Garden Beds

Diane Ziomek By Diane Ziomek, 22nd Feb 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Gardening>Planting & Growing

A productive way of getting a lot of produce from a small space.


As the days get longer and hopefully soon to be warmer, I can’t help but start planning my gardening projects for this year. Hurry up Spring!

Last Spring I did something a little different with my garden. I made garden beds out of recycled boards and planted my flowers, fruits and vegetables in them. I adopted Mel Bartholomew’s Square Foot Gardening techniques, and made them work to my advantage. In this method, seeds and plants are planted in individual squares in a grid pattern. The squares are one foot square and will accommodate anywhere from one to 36 plants, depending on the vegetable you are planting. In order to figure out how many plants to put in each square, refer to the spacing directions on your seed package. If it says plants seeds 12 inches apart, you should only place one of that particular seed in a square. I usually err on the side of caution and plant an extra one, just in case one doesn’t germinate. I planted four sunflowers last year, and only one germinated.


Some of my garden beds were four feet by four feet, while others were two feet by eight feet. This still gave me the same amount of square footage, just in a different layout. I found them both to work nicely, although I still had some trouble reaching the middle of the four foot bed. My kids tell me it’s because I’m short. I do not dispute that fact. I found there were less weeds to contend with, and because the soil isn’t being compacted, the bounty is greater.

The trick with this type of gardening lies in the fact more than one crop may be planted in any given square during the season. What this means is after the early crops are harvested, another short season crop may go in. This keeps the squares producing continually, increasing the harvest. After each crop is harvested a trowel full of compost gets added to the square, mixed in and new seeds are planted. Always having something good growing in the blocks keeps the weeds out. That is not saying you will no longer have to weed, it just means there will be less of them.

Planting Ideas

In order to take full advantage of the sun, plant taller crops in the squares on the North side of the bed. Planting four sunflowers in early Spring in the four North squares in a bed will not only give you sunflower seeds, but you can also plant runner beans at the base when the soil warms up more. Beans love warm soil and if you wait a couple weeks to plant them, the sunflower “trellis” will have already started to grow. It is important to plant the sunflowers first, as the beans will quickly surpass them if you plant at the same time. I found this little tidbit of information out the hard way two years ago.

If you have a small yard, a single raised bed planted in this fashion will feed one or two people all season. If you have a bigger yard and more people to feed, increase the number of beds you make. I have three – four foot square ones, seven that are two feet by eight feet and one that is two feet by three feet. This last one produced a bounty of tomatoes last year with only six plants. My only regret is I didn’t stake them.


Garden, Garden Ideas, Garden Planning, Gardening In Small Areas

Meet the author

author avatar Diane Ziomek
I have always been interested in writing, but have only been publishing online since January 2010. I have many interests and write articles on several of them, such as crafts, writing, gardening etc.

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
23rd Feb 2011 (#)

I cannot wait for spring either!

Adding a picture, or pictures, of your garden would be great!

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author avatar Diane Ziomek
23rd Feb 2011 (#)

Right now it is under snow, and I didn't take any nice ones of it during the summer. I will do so when I can see it again.

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author avatar Rathnashikamani
8th Mar 2011 (#)

Diane Ziomek,
Yesterday I visited few gardens searching for some exotic plants and I got a few wonderful ones.
I just chanced upon this article which has given me some wonderful space saving tips.
Thanks a lot.

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author avatar Diane Ziomek
8th Mar 2011 (#)

You're very welcome! I love spending time in my garden, and am so looking forward to it. We were at minus thirty Celsius this morning....BRRRR!

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author avatar Val Mills
9th Mar 2011 (#)

Nice ideas. My husband manages to grow both vegetables and flowers in his tiny garden.

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author avatar Diane Ziomek
9th Mar 2011 (#)

I had marigolds and petunias in with my veggies last summer. I will be trying a little more variety this year.

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