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I have a little garden in Rozelle about 5km from the centre of Sydney. I love to grow as much organic food as I can in a tiny space. The garden calms and excites me, and is a wonderful little green space in a big city. This blog is a record plotting the changes over seasons and years.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Hello again! My take on Square Foot Gardening

Hi everyone! We are back from our 4 month overseas jaunt, just in time for spring planting! What great timing.
This was pretty much the only thriving veggie patch after 4 months away. The trees all looked good (macadamia flowering, citrus producing, persimmon coming into leaf) but lots of soil to renew and replant. Just what I like in Spring!
I had heard the term ‘square foot gardening’ before, but didn’t really know much about it. While we were travelling I decided to buy the book (Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew) for a quick read on my e-reader. Although I didn’t like the self-promoting style of the book (or crazy claims that square foot gardening represented the first method that deviated from single row planting), I did take away some tips that I would incorporate into my garden. 
This is not my garden, but rather a photo from the internet of a garden created using the Square Foot Gardening method
I use a mix of methods - some permaculture principles, along with some more ‘traditional’ organic gardening methods and I think now, I’ll throw a few square foot gardening methods into the mix. The book is very specific about the height of the raised beds, soil to use, the need for a permanent grid and so on. It goes as far as saying ‘if you do not do these things, you are not doing square foot gardening’. Uh…O..K. So let’s say I am not doing square foot gardening, but I am taking a few of the great ideas and merging them. What a rebel.

I really liked the concept of thinking of my garden space in 30cm x 30cm squares. When I looked at the garden, there are so many 30x30 squares (or a bit more or less). I don’t want to think about ALL of my garden space like this, as I love free-roaming flowers and other things as well. 
An idea of the recommended plantings within a square foot (30cmx30cm)
I also liked the guide that within those 30x30 squares you can fit a recommended number of plants. So for example….4 silverbeet, 9 beetroot, 4 loose leaf lettuce, 1 eggplant and so on. The picture above shows how many plants you might put in one square.
One example in a corner of my garden. I've got rough squares with rocket, beetroot, lettuce, spinach and silverbeet.
Behind the silverbeet, I've managed to squeeze in some chives and an eggplant.

You'll be hearing from me each Friday (at least) from now, as it is a busy season (and Friday is my day off!). Cheers everyone.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Watermelon for a tiny backyard

Last year was a big one. On the up side, I handed in my PhD thesis after 5 years of work. On the down side, the garden had to survive on very little input from me. After a fantastic bushwalking holiday in Tasmania (January) we returned to some lovely produce. Certainly not the volumes or variety of previous years, but food nonetheless. Tomatoes, eggplant and chillies for now. And watermelon, capsicum, sweet potato, silverbeet and persimmon coming along nicely.

One of the most pleasant surprises has been the watermelon. My 10 year old desperately wanted to grow watermelon, despite my reservations. I chose a space saving variety from Diggers club. Here are the results so far.

This watermelon lives up to its name - Sugar Baby. It really is a baby. This is 4 plants and they have not taken over the garden. I was worried with memories of a previous watermelon vine covering the garden, deck and footpath.
Here is one of the fruit growing. The fruit are only about 15cm across when mature.
Another tiny (and very cute) fruit.