Square foot gardening is a great method for maximizing the amount of food that can be produced. Many people are curious about which vegetables pair well with this method. The answer is that most vegetables thrive in a square-foot garden. Here are 6 veggies that are great candidates for this method.
The square foot garden was designed by Mel Bartholomew in 1981. Compared to a row style raised bed garden, the square foot garden allows gardeners in apartments, townhomes, and small living environments to grow a variety of plants within limited space. These types of gardens come in a variety of sizes, depending on the space, and allows the gardener to allocate one square foot per plant or flower. It’s an efficient use of space and perfect if you are a beginner gardener and want to plant a number of different seeds.
The first candidate for square foot gardening is the onion. Onions are cool-season vegetables. They should be planted 4-6 weeks before the last frost in spring or early fall.
Onions need 10-16 hours of direct sunlight depending on the variety. It is best to avoid planting onions near plants that will overshadow them.
Onions may be started from sets or seeds and take 100-175 to reach maturity. To grow transplants start them indoors about 6 weeks before the last frost date.
Onions need loose soil that is rich in nitrogen to thrive. Before planting them, put fertilizer or compost in the garden spot. It is good to fertilize the plants every three weeks until a bulb is visible at the surface.
Bell peppers are warm-weather crops and somewhat cold intolerant. To be successful, start them inside using indoor grow lights about 8-10 weeks before the last frost date. It will take 10 days for them to germinate. Once the first set of true leaves appear they are ready to be planted outside. Temperatures should not drop below 70 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid shocking the plant.
Bell peppers prefer soil rich in organic matter with good drainage. The soil’s PH should be 6-6.8. If the PH in your soil needs to be adjusted, add some coffee grinds to it.
Avoid overwatering bell peppers or watering them from above, as this can cause disease. If summers are dry in your area, water your plants daily.
It is a good idea to provide support for bell pepper plants. Tomato cages or stakes can be used. It is best to install these while the plants are young.
Spinach is a cool-weather crop that grows in full sun or partial shade. This vegetable does not tolerate temperatures over 70 degrees Fahrenheit. They may be planted 4-6 weeks before the last frost in spring or 6-8 weeks before the first frost in fall. It takes 45-50 days for Spinach to reach maturity.
Spinach prefers loamy soil rich in organic material with a PH of 6-7. Sow the seeds in rows spaced 12-18 inches apart, and cover them lightly with soil. Once the first set of true leaves appear thin the plants to 6 inches apart. The seedlings removed during this process may be eaten. This veggie prefers moist soil and should be watered daily. Spinach is a heavy feeder, so it is important to add fertilizer to the soil. Organic materials like fish emulsions or soy meal can be added.
Eggplant is a veggie that tolerates warm weather. It is important to avoid transplanting eggplant outdoors if the temperature is still low. While it is possible to start eggplant from seed, it is easier to start with transplants from a nursery. When starting with seeds plant them indoors 8-10 weeks before the last frost date. Eggplant takes 7-10 days to germinate. Once the first true leaves appear, begin fertilizing the plants. Once again, a fish emulsion is a great eco-friendly option.
Eggplant tolerates heat well, but mulch should be applied in extreme heat to protect the plants. If you opt to stake your eggplants do it while they are young to avoid disturbing the roots.
Mizuna is another great cool-weather green. However, unlike Spinach, Mizuna does not bolt quite as fast in hot weather. Mizuna may be grown in full sun or partial shade from other plants. This green can be sown starting in mid-spring or late spring. Once the soil is workable Mizuna can be put in the ground. Mizuna will tolerate soil temperatures as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mizuna needs moist soil rich in organic material to grow well. Before sowing any seeds build up the area with aged compost.
Sow seeds about 8-10 inches apart or grow them as microgreens and space them 1 inch apart. Throughout the growing season fertilize the area perhaps with a fish emulsion. Most importantly avoid planting Mizuna where any member of the cabbage family had already been planted.
The green can be harvested as a microgreen or when it is 3-4 inches. If you like, Mizuna can be harvested when it is even taller. However, make sure to harvest it while the leaves are still tender.
Broccoli loves cool weather and full sun. This vegetable needs about 6-8 hours of full sun. Seeds should be started indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost in spring or midsummer. Broccoli seeds germinate within 4-7 days of planting when temperatures are 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit. Broccoli takes 100-150 days to reach maturity.
To harden your seedlings sit them outside intermittently before planting them in the ground.
When it comes to soil, broccoli prefers a PH of 6-7 with excellent drainage. Broccoli should be watered at the base and never from above to avoid problems with rot.
Once the first head is harvested, continue to nourish the plant to get another head to grow.
All of these vegetables will do well in your square foot garden with proper care. With square foot gardening, the plants will be very close together. Always remember to research which vegetables are growing well together.
Choosing the best vegetable for your square foot garden also depends on how much of that vegetable you need. Some veggies, like squash, require more room per plant that others. Keep these important details in mind.