Are you thinking of growing an edible garden, but aren’t sure how to do it? We tried the square foot gardening on our raised plant bed a few months ago, when we wanted to add more plants to our edible garden. It wasn’t complicated at all! In fact, we plan to do the same for the rest of our plant beds so we have a steady supply of fresh ingredients when we need them.
Today, we’re going to share our gardening project with you and, hopefully, help get you started as well.
The Benefits of Square Foot Gardening
For anyone who loves making meals at home, having access to a thriving and reliable herb and vegetable garden is a dream come true. You don’t need a large space to do this. In fact, even a 2ft x 4ft area is good enough to start with. This gardening method lets you maximize every square foot space available in your garden and allows you to have more plants than you actually thought you could.
The method is pretty straightforward and is very easy to follow. Square foot gardening is effective because it gives the seeds enough room to grow and allows them to get sufficient nutrition from the soil. As a result, your plants grow continuously and you get a reliable supply of ingredients straight from your garden. If you are struggling with unhealthy and withering plants, this gardening method will surely solve your problems.
We use a portable 3×6 raised bed for our edible gardening. This allows you to relocate the plants to a safer spot during the height of summer or winter. But the square foot gardening method works just fine for direct soil gardening. To start planting using this method, follow the simple instructions below.
- Measure your total planting area. This will give you an idea of how much space is available to you and help you decide how many plants you can actually have before you start buying seeds.
- Divide your planting area into equal portions of 1 square foot. You can use strings or pegs to mark the divisions.
- Follow the instructions for seed spacing. This is indicated on the back of the seed packet. This is a very important step, as this is crucial to the health and wellness of your garden as a whole.
- Based on the seed spacing requirement, divide the square foot space into equal parts.
For example: Up to 4 Arugula seeds can be planted per square foot.
Divide the square space into 4 equal parts.
Plant 1 seed in each quadrant.
- Follow watering instructions. If you are planting on a raised bed, you can use the grid watering system that is specially made for this planting method.
Make the Most Out of Your Garden Space
Here’s a guide to some basic herbs and vegetables that are commonly used in the kitchen:
Herb and Veg Type
Seeds Per Square
- Arugula 4
- Basil 2-4
- Celery 4
- Chives 4
- Kale 1
- Leaks 9
- Lettuce Leaf 6
- Lettuce Head 2
- Mint 1-4
- Parsley 4
- Rosemary 1
- Spinach 9
- Tomatoes 1
- Thyme 4
- Zucchini 1
The list above contains only 14 herb and vegetable types. If you have a 14 sq ft space, you can have this many types of plants in your garden and raise up to 56 plants. You can have more if you have a larger space available. This planting technique allows you to make the most out of a small space without sacrificing the health of your plants.
Leaving the Old Planting Ways Behind
Before we tried square foot gardening, we simply planted where there was a vacant patch of soil in our plant bed. But as the plants grew, they either became too crowded or were spaced too far apart.
There were times we needed to dig up some herbs to relocate or repot them. In the process, we learned that some plants like to be left alone. Uprooting or replanting these plants stresses them out and causes them to wither. Some even fail to recover from the shock. It wasn’t until we tried the square foot technique that we started seeing better results and having healthier plants.
When you start planting using this method, you’ll grow enough plants and have a reliable source of ingredients for your garden-to-table cooking. You’ll have the ability to recreate restaurant meals right in your very own kitchen. Now, you can serve fresh and healthy meals at home, made with fine-dining ingredients straight from your very own edible garden. No doubt you’ll be whipping up more delicious meals when you’ve got your favorite herbs and vegetables right in your garden, ready for the picking.