Community Gardening – A Beginner’s Square Foot Garden – Part One

I joined a community garden this year.  Growing vegetables and herbs is something I’ve thought about for a long time.  But digging up the back yard to create a garden was never high on anyone’s list at my house.

In a matter of happenstance, In April I noticed an advertisement in the local paper for a new community garden and knew this would be my chance.  I enlisted a good friend to share the plot so that both of us would have the ability to take summer vacations etc without being tied to tending a garden.  Community Gardens are a great way to garden.  Not only will you have a dedicated space for growing but you’ll have the resources of experience from other gardeners. Already I’ve found it fun to see what everyone else has planted and watch their plants growing too!

My garden provides tools to be shared and water for the plants as part of the annual fee. Just show up with your plants and your enthusiasm!

We’re planting a “square foot garden”.  Reading as much as possible on various blog sites and looking at images I designed what will (hopefully) be a high yield beginners garden.  There’s going to be a lot of trial and error this year but I’m thrilled to have the opportunity. I’ll share the story and pictures as it happens.

Prepping the raised bed

Prepping the raised bed

First – We created a grid using string.  This shows us the sections to plant in. each square can accommodate a certain amount of plants depending of what they are.  Here’s a great image to give you an example.

Each square of the grid represents a square foot!

Each square of the grid represents a square foot!

Next, we placed the plants in their squares to get a feel for what is where.  The tomatoes go in the back so they don’t shade other plants as they grow taller.  We opted for seedlings from a nursery (organic) instead of starting with seed.  However, marigold seeds were planted around the perimeter.  I’ve always heard they will help deter bugs and bunnies from your garden.

Tomatoes go in the back so they don't shade the others as they grow.

Tomatoes go in the back so they don’t shade the others as they grow.

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Now everything is planted.  What are we growing?  Tomatoes (5 kinds), cucumbers, yellow squash, zucchini, brussel sprouts, bush beans, jalapeños, bell peppers, cilantro, basil, onions,  little finger eggplants, and “jack be little” pumpkins. all that in a space 8′ x 4′!

Ready to Grow!

Ready to Grow!

After a good watering, we put a layer of straw as mulch.  This will help keep moisture in and diseases out.  I water at the soil level instead of spraying the plants from above.

Mulch to keep moisture in. Raised beds dry out faster than planting in the ground.

Mulch to keep moisture in. Raised beds dry out faster than planting in the ground.

So we are ready to begin our gardening adventure.  Be sure and check back on our progress and feel free to share your gardening tips with us! We’d love to see pics of what YOU are planting this year – share to our Facebook Page!

What do you think?



  1. 3
    Avatar Presheila Ismail says

    Excellent! Would be interesting to see the progressive growth pics.

  2. 4

    Now where did you plant the cucumbers in your raised bed because those things will take over your other plants or are you planning on putting up a trellis?