I've had a few questions about our (still empty) Square Foot Gardening box, so I thought I'd use the downtime before planting to share some more info:
- How much did it cost? I bought two 8-foot long 2×6's at Home Depot for about $9.00. I had them cut them at the store for free. This makes a 4×4 square foot box, which will give me 16 square feet for planting. Because our backyard soil is so bad, I followed the suggestion in the SFG book to attach a plywood base and raise it off the ground with cinder blocks (which cost another $10). If you had a decent backyard, you could just put down some weed cover and place the open box directly on the ground; that would be more frugal and would work in most situations. I didn't feel comfortable doing that because we have too much water sitting in the yard after rain (we're at the bottom of a hill and it's swampy).
- What are you filling it with? I'm using the three components suggested in the SFG book, which the author calls “Mel's Mix.” It's equal amounts of three things: vermiculite, compost, and peat moss. I bought the peat moss at Home Depot ($10) and the other two at a fancy nursery ($75). According to the book, I'll never have to replace this soil; each time you replant you just add a cupful of compost with a new seedling/transplant.
- What are you planting? Using the charts in the book, I identified vegetables that grow in part-shade (since some of the plants will be shady due to neighbors' fences) as well as plants that grow quickly for the kids' (and my!) need for quick gratification. We also chose plants we know we'll eat a lot of, plus a few new ones the kids are excited to try. We decided on two types of lettuce, spinach, green onions, Swiss chard, radishes, basil, cherry tomatoes, and marigolds. We started some seedlings indoors, but I think I'll buy the lettuce and spinach at the nursery already sprouted. I'll keep track of the rest of my spending so I can give a full report at the end.
You can learn more about SFG at the Square Foot Gardening website. What other questions do you have for me about our garden?