Tuesday, 12 August 2008


image I have not read the book 'Square Foot Gardening' but I understand that the gist of it is that you fit as much into every square foot of soil as you can.

I sort of do this in my garden in an accidental and totally chaotic kind of way! Here are some photos of my garden today.

In this first photo there are broad beans growing and underneath there are a whole bed of self-sown, lime green, delectable chicory.
image This messy photo shows, if you look carefully with better eyes than mine, the pea frames. Between the path and the pea frames I sowed coriander in some spots and leeks in other....all very much just oh, there's a space, let's chuck it in and see how it goes type of gardening!

image Looking down on this square foot a whole lot of things can be seen - all of them self-sown before I got around to planting anything! There is, at soil level, a mat of oregano. Then there are a few broad beans that I have been ruthlessly picking the shoots of because I love to eat them while I wander about making out to be busy. There are some small fennel which will probably go to seed and not develop much but that's OK because I love eating the fronds and the flowers and the seeds. Just out of view are a couple of broccoli plants too.
image Now this mess is supposed to be mizuna - from seed I saved myself. OK, OK who cares really if there some other Asian greens crossed with mizuna there too? So, I pick the large-leafed ones for stir-fries and cut the mizuna almost daily for salads.

The dark leaves at top left are Tuscan kale which I did sow there and had forgotten about until they popped out through the mizuna.
image Here is another multi-national dish just waiting to be dreamt up. Some I sowed and some just came along by themselves. Fennel from Tony, red and green silver beets from Andrew, some of Joy's oakleaf lettuce, a crazy broccoli that only has side shoots, a couple of broad beans and some other things, probably Asian originally.
image Nice....all so neat and orderly, but still very productive.Left - right: White Gwenda lettuce from Cath, Ching Chiang Pai Tsai (really just bok choy), Miner's lettuce and in the front a few old garlic cloves that are having yet another go at life....I will probably just cut the leaves for salads.

So, if it suits you to have a wild and chaotic garden like mine and you don't do much digging which disturbs or covers the seeds, you can just sit back and watch an enormous number of things grow uninvited and unaided all winter long. In summer it is much harder as dripper lines dictate where things will grow but this year I have a plan! It is in 2 parts - the terracotta pots right along the front row of the vegetable garden and a wicking bed in an area that has tree roots invading it. Stay tuned....


chaiselongue said...

This all looks wonderful, Kate! We never manage to get our rows straight anyway, so best to let it all grow where it will. Your terracotta pot idea is working really well in our garden, with French green beans which will be ready to pick in a few days' time. Thanks for the idea, which we'll definitely use again.

Maggie said...

Looks great Kate.
I have been thinking we must get our share link going again and we could share on KGI day.
I shall try to fill my section in tonight, I have galangal, lemon grass, lime balm, mints and marjoram to share, probably more if I have a look.
It would also be good to share some of our seeds with new members, I know you already do this.

Veggie Gnome said...

I have quite a few beds that look like that, too. It's a great way of picking your meals. :)

Great idea, Maggie. I have quite a few things that I could share. I just have to get my act together.
I'd love to try my hand in growing galangal. :)

How can I fill in that sheet, too?

Maggie said...

Veggie gnome, just sign in to Hills and Plains, then open seeds to share and start typing.

Ewa said...

Kate, Your kaos :) looks wonderful! garden is not an army drill. This year I have hundreds of tomatoes volunteers, which grow from the seeds of unripe tomato left behind in the garden for winter.

Anonymous said...

Everything in your garden looks so healthy - great to see such a productive garden!

Robj98168 said...

Kate- I would like to invite you(and everyone else)to join our yahoo group The Square Foot Gardening Club. Everyone there shares knowledge, successes and even mishaps