Square 1/2-inch gardening

Sharon Hanna plants tiny rows of beets, carrots, leeks, lettuce, calendula, basil and more using plug trays just like at a nursery - a square-1/2 inch for each seed!

Credit: Sharon Hanna

Sharon Hanna

Square-foot gardening? Nope – this is square ½-inch gardening.

My gardening pal Barb Coward and I went cross-eyed about 10 days ago in the greenhouse as we planted up tiny rows of beets, carrots, leeks, lettuce, calendula, basil, and a few other veggies, forgetting what we’d planted as we went along.

Plug trays used at nurseries

This is a plug tray used by nurseries – an automatic seeder puts one seed in each little square – this one had held pink petunia seedlings, and lots of them – whatever 36 by 18 is. After growing the tiny plugs in a warm greenhouse, nursery workers then dump out the lot, the roots holding that tiny bit of soil together. They then pot them up into 4-inch pots or hanging baskets by hand.

Interesting results on the way

Oh, boy, we were so carried away that we totally spaced the variable germination rates for different veggies, so removing them should be interesting! Bok choy was first to spring up in four days. Carrots took 12 days, and the first basil seedling peeked through today. We’ll have enough calendula for everyone. Since we planted one seed (or tried to) per square, it was of interest to note beet germination. Beet and chard have compound seeds and yield anywhere from one to four or even five seedlings per. Thus, the finicky thinning process which faces all who love to grow beets…