Join me on my square foot gardening challenge! - Sara Bäckmo
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Join me on my square foot gardening challenge!

Ready to take on my square foot gardening challenge? I challenge you to grow all the leafy greens you need in a truly minimalist fashion. After all, you don’t need a large plot of land to grow plenty of vegetables. I hope you’ll join me!

Many of you who follow my kitchen garden don’t have access to acres and acres of farmland to grow on, which works out perfectly since this challenge is all about making the most of what you have. A smaller growing bed does the trick too!

That’s why I’ve decided to start my square foot gardening challenge: Setting aside 20 square feet in the garden to grow enough leafy greens for the household for one year. Join me!

I’ll show you how to get started on the square foot gardening challenge in the video below. (The video is in English and has Swedish subtitles.)


The 20 square feet kitchen garden
The challenge starts with building a brand new growing bed for my leafy greens. It’s always fun to build something new with a particular project in mind. I’m making a raised bed and will use the no dig method which makes it even easier to get started. Feel free to build a new garden bed too or use an available space in your kitchen garden.

We still don’t have much snow where I live and that’s why I can keep on working in the garden. You can always wait until spring if your garden is covered in snow.


How to build the growing bed:
– Put newspapers on the ground, on an area of about 4 ft 11 x 8 ft 2.
– Make a 3 ft 3 x 6 ft 7 large frame from old logs and put it on the newspapers.
– Put organic mulch like old leaves, grass clippings and manure on the garden bed.
– Add two wheelbarrows of soil on top.
– Put a few plastic grids on the garden bed to protect it from nosy animals during winter.


The 20 square feet gardening challenge:
– Leafy greens only.
– Keep growing throughout the year, starting in winter.
– Weigh the harvest.


When you don’t have a lot of space, growing leafy greens only is a good way to focus your efforts and attention on one single goal. Mine is to become self-sufficient in leafy greens during large segments of the year!

I’m counting on that my garden bed will provide the family with plenty of leafy greens from April to January or February if everything goes according to plan. I’m also planning on weighing every harvest to show you how efficient this method really can be. I’ll take you through the process step by step, from sowing to harvesting.


En odlingsbädd på gräsmattan

This is what your garden bed will look like when it’s finished. All you need to do now is sow!


Why 20 square feet?
Many people think that they need a large plot of land to be successful, but 20 square feet is actually all the space you need to get started on a working kitchen garden. You’ll get plenty of vegetables from a smaller garden bed if you do it properly.


Why leafy greens?
You can of course choose to grow whatever you like in your square foot garden. I like growing leafy greens because we use it quite a lot in our household. But you are of course free to grow whatever you like. This type of bed is however ideal for growing leafy greens since we’re using a quite thin layer of soil. Most leafy greens have a superficial root system and don’t need a thick layer of soil to thrive.

Our family uses quite a lot of leafy greens. We cook them and eat them fresh all year round and we always seem to need more. Salad greens, spinach, purslane, corn salad, arugula, dill and parsley are always high in demand. I’m guessing it’s the same for you. That’s why I think leafy greens are the perfect vegetable for my minimalist garden challenge!


Join me on my 20 square feet gardening challenge!
A few of you from for example the US and Germany have already decided to take on the challenge:

Andrea: ”Great idea Sara! I’ll take the challenge and I’ll start a new bed with 2 square meter. But must figure out a place to make it! Most of my kitchen garden are older beds and in the rest my chickens are around. But I will find a spot!”

I hope you’ll join me on my gardening challenge! Comment below if you want to be a part of this project and we’ll help each other on the way. I’ll tell you more about how to sow leafy greens in the next post.

Until then, good luck!

/Sara Bäckmo

10. May 2018