A New Start 3 – Raised Beds And SFG

With the feeling I was getting somewhere at last, I was about to start filling the larger, raised bed, then thought this was the opportunity to turn it into a square foot gardening bed (SFG), but didn’t know too much about it. Mel Bartholomew, a civil engineer, was the inventor of the system and he recommended a specific recipe for it. Only a six inch raised bed was necessary, but my raised bed is twice that depth, so I double layered it, using bark, some spent compost with added llama manure and vermiculite, then layered again with bark, vermiculite and compost with the llama manure. I marked it off in square feet and planted up some straggler plants which were homeless and living in pots. It was too late in the season to have a full plan of sowing. 

Raised bed start July 2020c

The theory behind SFG is you use less space, compost, time and seeds by following some simple rules. Mel’s filling is two inches of mulch, two inches of vermiculite and two inch mix of five different composts. Sowing, using only the final spacing measurement between the plants, saves wasting seeds and pricking out.

Test SFG bed
Smaller SFG raised bed

The smaller bed is the right depth, layered and measured accordingly it will be for annual herbs and salad vegetables. The string is a bit distorted by the obelisk which doesn’t belong there and will need to stay, until a new home becomes available.

Though nowhere near finished, I feel the result so far is leaving the garden a bit tidier.

The disadvantage of using old pallet collars is they are sometimes written on in permanent marker ink. I decided to cover up a scribbled side by painting a random pattern, which I hope will blend in and not look too out of place.

Raised bed painted

Just two weeks’ difference, most of the odd plants were kales or bok choi and since the mesh cage to cover it is not completed unfortunately, something has been in sampling the plants. Kale Nero seems to be the most popular for hungry munchers so far.


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