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Large Scale Square Foot Gardening

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Large Scale Square Foot Gardening

Post  pinrut on 3/20/2011, 9:03 am


I live in a meditation centre in France (Plum Village) where there is a community of about fifty people. We converted about half of our space to the square foot method giving us about 100 square metres to work with. The early signs are very good with greatly increased increased joy, ease and harvests so far and its only March!

Our hope is to move in the direction of self sufficiency and increase the size of the garden using the square foot method. Is there anyone out there who has experience using the square foot method on a large scale such as over 100 square metres. If so Id love to get in touch to discuss gardening on this scale. Please also post any experiences, suggestions, pitfalls etc of sq foot gardening of this scale.

I am in love with square foot gardening and cant believe how simple and how much fun it is!

Wishing everyone well



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Re: Large Scale Square Foot Gardening

Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 3/20/2011, 9:08 am

Stuart, I wanted to say welcome aboard and what an undertaking you guys are going to attempt. I imagine it will be fantastic.

I wish I had experience, on that scale, to offer you, but I don't. I'm sure you will find someone here, though, that has what you are looking for.

We love pictures of gardens, and welcome both ideas and questions at any time...on any scale. Looking forward to watching your progress.

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Re: Large Scale Square Foot Gardening

Post  LaFee on 3/20/2011, 12:48 pm

Just as an FYI for everyone reading --- 100 square metres is roughly 1000 square feet -- a BIG garden!

(Hi, Stuart, I'm in the 77 -- lucky you to be in such a gorgeous part of l'Hexagone)


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Re: Large Scale Square Foot Gardening

Post  FarmerValerie on 3/20/2011, 1:13 pm

Thanks LaFee, I never quite understood the metric system, as most Americans typically do not.

Now that I know that, I have aprox 300 sq ft of growing space, and plan on expanding in the next year or two by adding 15 8x4 boxes, which is 480 sq ft, which will give me 780 sq ft. BUT, we can, freeze, dry, and eat, we are trying to be self sustaining and we are feeding 2 adults, a 14yo human garbage disposal (son), our 12yo daughter, and parents/in-laws (mine), and still have one grown child at home. I also want to barter what we don't need for what we do need, had someone offer to buy any strawberries we dont' need (only 5 actually made it into the house last year), I told hubby to tell them I would rather trade for some goat's milk. We also have bees, and honey is now $12 a quart, I hope to be bartering some of that stuff too.

Looks like in a few years I will have my very own community garden, teeheehee. Best wishes with yours, please keep us updated on progress and lots of pictures!!!!

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Re: Large Scale Square Foot Gardening

Post  Kabaju42 on 3/20/2011, 9:54 pm

Welcome to the forums Pinrut!

I know you came looking for advise, but I have to ask you how you've done it so far. Were you part of the effort to get it going? Is this a large community effort?

I'm glad it's going so well.

@LaFee wrote:Just as an FYI for everyone reading --- 100 square metres is roughly 1000 square feet -- a BIG garden!

Here's some more thoughts to help imagine it. 1 meter is about 1 yard, or 3 feet. I believe in areas that use the metric system Mel teaches to have the boxes 1 meter (3 feet) wide then as long as you need. So if you can imagine boxes that are 3 feet wide and if they were put together they'd be about 300 feet long. I'm jealous just thinking about it.

Edit: fixed a typo.

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Re: Large Scale Square Foot Gardening

Post  LaFee on 3/21/2011, 1:32 am

Actually, Kabaju, a metre is closer to 39 inches -- so it doesn't take very many of them before the difference starts to add up. Thus a square metre ends up being actually just a little more than 10 square feet (it's actually closer to 11, but for casual conversations, I just use 10 because I can do it in my head!)..so your example would leave you with another 100+ square feet of garden that you'd have to squish in somewhere! (Here's the technicals: 1 metre = 39.37 inches = 3.281 feet = 1.094 yards, and 1 square metre = 10.76 square feet)

Someone over here IS reading SFG, because some of the smaller kits I'm seeing are 1,2 x 1,2 metres....which is neatly 4 x 4 feet.


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Re: Large Scale Square Foot Gardening

Post  Squat_Johnson on 3/21/2011, 4:44 pm

Welcome!. I don't have anything that big, but will offer what experience I have... I have 3 beds that measure 4' x 24' , (3) 4' x 8' and a couple smaller 4x4 - my calculator says 432 sq ft... Not an expert, but clearly obsessed.

Here's what I have made use of that seems to work for me...

I have a 4 way on/off hose splitter that feeds all the big boxes. During the hottest times of the year, I run it for an hour or so couple times a week for the plants that have established roots. New plants still get watered with a wand.

I cut up water hoses using the repair male/female ends and run it under mulch.
I use soaker hoses that run lengthwise at the 1', 2' and 3' lines (see below. I put a trellis every other 4' section so I can reach around them to plant & weed.

I am putting in some new boxes using a bottom with hardware cloth. I have infestations of voles (field mice) that I have to keep out. I spent all day yesterday digging up a bed and putting it into one with a wire bottom. There were tunnels all throughout the 10" deep (potato) bed that you see at the top right.

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Post  ander217 on 3/21/2011, 5:23 pm

Welcome to the forum, Pinrut.

My husband and I have enclosed a garden space of 32' x 35' which is 1152 square feet of space. (LaFee or someone else, if you would, would you do the conversions for me, please? My brain belches smokes when I even try to remember math class.)

We are also building beds along the outer perimeter of the fence to add more growing space.

Our garden consists of eight SFG boxes of various sizes with grid tops, filled with MM. We also have eight 4' x 10' raised beds with SF grid tops, filled with compost and rice hulls, and we have several permanent non-gridded beds around the inside fence perimeter for such things as asparagus, raspberries, gooseberries, blueberries, and Egyptian Walking onions.

Can I help answer any questions for you?

BTW, Squat, we're also in the process of pulling up our boxes and refitting the bottoms with hardware cloth. We also dug a trench all around the garden perimeter and buried 12" of hardware cloth, bending the last 4" outward in an L shape to keep them from hitting the wire then tunneling down and under it. We left 6 inches of the wire above ground next to the fence. We dropped Juicy Fruit rolls in all the holes we found after we placed the wire. This spring we dropped more Juicy Fruit and a couple of weeks later we found one dead vole - hopefully he was one we inadvertently enclosed inside the garden. We haven't seen signs of any more since. (Knock on head, I mean wood.) I'll keep you posted, though.

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Re: Large Scale Square Foot Gardening

Post  LaFee on 3/21/2011, 5:31 pm

Dingdingding! Ander wins this one! That converts to 107 square metres -- so you have almost exactly the amount of space that Pinrut and his neighbors are working with.

(looks like there's a retreat at the village that started this morning, so it may be a few days before Pinrut responds)


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Re: Large Scale Square Foot Gardening

Post  Furbalsmom on 3/21/2011, 9:54 pm


I'm sorry I can't make any contributions regarding your questions on large scale gardening, but did want to let you know we are very glad you joined us. We look forward to hearing about your progress.

Did anyone else catch that Pinrut's name backwards is Turnip?

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Re: Large Scale Square Foot Gardening

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