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Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

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Companion Planting & Soil Depth

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Companion Planting & Soil Depth Empty Companion Planting & Soil Depth

Post  AngelaLynn 4/23/2022, 8:58 am

Three questions for experienced gardeners: 

1) When companion planting a veggie garden with flowers or herbs do you plant them both in the same square or side-by-side in their own squares. Example: Can I plant basil in the same square as my vining tomato or does the basil need it’s own square? If I’m using calendula and basil for my tomatoes, can I plant the two (basil/calendula) in the same square? 

2) What materials have you had the most success with, in your garden paths, to keep out weeds? 

3) My raised beds are 30” tall. I’ll be using the hugelkulture method to fill the bottom part of the beds and Mel’s mix as the soil. How deep should my soil portion be? From what I’ve read in Mel’s book, seen on YouTube videos and in articles found online the depth suggested ranges from 6-24”.  I was thinking 24” would be best especially for root veggies, but my mom who has gardened (in ground) for 50 years…says I’d be wasting money if I went any deeper than 10”. What’s your advice/experience?
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Companion Planting & Soil Depth Empty Re: Companion Planting & Soil Depth

Post  OhioGardener 4/23/2022, 10:22 am

AngelaLynn wrote:Three questions for experienced gardeners: 

1) When companion planting a veggie garden with flowers or herbs do you plant them both in the same square or side-by-side in their own squares. Example: Can I plant basil in the same square as my vining tomato or does the basil need it’s own square? If I’m using calendula and basil for my tomatoes, can I plant the two (basil/calendula) in the same square? 

Not sure if I qualify as an experienced gardener, but I'll give it shot.

There are two important considerations when doing such companion planting: 1) The amount of space each plant needs to fully develop, and 2) A bigger plant shading a smaller plant and not allowing it to fully develop.  For example, a tomato plant provides a lot of shade, and basil requires full sun.

If spacing for a plant, such a basil, is 4 per square, and spacing for a companion plant is also 4 per square, then you should not experience any problem mixing them. I personally dedicate each square to the plant for that square.

2) What materials have you had the most success with, in your garden paths, to keep out weeds?

I use free wood chips that I get from local tree trimmers. I pick up free cardboard from a furniture store to put down on the ground, and then cover with several inches of wood chips on top of the cardboard.

 How deep should my soil portion be? From what I’ve read in Mel’s book, seen on YouTube videos and in articles found online the depth suggested ranges from 6-24”.  I was thinking 24” would be best especially for root veggies, but my mom who has gardened (in ground) for 50 years…says I’d be wasting money if I went any deeper than 10”. What’s your advice/experience?

It would be terribly expensive to put 24" of Mel's Mix in a bed, and would be totally unnecessary. The recommended depth for MM is 6", but if you are planning on growing root crops such as sweet or white potatoes, carrots, Dikon radish, parsnips, etc., 10" is much better.

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Post  sanderson 4/23/2022, 4:02 pm

AngelaLynn wrote:Three questions for experienced gardeners:
 

1) When companion planting a veggie garden with flowers or herbs do you plant them both in the same square or side-by-side in their own squares. Example: Can I plant basil in the same square as my vining tomato or does the basil need it’s own square? If I’m using calendula and basil for my tomatoes, can I plant the two (basil/calendula) in the same square? 
OG answered this question.  I have planted one basil between 2 tomato plants.  They stay stunted until I start pruning the dying lower leaves, and then it takes off.  Now I plant basil in the herb bed in its own square.  Dwarf marigolds stay much smaller.  I plant just for color and plant them in half squares or where they won't get overwhelmed.  Larger flowers like zinnias and petunia get their own square.  Again, just for color and only in squares that are empty.

2) What materials have you had the most success with, in your garden paths, to keep out weeds? 
Like OG, I use plain wood chips.Companion Planting & Soil Depth Garde111


3) My raised beds are 30” tall. I’ll be using the hugelkulture method to fill the bottom part of the beds and Mel’s mix as the soil. How deep should my soil portion be? From what I’ve read in Mel’s book, seen on YouTube videos and in articles found online the depth suggested ranges from 6-24”.  I was thinking 24” would be best especially for root veggies, but my mom who has gardened (in ground) for 50 years…says I’d be wasting money if I went any deeper than 10”. What’s your advice/experience?
This is the official answer from the SFG Foundation, of which I closely work with.  Huelkulture does not go with SFG.  Period. Over time the material will break down and the whole bed will sink until the Mel's Mix is way low.  Fill the lower portion with clean sand or dirt leaving 8" of head room for 6-7" of Mel's Mix plus top mulch.  The production is the same whether there is 6" or 12" of Mel's Mix.  My beds are in the air (table top beds) with bottoms of 3/4" plywood or "cementy" type cement board.  I've also had cement pavers as the bottoms.  Therefore, if I had your style of tall deep beds, I would put sand in the bottom, topped with durable weed fabric so I don't drag sand up into the Mel's Mix when carefully removing plants at the end of the season. Then fill with MM leaving an inch or two for mulch. (I use ready chopped straw call E-Z Straw with tack.

Most plants can be grown in just 6-7" of MM.  There are short varieties of carrots and parsnips.  For longer ones, you can dedicate a bed for them, or add a top hat and fill with MM (economical method)  The top hat also allows you to move the extra MM around to different beds or squares. Companion Planting & Soil Depth Top_ha10

This is my first year growing Yukon Gold potatoes in a regular bed.  The seed potatoes were planted 2" from the bottom as the potatoes form above the seed potato.  Cover with straw mulch to keep out the sunlight.  I usually grow reds in 5-gallon buckets.  This year I planted 4 eyes of reds in one and a YG seed potato in the other.  Harvesting is easy as the buckets can be dumped on a clean tarp to make sure I don't miss any tiny ones.

Three squares of YG in a regular bed.Companion Planting & Soil Depth Potato23
 
Companion Planting & Soil Depth Potato22
Companion Planting & Soil Depth Potato21

Sweet potatoes I plant in large storage totes in 10" of MM.  One slip per square foot.  Again, I dump the totes on a clean tarp.  Harvest, remove orange roots, remove roots from under the durable weed fabric that lines the bottoms.
Two (2) totes dumped last November.
Companion Planting & Soil Depth Sweet_29

Sneaky potato under the weed fabric.
Companion Planting & Soil Depth Sweet_31

Two totes worth of harvest.
Companion Planting & Soil Depth Sweet_30

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