Steave is a gardener.
I’m not sure he would classify himself as one, but if you are what you do, then he is. And this year, in our new home here in Texas, he chose to do a raised bed garden. I pushed for him to try Square Foot Gardening because I had read about it years ago and thought was an awesome idea.
The theory is that you cram plants into a raised bed where you can control the quality of the soil and there’s no room for weeds so it’s easy to care for. It doesn’t take up much space, you aren’t growing massive amounts of vegs so it’s great for a small harvest. It’s easy but you can get really deep into it by getting into companion planting and succession planting, etc. But here’s a simple, quick run down.
Steave constructed 2 4’x4′ raised beds out of 2″x8″ untreated pine. Even though we know that untreated wood will decay faster, we didn’t want the chemicals used to treat the lumber leaching into our garden. He dug up most of the grass from inside the bed area before putting the box in place. We didn’t use landscape material to block the grass and so far we’re not having a problem.
Then, I went online and refreshed my memory and gave him the soil mixture recipe for the beds. Here’s where I found the recipe.
However, Steave, not one for following directions, took 1 bag of peat moss, 1 bag of manure and 1 bag of topsoil and divided each in half. Then he mixed the halved bags together with enough Miracle Gro Gardening Soil to fill each box. Did that make sense? Half bag each of peat moss, manure and topsoil mixed with enough MG Gardening Soil to fill one box. Is that better?
After he filled the boxes he took some twine and sectioned off the raised bed into one-foot square sections as a planting guide.
I went online again and found a guide that tells you how many of each kind of plant you can have in each square. This site was very helpful!
For example, we planted one tomato in a square, one pepper in a square but we planted 2 cucumber plants in one square. Of course, we took into consideration how tall the plants would get, the direction the sun travels across our yard and all those basic gardening rules.
This is our first year in the Texas Gulf Coast growing season, so we’re learning. We had a minor set back with a late frost at first, but Steave wouldn’t give up on the little burned plants and nurtured most of them back to health with only a couple of casualties. We understand that we’ll be able to grow plants now until the heat stops everything. Then it is supposed to pick back up in September and October. So, I guess we’ll have a “dead time” in the heat of the summer.
Right now with the heat and humidity, it’s like we’re in a greenhouse. We are getting tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers that we wouldn’t be able to get back in Georgia until late June and July. And even though we won’t get them mid-summer, maybe we will still be getting them longer into the Fall.
I have been very pleased and excited with how great Steave’s garden has turned out. I think you should try a square foot garden. It’s easy to care for (maybe a little more watering), no weeding and we’re getting just enough for us and a little to share!
Peace and plants,