Thursday, April 1, 2010

My Square Foot Garden in the Making

Gardening! It's a new found love of mine. I'd dreamed of having my own garden for years as we lived in government houses that weren't ours to do with what we wanted. We've owned this home for three years now and this is my third year of gardening. It's been a HUGE learning process, with much more to come. I'm particularly excited about this year because I've recently read a book called Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholemew. His method requires very little space because he's figured out what plants (and how many) can grow in a 1 square foot space.

So, I'm going to set out using his method and fill you in along the way. Let's look at the beds from last year and get them prepped for this year.

We took the tiered center out of the old bed to make room for marking 1 foot squares. The soil mixture is composed of 3 equal parts peat moss, vermiculite, and compost. It was a little investment buying the peat moss and vermiculite, but it never needs to be purchased again, all I'll ever do from this point is add compost, which I make myself. Peat moss is readily available, but we had to call around to find the vermiculite. It's an interesting substance derived from volcanic rock/ash. It aids in water retention of the soil and aeration. It's much like the little styrofoam pieces found in store bought potting soil. We had to spread a tarp to get it all mixed.

My darling husband framed out the old smaller bed.

And we are ready for planting!

Now, the Square Foot method recommends each bed be 4' X 4', which is optimal for reaching all of the growing space without stepping on your soil. However, I wanted to utilize my existing bed so my bigger bed is 8' X 5' or 40 square feet! The smaller bed is 7' X 2' or 14 sq ft! 54 square feet for planting! I probably will not plant in the very center of the bigger bed because I won't be able to reach what's growing. It may not seem like much, but one square can be planted with the following:

8 pea plants!
9 spinach plants!
16 onions!
1 tomato plant!
16 beets!

You get the picture? It's a lot! Before we left for vacation, I planted 24 peas, 9 spinach, and 16 onions. I'll update more later, because hopefully today we'll start potatoes and indoor seedlings for later this spring.


  1. YAY! wonderful. there is a lot of growing to be done in the smallest of spaces. I'm so excited to watch you progress. thanks for sharing the pictures.

    xx Ines

  2. That looks fantastic! I have many years that I experimented with this. I hope you have great luck.

  3. Great job! Square foot gardening is a wonderful way to use up your space. Love the little bed for zucchini! Have fun gardening, Kim


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