Sunday, April 28, 2013

Our SFG (Square Foot Garden)

We've tried a garden before, but with limited results. You see, we have red clay for soil. A backyard garden and red clay go together like oil and water...they don't mesh too well. After our summer of the bummer garden I thought we'd never be able to really garden here. Then I saw this image pinned on Pinterest and was intrigued by something I'd never heard of before, "Square Foot Gardening."

I checked out the book 

and read it.

It was too simple to not try!

First, Ryan and I used the wood we had to make a 2' x 10' frame. We had planned on following the directions in the book exactly and build a 4' x 4' frame, but for the space we had in mind, we just decided it was best to use what we had (and we didn't even have to cut it because it was wood left over some other project of ours!). 

Second, we placed the frame in a spot that gets a lot of sun throughout the day.

Third, we placed cardboard on the ground inside the frame to control weeds. It's OK to do that because you only need 6" of  Mel's Mix soil to grow plants in. Also, the cardboard will degrade eventually.

Fourth, we filled the frame with "Mel's Mix" of 1/3 vermiculite, 1/3 peat moss, and 1/3 compost. We bought this all at Lowe's. It was more than I wanted to spend, but I wanted this garden to actually produce something, so I decided to not let money (or lack thereof) decide the fate of this project)

Fifth, Ryan and I measured out 20 square feet with twine and nailed it in to the frame to create the square foot grid that is essential to this SFG.

Sixth, we planted the plants/seeds. We chose what we did because that is what we'll actually eat. 

Seventh, we added the DIY irrigation. They're just plastic water bottles with a pin prick towards the bottom that water the roots of the plants.

That's it! That's our SFG. We are anxious about the veggies we will be getting out of this attempt at gardening. 

A few things I like about this method are:
-no need for fertilizer
-no need for insecticides
-no need to dig up and use your existing soil
-easy enough for someone without a green thumb to do
-small enough to give the satifaction of a garden, but large enough to have enough produce to make the attempt worthwhile.

Do you have a garden? What do you love about it?



  1. We live in SC, too, and don't have a garden for the very reason you mentioned. I am intrigued by raised beds/boxed gardens but thought they would be too much work. I like this idea! But we would have to put it outside our fence since our dog would dig up anything we planted.

    1. Hi Jess! Where in SC? It's funny because my mom lives about 20 minutes away from me and her soil is the complete opposite of mine, sand! That's why I LOVE this SFG method because it doesn't matter one iota what kind of soil you have because you don't use any of it.

  2. How are you liking the plastic bottle method of watering? I've always wondered whether or not it would work well and was thinking about experimenting with it in our school garden. Thoughts?

    1. Hi Hillary! The plastic bottles worked great when the plants were first establishing their roots. A few months into it, I don't use the bottle much anymore, primarily because it's been raining so much lately. I think it'd be a great way to ensure root watering for a school gardening.

  3. How's the garden going? Hope you're having a fun summer so far!


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