Getting Started Square Foot Gardening





Introduction: Getting Started Square Foot Gardening

About: I'm a mom and wife! I like doing crafts and being creative. Always looking for new projects to do! And always on budget!

I didnt realize how big it actually was until it was time to fill with soil. I went with 8x6, (4)2x6 boards but you can make them as big or as small as you want. To build the base, just make the box, secure together with screws at each corner.

There are special wood you can use, treated or untreated, as well as screws that don't rust, however I already had these materials so I just used what I had.
I also used gardening fabric and covered the whole top, nailed to secure, then flipped over so the bottom was completely covered to prevent weeds.

So to recap make a box out of (4) 2x6 secure together at each coroner until box is sturdy. Then cover to top with gardening fabric, secure until completely covered, then flip your box over so that fabric is coving are now ready to fill

Step 1: Proper Drainage

After you have your box built, move it to a place that gets the most sun. Then you can start filling. I did a layer of pebbles and then a sandy top soil or turf soil, this allows proper drainage. You want your plants to have plenty of water but not drown them, so this prevents flooding or drowning the plants.

Then you need to fill the rest of the way with soil, I got miracle grow veggie blend, it feeds for around 9 months, it's up to you on your soil. Some make their own compost or buy without feed, depends on if you care if it's organic or not, may try the more organic option next year.

Step 2: Sketch Plan Each Plot(example)

It's important to do a little research on what you want in your garden. Some things don't grow well next to others, just make sure what you want in your garden has compatible neighbors.
Square foot gardens, I think are easy because, it gives a better outlook and how much space you can use and looks way more organized.
Tip* the viney ones ex: squash, zucchini, melons etc should be on the outer edge that way the fruits will produce over the side and have even more room to grow!
*Veggies that grow up ex: beans, cucumbers I put in the back, that way I can train to grow up my lattice
I sketched out a floor plan if you will so knew where I was planting what. It goes way faster if you do this.
Draw a box on paper (your garden) then make small 1" markers ex: if your garden is like mine 8x6 I had a box with (48)1" boxes inside, should look like this picture.
As I drew out may garden I used this graph to show how many plants can go inside a square foot, I hope you find useful as well...

Step 3: Almost There

Take a measuring tape, lay it on one of your 2x6 and make a small line at every foot mark, then do the same on the other (3) 2x6. Then I placed a push pin on each line I drew marking the 1 foot.
Take your twine and wrap around each push pin, going parallel then vertical, when your finished it should look like a grid.
Now you have your square foot garden and are ready to plant!
* note the small fence I have added is just a temp fix until next year. I live near woods so this will help with rabbits and other small animals to stay out. It's chicken wire 20$. you can do the same but I did not include steps for that in this instructable nor lattice, which is twine..
**also keep your sketch, don't throw away like I did mine, that way you know what's growing where, luckily I have pictures lol !!

Step 4: Start Planting

I would do seeds of you start early enough. But I did a bit of both this year...since its may, I would buy seedlings, growing from seeds takes a bit longer and will do better in March or April weather.
Use your graph you drew, it goes way faster and less stressful if you know exactly what your outing and where. Once you have everything planted, water immediately and do so everyday for the next two weeks, this help them root in and make home in your garden, still water everyday but the first two weeks are a MUST! You don't want your plants to die and all this hard work down the toilet !

Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed and good luck in your garden!!



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    19 Discussions

    Probably...drainage is pretty important so your plants won't drown..last year I bought the wrong soil, which was a turf soil and is more sandy than mixed potting/garden soil. So I just kept that in for extra drainage and added new soil on top. Also you don't want the soil to get to compact..I did lots of research preparing for this year but honestly it's trial and error that has helped the most :)They seem to be thriving and I'll post new pictures when I get home. Been on vacation so I'm exited to see how big things have gotten. I did have a friend watering while I was gone :) so il be as surprised as everyone else!

    Oh, it's nice that you thought of drainage and put a pebbles to help. I haven't thought of that and used only loose soil in my containers. The outcome wasn't that good for the soil compacted on a later stage and stopped draining. Can it be because of the soil I used (I bough a mixture)?

    Slezridr nice! Yes the twine was a pain to get off after I planted some of the bigger plants, but for the most part just peeled off... Glad you like it and thank you for the tips, will have to try that out next year. Very clever how it makes the holes for you! I love it!

    I love square foot gardening, been doing it for several years now. I've always had a problem with sowing a bunch of seeds and then thinning to planting recommendations, this solves that dilemma. To avoid fighting strings, though, I whipped up these gadgets, I think they simplify planting a lot. I cut 4 pieces of plywood 1 foot square and drilled holes at appropriate spacing and then inserted pieces of dowel in the holes. As you press the guide into soil, they create a little divot that you place the seed in then cover. Easy peasy :) I cover with vermiculite so I can tell where seeds are planted to watch for sprouts. Ooops, looks like the first pic cut off dowel :( Anyway, first pic shows 4" spacing board in the bed and 12" spacing leaning up against it. Hopefully, the second pic shows the little divots left by the dowels in the board. If holes aren't deep enough, it's a simple matter to use a finger and make em deeper. Hope others find this helpful. For reference, I marked 1 foot marks on the sides of bed and then used a hand saw to cut a little groove in the bed wall. You will have to make visual reference in bed as you progress along planting progress towards center of bed.


    Patsheldon it's a great project to do with kids/students. My 5 year old loves it. Good luck with it, have a great summer!

    Ironorr84 my point exactly! :). Was going to purchase untreated but I was told it would rot within a year, so I took my chances, either way you look at it, anything you consume, touch or breath it's bad for you. Haters going to hate :)

    Thank you for the tips timmg08 will probably pull fabric up for next years garden, also thought about making two beds next year as well, your right it was hard planting without compacting too much, I just started planting in the back and worked my way to the front, but I see the issue when it comes harvest time :)

    looking to teach how to make a garden for my students in summer school. This is great info, thank you!!

    You should never use press treated wood in a vegetable garden. The chemicals used in the wood treatment can get into the soil and in turn into the vegetables and can make you sick!!!

    1 reply

    You will breathe more chemicals throughout the time it takes for your food to grow, then what little the treated wood would seep into the ground that MAY go into your food instead of straight down into the earth.

    great job. I love seeing people encouraged to grow there own food. it's one of the most sustainable things you can do. I do have two suggestions. first, I would ditch the landscape fabric. with only six inches of depth and some of that is stone and sand you won't be able to grow root veggies well. I would just work the soil you brought in into the local soil. then you can mulch the top of the soil to prevent weeds. this will all stabilize your moisture levels and the temperature. using plant matter like fallen leave from trees or even unseeded weeds(without roots). and it will also feed your soil(aka worms, fungi, and microbes) which in turn will feed your plants. the second suggestion and prob less important imo is to split your beds in half. three feet is a long way to reach without compacting your soil, four feet would be near impossible. and I'm six one with long arms. two eight foot beds that are three feet wide with three feet between them would prob make your life a lot easier. especially for moments like when your out trying to find all the potatoes bug eggs on your plants and squish them before they hatch. thank you for the instructable.

    Looks good. Try to make an update once stuff grows if you can. That would be cool to see how it turns out.

    Thank you for your kind words, creativeman and Amelia!! I have quite a few herbs, I even tried corn just to see how it does in a raised bed, we shall see. Keeping my fingers crossed for a good yield!

    Great job for your first attempt! Don't be concerned with the
    naysayer(s), your plans and directions are perfectly understandable.
    I've had these raised bed gardens for years, and it looks like you
    are off to an excellent start! Good luck on your harvest.

    In general, a very good explanation of the Square Foot Gardening concept. However - -

    Square INCH or square FOOT? If all of your dimensions are inches, then you should just about be able to cover the whole bed with one hand. But looking at the first picture (with the scissors leaning against a board) it looks like your dimensions are in FEET - unless the scissors are for a doll house. Your drawing may be in inches, but the reality on the ground looks like feet. (One inch = 25.4 mm; one foot = 305 mm approximately.)