6/6/08

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.

13 comments:

  1. Interesting idea. I've been thinking of doing a couple of raised bed gardens. I've never heard of a "square foot" garden. I'll have to consider this too. Probably they would both cost about the same? I was thinking of using those pavers for the raised garden. So, that might even cost more than the wood. I'll have to look into it. I'm thinking about it for next year.

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  2. this is great! If I didn't have a huge front garden that hubby threatens to grass over frequently, I would go for this!

    Definitely compost for the future. Also peat moss is an inexpensive additive.

    On saving seeds: beware. Many seeds are hybrids and you won't get what you planted. The other is that many seeds are "created" so that the plant might go to seed, but those seeds will not produce. Buy heirloom whenever possible, also you can seed swap or just get free seeds online for the cost of postage, and finally Dollar Store! 10 cents a packet is what I paid for most of my seeds.

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  3. We have a traditional, big garden in rows. But almost all of my friends do square foot gardening and LOVE it. Good luck!!!

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  4. This is my first year square footing it, and so far I have liked it....good luck with your garden!

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  5. That looks great! We have a very small garden in our back yard. We started them from seeds. I think we have 2 carrots growing and only 1 head of lettuce. Our peas and tomatoes are looking pretty sad. Our herbs look pretty good, though!

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  6. Thanks for visiting. I've been reading here for a while but your posts are so interesting & unusual I haven't known quite what to say.

    We do raised beds & are steadily eating our way through our winter garden just now. I second buying heirloom seeds. At least they will germinate for you.

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  7. I'm very interested in this and can't wait to see your progress! I'm supposed to be learning to garden this year too, but we've had so much consistent rain all spring that we can't till the ground. Maybe I should do this, and then I'll have a good place to put my plants this year. Thanks for the idea!

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  8. This is an awesome idea!Here in East Texas everything grows big and wild, especially our weeds:)TFS!

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  9. They look great! Most of my grand gardening plans for this year did not come together. It is frustrating.
    I am really looking forward to seeing how your garden grows. Keep us posted!

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  10. Never heard of this before. It looks very manageable and easy to weed. :)

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  11. This would be a great idea if you
    have limited space for a garden.

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  12. I've been wanting to do a box garden like that. Especially with grocery prices going up. Hopefully next year!

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