small child within me is jumping for joy and begging ‘Please, can we?’. ‘Please, please please……?’. Wonder if this enthusiasm is still there after the first snails or other creatures are spotted in my garden….
Okay, I caved in. To myself (I know). So I’m going to start a project this year. Two Square Foot Gardening boxes in my own yard! Hopefully I can makes some really good dishes and soups in the upcoming months. To make it more convenient for myself I had ordered the boxes, the soil, the seeds and all other attributes directly from the webshop of Jelle. It seems you can easily create the boxes yourself, but I’m far from a ‘handyman’ and not ordering the boxes would mean no project in the end. As you can see below we have set up the boxes already and are waiting for our first harvest.
Benefits so far
Not having anything harvested yet I can already mention some benefits, taking me closer to my natural state of being. Which is making this project a succes already:
– being outside and getting some vitamin D
– spending time with my daughter and have fun together
– being fascinated again by nature and its potential
– working with soil will benefit my microbiome (read my blog on the importance of your microbiome)
– working in the garden will silence my mind
Let alone what a joy the first harvest of our tomatoes, carrots, strawberries, radish, cucumbers, herbs or whatever will bring. Maintaining confidence of course that there will be something to harvest in the end.