How Much to Plant
1 recommend, especially ar the beginning, that you plant only what you want to eat. Occasionally try something new, of course, but especially at first only grow those vegetables and herbs that you normally eat.
iust like a patchwork quilt, the different colors, leaf textures, plant densities, shapes, and heights, plus the visible grid will give you a very distinctive, photo-opportunity garden. You 11 just love and admire it everytime you see it.
Some people ask, "Why cant we plant all sixteen squares with leaf lettuce or spinach or Swiss chard or whatever we want to plant?" Oh, that's going right back to the single-row mentality. Square Foot Gardening begins with visualizing the harvest. Its very difficult to put in four tiny plants of Swiss chard and think that's going to be enough for the whole family, but one square of red and one square of green chard usually is more than most families eat. Proof of the pudding . . . how many bunches of Swiss chard did you buy last week or even last month? The stores have it, its fresh, and it looks good, so why didn't you buy any more than you did? Well, its the same answer as to why you shouldn't plant too much of one thing.
Its worth repeating here that the biggest problem for single-row gardeners has always been "I planted too much. I can't take care of it. It's too much work and I'm sorry now. ' All that has changed with SFG and you now have boundaries (the grid) and the opportunity to ask yourself, "For every single square foot I plant, is that enough? Do I really want more? Would it be better to plant another square foot of the same thing in a week or two or three?"
Keep in mind that you can build a Square Foot Garden anytime of the year—spring, summer, fall, and even winter. For most of the country, vou could start Diamine in anv season other than winter. What time of
the year is it right now for you and where are you in the sequence of a yearly gardening cycle? Think of it like the movie theater before the main feature. You re all settled in with your popcorn, ready to devote your full attention to the movie. In the gardening year, this is usually the equivalent of springtime. What if you came in the middle of the picture? For gardening that would be summertime. You can still plant a warm-weather crop even if you missed the spring crop. If its now fall, you can still start your SFG with a great cool-weather crop and get some valuable experience before next spring. Start whenever you get the urge to plant.
For convenience, well start with the beginning of the garden year for most of the country, springtime. (Some parts of the country, like in Texas and Florida, can grow all year long. You lucky people.)
You can get at least three crops a year in every square foot of your SFG. Every choice is going to be fun, exciting, and tasty. Of course, your selection depends on the time of year, and what you and your family need and want. I here are two types of crops when you consider weather. The first are called cool-weather crops that do best in the spring and fall, but wont survive in the hot summer. The second group is the warm- or hot-weather crops that, you guessed it, don't do well in the cool weather of spring and fall, but thrive in the hot weather of summer.
Hardiness and Protection with SFG
SFG s size makes it very easy to protect your new plantings from an extra early or late frost. There's a lot more information about frosts and freezes in Ghapter 9, especially if you are interested in extending the season, as well as ways to protect your plants so you can get more from your garden.
Plants arent all the same, of course. They are just like people. Some can stand the heat, cold, or humidity better than others. We classify these as hardy, and those that cant handle it as non-hardy. Each of the four seasons has three time periods— the early season, midseason, and late season. If you're thinking about a spring crop, for example, there may be some vegetables that can only grow in the mid-part of the spring while others can tolerate a little more cold in the beginning of the season, but can't stand any heat at all near the late part of the season. It
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