So, you’ve decided to begin gardening this season but aren’t sure where to start? If you’re new to gardening, the task of organizing your garden bed and properly utilizing the space you have available may seem daunting. But fret not! Making a square foot garden grid is a simple method of efficiently putting your garden bed to good use.
As was discussed in a previous Cultivation Calendar installment, square foot gardening was started in 1981 by Mel Bartholomew. A retired engineer and urban planner, Bartholomew sought to make the process of gardening easier and space effective. When we make square foot garden grids, we plan things according to the space they’ll need.
For each square foot of our garden bed, we’ll plant a certain number of seeds (or transplanted seedlings) based on the mature size of what we’re planning to grow. The general rule is 1,4,9, or 16 plants for each square. For example, larger plants like tomatoes should be kept to one plant per square foot. Medium size plants like spinach can be planted 9 to a square foot. Other mid-size plants like arugula can be planted 4 to a square foot. Smaller plants such as carrots can be placed in close quarters, with 16 per square foot being possible.
When making your square foot garden grid, there are an abundance of materials for you to choose from when constructing the square foot guidelines. A popular method involves placing stakes or screws at one foot intervals around your bed and using tomato twine to act as the visual divider. This method is especially useful if you plan on removing the grid later on in the growing season. Tomato twine is also resistant to adverse weather conditions that would otherwise damage regular twine. You can also make use of light weight wooden materials to construct a framework to act as a guide. Just be sure to properly space the wood one foot apart where necessary.