Hello Year 3 of Square Foot Gardening
When we moved into a more urban area of town, I wasn’t close enough to garden on the farm with my grandfather. But, my husband enjoys wide open yards and really didn’t want me tilling up a space to use for vegetables. Then I discovered square foot gardening. It seems like common sense now, but at first it really challenged my traditional understanding of gardening.
What is Square Foot Gardening?
Basically, with square foot gardening, you only give the plants as much space as they absolutely need. Unlike traditional gardening, you don’t give your rows between space for walking. The plants take up enough space they keep the weeds down and you kind of ignore the seed pack instructions on how far to space out your plants.
The first garden I built was a 3’x9′ raised bed. It fit snugly against our house (with a 3″ breathing gap) and I painted it the color of the house to help it blend in better with the yard. It has been a bit of trial and error, but I’ve found some plants like that specific bed better than others.
This year I’ve already planted a row of green onions, two rows of beans, 8 Swiss Chard, 2 kale, 4 pepper and 14 tomato plants. It still has space for sweet potatoes in the middle.
Start Your Own Backyard Garden
Gardening is awesome for kids. They learn so much about where food comes from and it gets them involved in the process. Not only do they love trying the food the grow (way more than they love vegetables I buy at the store and serve for dinner!), but they are learning a great skill.
We shouldn’t forget where we came from and how to survive without depending on others to grow our food. Growing things isn’t as simple as dirt, seeds and water. The more you work at it, the more you learn about finicky plants, garden pests, weed control and healthy soil.
You can totally garden from pots, but I found this insanely hard. I forget to water my plants enough and I don’t think I ever got anything but herbs to survive long enough to produce. With raised beds, you have fewer weeds to worry about and you don’t need a lot of excess watering.
On to Bigger Things!
I’ve been planning a second bed for more than a year now. I wanted to build it last year, but didn’t get there. This year, I’m more ready than ever and I think it will get built very soon. The next bed is going to be more than twice as large with space for summer squash and so much more.