Square Foot Gardening – Containers Edition

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on May 15, 2010

This weekend I thought I’d share some different “container” ideas for square foot gardening.

I have my SFGs in 2 4 foot by 4 foot patio planters.  They were made using plywood (with a few holes for drainage) and 2x6s for the edges.  The planters sit on top of my brick patio.

An idea from Lorri (who has a very handy husband!)…

My husband and I started trying out the square gardening last year. It was awesome! Our okra grew to 12 and 1/2 feet!!!!!!!! This year, he has built more boxes and also made me a “salad table..it’s just like the square gardening planter but on legs!!

(Wow. He is so wonderful!)

He must be some woodworker!!!  Love these “salad tables”!

Or perhaps you could use these…

$5.99 rope tubs at Home Depot. Since they are pretty deep, put some packing peanuts in the bottom and filled the rest of the way with soil. Add some seeds or plants and you’ve got an instant garden.  Be sure to make a few holes in the base of the tubs for drainage.

Or if that doesn’t suit your fancy…

Try filling up one of those hard plastic kiddie swimming pools. Do just the same as you would for the rope tubs. And you might be able to score a great deal if you get one at the end of the summer season!

And finally…some words of wisdom and experience from Pamela…completely unrelated to containers, but it needs to be shared!…

Just a note about green beans, my grandfather always said not to plant them before June 1 and there will be no bugs to eat them. We have tried them both ways and are very impressed with the difference. Always nice not to have to use even soap to deter pests.

And that is why I still have not planted my green beans!

If you’d like to learn more about Square Foot Gardening, please check out the Square Foot Gardening books by Mel Bartholemew.

We just LOVE hearing what’s happening in your garden each week!!!

Whether it’s small harvest, or a large one, we wanna know! Feel free to link up your blog post below…or leave an update in the comments!!!

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Cupcake Mommie (Jessica) May 15, 2010 at 7:08 am

Rats. I planted beans. Oh well. This is a learning experience right? Thanks for the tips!


Susie's Homemade May 15, 2010 at 8:01 am

I love this feature!!


Lisa May 15, 2010 at 8:02 am

“Since they are pretty deep, put some packing peanuts in the bottom and filled the rest of the way with soil.” — ACK!!! What I use are empty gallon or half-gallon jugs, with tops screwed back on. These take up much more room, are easier to work with from year to year,and are ultimately recyclable. Roots travel around them. If the peanuts are the biodegradable kind, they will quickly require more (heavy) soil for the container. If they are the non-biodegradable kind, you are going to have a huge mess from year to year (experience talking here) and they eventually need to be disposed of. HTH someone.


Wendy May 15, 2010 at 9:04 am

I haven’t blogged about my garden just in case it doesn’t work LOL. So far I have a container of lettuce and two containers of herbs that live on an old picnic table. They are doing well. My three bag gardens haven’t sprouted yet, but one of the three got washed away when a gutter broke and the washed away part shows that the peas are at least sprouting underground. Here’s hoping it works!


Rona May 15, 2010 at 10:44 am

We’re looking forwarded to starting a small patio garden when we move next month.
These are great ideas and I’ll definitely share them with my family.


mrs spock May 15, 2010 at 11:05 am

Wow- I am really envious of that salad table! Great job!


TheVintageChain May 15, 2010 at 1:46 pm

It looks great!


Denise May 15, 2010 at 1:50 pm

Ooh I LOVE your salad table, I love the idea of having them on legs so you don’t have to bend down a lot. I posted an update on my garden blog and we’re trying a small paddling pool now to see if we can keep the squash away from those nasty beetles! Did you post a pic of the rope tub from Home Depot? I don’t see it but was wondering what it looked like, or did you mean to add a link? (i don’t see that either)


Leslie May 15, 2010 at 6:59 pm

WOW! That is beautiful! I might have to show my husband this ;-)


Just Trying To Save Money May 15, 2010 at 8:55 pm

This is so cool, I need these!!!


Julie May 15, 2010 at 9:49 pm

Thanks for the bean tip – now I don’t feel so bad that mine still aren’t planted. I’ve been complaining that I didn’t get them started as early this year as I had hoped but it looks like that is ok.


Becky L. May 15, 2010 at 11:00 pm

We just got our first square foot garden put together today. Will plant tomorrow afternoon, probably, some of my starts, which include 2 tomato plants I bought today and almost bought a purple pepper plant. Didn’t know if I should, now I wish I had cuz my sis from WA was visiting and wanted one but store was closed by then. It’s too far to drive her up a plant for $1.95. So maybe I’ll buy one and when I see her, I’ll give her a pepper! I’ll be posting my garden venture soon.


Beth May 16, 2010 at 5:14 am

I’ve had raised bed gardens for a couple of years. This year I decided to use one of my raised bed as a sfg. I love it. My lettuce, onions, bell peppers, cilantro and parsley is up. I used older flower pots for sage, rosemary etc. Thank you for the tip on green beans. I had already put mine in, but will keep a note on this for next year. I love seeing the pics you post on the sfg progress.


Dorothy May 16, 2010 at 7:15 am

@Lisa-The packing peanuts will work, assuming they aren’t the biodegradable type–IF you cut a piece of screen to go over them. Some soil will leak through, but not as bad as if you’d gone w/o. I’ve done it with nothing on top of the peanuts, and like you, had a HUGE mess. The screening really helps and I use it in all my planters. I do use the empty bottles like you suggested, but those don’t work in some of my more shallow containers.

I’ve also used children’s sand buckets as containers. When the handles break off, the kids don’t use them as much. Drill a couple of holes in the bottom for drainage & plant with colorful annuals. Looks really cute all lined up along deck steps.


Candi May 16, 2010 at 7:29 pm

We did the kiddie pools this year. I was so upset when two of my jalapeno pepper plants died. Come to find out, termites have invaded the pools with the Mel Mix in them….pretty upset at this point.


Cocoa May 17, 2010 at 11:56 am

Well, my beans are planted and growing tall, but so far, no real buggy problems…crossing my fingers and hoping that will continue!


Lois May 17, 2010 at 12:04 pm

That salad table is awesome! I wish my husband and I were handy…

Exciting news from the containers this morning! We have five carrot seeds sprouting and one lonely (for now) basil plant peeking through the dirt. My son and I were thrilled to finally see some results from the seeds.


Clint January 23, 2012 at 9:02 pm

I like the idea and will be trying it. I like the wall paper tubs from Lowes. The are about 5 or 6 inches deep. I find them down in the Masonary section for about six bucks each. Here is the link for it.
MacCourt 26″ x 20″ High Density Polyethylene Small Black All Purpose Tub

Item #: 19251 | Model #: AT2606



Kelly Hayes April 16, 2012 at 4:01 pm

I love these raised beds. I recently started building mine from a repurposed fence I received from another Freecycle member. I posted some pictures in my blog. Last year I grew tomatoes and peppers in containers, along with a bunch of other annual flowers, but this year I’m starting all my gardens by seed minus a peach tree and blueberry bushes, that I plan on growing in containers. Another Freecycler offered large plastic planters that some purchased trees came in so I was able to snag those up. I’m working on a water garden framed out with the additional fencing pieces we have left over. Love seeing others going green as well!


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