With smaller homes and living spaces, maximising garden space has become very important to many. The phenomenon of square metre gardening has taken the world by storm in recent years.
Sometimes called patchwork gardening, as different crops are planted in series of squares, there are normally 9-12 squares in each one metre bed. It is based on intensively planting a variety of crops in a grid pattern, in a raised planter or container. It's a perfect growing method for a combination of vegetables, herbs and flowers.
Only a few of each crop are planted at a time, so you avoid excessive amounts of the same veges being ready at once.
The beds are built above the soil and can be placed anywhere: on a driveway, lawn, path, deck or patio, as long as it's in full sun and away from strong winds. Because they are built above the ground no digging is required. This is an ideal option for gardening in areas where soil is poor.
The most commonly used method is to build a one metre square raised garden bed. The minimum height for beds is 20cm, but if you plan to grow root crops such as carrots and potatoes, make them 30-40cm high.
A plethora of pre-made kit set square metre garden beds are available in garden and hardware shops. These are quick to assemble and a straight forward option. Or if you prefer a DIY approach you can find step by step guides online.
Once constructed, fill the beds with a blend of Tui Vegetable Mix and compost. If you don't have your own compost, use Tui Compost. Be mindful that the soil will settle once it's in the beds and you may need to add more once its been watered.
Divide the bed into nine sections. The same principle of dividing your garden into sections, can be used to plant large containers with edible crops.
Forget all the rules about traditional spacing, for square metre gardening plant everything a lot closer together.
For large crops like broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower plant one seedling in each square. Look out for blended seedling punnets that have a mix of seedlings in each punnet.
For mid sized crops such as lettuce, coriander, celery, spinach and silverbeet plant 6 in each square.
For narrow crops like radish, leeks, carrots, and spring onions plant 16-20 plants per square.
In the middle square, plant taller crops, such as corn, cucumbers, and tomatoes, climbing beans or peas. Ensure these tall crops are well staked or supported by a tepee or frame, to avoid them blowing over onto the lower crops.
Throughout the growing season, as soon as each crop is finished, replant a new crop.
- Apply Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic at planting time to limit transplanting shock and give plants a boost, stimulating rapid root development.
- Raised beds won't keep slugs and snails at bay. Sprinkle Tui Quash around to prevent them munching on your seedlings.
- Blend in Debco SaturAid to the soil to promote even water distribution, helping prevent soils from drying out.