Last year my friend Amanda told me about square foot gardening. It has been popular for at least the past few decades, since Mel Bartholomew published his well-known book on the topic, but I had just not heard of it before. I had already planted last year's garden at the time, but kept the idea of a square foot garden in the back of my mind.
Fastforward a few months to my move to Columbus, where I am fortunate to have a tiny yard since I live in the middle of the city. I've measured my small green space, and it's exactly 300 square feet. It appears minuscule upon first glance, but I really feel it's the perfect size and such a great asset to have. In February, Corey and I built two square foot garden beds to prepare for a spring garden. Each bed is 4 feet by 4 feet, and six inches deep. Square foot gardening is compact and intensive. It's perfect for a smaller space and also saves money when it comes to the materials for the beds. We will also plant a fall garden, which I am very excited for because I have more time to prepare. Spring sneaked up on me, and I was consumed with school and not ready early enough for the garden. So, many of the plants were purchased locally, but some were also grown from seed. Someday I'll grow everything from seed, but for now, I am just so happy I can have this much.
Things growing in the square foot gardens:
- Tomatoes: yellow pear, white cherry, purple Cherokee, German striped, delicious, brandywine, pineapple, and old time. (We love tomatoes! I fear even this many won't be enough!)
- Peppers: Romanian sweet, Hungarian hot, purple beauty, yellow bell pepper.
- Swiss Chard: ruby red.
- Red cabbage.
- Salad Greens/Lettuce: red leaf lettuce, red salad bowl, black seeded Simpson, lollo rossa, radicchio early treviso, arugula, mustard mizuna, spinach, and endive
- Eggplant: black beauty, gretel.
- Peas: sugar snap.
Things growing in containers/outside of the garden:
- Herbs: chocolate mint, purple basil, Genovese basil, dill, chives, thyme.
- Flowers: zinnias (small and large varieties, multicolored), sunflowers (small colored and yellow mammoth)
Things I want to acquire:
- Strawberries...almost time for them to bloom but all the stores here are sold out! My fault for not being on top of things. They are perennials so I still want some if I find them in time.
- Citronella plant. I associate mosquitoes with heat because of my Arkansas roots, but we've had so much rain that they are everywhere here, despite cooler temperatures.
If you have any fall garden suggestions, please leave them! I am in zone 5b.
The photos above show the cover we built for the garden. We had a week of heavy rain and storms just after planting everything, and temperatures dropped to the 40s, so we covered the bed which holds tomatoes and peppers. I don't think we'll need to cover very much over the summer, but it will be great for the fall garden. The plastic is nearly clear, so it acts like a little greenhouse. It was very easy to build, just two pieces of flexible pvc, some string, bricks to weight the corners down when the cover is on, and a heavy duty, see-through painting drop cloth as the cover itself.