The fun part of square foot gardening is when it’s time to plant!
I simply started with an assessment of what my family likes to eat then added a couple new things to try.
I would also highly recommend that you keep it simple.
Certain crops are perfect for raised bed gardens: lettuce, spinach, herbs, carrots, etc. Others are more difficult to manage in a square foot garden: pumpkins, zucchini, squash, watermelon.
Our first year, we planted all kinds of stuff and we had pumpkin and zucchini vines taking over the back yard. We did also have some wonderful pumpkin and zucchini crops to go along with all that madness, but it was a pain in the butt to mow around and made the backyard a total mess.
Some people plant a salsa garden: tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, garlic (although I have never had good luck growing garlic, but I hear it can be done).
Others like the idea of a salad garden: lettuce, carrots, beets, spinach.
I typically plant a few tomato plants, a jalapeno, some lettuce, carrots, sweet corn and then usually one or two “experimental” items — this year we’re trying Swiss chard and banana peppers.
Each type of crop has a planting pattern. I have found this site to be particularly helpful in deciding how many of each vegetable to plant per square foot.
Some key ideas:
- plant taller things at the back so they don’t shade the smaller things in the front
- be careful when choosing vine type vegetables — they tend to take over
- label each square with some kind of marker (I write in Sharpie marker on a popsicle stick)
- keep it watered thoroughly until the seedlings are well established
- corn must be planted in such a way that it will cross-pollinate — planted in a single row, it will not develop ears
For planting ideas and timelines, do an Internet search for your local Extension office. I use a planting timeline specific to Missouri.
While my square foot garden is in a raised bed, a similar idea could be incorporated into a traditional garden. Wooden stakes and twine could be used to make the grid.
For other posts in this series:
And for a peek at what we have grown before: Garden Bounty