Square Foot Gardening – Featuring Renee’s Garden

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on April 10, 2010

This week’s garden update comes from Renee!  She lives down south, so her garden is in full bloom these days.

Container gardening and “square foot gardening” is something I have done for years… decades even. Its always been very therapeutic for me. I learned from my mom, who is like a “master” gardener! That woman can get anything to grow! She once cut up a potato in quarters when she was preparing dinner one night, threw it in some dirt and she actually got potatoes to grow! As children, we were amazed!

I built a 5ft. x 3ft. wooden planter box and lined the inside. I filled it with over 500 pounds of soil and we (my kids and I) go to town! PLUS I have tons of other containers full of plants not to be put in the garden (hot peppers, herbs, etc). We’ve started this years plants already outside plus we have tons of seedlings INSIDE we are waiting to germinate.

This year, so far we have 4 Husky Cherry tomatoes, 2 Porters Dark Cherry tomatoes, 4 Mucho Nacho Jalapeno peppers, and 9 Brussels Sprouts, 2 Roma tomatoes, 6 Black Beauty eggplant, 4 Sweet banana pepper, 9 broccoli, 2 yellow bell pepper, 2 red bell pepper, and 2 green bell pepper, I also have separate containers of Italian Flat parsley, cilantro, habanero peppers, cayenne peppers, strawberries, and rosemary. I am hoping for peas, cantaloupes, watermelons, pumpkins, okra, carrots, and some other neat stuff to add to my garden.

I want to grow everything! LOL… just to see if I can! I’m even gonna try CORN! Yes… container grown CORN!

I made my Strawberry container out of an old cat litter bucket that I washed thoroughly, painted and decoupaged strawberry scrapbook paper onto and then clear sealant coated it. I drilled holes in the bottom of it for drainage. I get a lot of compliments on it. I am going to do others for flowers to hang on the front porch and more veggies for the back.

A few of the latest pictures from my garden…

Thanks so much Renee for sharing your garden with us this week!!!

If you’d like to share an update and pictures from your garden, feel free to submit them here.

Feel free to leave a link to your latest garden progress or a description in the comments!  Let’s watch each others gardens grow…and help encourage and inspire other out along the way!

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica (Cupcake Mommie) April 10, 2010 at 7:46 am

What a beautiful garden! Thank you for sharing. I hope to have your kind of luck one day Renee!


Crystal April 10, 2010 at 7:49 am

I plan on taking pics of my square foot garden today and posting an update so I’ll be sure to come back here and link up. Renee’s garden has really inspired me!


Dee April 10, 2010 at 8:55 am

What a FUN garden!!! I love the variety of tomatoes and peppers. Wish there was a pix of that strawberry “bucket”. Heh… Sounds adorable!


Dee April 10, 2010 at 8:56 am

OH! Wait!! I see the strawberry bucket now! HAHA Silly me… VERY COOL!! Great recycle there!


Kristia@Family Balance Sheet April 10, 2010 at 9:55 am

Renee – How many plants can you put into your strawberry planter? What a great idea. My aunt is always trying to give away her cat litter buckets. Also, what do you do with the planter over the winter? You have a beautiful garden…thanks for sharing.


Susan April 10, 2010 at 9:58 am

Thanks for sharing pictures Renee’s garden! I love seeing what others are growing!


Sara @ ThrivingMama April 10, 2010 at 10:09 am

The Garden Beast has already chomped my broccoli plants! Check my post for my secret weapon!


Sara @ ThrivingMama April 10, 2010 at 10:10 am
Sandy April 10, 2010 at 11:13 am

I just discovered SFG this past winter, and I totally fell in love with the possibilities. So we are trying two 4×4 boxes this summer. I’m going to start planting a couple of things this weekend, and then fill up both boxes as the season allows. Here’s everything we are planning on putting in our boxes: pole beans, peas, cucumbers, zucchini, peppers (red, yellow, and green), carrots, Swiss chard, cabbage, lettuce, cilantro, basil, and parsley. I’ve never been much of a gardener, but I’m getting excited to see how things grow this summer!


Alea April 10, 2010 at 12:13 pm

Wow, Renee’s garden looks wonderful! I love living vicariously through southern gardeners; we are a cuple months awayfrom having anything nearso lush!


Mandi April 10, 2010 at 1:48 pm

What a pretty garden! I love the strawberry planter, very original. Southern gardeners have all the luck of a long growing season – we had frost two nights ago.


Becky L. April 10, 2010 at 1:49 pm

I have seeds started in a jiffy plant starter. Some are coming up. It’s still cold here in Oregon. Hubby will put together the sq ft garden frame next weekend. I need to get more soil stuff. It’s getting there. I’ll send photos soon.

Am gonna order tulip bulbs this year for the fall. I need more of them.


A Kruse April 10, 2010 at 8:20 pm

So jealous! We are not ready to put anything outside yet because we still have a chance of a bad frost here in Oregon. I can’t wait to get going.


Renee April 10, 2010 at 9:39 pm

Hi everyone! Thanks to Erin for featuring my garden and thanks to everyone for all the awesome comments! To Kristia- I put about 5 medium strawberry plants in the planter, but you could probably get a few more if they were smaller. Over the winter, I bring some inside, some are left out of there, and then alot of the summer “crops” are gone and I have a winter garden growing with squash, etc. I have finished filling the large planter, built 2 smaller ones, and the plants are growing wild! I have already harvested strawberries, cherry tomatoes, and of course, some herbs. My celery is towering, my squash is blooming, and I have more tomatoes than I can count. LOL And just yesterday I found baby PEA plants YAY! LOL. I post everything on my blog in updates and I love gardening. I wish everyone so much luck and a HUGE Thank you to Erin!!! Hopefully, one day I will be as great as her! I <3 $5 Dinner Mom! LOL


Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom April 11, 2010 at 9:36 am

Thanks fir sharing with us Renee! You have a kind, warm and cheerful soul!

I look forward to watching your garden grow!


Berneda April 18, 2010 at 10:50 am

Hi Renee. Your yard looks great. I showed my husband your 5 x 3 wooden planter box and said he would build one for me. Do you have the instructions on how to build it? You said it is lined, but how does the water drain? Thank you.


Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom April 18, 2010 at 8:36 pm


I don’t have instructions to build, other than it’s a piece of plywood underneath with a few hole drilled in it for drainage. I stapled coffee filters over the holes to prevent the dirt from falling through or plugging up the holes. The side are 2×6 pieces of wood.

Hope that helps!


Renee April 19, 2010 at 9:29 pm

@Berneda, Berneda, I got the idea from a Lowe’s DIY video. You can find it here: http://www.lowes.com/cd_Lowes+Video+Center_94400869_?ytID=vBKcoezxqkU

but here it is in a nutshell.


2×4 lumber- untreated
4×4 post
landscape fabric or plastic
wooden deck screws (2 1/2 inch work well)


Measure the area you want to put a planter in… length and width. Cut your 2×4 pieces to fit your measurements. My box is 5 foot by 3 foot- utilizing an entire 2×4 piece. Place 3 pieces side by side and measure them across. That is how long you want your 4×4 post piece. (I made mine slightly taller than the actual box.)

Secure the 4×4 to one side of the 2×4 with wood deck screws and repeat with 2 more pieces. Repeat on the other end. This will be the length side (or in the event you are making a perfect square, then it will be the first side). Repeat the process for the other side.

Take your 3rd and 4th sides and secure them on the other side of the 4×4 post (the post should be on the INSIDE of the box). Make sure the edges meet and are flush on each corner. Repeat with remaining boards. You should now have a box frame.

You can put this in the ground as in the video, putting the landscaping fabric under the box OR you can put this on a deck, patio, etc. I will be lining the bottom of mine with plastic sheeting with drainage holes it the bottom. Its really easy to make and really doesn’t take much time. You can make any size to fit your space. Add bottom panels if you want for an enclosed box too!


Katie April 11, 2010 at 6:23 pm

I like how you used the long planters on your steps!


Katie April 12, 2010 at 7:17 am

You have a great garden! And wow you already have stuff coming up! :) I have planted white onions, cucumbers, Roma tomatoes, squash, peas, green beans, a bistro mix lettuce, beets, basil, oregano and going to get some carrots in. Our strawberries we have planted a year or two ago and I actually see strawberries on them already! Yay! You are an inspiration for people who don’t have a lot of space like my husband and I . :) Keep up the good work and can’t wait to see more pics and updates! :)


vindog April 12, 2010 at 10:07 pm

Really looks great and applies to our little “planned community” where we have almost no room to garden; but what’s the advantage of doing this when you have loads of earth to plant stuff? Is it getting ahead of the growing season or something? I always imagined if I had that much land I’d just rototill a big plot and toss some manure in there and stuff would grow like crazy…


Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom April 13, 2010 at 7:39 am


I have about 8 square feet of “full sun” space, so I chose this method. It was that or spend thousands chopping down gorgeous and amazing trees in our yard!


Renee April 13, 2010 at 10:07 am

@ vindog… I’m not sure if you are referencing the “land” in the background of my picture to me or whatnot, so let me explain a little. Yes I have a backyard for my kids to play. However, it is not mine. I am a renter on my property and when I asked my landlord if I could use the land, he “politely” declined. And to boot, I have major medical problems due to a car accident, so raised bed/container gardening is easier for me to reach, rather than trying to get down to the ground. I hope that clears things up a little bit. Thanks!


Mirandia Berthold April 14, 2010 at 3:31 pm

I have started an herb box in my kitchen, I am hoping to get more going soon!!


Jami @ An Oregon Cottage April 16, 2010 at 9:51 pm

I’m a little late to the party, but I was happy to find this- I love to see what other’s are up to! Thanks.


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