Square Foot Gardening

We are building a 16 sq. ft garden and planting our own food this year

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My wife asked for a garden this year, and she had seen this idea called square foot gardening. since we have a smaller yard, it seemed to fit our bill.

My wife found a design she liked, and we loosely based it off of that.

we are growing a tomato vine, as only my wife likes thouse, green beans, peas, carrots, radishes, lettuce, and green peppers. its actually quite amazing how much you can grow in only 16 sq. feet.

The build was easier than i thought it would be, the hardest part was lugging all the soil to the backyard from the back of the van.

now the real hard part, the watering and the waiting.

My wife and i wanted to grow some veggies this year. but with our small yard, and hydroponics a bit too much for use to want to jump into, aside from an Aerogarden, that thing is awesome and we highly recommend it, just actually follow the instructions and don't let the water dry out.

So, we decided on this. a small garden that is simple, dense, and will give us a fair bit of food this fall. Also, a great way to teach our daughter about what real food is and where it comes from.

We used the sites listed in the links to make out decisions.

We just got our sprouts growing, and we are thinking a bird of prey statue might be in order to keep the birds out of the garden, as a scarecrow old be a bot of overkill. I will keep up the log as the garden grows and we start making a harvest.

Perhaps i should set a pit with a timelapse function in my backyard to make a cool grow video.

  • 1 × 10x 2 - 16ft cut into 4 4ft sections
  • 1 × 1 lbs of nails - 3" 8P for holding the wood together
  • 1 × 1 lbs of nails - 1.5" 10P for holding the wire
  • 1 × 50' roll of wire 8 to 14 gauge, galvanized general purpose or outdoor use, but i wouldn't spend money on a fancing coating
  • 14 × cubic feet of garden soil - 7 2 cubic feet bags. I used Eart choice, cheaper and had better reviews than te miracle grow equivalent

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  • 1
    Step 1

    Building and setting up the garden box

    1. Buy the lumber and supplies. I got everything at Lowes in one trip for a total cost of about $150. Soil is expensive as it turns out.

    - pro tip on the lumber, the 16 foot long is the cheapest, and you get a 45"x 48" garden from the piece alone, and Lowes and home depot have those really nice cutting stations and if you ask for someone to help you, they will cut that 16'er to 4 4'ers for you on the spot. the size you need, and its so much easier to transport, and you save a few bucks on it too. no truck needed.

    2. nail 2x 10s it into a square box, i used 5 nails per corner, but started with 2 per side until i had it lined up a second person would help here. use the 3" 12P nails here.

    3. Place the box where you wan it to go. its going to get heavy, so be sure its where you want it.

    4. Spread cardboard underneath (find a use for the old amazon boxes, or go to the local Costco or similar store, and you can ask at your grocery store too, and you can get all the cardboard you need for free. you only need 16 sq. feet and its fine if it overlaps)

    5. Dump and spread the 14 cubic feet of soil you got in the box, on top of the cardboard (keeps weeds from growing into your garden from beneath)

    6. Cut 2 of the 8 foot long 2x4's to 6 feet ish, nail to the back sides, make sure its straightish, and use at least 3 3" nails per 2x4 so it won't move.

    7. Hold the third 2x4 piece up in between the two posts( try to get it level, but not an exact science), and mark it so it'll be a cross beam. a second person here helps.

    8. Cut it as marked, and use 2 nails on each side to hold it inplace. it should be around 5 feet of the ground and mostly level to look nice.

    9. Now your box is either 49.5" x 49.5" or 48" x 51" if you are feeling exact, mark the middle using a measuring tape, measure 12" off each side and mark there too,

    10. Hammer a nail in at each mark about 1/2 way in, so at least 1/2" protruding above the wood. repeat this for each side of the box.- use the 4P 1.5" nails here.

    now you are at the wire wrapping part.

    11. Wrap the wire around a nail, go straight across, and pull it tight on the nail.

    12. Cut it with about 6" extra past the nail.

    13. Wrap it around the second nail so its mostly tight, cut off any excess that might sink into your hand while gardening. a great deal of tension is not needed, just enough to keep it mostly straight. make a grid doing this.

    14. Then wrap the 2x4 cross beam with a loop of wire, wrap it up so it won't go anywhere, cut the excess, and take the other end it to the nail below. straight looks better here, and if it ends up loose, you can twist it with a pair of pliers to tighten it, bit be careful, if you do this too much, you might snap the wire. if this happens, you can either run a new piece of wire, or add a nail where it snapped to wrap the wire around

    15. hammer all the nails to the side and down to make sure all the wire is firmly held in place.

    Tada. you are done. its an afternoon of work, but its not too complex.

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