Square Foot Gardening

I have devoured the book All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space! by Mel Bartholomew.  I had a reader (bless her!) tell me about her husband having success with square foot gardening, so I went out to our local library and checked out the book.

I was planning on joining a local community garden, and even had my deposit paid and lot reserved.  It was advertised as a “beautiful lot, right next to an old church, with shade and grass for the kids to run around in.”  Sounds great, huh?  Well, they left out the part about being right off an alley, next to a yard full of waste, with a very fierce sounding dog.  Not quite the blissful gardening atmosphere I was hoping for, so I asked for my deposit back and decided to have a go at it in my own yard.  My back yard is very shaded, so I am limited to growing one side and the front of my house, which is why square foot gardening was appealing.

This short video will tell you all about it

The following photos are not meant to be a tutorial.  The book does such an awesome job of that, with many beautiful photos, so if you are interested in doing this, you MUST get the book.  My hope is that the following photos will inspire anyone out there that have thought about gardening but felt too overwhelmed by it all.  If I can do this, ANYONE can!  I have hit some roadblocks, (I am NOT a fan of hardware stores, and have been visiting them often lately) but just kept going.

I’ll be keeping you updated on the progress.  I started small this year, and do not have big expectations- it is my year to learn!  I have already planted onions, spinach, lettuce, carrots, kale and radishes!  I have 3 separate pots for tomatoes, a pot and a chain link fence both waiting for vining green beans, and a small strawberry patch looking pretty happy.  I have 2 pots out front, one on each side of our porch steps.  I usually put pretty flowers in them, but this year they will both have sugar snap pea vines, climbing up bamboo stalks tied together in a teepee shape.  Not as pretty as flowers, but is practical and those peas will taste so good!!  I will have more garden themed posts to come–what soil mix I used, what I did to keep birds/rabbits/squirrels out, and overall successes and failures as they happen.
Do any of you garden?  Have you started yet?  What are you growing?  Have you done square foot gardening??
*Square Foot Garden Update

All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!
All New Square Foot Gardening Cookbook: Taking the Harvest to the Table

This post is linked to:
The Do It Yourself Showoff Parade @ The DIY Showoff
Your Life, Your Blog @ Real Life
Do It Yourself Day @ A Soft Place To Land
 Talented Tuesday @ Frugal Family
Works For Me Wednesday@ We Are That Family
Penny Pinchin’ Party @ The Thrifty Home
Show Off Your Stuff @ Fireflies & Jellybeans
Make It Yours Day @ My Backyard Eden
Feature Yourself Friday @ Fingerprints On The Fridge
Linky Loves Friday @ Sweet Charlie

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    May 12, 2014 at 2:23 am

    […] had a yummy salad last night, made with lettuce, swiss chard, and radish from our square foot garden.  I can’t believe I’m actually succeeding at growing food!  My girls little […]

  • Kendra Goodrich
    April 22, 2010 at 5:36 am

    I have the book and actually taught it several years ago. Now I have a house and can finally do some gardening! Thanks for the reminder. I hope you grow lots!

  • Mary Ellen
    April 20, 2010 at 3:25 am

    I used the square foot gardening method and like it. I will be doing basically the same thing this year but not dividing into squares. There is a book something like the lasagna method which is one I want to read and I think may be similar to sq. foot but maybe using rows?

  • Carolyn @ My Backyard Eden
    April 17, 2010 at 5:28 am

    I’ve seen that book before so I’ll be interested in your experience! The bed looks great. I love gardening season!

    Thanks for linking up to Make it Yours Day! Have a great weekend!

  • Amy Bowman
    April 16, 2010 at 11:44 pm

    so many fun comments and encouraging words..thank you.
    the garden is looking good, can’t wait to write an update..seeds are sprouting..its actually working!!
    There are a few new faces in these comments, looking forward to “meeting ” you and visiting your blogs!

  • Kate
    April 16, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    I watched a program on one of PBS gardening shows a few years ago and decided to give this a try for my herbs. Worked great and they’re still occupying their foot with the exception of my Rosemary and Lavender which had to be moved in order to grow MORE basil 🙂

  • Kami @ Sweet Charli...
    April 16, 2010 at 3:41 am

    You have inspired me to start a garden! Thanks so much for linking up with us!

  • Fawnda
    April 15, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    It looks interesting… I have a black thumb when it comes to growing things… I wish I could be a gardener! I am so impressed with the work you have done so far! : )

  • Maria and Michelle
    April 15, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    We have plans to build our first sq ft garden this weekend! I can’t wait to follow you on your progress. I’d love for you to follow mine!


  • Your Frugal Friend, Niki
    April 14, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    Hi there! Niki here, stopping over from WFMW. I just wanted to pop in and check out your blog. I like what I see so far.

    Stop by my blog, Free 2 Be Frugal, when you get a chance!

    I am starting one of those gardens this year too..good luck.

  • erin
    April 14, 2010 at 10:51 am

    Ahhh. I LOVE that book. I bought it last winter and devoured it too! Then, my mom saw it on my table and STOLE it. Then she had my dad build her two of those boxes. She did very well last summer with her gardens. Keeps everything so neat. I am inspired to go and STEAL my book back and I might even steal one of her boxes! 🙂 Those sugar snap peas sound like a great idea! I remember liking that Bartholemew tells you what to plant and when so that you don’t have 20 heads of cabbage to deal with at once! Great book.

  • LaVonne
    April 14, 2010 at 7:44 am

    Amy, you are the second blog I have read about this book. My husband and I are wanting to start a garden this month. I need to check this book out! Thanks for sharing!

  • Our Lives
    April 13, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    Amy, this is truly a big project you are under taking, but what a wonderful outcome it is for you and for your family! I can hardly wait to see what you will be harvesting this fall!
    Oh, and thank you for featuring me again. Your link party has been a great motivational tool for me to get my delinquent projects done! Thank you for hosting it, Amy.

  • Laurie
    April 13, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    This is awesome! Great job! Way to go tackling the awkward hardware store haha. Also really love your pretty rocks instead of mulch. I think I will have to do that b/c my mulch just keeps blowing away in windy kansas!

  • Destri
    April 13, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    Awesome! I need to do something like this so my kids don’t run over my tomatoes this year!

  • Laura
    April 13, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    What a great idea. I’m so glad I found your blog through Talented Tuesday.

    I would love it if you joined my “Saturday is Crafty Day” party on April 24th! Stop by my blog for details.

  • Michelle
    April 13, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    I do square foot gardening and last year was amazing! I had veggies galore all from 2 4×8 garden beds!You will love it!

  • Jenni
    April 13, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    Wow! What an undertaking! I look forward to seeing how it goes! I should take time to read your references instead of gardening by the seat of my pants here. Maybe we can call it a trial year too since it’s our first full year to garden at this house? Thanks for commenting on my projects–so glad I found your blog!

  • thingsyoudidntdo
    April 13, 2010 at 1:26 am

    So glad you found the book and that it appealed to you Amy. I found your blog via Megan @ Sorta Crunchy and am really enjoying it 🙂

    Good luck with the garden! Sounds like you’re off to a great start! We’ve had good success with many of the plants you’re trying…and by we I mean my husband has had great success growing them and I have enjoyed eating them! LOL

  • robyn
    April 12, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    yay for gardening! i keep wanting to do some of this on our front porch (our backyard is super shady as well, and the front yard is our only spot for gardening) with some tomatoes in pots and some snap peas and even some lettuce (i LOVE summer salads) but haven’t gotten around to it yet. thanks for the subtle push!

  • Alicia
    April 12, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    My parents just started one of these a few weeks ago and have already been able to harvest some of their chard!

  • Joy
    April 12, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    I love gardening and use the square-foot gardening method too! I started with just one 4×8 box, and this year added a second one. In the first one I paid the money to make Mel’s mix with vermiculite and perlite and the whole works. This year, I made my own mix with organic topsoil, composted manure, peat, etc. We’ll see how it goes. I’ve planted peas, carrots, swiss chard, and spinach so far. I need to get my lettuce in soon, but my dog started digging in my box! So I had to stop, get some chicken-fencing up, and I haven’t had a minute to put more seeds in!

    I found you from REal Life Sarah’s blog. Nice to meet you!

  • talesofahummingbird
    April 12, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    great post – thanks, i will have to check it all out. i too am creating a tiny garden in the few available spaces in my yard and also have much shade as a limiting factor. never thought to put snap peas on the front porch, may have to give it a go!

  • Sarah @ Mum In Bloom
    April 12, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    Amy how inspiring! We’re covering our septic covers and tank area this year with a raised garden.. I’ll have to take out this book and have a look. I’ve planted cherry tomatoes and strawberries in pots as well so we can eat them straight off the kitchen deck. I purchased my first CSA last Friday just in case my garden fails on our first try… but also because it’ll be so exciting getting an awsome box of produce from it each week 🙂

  • Cassadee
    April 12, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    I am trying this for the first time this year too! Thanks for posting this. We are renting so I didn’t want to do anything in the ground and this was a great alternative. The only place for it to go is in my flower bed…I have to sacrifice a rose bush. It’s the only place that gets the best sunlight. What did you use for your bottom? Do you use Mel’s Mix? Vermiculite is very expensive! Thanks!!

  • Angie
    April 12, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    Can’t wait to give this a try! I’ve been wanting a veggie garden for I don’t know how long!!

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