Category Archives: Hints, Tips, and How Tos

How to Make a Square Foot Garden

I’d like to introduce you to a new way of gardening. It’s called square foot gardening. I planted my first square foot garden last year and I’m hooked. Here’s the basic gist:

Square Foot GardenMost gardens are planted in long rows separated by three foot aisles. This means 80% of your garden (that you water, weed, and fertilize) grows nothing. You just walk on it. The square foot method eliminates that 80% of your garden that you don’t use by planting in blocks.

Using the square foot gardening method, you divide a 4′ x 4′ box into sixteen 1 foot square gardens. You then can plant a different crop in each of the squares. For example, you might plant 16 carrots in one box, four beans in another, and one cabbage in another. That leaves you with 13 other boxes to fill! I think it’s a fantastic system, but I’ll let you decide for yourself. Here are some of the reasons why I love square foot gardening.

Tips for Vegetable Crop Rotation

The ground is frozen and there is a layer of snow covering your garden plot. There’s simple not much to do outside in the way of gardening. However, this is a great time to start planning your garden for next year. I always like to sketch out what I want to plant and where I want to plant it. This is for two reasons.

  1. So I know what seeds to order (ordering by mid Feb. gets me a 10% discount).
  2. So I can properly rotate my vegetable crops.

Many gardeners practice crop rotation – and for good reasons.

  • There is decreased insect and disease problems.
  • It prevents soil from losing much needed nutrients.

There are different patterns or cycles you can follow – but here’s the cycle I follow.

How To Grow Amazing Scab-Free Potatoes

For my family, and I imagine many other North Americans, potatoes are the most common food eaten in our home. Whether it’s mashed, baked or boiled, or made into french fries, hashbrowns or chips, we eat potatoes almost daily. It’s no wonder that nearly every vegetable garden has at least a few hills of those wonderful, all-purpose tubers. My complaint comes when you dig up your spuds in the fall, and they’re covered in ugly, brown scabs.

In 2006 I grew the scabbiest potatoes I had ever seen. They were covered with about a 1/4 inch of scab from top to bottom. I couldn’t even use a regular peeler to peel them – I had to cut the skin off with a knife. They were terrible. The inside still tasted fine, but who wants to deal with 1/4 inch of scab?

So that winter I searched the internet and asked the advice of more experienced gardeners – namely my parents – and got some really easy to follow suggestions. Then, following that advice in 2007, I grew the biggest, scab-free potatoes I had ever grown. Want to know how I did it? Here’s what you need to do: