Mobile Alabama Square Foot Gardening Plan

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9 Responses

  1. Emily says:

    It’s so fun to start your first garden!

    *If you are planting over grass, spend the time and money to REMOVE the grass first. Trust me, you will be glad you did. You will also be happier if you rent a sod cutter and quickly cut out the squares you need. You can do it by hand (I have!) and it’s so much back-breaking work. I would put down a weed barrier. I did (double layer) my first year and I still have TONS of earthworms. It degrades over time, but that first year helps keep the grass in check. If your beds are more shallow, you may opt out so you can utilize the soil underneath.

    *Build your beds at least 10″ high. Especially if you live in a warmer area–I found that some of my plants didn’t like the roots to get so warm. Going from 6″ to 12″ of soil made a huge difference!

    *Another idea I’ve heard is to dig down 6″ into the soil, then mix that with Mel’s Mix. It will contain weed seeds, but gives you more depth to grow for less money (in materials and soil).

    *The compost from the local farm is GOLD! It is true that Mel’s mix is very light and won’t support plants like corn. However, it’s also well-draining and easy to work with and should not contain any weeds. I spend less than 1% of my time weeding. I would add some peat moss (cheap and easy) to the mix you’re considering and call it good.

    *Some things to consider: put plants that go in early and harvest at the end of the season in the middle (ie: onions), and others that have a continuous harvest or a short growing cycle on the outside, easy to reach (green beans, peppers, etc).

    *You might want to move your squash to the outside. It tends to get big, and this allows it to spread without covering all the other plants.

    Looks great! Take pictures and follow up to let us know how it went!


  2. Hollie says:

    Top soil that you buy in bags is the cause of all your weeds. I’ve read that the bagged top soil is from farmers. They scrape all their top soil and usually it has tons of weed seeds in it. Also, corn has to be grown together so it will pollinate. They recommend not rows but blocks. I grew my first gardens last year. I put three corn plants in a row and got nothing. Then I read more about it. I put a block of four and they were the best corn I’ve ever had.

  3. Travis in Mobile says:

    Thanks for the input…sincerely appreciated. We are beginning to see the potential overcrowding issue! We may have to do some thinning, etc before things get out of hand! Interesting about the stagnet air.

    You mentioned a SFG friend in B’ham; would that be Kim? If so…I know her!

    Our rushed planning on our soil is starting to show itself with numerous weeds springing up. We have been discussing this issue and feel certain that next spring we will be be starting with a well thought out Mel’s Mix! thanks again!…

    Travis 🙂

  4. Travis in Mobile says:

    Thanks for the welcome!

  5. Travis in Mobile says:

    Thanks for the input. We ended up using cardboard in the bottom to help kill the existing grass. The cardboard was sprayed with water for several minutes prior to putting the dirt on top. I’m in hopes that it will break down quickly to allow earthworm and root movement. We also added quite a few worms to the bed.

  6. Rachel says:

    I live in the Pensacola/Milton area-not too far from you. We can’t grow onions here except in the fall/winter. It is just too hot for them in the spring on the Gulf Coast.

  7. Brandicj says:


    I am a newbie too, but I thought I’d chime in with what I’ve read from Mel and here.
    You need to spread out your tomatoes (use fewer). I’m told you’ll need 2 blocks per vining (indeterminate) variety or as many as 4 blocks (2×2) per bush-type (determinate). I think you will need to plant bush-type beans for the second row of the smaller bed since you can’t easily trellis them in that location. You need more space for the squash as well and they will need a trellis unless you give them a 2 x 2 area. That is a LOT of squash, so plant a variety.
    Your tall plants (sunflower) on the edge of the garden are going to make reaching the interior plants very difficult, especially in the larger bed.
    Finally, we are in Birmingham, and my dear friend did SFG for a couple of years. She suggests not planting as densely as Mel does because of the humidity and stagnant air. She had a real problem with disease.

    Good luck and have fun! I got pretty frustrated in the planning stages, but my spring veggies are on their way despite the heat and we are enjoying the process.

  8. Leann Arthur says:

    Hi! We just moved from that area (Mobile, AL) to the Savannah, GA area!! Good luck with your garden!

  9. Cyndee says:

    I chose not to put weed cloth underneath even though Mel recommends it. My reasoning was I wanted earthworms to be able to crawl up from the existing soil, and I wanted the longer rooted plants to be able to extend their roots if they needed to. We did put some weed cloth in the border area around the beds and put mulch on top. We pulled up the grass with a sod cutter just to make sure it was gone. We used 12″ deep beds but we only filled to about 10″. I think you might be able to get away with 6″ for everything except the carrots. But I just wanted the flexibility of a deeper bed.