Idaho Square Food Gardening Plan
- Gardening Year: 2012
- Location: Boise, Idaho
- Planting by Color: Green
My name is Megan, and I am a first-time gardener who would love some feedback on my square foot gardening plan. My husband and I built two raised beds (12 inches deep) and are excited to see them transform!
Reviewing old posts and comments on this site has been extremely helpful so far, and I would love any suggestions on my gardening plan and/ or thoughts on the following questions:
- I’ve been told corn is difficult to grow in raised beds. Is this true? Are there certain corn varieties that are better than others? I’ve dedicated nine square feet to corn- is this enough to get a good yield? I am also not sure on the spacing – some sources say 1 per square foot, others say 4.
- I am planning on planting the following seeds outdoors: carrots, lettuce, beans, cucumber, corn, marigold, nasturtium, and basil. I was going to plant onion sets, certified seed potatoes, and the rest store-bought transplants. Are any of the crops I plan on growing from seed better as transplants or vice versa?
- I have tried to stagger the planting of certain crops (carrots, onions, lettuce, potatoes) to spread out the harvest. Did I go about this the right way?
I am excited to get started and any advice would be very much appreciated!
You should be able to grow corn. I’ve grown it successfully in raised beds and my parents do so each year. This year, I’m growing it in even smaller containers and I though you might like to try the type I’m trying. It’s called On the Deck Hybrid and I got it from Burpee. http://www.burpee.com/vegetables/corn/corn-on-deck-hybrid-prod003168.html Oh, bummer, I see they are out. Well you may want to keep it in mind for next year. . . I usually grow Incredible, which tastes, well, incredible! 🙂
Megan, I’m curious as to how your garden is coming along? Must be in full bloom by now. I’m only a second year SFG and still learning…
I agree, many veggies can be purchased so inexpensively, it’s hard to justify planting them. If you have a small space, you really have to pick and choose what to grow. That’s why I don’t do corn, but I still like growing my own onions. For me it’s not just the cost, it’s fun to watch it grow and I like eating out of my garden.
I have learned that planting potatoes and onions is kind of a waste……they grow well, but they are so inexpensive in the stores, that I hate to dedicate so much space to them. I used that space to now plant more kale and other greens I use for my juicing.
Hope this helps!
Megan–your beds look great!
*Corn: the light, friable soil of garden beds is not very supportive for corn, and corn really needs to be at least 3 rows deep to pollinate. So 9×9 is the smallest space to give it. My friend grows 16 square feet of corn, and says she gets 1 to 1 1/2 dozen ears. Considering the time and space it requires, with relatively little harvest, I think you’re better served buying corn locally and planting other veggies. But try it–maybe it will be great! She plants the corn 1, 2, 1, 2. So plant one in the first square, two in the next, then alternate on the next row. It’s sort of halfway between 1 and 4 per square! I planted 4 per square when I grew it, and it was too close.
*Seeds vs Plants: your choices are perfect! You really must plant peppers, tomatoes, broccoli from plants. The others you listed are better planted from seed. And onions from sets, like you said.
*Timing: plant the potatoes all at once. The way you “stagger” the harvest is to dig some up sooner than others. Be sure to read about how to plant potatoes in a square foot garden.
*I agree that some of the flowers and herbs can be “interplanted” in the same squares, (put a few along the edges).
The rest looks great!
my experience with corn in my raised beds here in Meridian is that it is not worth the trouble. My yields were low and by the time I was harvesting I could by it on the local corner for 5 ears for a dollar. Also the stocks take along time to compost so I have kept corn out of my garden the past two seasons
You have allot of plants there that don’t (necessarily) require their own space, Unless you want quite a supply of them.
Marigold, Nasturtium, Basil, Dill, Rosemary, and others depending on what you grow, can be companions to other plants, and thus planted within those squares.
Search for List of companion plants, and you should get a wikipedia table that gives a good overview. For example
Marigold: “most plants, especially tomatoes and peppers, cucurbits (cucumbers, gourds, squash), brassicas (broccoli, kale, cabbage)”
This will save you some space, let you grow some bigger crops in those free squares, aid in pest control, and potentially improve the taste of other crops. There are good reasons to companion plant.
You should keep the nightshades somewhat closer together, that way to can practice a sort of crop rotation the next year, same with cucubrits and other similar families. (Nightshades include peppers, tomatoes, tobacco, eggplants, potatoes…)
Be cautious about planting some things which may bolt in warmer temperature, such as lettuce. You should plant certain things that like today, right now, yesterday. Broccoli, lettuce, spinach and others may bolt in warmer temperature (usually above 68 Deg F), for most people planting those late in the season, or early spring is best because summer is just too hot for them. Others like Kale are more tolerant of heat, but keep it in mind.