1) You fill the square foot garden with nutrient rich soils, so you don’t have to worry about the quality of the dirt in your own backyard.
2) You start with a very small space, making it easily manageable – and you can still get a great yield.
3) I love the concept of having fresh vegetables growing in the backyard that I can eat throughout the summer.
The basic set-up is easy and only cost us about $60. You’ll need:
-- 4 pieces of wood – We used two 2x8x8, and cut in half so we would have our goal size of a 4’x4’ square garden.
-- Hammer & nails – You’ll use this to create the square. You’ll also use a nail to mark off each 1 foot section.
-- Cardboard or weed cloth – You’ll place this on the bottom to prevent weeds from poking up into your garden.
-- String, yarn, twine, or anything you can use to section off each square foot – We just tied some yarn to each nail and strung it across so that we can see each square foot section.
-- Nutrient rich soil mixture – You have two choices here, based on what we found online and what the staff at Home Depot recommended:
a) Mixture of 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 compost, and 1/3 vermiculite
b) Mixture of ½ Miracle Grow garden soil and ½ top soil. This is what we chose based on the availability at home depot – we ended up needing 3 bags of Miracle Grow (2 cu feet each) and 6 smaller bags of regular top soil.
How to build the square foot garden:
From there, it was pretty simple. Just nail the 4 pieces of wood together into a square and lay in the area that you want the garden to be. Place some cardboard down underneath so that the weeds won’t poke through later. Mix up your nutrient-rich soil, and then place in your garden.
You’ll then want to create a grid. We just put a nail at each 1 foot mark, and tied yarn across from one to another. That way you have defined sections and know where you’re planting what.
After that you’ll just plant your seeds (pay attention to spacing instructions, which will help you figure out how many of each plant to place in each square foot), water regularly, and keep your fingers crossed for some fresh veggies this summer! I grabbed a variety of seeds for my 16 squares - lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, beets, carrots and more - and am hoping for the best. I totally do not have a green thumb, so let's hope that in a few months you'll see another blog post from me with actual veggies to eat!