How To Build A Square Foot Garden


Planting a vegetable garden — Easier than I expected!

I couldn’t put it off any longer; I had to get my seedlings into the garden. My tomato plant had become root-bound in its peat pot. The jalepeño and bell pepper plants were getting leggy, too. And I was already weeks behind schedule. No more excuses.

I started by getting my gardening tools together. Here are our tips for making square foot garden:

Tips on planting a vegetable garden

Essential Tools:

  • The step stool was for me to sit on while planting.
  • The trowel and gloves were for transplanting my seedlings.
  • The scissors were for cutting an old cotton washcloth into strips for tying the leggy seedlings to supporting sticks.
  • The masking tape was for closing the seed envelopes after I finished with them. (The masking tape didn’t work out, though. My son suggested using painter’s tape, which sealed the seed envelopes while still making it easy to reopen the envelopes later without tearing the packet.)
  • The plastic bag was for trash. And the pencil? Well, there’s a saying that goes, “Give a difficult job to a lazy person, and he’ll find an easier way to do it.”

Square Foot Garden – pencil as ruler



  • I marked lines on the pencil every 1/4 inch so that I could make holes the proper planting depth for the seeds without using a ruler. And it worked, too! 🙂
  • We started with the seedlings first, then planted the seeds. I’m so glad that we started by planting a small vegetable garden this year!
  • Planting a vegetable garden the Square Foot Garden way wasn’t difficult, but it was still work.
  • After putting the 3 plants in the soil, we planted the SEEDS:  1 square of green beans, 3 squares of tomatoes, 3 squares of lettuce, 1 square of yellow onions, and 1 square of green onions. (I’ll plant broccoli seedlings in the empty squares at the end of the summer.)

I couldn’t plant my cucumber seeds because the side of the garden that would be next to a trellis was already full. They’ll have to wait for next year. I couldn’t believe it — the “planting” part of planting a vegetable garden was over already?

A Square Foot Garden Tip

I almost forgot — We made the grid for the Square Foot Garden from some vinyl vertical blinds that we picked up CHEAP at Home Depot. I could’ve driven around to some local thrift stores to try to find some used vinyl blinds, but that would’ve taken more energy than I had to expend. And it would’ve taken more time, too.

Using vinyl vertical blinds to make the grid

We cut the blinds into 1/2-inch strips. I think the blinds are 7 or 8 feet long, and there were 13 blinds in the box. So we have enough leftover vinyl blinds to make grids for many more Square Foot Gardens.

Back to PLANTING a vegetable garden


After planting the vegetable garden, we watered it well and covered it with a chicken wire cage to keep out the birds and rabbits. Yes, the cage looks kinda SHOOK, but it didn’t need to be pretty. (Stop laughing!) The next cage will be better looking, okay?

Did you notice the green label on the front of the Square Foot Garden? I named the garden “Mom’s Produce Dept.” and used my trusty label gun to create a label for the “front” of the garden. (Who says planting a vegetable garden has to be dull?) After applying the label, I covered it with packing tape to protect it from the elements. That label is now my reference point for planning this Square Foot Garden from now on.

I also created labels for the rows and columns. (Row are labeled A-D, and columns are numbered 1-4.) When I rotate crops, I will always know which square held what crop the previous season. As long as I keep good records in my gardening notebook, I’ll be able to have healthy crops by rotating my planting as needed.

Planting a vegetable garden is not for wimps

I always figured that planting a home vegetable garden would be work, and I was right! But it was enjoyable to work, something that I could look back on and feel good about a job well done. My oldest son complained a bit, but I could tell that he was proud of the work that he had put into the project.

The twins put in their fair share of work too, but they didn’t work as hard as their older brother. I’m so proud of all of my kids! And it does my heart good to see my oldest son work like a MAN instead of a boy.