Indiana Square foot Gardening Plan

square foot gardening guest post

Hi there! I’m Kelly, and this is my 4th year attemptng a garden here in Westfield, IN (Just North of Indianapolis by about 15mi.).

In the years past, I had just sort of planted wherever- not rows, but not really organized, and with little attention to where what goes.  I just stood back at the edge of my plot and said “OK, squash over there, tomatoes there…” We had decent yields on some things (tomaotes and squash are big growers here!) but my choices of plant groupings ended up in shaded out lost crop and hard to reach veg that ended up rotting.

I stumbled across Emily’s fab site when looking up companion planting and haven’t looked back.  I used to watch Mel Bartholomew’s Square Foot Garden show with my little brother growing up, so the concept is not foriegn, just foggy. square foot gardening icon smile

My (just finished!) newly renovated garden plot consists of 6 4×5 beds and an oddball shaped 6×4 one (it is 6×4 on one end and 4×4 on the other. Sort of.)

square foot gardening photo copy 300x225

square foot gardening photo copy 2 300x225

Here is my garden plan, after many many revisions (and, actually, sinc eI originally did htis plan, I was able to expand that one 3×5 to the same 4×5 as the rest so I have a free row for ???):

square foot gardening Garden Plan 2012 revised 300x173

Questions:
First and foremost, how does it look? Is this a viable plan? Does it make SENSE?

Is there a better way to arrange things to minimize pest issues? We have some hungry bunnies that ate ALL of my bean plants down to the ground last year, and about halfway through the season we got squash bugs that demolished everything.  This year, as I dug, I discovered ANTS and they were tending to white blobs that I can only assume were squash bug larvae! GRR!!

Is there a better way to use the space I have- I am not well versed in interplanting and my attempt last year was dissapointing.

My husband just added “walls” to the beds this weekend, but since I have added loads of composted grass clippings, worm poop,  etc over the years and have fairly happy soil and don’t want to cover that all up with new dirt….the “boxes” you see do not have bottoms, and I just added 2 40lb bags of top soil and 1 40lb bag of compost per box.  I did not add vermiculite or peat as the soil we have, rocky and clay filled as it may be, drains pretty well and I plan on adding grass clippings as mulch to retain moisture – this worked well last year (for what it was worth!)

Thank you for any and all help – I am excited about having a productive, “happy” garden this year!!!

Happy Gardening!

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10 Responses

  1. Kelly says:

    Also, I wanted to add, a few people were asking what the numbers were for… Those numbers are the number planted in each square, based on the info on this very site! The info on plant spacing can be found here: http://www.mysquarefootgarden.net/plant-spacing/

    Again, Emily, you have pretty much changed my gardening life! ;)

  2. Kelly says:

    Hi guys! Sorry I never checked back in. Crystal, Tomatoes do faulously here, even in our horrible clay. I only bury a little bit of the plant (maybe the bottom inch?) and seem to have GREAT success. Same goes for peppers both sweet and hot. I’m sad to report a total loss of all squashes due to squash bug invasion and total devestation. We will not plant squashes or related types this year to see if we can starve them off. :( Stinks big time as we are HUGE zuke and spaghetti squash fans!!! The bunnies also made short work of the beans. :(

    This year, I amended the soil with moss + compost (no vermiculite as it was beyond my budget). I am not nearly as organized this year and am getting a late start… I am gonna go ahead and blame my newbie – 8 week old baby girl. ;)

  3. Crystal says:

    How did the garden turn out? I live in Westfield also and have just put together my boxes. As soon as I can figure out how to keep a lab puppy out of the boxes, I will fill with Mel’s Mix and some plants. How did your tomatoes do? I plan to stack 2 boxes so that I can plant the tomato plants deeper. I have always heard that you should plant half of the stem for a strong plant. However, if others have success with planting tomatoes in only 5- 6 inches, perhaps that is the way to go. Thanks in advance for your help!

    Crystal

  4. Lori says:

    Kelly – just wondering how things turned out for you? I am also in Westfield! :)

    Hope you had a good season,
    Lori

  5. Laszlo says:

    Kelly,

    I live in Indianapolis and just starting on Square Foot gardening (preparing beds this fall). I’d like to get in contact with you and share ideas, etc.

    If you get this message, please contact me via my website: http://www.computerwizardindy.com/contact-us/ [ that is to avoid my email address getting on spam lists by software that scour the webpages for email addresses]

    Thanks.

  6. Leslie says:

    I have the same question as above…. Not sure of how much to plant, so the numbers are intriguing.

  7. Kelly says:

    Thank you all for your kind responses! Since noone had any “Oh man, that is NOT a good choice” type things to say, I went ahead with what needed to be planted NOW. I put tomatoes, sweet peppers, spaghetti squash and zuchinni in – and decided to throw round 1 of Bok Choy in my extra row. :)

    I need to work on a trellis plan (!!!) and pest control! I have something called Spinosad (Captian Bobs Deadbug?) that I just had to use on my kale – I found teeny little cabbage loopers today!! I channeled Doc Brown from Back 2 The Future “They found me! I donno how, but the found me!”(run Marty!!!)

  8. Tina @ Dewdrop Garden says:

    I am a newbie gardener, this site has been so helpful to me too. Your boxes look great! Some advice given to me on my guest post here, was that you should put the basil in with your tomatoes and peppers, they are companion plants to those. They help the plant and also it can free up that square you have for basil. At first I had 2 squares for basil, but I ended up replanting something else in those squares and added basil to all my pepper squares and my tomato pots. I should have a ton of basil! Are you going to trellis your peas or just let them climb up the house?

  9. Judy says:

    Looks beautiful!
    You should really check out Mel’s book “The All New Square Foot Gardening.” It’s chock FULL of information. This is my first year “successful” gardening after reading his book. I used to be a plant murderer, but this year is different because of the book! The compost he talks about has been great but I did have to search for some items. He says if you want to trellis certain plants the trellis should be on the north side so as not to shade other plants (unless you need shade for tender plants). I’m going to trellis pumpkins this year and try to have them ready by halloween. Your tomatoes will need trellising for sure. Mine have needed much more room than I allowed. I have a grape tomato growing now that could have used at least 3 spaces by itself while my better boy and beefsteak would do better with 2 spaces. I’m still learning. You can also vine your cukes and zukes. I’ve had some trouble with powdery mildew on my cukes this year so I may not do them again for awhile.

    I started small with 2-2×4 boxes and now, 3 months later I have 2 more of the same. We have a problem with moles in our yard. Instead of bothering with weed cloth and wire mesh for the moles my husband made our boxes with bottoms. Mel’s book has step by step instructions for just about everything. You can even make a wire cage to protect against bunnies.

    I think I read somewhere that you shouldn’t put anything “hot” (like peppers) in with anything else but I have no experience with that. My biggest battle has been with bugs and I’m still learning there too. Florida has tons of them. Grrr.

    My pole beans that I trellised did well and the basil can be cut back (for recipes) and bushes up again. Yum. My zinnias have been outstanding. I bring them in for cut flowers and it grows more and more. It’s about 4 feet tall right now. So many successes just in a few short months for this novice!

    I haven’t had trouble with bunnies (yet) even though I see them on occasion. I have one of those rotating head owls posted as a sentry (from Walmart). Don’t know if it works but the birds and bunnies haven’t bothered anything yet (so it seems). Regardless, it’s a cute garden decoration even if it doesn’t work.

    Wishing you lots of luck with your beautiful garden!

  10. Kim says:

    It looks really good! Are the numbers after the plant names the number of each of those plants per square foot? ie you have 9 onions in each foot?