My Awesome Square Foot Garden!

It had been over two weeks since I’d put in my order for two patio boxes from Square Foot Garden’s web site. I’d had a notice from DHL that the boxes had been brought in for shipping and it showed the same date for the prospective delivery. I knew that couldn’t be possible. DHL will send e-mail updates so I signed up. Days went by without hearing anything. I was beginning to think they’d never get here. I told DD I was having them sent to the house. She added another dimension to my stress—“Someone will have to sign for it.” UPS leaves things on the doorstep every day. That’s why I don’t like to deal with them but, in this case, I wanted it left. I didn’t know if my neighbor would be home or not.

Yesterday, I had an update. It was out for delivery! On my way out of the driveway, I noticed my neighbor was nowhere to be seen. All I could do was hope for the best. Later, I checked and sure enough! it came up as delivered. When I clicked on the button to show the signature, nothing came up. I still couldn’t be sure.

The PackageI didn’t pass Go and I didn’t collect $200. It was Mail Day and I was able to get home a bit earlier than usual. There were the boxes on the steps! I had to move them out into the yard to get into the house and grab the camera. My neighbor came over and said the delivery man was getting ready to leave without unloading them. That would have been a disaster! I’m glad he was able to avert it. Then he said, “You should have asked us to make you some of those.” Well, I don’t usually ask people to do that. He went back to his house and I set to work.

The scissors made short work of getting the boxes apart. I’d thought they would come in pieces and I’d have to assemble them but they were ready to go.

FoundationThe place I picked to put them was an old concrete pad that had once been the foundation for a storage shed. My neighbor had stacked some lumber on it. There wasn’t much left so it didn’t take long to move it and sweep it off.

The empty boxes weren’t heavy. I was able to move them easily. So far, so good. I was making headway!

I stood back and snapped another picture:


This was going to be a piece o’ cake!

Now it was time for Mel’s Mix. I knew it was 1 part compost, 1 part vermiculite, and 1 part peat moss. I couldn’t get it exactly but I did the best I could. The vermiculite was easy to carry. It isn’t heavy but the peat moss was a huge plastic-encased bale that was super heavy. I didn’t even try to get it out of the trunk until I’d carried the bags of compost over. They were heavy, too, but nothing like the peat. I managed to get it out of the trunk and had to roll it over and over across the ground to get it to my mini-farm. Not quite the piece o’ cake I’d thought it was going to be.

Filled BoxesOnce again, the scissors came into play. They did short work of getting the bags open. The wind was blowing. I had to be careful not to let the vermiculite blow away. The compost was kind of wet and heavy. That was no problem. Then came the peat. I got an old plastic coffee can I’d gotten some plants in a year ago and used it as a scoop. It worked quite well. Then the mixing started. I asked the library to get Mel’s book Square Foot Gardening. It hasn’t come so I’m muddling my way through by instinct.

I started at one end of each of the boxes and used my hands to mix everything together. On one of the web sites it said, “Be sure to follow the directions exactly.” Oh, well! It took forever to get it done but I stayed with it. It was looking less and less like cake.

Trademark GridsNext came the grids. Now that looked like something from the pictures! My neighbor had been rather skeptical when I told him about my project but maybe he’d sit up and take notice now.

There was no time to take a break. I’d been hard at it since I got home. Everything was going fairly smoothly, considering I was having to do it by trial and error. Hopefully, not too much error.

I’d gotten three kinds of tomatoes (two heirloom and one not) and cinnamon basil several weeks ago, along about the time I’d ordered the boxes. They were going to have a new home. I’d been watering them with rain water.

Planted!It was looking like a real garden now. There are three Early Girls, two Mr. Stripey, and eight Homestead plus three cinnamon basil. There were several tomato plants I didn’t have room for. I had a bucket full of rain water that I poured into my watering can. I tried not to get the foliage wet since it was getting on toward twilight. There was enough water to wet the mix around the plants but that was it. I went to get my neighbor so I could brag a little. I gave him the leftovers. He was enthused when he saw the result of my labor and started talking about where we could put more boxes. I told him if he’d build them, I’d pay for them. We’ll see…

This morning, I couldn’t resist taking a picture after the sun came up:

Next Morning

Rain was predicted for today. When I got home, there was evidence of a trace. I was hoping for more. WeatherBug had the rainfall total as .01″ for the valley on the other side of the mountain. Not much but every little bit helps.

I’m a farmer now. I don’t have a big spread with lots of crops but I have a start. We’ll see how my garden grows…

14 Responses to My Awesome Square Foot Garden!

  1. Charissa May 21, 2008 at 12:54 am #

    Love it!!! I want to try that sometime soon. Hope you post pics of it when it’s more grown.

  2. Tommie May 21, 2008 at 7:08 am #

    Thanks, Charissa! It’s the plan to chronicle the progress. Wish me luck and all blessings!

  3. Shari May 21, 2008 at 7:30 am #

    I love SFG! We’ve been doing it for a few years now. You will find it is everything it’s supposed to be, easy to water, easy to weed and easy to harvest. We plant only greens in one box and eat on the plants all summer.

    Good luck with those tomato plants!


  4. Tommie May 21, 2008 at 7:40 am #

    That’s what I want to do later on this summer, plant greens and have them winter over—one reason I put these boxes where they are. It’s easier to get organic greens where I am than good tomatoes in the summer. IF my neighbor comes through and actually builds me another one, I’ll have it where the sun will hit it more hours of the day and transplant the tomatoes there.

    CU on the forum, Sys!

  5. Fruitloop May 21, 2008 at 1:25 pm #

    Oh, those are so cool!!!! Green with envy.


  6. grasseater woman May 21, 2008 at 3:55 pm #

    i want one! or two or three! they are so neat!

  7. Tommie May 21, 2008 at 8:47 pm #

    I want some more. Guess I should wait and see how these do first, though.

  8. Jacquie May 23, 2008 at 1:28 am #

    Now, that is my kind of gardening LOL All neatly organized! And it looks like they will be easy to take care of. 🙂 You did a great job Tommie on putting everything together. 🙂 I’m sure your plants will get lots of tender loving care!

  9. Tommie May 23, 2008 at 6:25 am #

    Yes, it’s your kind of garden! Hopefully, we’ll get some rain soon. I dreamed it was raining but that’s all it was—just a dream.

  10. Allie May 23, 2008 at 5:24 pm #

    How wonderful! I love how gardening can happen even in small spaces.

  11. Tommie May 23, 2008 at 5:28 pm #

    This should be the beginning of bigger spaces!

  12. sandy June 18, 2008 at 8:46 pm #

    hi tommie

    very cool. i have mel’s book (the latest edition). you are wiser than I since i thought i could make the boxes but i’m not very tool handy. i’m trying something else instead, Earth boxes. but i just back from korea so now i’ll be late starting things up, but better late than never!

  13. Tommie June 18, 2008 at 9:30 pm #

    My poor little garden isn’t doing too well. I think I went about it all wrong from the git-go. I should have put it in a different spot for one thing and ordered more rain. It should be a perfect location for greens this fall. What are Earth boxes?

    I’d missed you on the forum! Hope you had a good time in Korea!

  14. michelle johnson June 26, 2008 at 9:37 pm #

    Oh, this is my first year SFG too. My husband made mine and i have yet to pull one weed! I hope yours come around. Oh, I just went raw too, about 6 weeks ago, didnot realize there was such a community out there1

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.