Sunday, June 17, 2012

Adventures of a Square Foot Garden

It's my first summer to fully enjoy our new home, my children, and to tackle some projects I've always wanted to do.  I was inspired by a post by Dr. John Halamka in his blog Life as a Healthcare CIO some months ago.  I was introduced to this blog by my husband who happens to be in the CIO/CMIO world as well.  Also, if Dr. Halamka, who is CIO of Harvard Medical School, as well as full professor and practicing emergency physician- among other things- has time to make a Square Foot Garden, then I would think I should as well.

Square Foot Gardening was popularized in 1981 by Mel Bartholomew, where a finite amount amount of land is used to strategically plant in order to maximize crops.  Since I've always wanted to have a garden, and I was going to try to make planter boxes by the side of the house.  After planning to do this for several months, I realized when it was June already, I had better either do it quickly or wait until next year.

So this is technically not the EXACT Square Foot Gardening, but I did put soil UP instead of digging down, and the width of the plot is about 1 1/2 feet, but I have extraordinarily long arms with which to reach quite long spans.  Occasionally the arm stature of an orangutan comes in handy.

I also don't compost... yet.  Remember, I have been busy Mommying and Doctoring.  Not much time for  anything else, until now.  So bucket list, here we come!

So I had this great idea to wander into a second hand materials store, and got a whole bucket of tiles for only $20.95.

Look how nice they look against the side of the house!  I have essentially outlined a raised bed that is gracefully curvy, not square.

Since this is my first attempt at growing things that actually live (upstate New York soil was awfully beautiful but clay and rock is not really conducive to flourishing roots, and whatever did grow was quickly consumed by deer and rabbits), I will be happy if I can say we use anything from what we grow by the end of the summer.  Even if it is one or two basil leaves.  Actually, one of my dreams has always been to say, "I'll be right back, I'm going outside to get some salad".

So here is what we have:

Tomatos and Peppers:

They do need a bit of water.  The entire area is about 15 square feet.  I have planted also planted pea, bean and corn seeds directly in the original soil with just a bit of supplemental potting mix on top.


 We will see, but if all else fails, I have my basil, and I am one step closer to a more organic existence.


  1. I'm sure you will all love eating from your garden! We built a raised garden 3 years ago and it is awesome. At the end of each season we add some layers based loosely on this no-dig technique.