Square Foot Gardening Templates

I ran across a blog the other day that was touting the benefits of making your own square foot gardening template out of left over plywood.  Great idea I thought…but somehow, between the piles and piles of wood I have, I didn’t have any random pieces of plywood.

by Chiots Run

I really didn’t have anything that would work.   I gave up on the idea for a bit and then ran across a comment on that same blog that suggested using a muffin tin for a template.  Brilliant!  I love it when I can use kitchen type things for multiple purposes.  The result?  Perfection!

In the photos above, I used the standard muffin tin for beets and the brownie pan (in this case it’s silicon) for radishes.   I just depressed the pan into the soil the desired depth, dropped in my seed and put a handful of seed starting mix on top.  Done!

I haven’t tried square foot gardening before so I’m excited to see how it works.  The OCD part of me LOVES the “order” inherent in the system!  Let me know what creative templates you’ve come up with and/or your experience with square foot gardening!

Also, if you are interested in building raised beds, you find find the design I used (bed partly shown above)  here!

Mini-Project: Learning from Seed

One of the parallel mini-projects within The Plan, is starting most of the  plants for the food portion of the garden from seed.  I started this mini-project in February.  Here are the details…

Mini-Project Name:  Learning from Seed

Goal:  Grow 90% of the veggies this season from seeds

Objectives:

  1. Have more appreciation for what happens before I buy my plants “ready to go”
  2. Grow plants I can’t typically find at the local garden store
  3. Practice Patience
  4. Save Money

Indoors:

I’ve planted 247 plants staggered over 5 planting dates, spanning 6 weeks in 6 different mini-greenhouses – all currently sitting in my south facing dining room and kitchen windows.

My Greenhouse
Reusing those aweful clam shell packages

So far I really like the Jiffy growing peat pellets for the indoor plants.  It’s inexpensive, the pellets expanded quickly and the 98% of my seeds sprouted!  Unlike the Planters Pride system, the pellets did not expand and only 40% of my seeds have sprouted. Another advantage of the Jiffy system is that you can keep the trays year after year and just buy the pellets, unlike the Planters Pride, the plastic trays are already cracking.

Below is an overview of the seeding process I’m using inside and finding most effective…I’m currently within step 5 – the bottom two pictures are my actual plants.

Outdoors:

No idea how many plants (got a little lazy counting those tiny tiny seeds), but I do know I planted roughly 24 sq. ft. staggered over 2 planting dates, spanning 6 weeks.  All planted in “Box A” (only existing raised bed currently in my backyard):

    • 4 sq. ft of Beets
    • 3 sq. ft of Carrots
    • 7 sq. ft of Mesculun Mix
    • 5 sq. ft of Plum Radishes
    • 2 sq. ft of Red Radishes
    • 7 sq. ft of Snap Peas

The outside plants are not doing that great.  Unfortunately the day after my 1st planting it snowed, then the day of the 2nd planting it hailed.  On the package it said “sow when the ground can be worked”, which I inturrpretted “anytime”! Also, the snap peas seeds were 10 years old, turns out seeds expire – who knew?  Box A looks almost exactly like it did when I planted it 8 weeks ago..there is a hint of sprouting…you can see the radishes trying to grow in the image below on the right.

Left: Box A Planted; Right: Radishes!

Tracking:

No project in my world is complete unless excel is involved, and most importantly, a pivot table of some sort.  The pivot table below shows the inside vs. outside seeds and the plant dates.  I have another view that highlights when they should be moved (theoretically) and then harvest (hopefully) – I’ll save that for later…

Yes…It’s a Pivot Table…More Geek Evidence

There you have it…I’m already learning some “life lessons”…I am accepting less than 100% success -every failure is an learning opportunity, and most importantly –  I can always buy plants if none of this works!