My little square foot garden…

Wondering where I’ve been the last week?  I have to admit I’ve been pretty distracted.  I am LOVING this gardening project of mine. It has been so fun and I’m learning so much. I thought I’d tell you a bit about what I’ve done so far:

I read this book cover to cover:

Mel Bartholomew, the author, has an interesting sense of humor and is a bit wordy, but boy oh boy does he have passion!  It is always fun to read books written with passion.  And did I learn a LOT.  I’m a complete gardening newbie (other than helping my parents as a kid), so it was fun to read and learn.  He does a good job of speaking to “new” gardeners.

I also spent a bunch of time researching online about this method (and gardening in general). I wanted to be sure others had seen success with square foot gardening and that it really was simpler and more effective than traditional gardening.   Supposedly, it requires less water, less fertilizing, less weeding, less work and less space than traditional gardening.  I don’t have room for a traditional garden, but I still wanted to be sure this was good option. No garden is better than $$ and hours wasted on a failed one, right?  Here are just a few of the site I used:

Then came the really fun part.  I love to organize, so I thoroughly enjoyed planning out just want to plant where based on which plants grow well together, which plants need more sun, which plants would shade other plants etc.  Here is the plan I came up with:

Doesn’t that just make you smile?  It does me.  The sun loving tomatoes will shade the shade loving lettuce. The peas and cucumer will grow vertically behind the shorter cilantro, onion and basil.  The oregano, parsley and carrots will be in pots.

I had fun involving my kids here too.  We opened the book and looked at all the different things we could plant.  I have to admit to vetoing a few things though.  They really wanted radishes, but I just can’t stand them.  Can’t make myself spend the time and effort on them.  We went with carrots instead.  I also vetoed cantaloupe and watermelons.  LOVE them and we eat a LOT, but I want to take it a bit easy this first year.  I don’t want to have to deal with getting them to grow vertically having a strong enough vertical frame.  Plus I’m not sure the yield would be worth it in my limited space.  I had also originally planned for beans, zucchini and squash, but eventually decided to hold off on those as well and just do our favorites this year for simplicity’s sake.

Then, I researched our frost date (late January!) and started planning what to plant when.  I took my boys and my plan down to the local nursery and had them “approve” it and give me a few more pointers.  We also bought our compost, vermiculite, seeds, some strawberry plants and a parsley plant while there.  They boys had a blast helping pick out all the seeds and looking at the little flowers on the strawberry plants that would soon become berries.

Then I headed over to Home Depot and got about 1/2 of the wood for the boxes for pennies from the scrap pile.  I got a 4×4 piece of plywood and a 4×8 piece.  I also got two 2x6x8’s and six 4x6x8’s.  That is all now sitting in our backyard.  We will put the boxes together sometime this week and then start planting on Saturday!  I’ll take some pictures of the process and post them next week.

I’ll be picking up a composter from Lowe’s on Wednesday.

How about you?  Anyone else planting a garden this year?  How about a square foot garden?

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Becky is a wildlife enthusiast and pet and livestock care expert with a diploma in canine nutrition. With over a decade of experience in animal welfare, Becky lends her expertise to Simple Family Preparedness through insightful info about pets, livestock, bee keeping, and the practicalities of homesteading.

6 thoughts on “My little square foot garden…”

  1. One thought from my end of the world. Last year, we planted our tomatoes in our square foot garden. I planted peppers in front and next to them. By the end of the summer, the tomatoes were so big that they crowded out the peppers and shaded them so they didn’t grow much. So, don’t plant them all too close together.
    Also, many herbs are annuals and grow back each year. Many people do boxes for herbs only. I haven’t tried the ones you are using, so I don’t know if they will come back every year. We were just surprised by the chives I planted one year and now they come back every year. =) Good luck and I can’t wait to hear how things go!

    • Diana! I NEED your help! The tomatoes are behind the peppers (sun-wise), so I don’t think they will shade them even once they get taller. But, how close is too close? How many did you plant per square foot? I’ll have to look into the herbs….

      Thanks for the tips! I appreciate your time!

      • Misty-We planted 1 per two square feet. Our cages fell over because they got so heavy, so they actually filled up three square feet. That is why they crowded out our peppers we planted in front of them. Our garden is 3×8 and sits against our house. We planted the tomatoes towards the back and the peppers in front of them. The tomato plants look small and cute at the beginning of the summer, but quickly grow! By the end of the summer, they were about 2 feet past the edge of the box, all over the ground. We did buy some small “patio” tomato plants that fit in the square foot garden perfectly. So, you may want to try that route.
        I can’t wait to find out about your experiences this summer!
        And, thanks for the websites! I hadn’t heard of some of them.
        You are awesome!

        • Okay, so did you do determinate (bush) or indeterminate (vine)? He recommends 1 indeterminate per 1 sq ft or 1 determinate per 9 sq feet. I was planning on putting in just the indeterminates, but if that is what you did and it was still too much, I may re-think my strategy….

  2. We started square foot gardening last year and we love it. It is so much easier than regular gardening. We started with 3 boxes (8x4ft ea) and quickly added 6 more! They are so easy to plant, weed, and harvest. In fact I just finished weeding ours to begin to get ready for this spring’s planting. I will start next week with garlic and onions. Our frost date isn’t until late March though, but these plants will be fine. I can’t wait to get it all planted and growing though. It was so much fun last year.

    • I”m so glad to hear that! I’ve heard so many good things, but I’m still a little nervous….I hope I can make it work! You ended up having 9 8×4 boxes? WOW! Makes mine look so TINY! How many are in your family? Did you can a lot of it?


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