I’ve dreamed about putting in a square foot garden all winter. I finally bucked up and did it with the help of the kids. We decided to do a 4 foot by 4 foot frame and see how it goes.
I purchased two 2x6x8 foot pine timbers. Avoid anything pressure treated because it’s toxic for growing food. Our local home center will cut lumber for free, so I had a helpful gentlemen there cut the 8 foot lengths into half, giving me 4 foot pieces. It’s just a ton safer than me using a circular saw..trust me!
I’ve read so many suggestions on building a raised bed but honestly many of them seemed far more complicated than it should be. The key here is……you’re building a box. That’s all.
My goal here was economical and buying brackets or extra lumber for 4×4 corner posts was beyond what I wanted to spend to build a basic box.
So we just screwed it together with some long dry wall screws. We marked, pre-drilled the holes with a smaller bit so we would not split the wood. It worked out well. I had the little guy doing this because it’s great math and teaches him basic tool use.
I chose a spot in the yard that was not in the way but still in full southern exposure. Can’t anger the lawn mowing hubby who is unhappy if I put things that need to be mowed around. My solution to this was to just till up the entire yard and grow food! Probably not going to happen so we settled for a small square food garden to start.
Anyway once we had chosen a place we set the frame down and put weed barrier underneath it. (No tilling, no digging! Super easy)
Make sure when you calculate your soil needs, you find the square footage, which is 16 in this case, then divide that by the depth you want, (5 inches in our case so we needed 3 cu feet of soil). We purchased a 40 pound bag of compost, 40 pound bag of peat, and 4 bags of vegetable garden soil.
It’s so easy to just pour them into the bed and mix them around with a rake.
We ended up removing the grid because we made it from scraps and it really didn’t turn out as we planned. I opted instead for string and thumb tacks. We have rabbits and other nature that would love to get in here so we have used chicken wire to keep them out for now. I also hung old CD’s on string which keep birds from going in and digging up the seeds.
We decided to plant corn, green beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, kale, lettuce mix, pumpkins, strawberries, marigolds (for pest control), and stevia. I also have raspberries, blueberries in another bed. Garlic in pots and parsley and basil are mixed in the front flower beds.
There are many sites online that have planners to help you figure out what to grow and how many of plant of each thing you can put into each square. We will need to trellis or use tomato cages as plants get larger.
Books and websites: