Square Foot Gardening Mistakes

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It’s -2°F out right now, so what am I doing? I’m thinking about my garden. What I did last year that worked, and what didn’t. Last year was our first garden at our new house, so my husband and I decided to try something new.

We purchased several raised bed kits that measured 3 ½ feet square. These were made to be joined together if wanted so that’s what we did. We put two together to form a rectangle and then 4 more plus extra pieces to form a U shape. This allowed us to have more garden space without having to buy another kit.

My husband then left the planning what to plant and how up to me. I decided we should give square foot gardening a try since I couldn’t figure out another way to fit all the different things we wanted in the space we had. All our previous gardens at our old house had been planted in the traditional way.

I learned a major lesson from that garden. I looked at several sources as to what I could plant with what. And how many seeds/plants to plant in each square foot. I even knew to put the tallest plants, tomatoes, on the north side to limit sun blockage. But there was one thing I didn’t plan for.

Different plants grow at different rates.

Some of my plants were planted as seedlings. Others were planted by seed. I didn’t factor in that the seedlings would grow faster than the seeds. I also didn’t factor in that some plants get WAY bigger than others.

That was my biggest mistake.

Huge summer squash plant next to teeny, tiny pepper plant.

I planted large, fast-growing summer squash next to slower, smaller bell pepper plants. The squash overtook my peppers. I got a good amount of squash but never did see a bell pepper. My pepper plants struggled all summer from not enough light.

My squash/pepper mistake wasn’t my only mistake, but it was my most notable. I also had oregano get buried by the squash. Carrots were buried by broccoli. Lettuce was buried by broccoli and cauliflower. Onions and garlic got buried by corn.

It was a mess.

It was too crowded, though that is kind of the goal. It was too mixed for how crowded it was.

We did make one change last fall to fix some of the issues. The U shape was a failure because it kept all the plants that much closer. We took out the bottom of the U and purchased one more raised garden kit. We then made another rectangle. All of the other fixes will be from changing what I plant next to each other.

Have you tried square foot gardening? Do you have any tips or mistakes to share?

1 thought on “Square Foot Gardening Mistakes”

  1. I did the same thing last year. Every year before that my garden got taken out by hail mid way so my plants never reached full growth. I was much more aware of weather last year and protected my plants but that resulted in gigantic tomato plants, so intertwined that I couldn’t access the tomatoes. Since the back was lined with chain link fence and only paths every 5 feet went vertically back to the rows of tomato’s going horizontally along the back of the garden. I am going to make the tomato’s more open this year.

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