Our (Almost) Square Foot Garden

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Yesterday marked our start into the world of squarefoot gardening (aka raised bed gardening). For a number of years we hemmed and hawed around the thought of having a vegetable garden and this year was the year.  The increasing price of fuel, seemed to make the idea a little more palpable. Applying some knowledge gained from reading various copies of All New Square Foot Gardening
.. we’ve gone headlong into establishing our garden.

Read along as we plan, build and plant in just a few hours.

Our squarefoot garden planTo see all the details of the plan click the picture above. Thanks to vegetable-gardening-online for the worksheet.

Our plan was not an exact squarefoot garden in the purest sense but, we did follow squarefoot gardening principles. In a true square foot garden it’s most often square (duh!). However, we did plant for efficiency and space optimization.

So, with plan in hand, plants/seeds purchased we headed out

Our family fitted with footwear and ready for gardening action.


Our raised bed garden is a kit from Sam’s Club was an 8″ Double Raised Bed from Greenland Gardener
which makes a 42″ x 84″ garden ($39) and made in the USA ;-) . The great things about this kit from Sam’s Club is it’s heavier, uses no hardware and is less expensive than the kit from Big Blue which is a Frameitall/Bonnie Plant branded raised garden kit ($49) that uses corner hardware and screws.

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Greenland Gardener squarefoot raised bed garden

 So, the first step was to locate a North facing site for the garden which gets 6+ hours of sun. This is no small order in our tree filled yard. My loving Wife scoped out several sites and with that research complete it would be on the perimeter of our backyard. We laid out the pieces to see what it would look like.

The next step I decided on was to remove the grass in the area so we could level the area. This is not mandatory if you have a level location. If you can avoid this step.. do it! We almost did. Removing this grass was the most labor intensive part of the project!

Lily approves of the layout. You can also see the corner blocks which accept the side panels for hardware free assembly (genius!).

Removing the sod for our square foot garden

See that tool with the green handle? … it’s a gem… removes weeds without backbreaking contortions and I used it to help remove the sod from the area. It’s an Ames True Temper Gardener Two Pronged Weeder.
If it’s possible to love a tool.. my Wife and I both do! Removes weeds from landscaping beds with ease! But, sod was another thing entirely… this “little” area took some muscle. But, when it was done…

Raised bed garden with sod removed

garden goodness with landscaping fabric installed.

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The gardening gods smiled down on us. Because when we went to return the raised garden bed to Big Blue the Miracle Gro Garden Soil was $2.50/1 cu. ft bag. Sweet! We also picked up a bag of Black Kow Compost Cow Manure
… can’t have too much organic material in your soil.

Miracle Gro Garden Soil for our squarefoot garden

Miracle Gro Garden Soil ready to go in our square foot garden

So, the next step was to mark off the squares for our (almost) square foot garden. There are lots of ways to mark off the squares (wood, old blinds, vinyl) We used what we had… Painter’s tape…

Marking off the squares of our almost squarefoot garden

Planting the plants in our square foot garden

Close up of the back (Northern) row of tomato plants. We planted three varieties of tomatoes (German Johnson, Roma, and Grape) all plants from Bonnie plants.

I decided to use the corner connectors of our raised garden bed kit to hold the plant markers from the Bonnie plants we planted. We’ll see how this works as the plants mature.

Here’s a look at the planted plan…

square foot garden laid out and planted

We decided to reuse the soaker hose and timer from another landscape project to keep the garden watered. This way we ensured the garden would get watered no matter what happened.

Raised bed garden with soaker hose installed

Want to see an update on our garden? Check here

9 Responses

  1. Last year was my first with SFG and it performed as advertised. Pests attached one plant but didn’t make it to the next box. Production was great, it looked pretty, the spacing works fine (I was really worried about it), the planting tables in the book were worth the cost of the book. Just try it!

    1. Shelly-
      Thanks for stopping by my blog. Glad to hear that the spacing worked out. It’s something that has always had me wondering. I’m planning on buying the book…probably on half.com. I can only go to the Library so many times. Have you tried any co-planting?

      1. I have many sqyarefoot beds and co-plant until you cannot tell one plant from another, especially things like peas that will be up and out in no time, spring lettuce, etc are planted with tomato and peppers which will be long term growers. I have permanent winter greens growing year round, strawberry plants and now raspberry and blackberry in permanent places in the squares. Sweet potatoes, carrots, et. stay in the ground year round as well. We are in Northwest Florida and the ground does not freeze but the frost can damage plants. I have wintered over cilantro and such with a plastic row cover.

        1. Ester-

          Thanks for dropping by my blog and sharing your experiences. I was wondering how to fit potatoes in a squarefoot garden. Had any experiences with potatoes?

  2. Your garden looks great Rob! I follow the spacing suggested with the plant or seeds. I like your spacing idea. Looks like an organized garden!
    I understand that potatoes grow great in a container. I have seen instructions to start planting in a deep container like a wine barrel then little by little as the plant grows layer in more dirt until the container is full and the green plant is still peeking above the soil. By fall the container will be full of potatoes and all you need to do is spill it over to harvest them! Sounds fun. Potato plants are pretty too.
    Keep us posted on your garden…

    1. Thanks for leaving a comment Stacy. The spacing on the package is a great start. But, the idea of a squarefoot garden is to maximize space. There’s a great book that explains it all. You can get a TON of food out of a relatively small space with a minimum of work and weeding.
      I really, like your idea for potatoes. I mentioned it to my Wife and she seemed quite interested. I’ll keep you posted on our progress!

  3. Hi Rob,

    What a wonderful garden you have! Glad to see you’re SFGing and we’d love to see any more pictures – I know Mel would especially. If interested, send them to askmelsfg@gmail.com.

    Thanks for spreading the SFG message :)

    Kevin from the Square Foot Gardening Foundation

    1. Kevin-

      Thanks very much for stopping by! I’ve been reading Mel’s books (quite a fan actually) for the past several years and we finally got the lead out.
      Happy to see the Cash from a Squarefoot Garden is available again. I quit looking for it a while ago. I’ll certainly send along photos!

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