SFG: Planting (finally)!

We are finally ready to plant our garden!  It took a little bit of effort to get here, but it was worth the wait.  Here’s a quick rundown of what it’s taken to get here:  Square foot garden built?  Check.  Special soil mixture mixed and placed?  Check.  Planning what will go in each square foot?  Check (and then throw it out the window).  Frost date passed?  Checkity check check.   

So here we sit.  Ready and waiting to plant some veggies.    Now might be a good time to mention that I might as well have thrown that garden plan in the compost bin because we didn’t use it at all, other than as a loose guideline.  Whoops.  Sometimes plans just don’t work…I’m the first to admit that.  And sometimes no plan is the best plan.   The Hubs of course had his list of desired crops…and me…well….I took the no plan route (I know, right)? 

We decided to go for a mixture of seeds and starters just based on what we could find. Hopefully that turns out ok for us…and if not…we’ll know better next time!

As far as planting goes, Mel (the SFG author) has suggestions for that as well (of course).  He offers guidelines like how many seeds/starters to plant of a specific plant per square foot.  Some crops, like carrots and radishes can yield 16 per square foot.  Other things like squash and cucumber are only one per square foot.   Once you’ve got the numbers down the actual planting is pretty straight forward and simple!

Dig/move enough soil to get your starter in. I was planting two in this particular area, so I split the square into even parts and placed my first hole.

Then place your starter (broccoli in this case) in the ground. Easy peasy.

Two broccoli (please don't get worms please don't get worms)

Repeat as necessary.  And yes.  That is the arm of my micro-puff (down coat) I’m wearing.  It was a little chilly this past Memorial weekend but I was planting my garden damnit.

Next up, some seeds.

Use your finger to poke a small hole in the soil. Here I'm planting a black bean bush (rad) so only one per square foot, right in the center.

Place 1-2 seeds in your hole, then lightly cover with loose soil.

You see nothing now...but in a few weeks you'll see the start of a little black bean bush pushing its way through! Er...at least I hope so.

Repeat as necessary until all of your starters and seeds are in the ground.  Ours looks something like this:

Welcome to our jungle garden! Our grass is growing insanely thanks to some fertilizer and now all of this rain..

Here’s what we ended up with (which you’ll notice is quite different from my original plan).   What?  So I wanted some black beans and beets now.

  • Lettuce (4 per square)
  • 2 squares of spinach (9 per square)
  • Black beans (1 per square)
  • 2 squares of broccoli (2 heads per square)
  • chives (16 per square)
  • beets (6 per square)
  • carrots (16 per square)
  • onions (4 per square)
  • cucumber (1 per square)
  • beans (9 per square)
  • sugar peas (1 per square)
  • sweet pea flowers (9 per square)
  • pansies (1 per square)
  • lobelia (6 per square)

I’m excited to see what kind of yield we get from this arrangement.  Like….will we get a handful of peas and one cucumber?  Or what?  Will we even be able to eat anything from it?  I certainly hope so!  But you just never know I guess.

A big difference you’ll notice from my original plan is that most of my herbs are gone.  I decided instead to plant basil, cilantro and mint in pots instead of using valuable garden space.  This decision gave me the opportunity to try out some cool veggies like sugar peas and beets instead.  Now the herbs sit in pots on our patio, which will be nice to just pop out the sliding door to snip from the kitchen. 

So there you have it.  Expect an update from me in a few weeks with our progress…you know, what’s working….what’s not.  Oh!  And our potatoes are sprouting some green leafy things….our cue to put more straw on top.  How cool is that?!  These potato towers might actually work

I decided to give my sugar peas some help, since they like to climb. Next time I'd plant them on an outside edge so I could use the SFG recommended "ladders"

Oh, and those crazy vines in the background?  Yeah those are our hops.  They’re already growing above our fence which slightly concerns me because they don’t even really get started with their growth spurt until it gets hot (so like August).  Those things are cr-ah-zah-ee.  So if any of you are looking for a cheap shade vine for a trellis or pergola?  HOPS are your new best friend.  Plus you can brew beer with them.  Cool.

Now we sit back, crack a summer brew and watch our garden grow.  They way we’re babying this garden reminds me of those old men who water their grass by hand and yell at the neighborhood kids to “slow down!”  haha.  Thankfully we’re not quite there….yet.  But nobody better be messin’ with our garden, that’s for sure!



    1. Hi Heather!

      We really debated whether or not it was necessary, but Mel (the author of Square Foot Gardening) insisted that you put the grids down if this is your first garden. And in reality, it DID make it easier to keep the crops separated. With such a small garden to begin with, the grid really helps keep us organized and make sure we’re maximing the space based on which crops we want to plant. Hope this helps!


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