My own Square Foot Garden
by Alex in General / 04.06.09
This year, I decided I was planting a garden. I have wanted a garden for a long time, but living in rental properties makes it hard to garden. I am unwilling to go through the work of digging a garden bed in a yard that we might only have for a year (or, with our tack record, less than a year). In addition, the place we are living now has 3 large Pecan trees that shade most of the yard and house in the Spring and Summer. But, I am determined. I decided that I would build myself a square foot garden.
The square foot garden seemed perfect, because the easy-to-build raised bed meant I didn’t have to spend hours on back-breaking labor (anyone who has ever had to dig so much as a post-hole in Central Texas knows what I mean) for a plot that would be abandoned in a year, and it would be small enough to fit in the part of my yard that gets any decent amount of sun while still producing a decent amount of yummy veggies. I was sold.
I decided on a 4′ x 4′ plot, and got to work dreaming up the vegetables I would plant. Then I went to my neighborhood home improvement store and bought 2 2″ x 12″ untreated boards in an 8′ length, deck screws, peat moss, vermiculite, compost, plants, and seeds. I cut the boards in half using a hand saw and screwed them together, creating a 4′ x 4′ box. I decided to go with a one foot depth, because I wanted to plant carrots and potatoes, and these root vegetables need more soil to grow in. After building the box, I added the peat moss, vermiculite, and compost in a 1:1:1 ratio, mixing well with my trusty shovel. Now it was time for the fun part.
In my 16 square feet, I have planted: 2 squares of 2 tomato plants, 1 square of 4 Kentucky Wonder green beans (my father’s personal favorite), 1 square of 4 black-eyed pea plants, 1 square of 2 cucumber plants, 2 squares of carrots, 1 square of lettuce, 2 squares of spinach, 2 squares of 3 bell pepper plants, 1 square with 1 each of jalapenos and banana peppers, 1 square of 1 potato plant, 1 square of 2 different types of basil, and 1 square of 3 different herbs. I chose types of beans that would pole, and plan to add a trellis for the green beans, black-eyed peas, and cucumbers, to ensure they grow vertically (since there is no room for them to spread on the ground, or bush).
So far, the garden has taken off and is doing very well. I have lots of little spinach, lettuce, and carrot sprouts popping up. My tomato and pepper plants are growing like weeds, and I am going to have to add trellises to my beans and cucumbers this weekend. We’ve even been lucky enough to have a little rain in Austin over the last couple of weeks. Now, if I can just keep my tender little plants alive through the unpredictible weather of a Central Texas Spring, and the unbearable heat of a Central Texas Summer… Wish this novice gardener some luck! (I have not, yet, taken pictures of my little garden, but foudn some that look somewhat similar…)