How to Start a Square Foot Vegetable Garden
A square foot garden is easy to manage and can be used with minimal investment. Using a raised bed garden is also an excellent way to have a garden without tilling the ground or when you are dealing with infertile soil on your property. The steps are very simple to getting started on your own square foot garden. The first step is planning and gathering your materials.
Step 1: Planning Your Garden
When designing your own square foot garden you will want to begin by choosing and gathering your materials. The first thing to consider is whether or not you want the garden to be directly on the ground. If not, you can build a raised garden bed by adding a bottom and legs to the main grid where you are planting. All you need to get started is a piece of untreated plywood and some plain two by four pieces of wood cut into one foot sections. You will want to avoid using chemically treated wood since the chemicals can seep out into your soil. Plain wood will last for several years and doesn't contain these harmful chemicals.
This space saving technique can also be very affordable if you use materials that are salvaged from other projects. If you don't have access to recycled wood, you will want to visit your local home improvement store to find the materials you need. You will also need screws to put the grid of squares together. Screws can be purchased by the box to save time and money. A good option is standard one inch wood screws. The wood you will need can vary based on the size of your garden. A standard two-by-four or two-by-six piece of wood will make about two square foot spaces for your garden. After gathering enough materials for the project you will begin working on making a grid of square foot sections.
Step 2: Building Your Garden
To begin building your square foot garden you need to make a grid on your plywood. You can mark the grid with a straight line, which can be purchased at any local hardware store for just a few dollars. For each one foot section you will also need to plan how you are going to cut the two-by-four or two-by-six. Having a blueprint and plan ready can make the project a lot easier by reducing the amount of cutting that needs to be done. The first step is to complete the outer edge of the garden, then work on completing the inside squares. In general, this process is easiest when you complete either the wide or long sections first. This will allow you to use long boards for one direction in the grid. You will then cut sections to complete each square foot section to make the grid.
There are a few things to consider when making a square foot garden that may not be obvious for first time builders. For example, you will want to make sure that the garden has a good drainage system in place and that you have a plan for irrigation. The drainage system is very simple. You can raise your garden bed a few inches by cutting small pieces of your leftover wood and screwing them to the bottom corners of your garden box when it is finished. Drilling holes in the bottom of the box is also necessary to allow excess water to drain easily. Irrigation systems can also be easy and affordable. You can use a water hose that you have prepared by pricking small holes every few inches to water your garden. This type of irrigation system can be turned on in the evening to water the garden as needed.