May 4, 2011

How to square foot garden

I have wanted a vegetable garden for years and in our new, sunny yard it's finally a possibility! Last weekend I roped my husband and father-in-law into building me a square foot garden.

Square foot gardening is becoming a popular way to grow vegetables and herbs in your own backyard. The technique uses raised beds laid out in squares to grow the plants in a small amount of space and with relatively little work. For a 4'x4' bed, all you need are two 10x2x8' untreated wood boards cut in half, four metal corner pieces to help reinforce the corners, nails, twine, and 8 bags of miracle grow soil.

Grab your favorite helpers and drill your box together using screws and those metal corner thingys. Pick out a nice sunny spot in your yard and dig up the grass, or in our case weeds masquerading as a lawn. We laid cardboard down as added protection against weeds. Then fill your box! (Or get your hubby to do it.)

Now you need to mark off your square foot sections. Drill a screw or hammer a nail into the boards at one foot intervals. Then run your twine between the nails to create a grid.

You will be assigning plants to the different squares. Doesn't it look so neat and tidy? It brings joy to my order-loving soul. :)

Now, plant! Of course we had to start with E's peanut seedling, a recent school project. I have my doubts as to the success of her endeavor, but hopefully the tomatoes, squash, and basil my friend Michelle started for me will produce a delicious harvest... right outside my kitchen!

For more information on square foot gardening, you can check out the official handbook All New Square Foot Gardening.

My Garden by Kevin Henkes

Did you catch this book when it came out last spring? I admit I did not. But I'm so glad I finally got my hands on a copy. The writing is beautiful. Kevin Henkes is a master, of course, but this has to be one of my favorites.

Written in first-person a little girl explains what her perfect garden would look like. The flowers would change colors, the bunnies would be chocolate, and anything you planted would grow. In a flight of imaginative fancy, the child takes us into her garden and we all wish we could join her in the fun!


  1. If I didn't kill every plant inside and outside my house, I would love to do this.

    Another book recommendation - Lois Ehlert's Growing Vegetable Soup or Planting a Rainbow by the same person. My boys love them and they are both very colorful and explanatory in a very simple way.

  2. We love raised bed gardening! I've been out planting things yesterday and today. At our current place we've got a bed that's about a foot and a half wide and goes the length of the yard that's raised behind's been so easy to plant. Hopefully I can keep everything growing. :)

  3. I hope your garden grows strong. We did our first raised bed this spring, but I think we should have used Miracle Grow too, because our seedlings are struggling so far. We really enjoyed this book.

  4. I'm so jealous! We won't be to planting season here until at least the end of May :(

  5. I love that book! I took it out of the library when it first came out, read it, and then immediately bought our own copy.

  6. Yay for gardening! We are doing raised beds again this year, but I am definitely not so organized to do them in one foot plots - I just plant and hope everything works out! :)
    Can't wait to check out this book - sounds wonderful!

  7. We are starting a vegetable garden for the first time this year too. I'm so excited to have home grown tomatoes! Your bed looks super neat and organized. I wish you tons of success. I just bought another raised bed yesterday at Big Lots-they have cedar raised beds that snap together without screws on sale this week for $20.

  8. I missed it. Thanks for the heads up!

  9. We recently read that book and did an art project to go with it - it's a fun read.

    I would love to grow vegetables, or anything really. It seems as though I have a black thumb.


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