Square Foot and Vertical Gardening

How Does My Garden Grow? - Part 2
Garden Layout: Square Foot, Vertical and Companion Gardening



As I started thinking about having a garden, I knew up front that I wanted a Kitchen Garden . . . a neat and tidy, picturesque and small-ish garden near my kitchen, where I can run out and grab some herbs or veggies in a hurry while I'm cooking.

As I began to do my research, I discovered the benefits of square foot gardening and vertical gardening, and I knew this was the way to go.


Square Foot Gardening means that you section off your beds into one-foot squares instead of planting in rows.  There are many charts available online that show you at a glance how many plants of each type to plant in each square foot. Here's one I found at Snappy Gardening:

Square Foot Garden Chart at Snappy Garden

When you look at this chart, you can begin to think of vegetables in terms of sizes.  XL vegetables, such as zucchini, pumpkin, and watermelon  need two square feet per plant, whereas you can plant 16 plants per square foot of the XS veggies, such as radish, carrot and onion. You can pack more plants into the space of a square foot garden than you can in rows.  It also reduces weeding.

Vertical Gardening is another way to save space in a garden.  You can save a lot of valuable garden space growing vining vegetables "up" instead of sprawled on the ground.  Growing vertically also reduces loss of vegetables due to bug or critter invasions or mildew and mold.  My friend and Master Gardener, Chris McLaughlin, released a new book this year, "Vertical Vegetable Gardening." I love this book and learned so much about gardening in general and vertical gardening in particular.  There are endless ways to get those veggies growing "up."  You can read more of my thoughts on Chris' book in the book review that I wrote. We naturally think of tomatoes, beans, or peas growing vertically.  But how about zucchini or cucumbers?  Vertical gardening makes efficient use of space by getting plants to climb upward on vertical structures such as fences, poles, and trellises.



I was sold on the idea.  I wanted to have a square foot garden and incorporate vertical gardening into the spaces.  Using good old-fashioned graph paper, I drew my garden to scale. Each 1/4" equals 1 square foot.

Maple Grove's Kitchen Garden Plan, including
five garden beds, a storage space and a Potting Shed

There are a number of Internet sites that have useful tools and resources for planning a garden.  I like this one at Smart Gardener.  Using this free tool, I was able to lay out my garden, select plants, and decide where to plant them and how many to plant.  When you click on an image it gives you information about that vegetable and tells you how many to plant in each square foot.  This resource also gives you a planting schedule, weekly to-do-list and a place for journaling.

Smart Gardener Garden Plan

In my research, I learned that Companion Planting is a very beneficial way to reduce or eliminate the need for using chemical pesticides and fungicides in your garden.  I desire to have an organic garden, so planting the right herbs and flowers in among the vegetables will help to deter harmful insects or fungi.

Following is a list of some of the most helpful resources I found while researching how to lay out my garden beds.  The next items on my agenda are 1) deciding if I want to plant heirloom or hybrid plants; 2) whether I want to plant seeds or buy transplants; and 3) determining a planting schedule.  See you next time!

Square Foot Gardening:  
Smart Gardener
Suwanee
Gardener's Supply Company

Companion Planting:
Organic Gardening Companion Planting Guide
My Square Foot Garden Companion Planting Guide

Vertical Gardening:
Vegetable Gardener Growing Vegetables Vertically

General Gardening Information:
USDA Cooperative Extension System Offices
The Old Farmer's Almanac
Growing Vegetable Gardens




18 comments:

  1. Great info! I would love to have you share this on Wildcrafting Wednesday!
    http://www.theselfsufficienthomeacre.com/2013/03/wildcrafting-wednesday-13.html

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    1. Thanks Lisa! I did hop on over. Thanks for inviting me! ~Katie

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    2. Hi Katie!
      Thanks for sharing this on Wildcrafting Wednesday! Hope to see you again today!
      http://www.theselfsufficienthomeacre.com/2013/04/wildcrafting-wednesday-14.html

      If you have time, I'd love to have you join me on The HomeAcre Hop on Thursday too...we'll be announcing a new giveaway you're sure to appreciate!

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  2. Great garden planning ~ nice to see green and growth ~ ^_^

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    1. Thanks so much! I can't wait to see green growth this season! Thanks for coming by! ~Katie

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  3. What a well thought-out garden. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us! Happy gardening!

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    1. You're welcome Betty! I have learned so much from others who have inspired me, so I like to pass it on! Thank you for coming by and commenting! ~Katie

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  4. Wow, I'm so inspired to start gardening. Thanks so much for sharing so much info. Aloha, Lori (visiting from Wildcrafting Wednesday)

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    1. Thank you Lori. I'm so glad you are inspired. I'm happy to share what I have learned from others too. I love how it all goes around as we inspire each other. Thank you for visiting from the hop! ~Katie

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  5. What a well thought and planned out garden!

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  6. Thanks Marissa. I had fun this past winter reading, learning, and planning my garden. Now I hope everything grows and prospers! Thanks for coming by and commenting. ~Katie

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  7. Thank you for sharing all this info!!! My hubby just built 5 raised beds for me. I have always done traditional row planting but am so excited for raised beds! :)

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    1. That's great! I hope your gardens do well this year. It's so much fun! Thank you for coming by and commenting. ~Katie

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  8. Thank you for sharing such valuable resources. Your garden plan looks great!

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    1. Thanks so much Daisy, and thanks for coming by and commenting! ~Katie

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  9. Vertical gardening is really helpful if you want to customize and expand the space of your garden. I also think that this is better for the herbs, or any vines because they wouldn’t need a large plot of soil. Anyway, your gardening tips are really helpful.

    Bethel Woodard

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  10. Positive site, where did u come up with the information on this posting?I have read a few of the articles on your website now, and I really like your style. Thanks a million and please keep up the effective work. nyt have hegn

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  11. Very good points you wrote here..Great stuff...I think you've made some truly interesting points.Keep up the good work. gardening

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