Do NOT Copy

Do NOT Copy

Square Foot Gardening

My garden vegetable garden was so successful last year that I decided to build two more beds. I had started building them last fall, but just finished filling them this past weekend.

I know that I didn't get as many vegetables into my garden last year as Mel Bartholomew's book said I could, so I decided to mark the squares as he suggested. This isn't really required, but I am not very good at judging the proper spacing without these visual markers. My raised beds are 4 feet wide by 12 feet long.

The first step to adding the markers is measuring out each one foot section. I used a tape measure locked just over 1 foot to make it more manageable to manipulate. At each 1 foot increment, I used a galvanized exterior nail to mark each space.

Once each section was marked, I simply slid the tape measure up by the next nail and pounded in another nail. I suppose any nail would probably do, but if they aren't graded for exterior use they'll rust more quickly.

Once I got each section marked off, I connected some twine to each nail opposite each other. First I strung the ends together since there are only 3 nails. They will also act as supports for the cross twine as I weave the twine under one string and over the next as it crosses.

Once each section is marked off, we are ready to plant. You can plant pretty much anything that can be 12 inches from something else into this style raised bed. Read the planting instructions for specific plants. Divide each section into the proper number of sections by drawing lines with a stick prior to planting your seeds, bulbs, or seedlings. Some plants do not require this work such as tomatoes which require 12 inches between plantings. Those plants are placed in the center of the square.

I decided to try to plant some corn this year too. I've never grown corn before, so this is another new thing for us to try. I read that corn needs to be planted in blocks. Most gardeners prefer to cut extra seedlings off once they are growing well, but I had these great little corn plants growing two per section. How could I choose just one? I gently pulled them out of the pot, squeezed the dirt to loosen the roots from each other. Once most of the dirt had crumbled away, I slowly separated my corn seedlings from each other. It looks like my efforts were successful too, each of them looked to have a nice healthy root system. I was so happy! This doubled my corn supply. I planted for corn plants per square. Normally you don't group food in rows with square foot gardening, but corn is an exception.

Interspersing blocks of onions, marigolds, garlic, and other strong smelling plants can help to disguise the scent of more favorable plants preventing many insect infestations that most gardens fall subject to. Square foot gardening is a great way to put some of the organic gardening techniques into practice. Once my seedlings are up, the whole bed will be mulched to prevent weeds, to preserve moisture, and to add additional nourishment to the soil.

Today I got all of the seedlings that I purchased at my husband's place of employment planted into the gardens. Tomorrow I will plant some of the seeds I got from Hometown Seeds last fall (to check them out, please click on the link in my sidebar).

Following is a list of the plants I planted (or will plant) as well as how many plants can be grown per square.

1 per square- broccoli, cabbage, head lettuce, tomatoes, strawberries, asparagus
2 per square- cucumber
4 per square- potatoes, arugula, corn, leaf lettuce, Swiss chard
9 per square- peas, beans, spinach
16 per square- onions, turnips, beets, carrots, radish, chives

I hope to have an even more successful year this year and plan to get lots of use out of my canning equipment. What are you growing this year?

Thank you for stopping by to chat with me. Please leave me a message, I'd love to hear your thoughts! Cindy
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