This is the journal of my endeavours to grow a range of fruit, veg and flowers from seed, grow organically, and my attempts to create a personal paradise with 1/2 acre of maintained gardens and 1/2 acre wild meadows. Northern Ireland's average daily high temperatures are 18 °C (64 °F) in July and 6 °C (43 °F) in January. Soil type: Clay

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Veg Planting Trial and Error

This year I'll soon have two additional raised beds for growing veg; they're currently in progress and not quite fully built (photo left). However, I'm starting to  use them already.

My plans are to trial some of the suggestions from the book, 'Square Metre Gardening' by Mel Bartholomew. I've read articles on this type of gardening in magazines so I ordered Mel's book (on a whim) and am looking forward to testing some of his ideas. A metre is roughly 3 feet 3 inches (perhaps a typical veg box size for a small garden) and the idea is that you plant crops in smaller 12 x 12 inch squares within your veg box (rather than the more traditional way of planting in long rows). Each smaller square is planted with a type of crop and the book helps you understand how many plants to put in any given square e.g.  4 lettuces, or 16 radishes. If you're wondering what all the sticks are in my raised bed, they're squares marked out, plus extra sticks for cat proofing measures to keep them from using the area as their powder room and play pit.
Above: A sample of a planting scheme in the book.
I've got Stuttgarter Onion planted in two of my squares. 
Some seedlings (radish, lettuce, etc) coming up.
I haven't measured my squares exactly but am using the book as a guide. I'll  be adapting things slightly but plan to try out  the 'square metre style' of gardening. I'll keep you posted on the results over the Summer!
Plants growing in the little greenhouse, soon to be re-homed to the raised veg beds.

Copyright: All words and photos are property of Kelli's Northern Ireland Garden.


  1. It will be interesting to see how you get on. I've often listened to and read things about this method but have always seen it as a way of growing when you have limited space so haven't tried it

  2. How interesting for us to follow your new gardening experiment. It looks good so far and I think you will probably get quite a crop of everything planted there. I love what it says on the front of Mel's book....10 minutes a day proven, that is my style!!

  3. I thought it was "Square FOOT Gardening" (SFG)...? You have obviously gone for bigger scale! Have you read David Offutt's articles about this technique on Gatronomic Gardener?
    Those canes wouldn't keep my foxes off, BTW.

    1. Hi Mark, I think my original post was a little confusing so I made some changes. I do at times get feet and metres slightly confused as I don't think in metric terms. I think this gardening idea originated in America - 'square foot gardening' and then of course in the UK it would be metric so Mel wrote his book accordingly? I'm not great with maths or measuring lol. I haven't read David's book - will have to try and have a look.

  4. I used to do something similar with my raised beds at home until I got my allotment.It seems to work great with things like beans,courgettes,chard and spring onions.I had a problem with PSB and cavolo nero kale which I didn't protect and the caterpillars loved it!

  5. The only problem I had when I tried it was that some things overshadowed others - I think it's just a case of choosing what to plant next to what so that doesn't happen.