Square Foot Gardening – Planting Seeds

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on April 3, 2010

It reached 80 degrees this week. Twice.  Three times, almost!

While we’ve thoroughly enjoyed being outside all week, I know…I just know…that there will be another frost. Or two. Or three.  It can snow in May here.

I REEEEAAAALLLYYYY want to plant the rest of my seeds and transplant a few potted plants, but I shall resist the urge. I shall.

This past week, I planted 6 squares of spinach, 2 squares with red cabbage, 2 squares of arugula, 2 squares of kale, 2 squares of mustard greens.  I paid $2.27 for the spinach seeds…and I only used about 1/3 of the bag. (I’ll use the rest of the bag to plant another round once it starts cooling down in late summer.)  These hardy green/red leafy veggies can be planted even 8-10 weeks before frost, so I’m a little late to the game…but they are in the ground, none the less!

I planted them in my “salad garden planter”…which has 2 squares still available…and I have yet to decide what will be planted there.

Masking tape. Yes, that is masking tape that you see.  I used it last year…worked like a charm.  So rather than go out and buy something, I’ll just be resourceful and use what I’ve got :)

The Planting

Seeds…anxiously awaiting to be planted.

Press a few holes into the dirt…1/2 inch deep or so.

Take a few seeds into your palm (these are kale seeds)…and add 3-4 seeds into each hole.  I don’t test for germination, so I compromise by adding 3-4 seeds per hole.  And if they all sprout, then I take out a few sprouts, leaving just one plant in each hole/space.

Sprinkle a pinch full of vermiculite over the seeds.

Fill each hole in with the vermiculite.

It will look like this.  The vermiculite provides a light covering for the seeds, making it easy for the teeny, tiny little sprouts to push their way through up to the surface, to find the sun!

Loosely spread a little dirt over and around the vermiculite and the holes.

Seed packets!

Because I have no memory cells left in my brain.  I did get my final SFG plan updated…for this planter at least!

I also prepared the space where I will grow a slew of green beans this year.  It’s where I grew the squash last year.  And it’s ready for seeds.

But I shall wait until the danger of frost has passed :)

Made any progress on your garden? We’d love to hear about it!!!  Leave a link to your post, or share in the comments!

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica (Cupcake Mommie) April 3, 2010 at 7:05 am

It’s crazy how it goes from too cold to almost too hot right?

Thanks for the step-by-step. I’ve got Mel’s mix in but I did not think to fill up the lettuce/spinach holes with vermiculite. Must have missed that one in the book. Oh well. It’s a learning process right?

Good thing there will be a round 2!

How often do you water on these hot/less rainy days?

Have a Blessed Easter!

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom April 3, 2010 at 12:18 pm

@Jessica (Cupcake Mommie),

I’m watering almost daily on these warmer, sunny days!

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Candi April 3, 2010 at 7:23 am

I’m glad to know the masking tape worked good, I was thinking of using duct tape! LOL! Thanks for hosting!

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Denise April 3, 2010 at 9:04 am

I need to take pics of my yard we’ve got broccoli coming up and beans and peas :) but it’s warmer here and I’m sure all chance of frost gone. We are in the 80’s also. Love seeing how your garden is coming along.

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Christie April 3, 2010 at 12:24 pm

Down here in south Texas I’ve already harvested most of my cool weather veggies and have tomatoes and peppers well on their way. Just started my square foot garden in Feb and am excited to see what I can grow next winter!

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Crystal's Cozy Kitchen April 3, 2010 at 1:08 pm

We’ve started some seeds inside and planted some spinach outside next to our strawberry plants. I’m so excited to have fresh garden produce!

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Megan April 3, 2010 at 1:26 pm

I read somewhere that you can poke holes in the bottom of plastic milk jugs and bury them about an inch or two deep in the garden. Then all you have to do is fill up the milk jugs with water and it’s a homemade drip system. Works great to help prevent the soil from drying out and having to water daily. Can’t wait to try that out this year. We live in So Cal so during the summer months I’m watering twice daily.

Thanks for the tip about the vermiculite! I dont think I’ve ever heard that and will be trying it out.

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Alea April 3, 2010 at 2:01 pm

We have had a very cold spring, so my garden is off to rough start.

You can use a plastic drop cloth to cover your raised beds when/if the temperatures take a sudden turn for the worse.

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Tara April 3, 2010 at 7:33 pm

I don’t know where everyone else is from, but I’m in South Texas and I already have 3 GORGEOUS roma tomato plants growing. I did a garden 2 years ago and it did ok. I was a bit disappointed and my tomato plants had a hard go. I found the SFG on your website and looked into it. I like the organization and how pretty it looks this way. :) I know that doesn’t matter, but it’s nicer looking than the rows in the ground and I like that. Plus, my tomato plants are already healthier than they ever were my old way. So thank you. They even have a dozen or so blooms already. I was so excited today. Plus I have bell pepper seedlings and cherry tomato seedlings growing so nicely. I can’t wait to see how it all grows! Doesn’t look like I can post a pic, or I just haven’t figured that out yet, but thanks everyone else for your pics and posts. I have learned a lot this season already.

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Tara April 3, 2010 at 7:34 pm

oh yeah, one funny thing…I used string (like thick kind from Home Depot) to mark my squares. I hadn’t put up bird netting yet and I’m sure you can guess what happened…I actually caught the birds pulling the string out of the staples and stealing it. :) Masking tape is a good idea.

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Kelly April 3, 2010 at 8:46 pm

I have radishes, broccoli, and peas beginning to sprout and also have spinach and carrots planted. My question is what you have used to keep the animals (birds, squirrels, rabbits, etc.) out?

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom April 4, 2010 at 3:09 pm

@Kelly,

I have a wire fence around my planters…for the animals…and the kids! I did not have an issue with birds last year, but with chipmunks.

I bought some “Critter Ridder” which is an organic mix of capsaian (the chemical found in habanero peppers)…I’ve not tried it before, but I’m hoping it will keep the chipmunks out!

Last year someone suggested coyote urine. If the Critter Ridder doesn’t work, that’s what I’ll try next!

Erin

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Susie's Homemade April 3, 2010 at 9:35 pm

I am so far behind on my gardening right now:-)

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Mimi April 3, 2010 at 11:08 pm

Living in the Gulf Coast of Texas I thought I was planting at just the right time. We ended up having another frost right after we planted. We had watered well and I don’t think we lost any plants. We did get a few crunchy leaves, but all in all the plants seem to be doing well. The little strawberry starters we got don’t seem to be doing well. I wonder if I planted them right or if they are slow to turn green? They looked like little bulbs with brown stems when I got them and they still do. Is that normal??

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Kimberly April 4, 2010 at 1:47 am

I have a question — I am trying to go my garden in planter boxes. We are military and we are on the waiting list for a new house here in Hawaii (we are currently #4 so we think during the summer we will move).//the new house will only be 1/2 mile from where we currently live. We don’t want to lose our garden when we move and I have never grown one before. I am really struggling. Do you know where I can get details that are good for growing gardens in those long planter boxes. I have lettuce, tomatoes, about 10 different herbs, bell peppers, hot peppers, banana peppers, squash, okra, zucchini, cucumbers, and a pot of 2 strawberry plants. Everything was doing great until about a week ago — we sprouted the seeds in one of those boxes then transplanted these the first week of February as our weather here we can have a garden year round. I really am trying to save money at the grocery store, since things are so expense here — but everything has started dying in the last week or so. My neighbor who started hers at the same time is doing great but she put all her stuff in the ground. Can anyone give me any advice? My email address is jwilson001@hawaii.rr.com

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Robbie @ Going Green Mama April 4, 2010 at 7:42 pm

@Kimberly, there are a lot of good sites on container gardening. One thing to remember is container plants are hyper-sensitive to the elements. They get colder/hotter quicker and dry out quicker than plants in the ground.

And take heart – lots of us have more than one go at getting things going in the spring. I’ve just somehow managed to kill off the seeds I started in 70 degree weather! Go figure…

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Tina April 4, 2010 at 7:54 am

What did you put underneath the box gardens for weed control? Sorry If I miss this some place.
Tina

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom April 4, 2010 at 3:06 pm

@Tina,

The bottom of my planter is plywood. It sits on my brick back patio.

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Tina April 10, 2010 at 6:43 am

@Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom, Has anyone tried new paper? Do you move you rotate your clop ever year?

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Robbie @ Going Green Mama April 4, 2010 at 7:43 pm

@Tina, you can actually buy weed blocker if you need it.

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Tina April 10, 2010 at 6:43 am

@Robbie @ Going Green Mama, Does it look like screen? Like from an old screen door?

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Robbie @ Going Green Mama April 11, 2010 at 12:37 pm

@Tina, it depends on the variety. The one I use is a black, almost fabric-like material, and I cut out X’es in the areas I’m planting things in.

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Daisy April 4, 2010 at 12:36 pm

Re: the masking tape — does it eventually decompose? I could use that in my square foot garden area. As it is, I set up a temporary grid to guide my planting and then remove the grid.

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom April 4, 2010 at 3:06 pm

@Daisy,

I pulled part of the masking tape away from the edges once things were growing…but the parts in the middle did eventually decompose.

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Miss T April 4, 2010 at 1:00 pm

We have just started our seed sprouting for our soon to be container garden. In just a few days after planting we already have some serious growth. We are lucky to have a south window in our house. Our garden includes tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, parsley, cilantro, green onions, lettuce, etc. Our blog has some pics of our progress. We are so excited to have our own fresh produce.

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Robbie @ Going Green Mama April 4, 2010 at 7:44 pm

I’m slowly working on getting my garden going. They caution here about not planting until May, so I’ve tried to temper my enthusiasm about planting anything! However, the seeds I started grew too fast and were very spindly, and didn’t take well to even getting any air outdoors. It’s a learning process!

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Lisa April 5, 2010 at 10:38 am

I made the planters for square foot gardening last year – but never got my plants off the ground. I just spent the weekend weeding. Boy are these beds easy to maintain!

:0)
Lisa
http://www.warriormama.com

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Nikki April 5, 2010 at 5:31 pm

I started my herb garden and now I plan on adding beans, onions, and maybe a strawberry plant. I love square foot gardening as it is easy, economical, and efficient. I am really excited about all the fresh produce, spring, and summer!

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Tina April 10, 2010 at 6:59 am

I think we need a web site just for this. lol………….. I would be more than happy to help. Anyway, I printed out the Garden Planner. This will be my third year planting. This year I am adding two new boxes and some Container garden. I am going to put more herbs in the containter.
Does anyone have recipet for basil. Like maybe pizza, salads and etc. I want to start collecting them a head of time.

Also, I know for mints. Different drink you can make with mint.
Thanks for the help. I see a new blog coming. lol

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Tina April 10, 2010 at 7:40 am

sorry all one more thing looking for a good salad dressing with dill in it.

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