All New Square Foot Gardening

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Water Well

One caution: the plant and root should be very wet before you transplant into your SFG. Take your four-pack and let it float in a bucket of warm water until it sinks and there are no more bubbles coming up. Thats when you know the plants are totally saturated with water. Then take it out, pop each plant out of its container, cut the roots off, and plant it. Your garden soil should be moist, so you're not putting a wet plant into dry ground. Dry ground will suck the moisture right out of the roots.

I was surprised at how much I could get from such a small area.

Michael from Georgia

Saucer-Shaped Depression

Next, push the soil back around the plant to form a slight saucer shape in the soil. Make sure you plant at the level of the soil, factoring in the slight depression of the saucer. Because of the saucer shape, water goes straight down to the roots. We don't want to water the rest of the square foot if we don't have to. How's that for conserving water?

Outdoor Seed Sprouting

The procedure for outdoor seed sprouting is the same as indoors; you're just working in much nicer weather and the plants are growing much faster.

Hardening Off

Hardening off is the process of getting the plant adjusted to a new environment—like going from indoors to outdoors. It's important that your plants are acclimated gradually so they can get used to their new location and different weather conditions. This requires some effort because you don't want them out at night when its cold or freezing and you also don't want them out in the burning hot sun in the daytime.

Regulate Sunlight and Heat

To help harden plants regulate the sun exposure. If it's hot out, place your plants out in the sunlight in the morning, but at noontime provide some shade. Let them receive direct sunlight in the early morning, shade at midday, and perhaps, when the sun starts down, a little more direct light in the afternoon. Now that's really pampering your garden plants. And don't forget the little drinks of water every now and then. Actually all that sun, then shade, then sun can easily be done with a shingle stuck in the ground at the right place and the right angle.

How to Plant Your All New Square Foot Garden

Can't Dry Out

To keep your newly planted seeds from cooking in the hot sun, cover the square with a piece of cardboard cut to fit in the grid. Estimate the soil temperature and sprout time (see the charts in the Appendix), then write the sprout date and the date you planted it on the cardboard with a magic marker. Weigh down the cardboard to keep it from Hying away in the wind. Of course, you'll need to lift the cardboard before you sprinkle water on the soil surface and remove it a day or two before the sprout date.


How many plants will fit into a square foot? The numbers are so simple and easy to remember: one, four, nine, or sixteen. If you like math, you will recognize right away that these numbers happen to be the squares of one, two, three, four. And, in addition to the fact that we're gardening in square foot plots, that's how Square Foot Gardening got its name . . . because its as simple as one, two, three, four. The number of plants you grow in a square foot depends on plants size when its fully grown. (Go to the chart in the Appendix to see mature plant sizes.)

You can also figure it out very easily from the "thin to" directions on a seed packet. (Every time you read that now you will think of me and say to yourself, "Why do they tell me to plant so many seeds only to go back and thin to just one plant?)

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