Planning a square foot garden is definitely for you if you love homegrown vegetables and spices. Plus, if you've never tasted homegrown vegetables or spices, you are in for a real treat. You can build a 4, 6 or 8-foot square garden, depending on how much area you have, but its recommended that you start smaller rather than larger, as smaller is easier to handle, less costly and, if you make a few mistakes, it won't matter too much.
Square foot gardening is simple, cost-effective and very efficient
Planting a square foot garden is like practicing for the big event of planting a full-on garden. You can learn from your mistakes about what works, does not work and what will or won't grow in your specific location. The first thing you will want to know is what is your "hardiness zone," or what will grow well where you plan to plant your garden. You can get this information at arborday.org. Having this information will allow you to select what you want to grow with the knowledge that it will do well in your garden. Your square foot garden requires 80 percent less space than a regular garden and you can harvest quite a bit more produce. You can better control insects, bugs and weeds, all of which are a nightmare in a large garden. Watering can also be very efficient since you can concentrate the water to do the most good and, unlike a large garden, insure precious little goes to waste.
Planting Considerations for a square foot garden
Be sure that you carefully consider where you will plant your square foot garden so that it receives approximately 7 hours of daily sunlight. Try to insure that the area drains well and will not accumulate water, which will cause plant roots to rot, among other problems. Make sure that your garden in conveniently located close to your home for easy access. If you are building a garden larger than 4x4, insure that you plan for walkways so that you can conveniently get to your plants. Before planting mark out the area with either a box frame, concrete blocks or a tilled area clearly marked for your garden.
Soil and plant considerations
Make sure you till the soil with either a roto-tiller or a spade to aerate the soil. At this time you can add manure or other fertilizers to provide nutrients to the soil. Also consider adding compost, peat moss or vermiculite. You can also consider adding straw, cedar chips or other composting materials to conserve water and control weeds. Create a grid marking off equidistant boxes in which to plant your plants. Having decided upon your hardiness zone and what will grow well in your garden, carefully read the seed directions for spacing requirements before planting seeds or plantings. Cover the seeds well and carefully water your new garden. Read directions for planting and adhere strictly to watering requirements for the seeds and plantings you are planting. Install a drip-irrigation, soak hose or water by hand, but be sure to water adequately and not too much.