A Beginners Guide to a Vegetable Garden: The Square Foot Method
It breaks my heart to no longer live in the country. The smell of hay, horses, dirt and woods… its a lot to miss. The ability to create a vegetable garden that would essentially feed your family in the summers is quiet a magical thing. My mom and dad grew a garden, my grandparents and even the neighbors across the dirt road. I remember having to weed on my summer vacation. Not the ideal thing I wanted to do, but I remember enjoying watching the vegetables or fruit grow and waiting patiently for when we could finally pick them.
As a result, I grew a taste for raw veggies, plucking a bean of the vine and chomping away! Veggies seem to taste so much better when you are the one that grows it.
I wanted to bring country to my girls, hence the name of this blog, Bringing Up Country. Although I do not live in the country anymore, I fully intend to raise my daughters with as much country as I can. Now that my oldest daughter is two, and has become a picky eater. I thought the idea of a vegetable garden would be a fun activity for us to do in the summer. She could help me weed and pick the food we grew. It has been found that a child is more likely to eat food that they grow, then items that come in a can or you purchase at the store.
My parents had raised garden beds for their garden and I knew the technique to do so was easy. Raised garden beds allow the gardener to really optimize on space for growing and harvesting. After searching for raised garden beds to purchase and assemble, I found that it would be easier for my husband and I to just make them. We made 2 4x8x10 raised garden beds. Here is our list of supplies:
- 4 2x10x8’s
- corner mounting brackets
We cut two of the 2x10x8’s in half giving us 4 4′ pieces for the ends of our boxes. Then we just assembled each together and supported the shape with the corner mounting brackets. After we finished, we set them in the location I had picked out. First, lay out a weed protector, then place boxes and then fill with dirt. We purchased our dirt from a bulk landscaping company, they had a perfect mixture of gardening soil and each box was 1 cubic yard, therefore we bought two cubic yards and it worked out perfectly!
My husbands step mom gave me a square foot gardening book, you can find this here. Square Foot Gardening: A New Way to Garden in Less Space with Less Work I read it cover to cover and I was so surprised on how much useful information there was. This book was so detailed, that I just have to share it with you. The benefits to using the square gardening technique is that is has a smaller footprint in your yard. It conserves water, a lot less weeding and creates an optimal amount of harvesting.
Once I had my garden boxes placed and filled I made a grid out of string to help with placement of each vegetable I planned on growing. Below you will see a picture of how that looks! Its beautiful, and I am so proud… a little “by the book” but hey this is my first garden as an adult and I wanted it to kick ass!
Planning What to Plant!
I used Garden Plan Pro to lay out my garden! This is an App that works with Apple and Droid, it allows you to select each vegetable and variation, input your garden dimensions and create an overview of what you will have in your garden as well as how many square feet each vegetable will take up. I also used the square foot gardening book as a guide to figure out how much water you should be giving each plant, fertilizing guide and harvesting information! Again, super great book and highly recommended if you want to try this technique.
I live in the suburbs of Detroit and we have deer… a lot of deer! Those suckers ate the top of my tomato plants… so this started my quest for finding a barrier. I found a barrier fence at Ace, you can find it on amazon here, Tenax Guardian Safety Fence, 4 by 100-Feet, Green we bought some garden stakes for support and then stapled the fence around the wood. Here is a picture below! Pretty swanky huh? Ha, it does the job, enough said!
I was going to be gone for about 4 days and my garden was just planted so I headed off to Home Depot to purchase a automatic timer. You can find a similar timer on Amazon here. I set the time at 7:30pm and ran this for 15 minutes. When I came back from vacation, my garden was flourishing! Best investment EVER!
As a result of my work you can see below how beautiful my garden is. It is turning out so great and I am unbelievably proud of it. This was really not a lot of work and it provides a very relaxing activity for you to unwind after a stressful day. If you are able to get your kids involved then the bonding experience alone is worth it.