Square foot vegetable garden
Who wouldn't like to bite into a lovely little radish grown in their very own garden? Or share a few fresh lettuce leaves garnished with some chives, flat-leaf parsley or tarragon? Savour strawberries warmed by the sun's rays? All these pleasures can be yours although you only have a small garden, or even a concrete balcony.
The solution is to create a square with sides of around 1.20 m, surround this with at least 40 cm high boards, line it with plastic sheeting if there is no earthen ground (for containing the soil and keeping in moisture) and fill it with quality soil. Ready-made kits are available in shops or by mail order. Take into account any shade and the sunlight cast throughout the entire day when placing your square. If you have a water point nearby, it will save you having to carry watering cans!
- The first advantage is that there's no need to hoe, weed or prepare the soil. Your little patch can be reached quickly and is easy to cultivate and tend.
- You can divide the area into small squares (three or four on each side), which will partition the space and keep your vegetable crops neat and tidy. Position the larger plants (tomatoes, fennel, tarragon, etc.) near the centre so they don't smother the small ones (radishes), or otherwise, plant them towards the outside if your patch is placed against a wall.
- You can mix vegetables (radishes, salads, tomatoes) and aromatic herbs (parsley, chervil, sorrel etc. beware of mint, which requires rather wet soil and spreads invasively) and small fruits (e.g. strawberries in different varieties, which allows you to stagger your harvests).
- Add a few flowers, French marigolds, for example, which keep away parasites from the crops and bring a touch of colour.
- You can combine plants for sowing directly in the soil (radishes, salads, carrots) with those that you purchase ready for transplanting (tomatoes, cabbages) and those that stay in place for several years (chives, thyme, rosemary). Follow the instructions on the packets to effectively manage the planting and harvesting schedule, taking your time away into account. Unless, your neighbour is happy to come and water your crops during your holidays, and to partake in the harvest as well!
VIKING gardening expert
Strawberries, salads and lots more in a mini patch.
Herbs coexist well, even with daffodils, in a miniature vegetable garden.
Several adjacent mini patches can also be attractive.
During the transition in springtime, flowers can readily be included in mini vegetable patches.