Spring has sprung! Let the gardening begin! In this article, I’m going to show you step-by-step how you can grow 80 bountiful food producing plants in a 4’x4′ square. I’ll explain more of the science and geometry of it in a later post. The method I use is a combination of many different methods for various aspects of high yield urban gardening. Here, we’re going to focus on building your main 3FS² (Three French Sisters Squared) food garden.
What You’ll Need
- Pair of garden gloves
- Tape Measure
- 24 Bricks/Pavestones 4″x8″ [Link to Home Depot]
- Half Moon Edger (Optional)
- Straight 2×4 (for leveling)
Where to Grow
The best place for a food garden is in a well drained area that doesn’t collect standing water. Then, do a Sun survey. Mark your potential spot and record what time it goes into full sun at the start of the growing season. Then record what time it falls back into shadow. If it gets at least 6-10hrs of direct sunlight a day, you’re good to go.
Prepping the Site
Next, you de-sod the area. To do this, slide a shovel under the grass roots (an inch or so down) and shear off the top layer of grass. This will remove most of the surface plants and expose the native soil below. Plus, you can fill out the lawn put by putting your sod cuttings on the bald spots! When you’re done, it will look like this.
Lay out a line of six, on their narrow edge, directly on top of the dirt. Fit them as close together as you can. This is your first 4′ side. Then, lay down your next row at a 90 degree angle, starting at the corner of the last row. This square gap keeps all sides even and allows for drainage.
Repeat to make a 4’x4′ square. Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfectly straight, just straight enough to be square.
Now level your walls by laying the 2×4 on top of the brick wall and placing the level on top of that. Stack up dirt under the bricks on the lower sides until they are even with the higher sides. Then finally, pack some moist dirt around the outside perimeter to shore up the wall. That’s it! You’re done! Now that wasn’t so hard, was it?
Coming up in the next 3FS² article: Prepping your garden soil and planting the seeds! Stay tuned!