Square Foot Gardening

It’s that time of year when I really start getting the itch to get out in the garden. Admittedly it wasn’t very strong last year, but that could have been due to being in my first trimester. Anyway, I’m excited this year and thinking about it a lot.
Planting day is always exciting
Our garden isn’t very big, but we hope to expand it a little this year. We have one box that is 8 feet by 4 feet and a spot along our fence that is about 18 inches by 6 feet. This spring my husband has said that he will build me another box.
“Baby” anything is cute – even tomatoes
Our expert bean planter – he does it every year!
Last year I let the children pretty much “have” the garden because I just had no energy for it. That was not necessarily a bad thing. They enjoyed it. We planted four tomatoes plants, zucchini, pumpkin, watermelon, green beans and carrots. The tomatoes and zucchini and beans were so-so which was disappointing because I was really looking forward to having zucchini in the freezer. The watermelon never developed and I forgot about the carrots. I had planted them around the tomatoes and somehow forgot they were there so they probably died from overcrowding, poor things. But the pumpkin was fun. We had three pumpkins. So we’ve had mashed pumpkin in the freezer this winter for making muffins. We also roasted the seeds! Yummy. It was fun watching the pumpkins grow and turn from green to orange.
When we lived in the country I had a huge garden which was actually beyond my scope but I was enthusiastic…until I met tomato worms. It seemed like there were fifty for every plant give or take a couple. I was too squeamish to kill them myself so my oldest so who was about nine at the time would fearlessly hunt the garden spearing worms as he found them. He told me later that he really didn’t like doing it but he wanted to spare his mommy. Awwwww – what a sweetheart.
Anyway, after my huge garden I learned about square foot gardening and haven’t looked back since. It is so easy. I love how organized it makes my garden. I can easily reach into every part of my garden with hardly moving from one spot. And I can do companion planting. You know “Carrots Love Tomatoes“, but you do need to remember that you’ve done this.  Basically you divide your garden into square feet and then plant accordingly. So for instance, I know that I can put one tomato plant into a square foot or sixteen radishes or four beans. This is the definitive book on this way of gardening…
So this year we’re going to do tomatoes, zucchini, pumpkin and green beans again. I’m also thinking about doing potatoes in a container. I tried it before and failed, but I’ve been doing some more studying and think I want to try again. I’ll let you know what we do and give updates over the summer.
Our garden can’t possibly cover our needs for the year, but it gives us enjoyment and helps the children appreciate some of the work that goes into getting our food. And for what we still need there is always the local farmers’ market.
Do you garden? How do you do it? What do you like to grow?

Jennifer Schonhaar

Jennifer Schonhaar

Jennifer is the happily married wife of a pastor and the somewhat-tired-but-oh-so happy mum to eight beautiful children. She loves to try new healthy recipes, sew, read to her children, garden and play the piano.
Jennifer Schonhaar

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