Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Lesson on Square Foot Companion Planting

So, yesterday I showed you how we made our fantastic raised beds, which we think turned out pretty great if you must know. :)

Today, I wanted to show you how they look planted and explain how we layed out each section. Why? Because if you're a visual person like me, it may take a planted, sprouting bed to give you an idea of how this will all work out! 

First and foremost, we figured out how much we wanted to grow. Our plant list is below: 

Summer Squash

Whew! In case it isn't obvious, we wanted to grow quite a few things. And since plants are like high school students- they don't all get along-there needs to be a rhyme and reason for where they are planted. Think of them like little cliques - preps, nerds, band geeks, jocks, etc. You wouldn't plant your jocks next to your nerds! Hence the concept of companion planting. 

My go-to resource for this portion of our garden planning was this color-coded PDF from Emily at IT. IS. FANTASTIC. Period. it was such a help in figuring out what to plant where - tomatoes next to corn? Don't even think about it! Below is a little glimpse of how to go about your planting - green means good, yellow means not terrible, and red means don't do it! Seriously, all credit goes to her - such a big help. 

So ... with that in mind, we needed to figure out where to put everyone! The last thing we wanted was a food fight! Here's what we came up with for our beds: 

Once we knew where to put everything the next step was to plant. And again Emily came to the rescue with her guidelines on how many seeds/plant you can fit into each square. You wouldn't be saving space if you only planted one seed in each space!!

So we planted away! You'll see above that our garden plan is color coded according to the date we planted everything whether it was plants or seeds. I'm so glad we did this and I'd highly recommend it to others as well. Now we know when to expect everything ... and there's proof of sprouting below! The picture below is of the bed in the top left of the excel sheet. Our lettuce, broccoli, spinach, onions and pumpkins are all coming up already! We planted the zucchini from plants rather than seed so you can see how big they are compared to everything else. 

And take a look below for a demonstration of how to fit more than one plant into a square - below are our sprouts of lettuce and spinach, which can be planted four per space. 

Here are the broccoli sprouts - these guys were limited to one per square. 

And here is our bed of all peppers and tomatoes - everybody still looks happy, so we're taking it as a good sign!

 Our bed with the corn, peas and beans isn't sprouting yet because we just planted it this past weekend - but stay tuned! I'll make sure to post updates! And feel free to pass along any good salsa/sauce/jelly recipes - there's lots of canning on my horizon, but I couldn't be more excited! 

Hope inspires the green thumb in all of you! 

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