Designing A Garden For Beginners
If you are just starting out gardening can be kind of intimidating. What kind of tools to use? What to plant? How do you plant? There can be a lot of questions if you haven’t had any experience growing plants. The good news is gardening can be very simple. The key is to meet the main requirements plants need to grow which are soil, water, and sunlight. You can start a garden in any kind of container that will hold your soil and allow excess water to drain. It is generally best if it is also located in an area that gets 8 or more hours of full sunlight a day. One you have your garden space figured out, you will need to have seeds or starts ready to go. Starts are just young plants that you would pick up from a local nursery.
As for the fun part, actually planting your seeds, we recommend using the square foot method for a beginner. This method was originally taught by Mel Bartholemew and has since expanded to become a popular planting method. This method centers on the idea that plants can be arranged in patterns for optimal use of each square foot in your garden. Where planting in rows leaves some unused space, the square foot design allows for greater variety and 100% of your space to be productive.
How To Design A Square Foot Garden
- Prepare your soil by amending it with commpost and/or fertilizer
- Outline each square foot with string, wood, wire, etc.
- Decide what plants you want to include based on how many squares they will take up and how much you want to harvest.
- Build or place a support system such as a trellis in the squares that will require extra support during growth.
- Plant your seeds or starts according to the recommended planting rate per square foot.
- Care for your plants by watering them each day, weeding regularly, and fertilizing as needed.
1 per Square Foot - Lettuce, Tomatoes, Peppers, Potatoes, Kale, Eggplant, Rosemary, Parsley, Chives, Oregano
2 per Square Foot - Cucumber and Squash with growth supports, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower
4 per Square Foot - Garlic, Basil, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Leaf Lettuce, Onions, Radishes, Rutabaga, Swiss Chard
9 per Square Foot - Green Beans, Beets, Cilantro, Peas, Spinach, Turnips
16 per Square Foot - Carrots, Parsnips, Radishes
*Corn can be planted 1 per square foot, however it really grows best when planted in several rows.
For more information and updated methods we recommend studying Mel Bartholomew's course for Square Foot Gardening