Our square foot garden
I have heard a lot about Square Foot Gardening in the past several years, so when I looked at our weedy backyard and thought about the daunting prospect of starting a garden, I decided to check out square foot gardening.
The idea is that you build a box, fill it with a nice blend of dirt, and put a grid on top in 1-foot increments. Then you plant different things in the different squares and everything is all organized and neat. The organizational element is what appeals to me. I have seen many huge, jungly gardens, and while they have a charm of their own, I wanted to start smaller, since I don't really have a history as a green thumb.
I like that you don't start with the soil that's already in your yard. Ours is compacted, clay-like, weed-filled, rocky gunk. While I know that we could improve it over time and make it work, this is much easier.
On the down side, we spent about $200 to make the two boxes--$100 on materials and $100 on dirt. The wood and the metal tubing and netting all cost a bit, and it adds up fast. The dirt mix is lovely and rich and drains well, and it looks like we'll probably get our money's worth within two years. We could have saved more by using scrap wood and making our own compost for the dirt mix. I will start a compost pile this year so we can make our own in the future.
I bought tomato, pepper, and herb plants from the nursery and will do the rest from seed. I hope that in future years I can start my own seeds at home and save a bit more. The tomatoes and peppers were fairly cheap, but the herbs were not.
It was so much fun to sketch out the boxes and decide what to grow where and think of the yummy vegetables we'll get in a few months. I can't wait!
You can find instructions on how to start your own square foot garden here. You can also see the book here.