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May 2016: Prepping Our Square Foot Garden

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This post is sponsored by EcoScraps. Thank you for your continued support in the brands that we believe in!

Last year, our garden was a fail. There were a few variables leading to its demise. I bought this way cool garden kit from Walmart that fit our front garden area perfectly. Without much thought, I threw some soil and mushroom compost together and I didn’t fill the raised bed all the way to the brim. This careless mistake left little room for the plants to root. I tried a few new varieties of cucumbers and zucchini, which I probably shouldn’t have done as well.

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The zucchini had issues pollinating, although I saw a few bees buzzing around. I tried to pollinate them manually. My cucumbers were slow to produce and usually they grow like weeds. In my pregnant heft, I accidentally trampled my thriving tomatillo, forgot all about the carrots and left them to decompose. We did get some pretty peppers in August. Being pregnant led to overall garden neglect and I eventually stopped caring. This year is an opportunity to try again and I’m starting with organic and nutrient rich soil.

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The garden soil that we’re using this year is by EcoScraps. It’s new to Walmart stores, so if you see it, try it. EcoScraps recycles wasted food from stores and restaurants to offer sustainable lawn and garden products. Their grow gardens, not landfills mission is one I can definitely get behind. I recently watched a video that showed the amount of perfectly good food that restaurants throw out (that’s another issue), so I love that EcoScraps has facilitated a way to put excess waste to good use.

In the United States, we waste 40% of the food produced. That’s enough to fill the Rose Bowl every day. The food sits in landfills producing methane, which is 20X more harmful than CO2. Between 2011 and 2015, EcoScraps recycled 75 million lbs of food waste and will match that number in 2016 with projected recycling of another 75 million lbs of food waste–this time in just 12 months.

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We made sure to fill our raised bed with lots of soil. Right out of the bag, the soil is rich, moist, with very little clumps. I really feel like our plants will thrive this year.

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I want to try growing root vegetables since I’ve never had issues with those and since I’m sowing directly, I’ll be able to harvest through fall. I’m also considering collards for the same reason. This garden is an extra project on my plate, one that I look forward to ever year, but I really don’t want to have to fight with it or come home to sad veggies after spending a few days away, you know? I am all about that hands-free, no-frills life these days. I just want to be able to enjoy the garden with the kids.

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Our raised bed is 3.5 x 3.5 feet so I decided to section it off in three rows and columns assuming that each plant may spread a little wide. I wanted to be mindful of spacing for optimum sunlight and air flow. One quad will be designated for two varieties of herbs since they tend to do well when planted closely. I was able to achieve this spacing with some small nails and twine. I just eyeballed it. Perfection is overrated!

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I’m excited to see how things progress with our garden this year and I feel good about growing our own veggies in a way that is more friendly to the environment. I’m waiting on a few seed packets and then we will get the seeds down. Once they sprout, I’ll be sure to update!

Are you doing any gardening this year? I’d love to hear about your garden in the comments!

To support my blogging efforts and site expenses, I do share relevant affiliate links in my posts. Thank you for your support.

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54 Comments

  • Reply Birdiebee

    I am doing tomato plants in planters away from all of the deer so they do not at them.

    View Comment June 7, 2016 at 9:05 PM
  • Reply Sharon Braswell

    Ecoscraps is a new product I’m looking forward to trying in my garden, especially since it’s helping with our food waste problems! That soil looks rich enough to grow anything!Love the way you quartered it off. Looks like you had some good help too! :) Thank you!

    View Comment June 7, 2016 at 9:02 PM
  • Reply Richard Hicks

    We will be setting out a few tomato plants this year. I like your squarefoot garden btw

    View Comment June 7, 2016 at 8:32 PM
  • Reply Carolyn Daley

    We will probably plant a few rose bushes in our backyard this summer.

    View Comment June 7, 2016 at 8:15 PM
  • Reply Jennifer Marie

    We planted some watermelon and cucumber seeds. I hope we get some of both, nothing as of yet!

    View Comment June 7, 2016 at 6:56 PM
  • Reply Rosie

    Nice garden, and it sure looks like fun for everyone. And the reward of the good eats some day soon!

    View Comment June 7, 2016 at 4:24 PM
  • Reply Bailey Dexter

    I always did the gardens both flowers & veggies, but now the grand-kids help me. I think they play more than plant but a great way to getting the planting fever! I am looking forward to the grand-kids picking the veggies we planted.

    View Comment June 7, 2016 at 10:31 AM
  • Reply Terry Cross

    I don’t have a green thumb but planted tomatoes for the first time. Hopefully they will produce because fresh tomatoes are the best.

    View Comment June 7, 2016 at 10:31 AM
  • Reply Eugenia Hall

    I used to love gardening, but then my disabilities got worse and my hubby got a nightshift job. Really hard to do it now, although I may have to see about a container garden on my deck because I miss fresh herbs and tomatoes.

    View Comment June 7, 2016 at 5:26 AM
  • Reply Katherine Riley

    We don’t have a garden this year, I am hoping in the next year or two we will be able to have one. I love playing in the dirt!

    View Comment June 7, 2016 at 2:20 AM
  • Reply Lesley F

    We also do a garden with tomatoes, peppers, pumpkins & squash

    View Comment June 6, 2016 at 5:19 PM
  • Reply Kristina Potter

    I just started my raised garden this year. Its very easy and fun to step outside to my garden of tomatoes and onions.. I wish I knew about EcoScraps it would have been much easier for me to put together. Thank you for sharing!!

    View Comment June 6, 2016 at 3:06 PM
  • Reply joe gersch

    What a way cool and convineint way to garden that does not use alot of space

    View Comment June 6, 2016 at 4:02 AM
  • Reply Tina W

    We already compost almost everything at our house, but I love the idea of being able to buy a product that has the same green mentality.
    And dang, my plant markers look like kindergarten work compared to yours!

    View Comment June 6, 2016 at 2:12 AM
  • Reply Leigh Anne Borders

    I love this idea of involving your child and making a garden. We do not have alot of space but I feel I could easily do this. Thanks for the inspiration.

    View Comment June 5, 2016 at 11:50 PM
  • Reply Faye Gates

    I just love to garden. We live in South Carolina, so we have at least 3 different crops in the summer.

    View Comment June 5, 2016 at 3:49 PM
  • Reply Sarah L

    This makes me wish I could have a garden. I live in a townhouse with no place for a garden. Your bed looks good and its wonderful to let your son see how plants grow.

    View Comment June 5, 2016 at 12:44 AM
  • Reply cassandra m

    Yes we planted a few things in our garden this year. Cilantro, tomatoes, peppers, basil and rosemary.

    View Comment June 4, 2016 at 11:48 PM
  • Reply Dina Lindquist

    I’m hoping to get raised beds eventually! I had a hard time gardening a few years ago. We had a lot of animals eat or crops. I think I’ll need a fence too!

    View Comment June 4, 2016 at 11:21 PM
  • Reply Susan Smith

    I started working on my garden last month. Hopefully it will grow and we will have a lot of fresh vegetables in a few months.

    View Comment June 4, 2016 at 4:22 PM
  • Reply Lisa Brown

    a raised bed garden is the best. your bell peppers look great :)

    View Comment June 4, 2016 at 6:55 AM
  • Reply Stephanie Larison

    He is sooo stinking cute! My daughter learned about gardening in school and is wanting to start one. I’m going to get some supplies this weekend to surprise her.

    View Comment June 4, 2016 at 4:29 AM
  • Reply Betsy Barnes

    I do not have a green thumb, however, we did have a garden when my son was about the same age as your son. We did it to let him learn, it did well, but a lot of work. :)

    View Comment June 3, 2016 at 6:25 PM
  • Reply Laurajj

    Oh that looks so nice! I love gardening with the kids! We container garden, but I would love to make one like yours! I love that when they get home from school, they want to go and pick beans, peas, and cherry tomatoes to eat right off the plants! So much fun for us all! The Ecoscraps looks like such a GREAT product! I love how it reuses what would otherwise end up in our landfills!

    View Comment June 3, 2016 at 1:12 PM
  • Reply Cheryl B

    This year we are going to be installing a rainwater system to help reduce our garden watering. I really hope this helps my garden to thrive this year.

    View Comment June 3, 2016 at 6:50 AM
  • Reply Cindy Brooks

    We put in raised beds last year. It’s the ONLY way to garden!

    View Comment June 3, 2016 at 3:25 AM
  • Reply Lisa Coomer Queen

    I love your little helper! This is so odd. My grandchildren are doing a garden and it looks a lot like this! They were telling me tonight how much they liked it. EcoScraps are awesome! Thanks for the great post!

    View Comment June 2, 2016 at 9:03 PM
  • Reply Joni Mason

    I live in an apartment, so my space is very limited. This year my grandson & I planted in a large container. He planted cantaloupe seeds we had been saving & 1 Better Boy tomato plant. I am happy to report that they are both doing great!

    View Comment June 2, 2016 at 8:01 PM
  • Reply Pamela Gurganus

    I really enjoyed reading this post! I have been thinking about planting a small garden and I think this is just the products I need. Thank you for sharing!

    View Comment June 2, 2016 at 6:43 PM
  • Reply David

    We plant a garden every year. Sometimes it seems like the wild rabbits in our back yard eat more of our harvest than we do!!!

    View Comment June 2, 2016 at 2:22 PM
  • Reply Terri Irvin

    I have been a life long gardener who was taught by my mama and grandma. I always have some kind of veggie and herb garden going on even when I lived in apartments. This year we are having water restrictions in California so I planted a much smaller garden then I am used to having. I grow lots of dill weed because part of my family is Swedish and we use it in our cooking. I enjoy planting tomatoes..that is a must. Always have basil to make that pesto too. Enjoy yourself and it is good for your son to be involved.

    View Comment June 2, 2016 at 2:14 PM
  • Reply shelly peterson

    What a great garden and even better what a great helper you have! :)

    View Comment June 2, 2016 at 12:31 PM
  • Reply Barrie

    Looks like your son had a ton of fun helping. Even better when he eats what he grew…great way to introduce him to a variety of veggies/fruits!!

    View Comment June 2, 2016 at 11:49 AM
  • Reply Janet W.

    What a nice gardening area!! My grandsons like to dig in and get their hands dirty helping, too!

    View Comment June 2, 2016 at 11:20 AM
  • Reply Nancy

    Raised bed gardening gives you all the gardening fun with less fuss!

    View Comment June 2, 2016 at 10:47 AM
  • Reply HS kraftmaking

    Gardening with kids is one great way to teach them about the nature and environment. We start working on our own garden this season. Your little guy is the cutest!

    View Comment June 2, 2016 at 10:35 AM
  • Reply Kimberly Flickinger

    I am doing some gardening this year with my mother, and I know our garden could use some help. I love your pictures!

    View Comment June 2, 2016 at 10:10 AM
  • Reply Julie Wood

    How nice your garden planting area looks. This looks like really good soil. I need to try it. We are growing tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, corn and strawberries.

    View Comment June 2, 2016 at 8:39 AM
  • Reply nickie

    My family and I are excited about gardening. We are planing on planting some veggies

    View Comment June 2, 2016 at 7:15 AM
  • Reply Natalie

    I am so excited to start gardening! I would love to plant more types of veggies this year!

    View Comment June 2, 2016 at 6:59 AM
  • Reply Cynthia C

    I live on a wooded lot and don’t get enough sun for vegetables. I like to plant a few shade loving flowers in a few spots.

    View Comment June 2, 2016 at 5:43 AM
  • Reply Crystal F

    We are not doing a garden. We live in a duplex and just don’t have the yard for a garden. I really wish we could though. Thank you!

    View Comment June 2, 2016 at 4:02 AM
  • Reply Maria C.

    Yes! We have few plant beds in our backyard. I love the fact that I can harvest fresh fruits & vegetable for my cooking.

    View Comment June 2, 2016 at 3:11 AM
  • Reply Tanay

    Your son is stinkin adorable! City life makes it impossible for me to garden but when I buy my home ONE DAY, I’d love to grow my own veggies!

    View Comment May 27, 2016 at 6:17 AM
  • Reply Walk One Day In Our Shoes

    My mother-in-law has a garden in her backyard and I help with it every year. Last year I tried to do a mini herb garden on the balcony of our apartment, but it did not come together in time. I will definitely be trying this method next year!

    View Comment May 25, 2016 at 5:25 AM
  • Reply VeePeeJay (Vashti)

    Your little helper is so adorable! I don’t have enough space for a garden..well unless you count the balcony, but yours makes me want to start one ASAP

    View Comment May 24, 2016 at 11:12 PM
  • Reply Katherine G

    This sounds so exciting! I can’t wait to read about the progression in your garden. I hope all goes well. Your helper is so adorable!

    View Comment May 24, 2016 at 11:06 PM
  • Reply Kim

    1. Your son is so cute!
    2. I read “I tried pollinating it myself.” It reminded me of my mom who has tried it, and then advised me to do it. I do not have a green thumb. Do you think it got done? Nope!

    View Comment May 24, 2016 at 7:51 PM
  • Reply Joanna

    OMG he’s so adorable. My parents had a little garden in their backyard planting tomatoes and peppers. I want to help out my brother to do some in our yard. If my nieces and nephews come over, it’s a fun activity for them to help out, get their hands dirty and hopefully learn something new. Going to look into the garden kit. Thanks for sharing.

    View Comment May 23, 2016 at 2:33 PM
  • Reply Valerie Robinson

    Oh wow looks great!!! I need to get my garden underway and this just motivated me tremendously!

    View Comment May 23, 2016 at 1:56 PM
  • Reply Tiffany

    What a fun project!! I love how your little one got a chance to take part and help bring it to reality. This would be a lovely spring day activity.

    View Comment May 23, 2016 at 11:26 AM
  • Reply Kiwi

    I love your fun photos with your little man helping out in your garden. I have always wanted to grow my own garden…I dont have my own home yet but when I do – yes this is something i would do in a heartbeat!

    View Comment May 22, 2016 at 11:39 PM
  • Reply Foodfashionandflow

    Your son is just too cute! I haven’t done any gardening yet, but your post certainly inspires me to try it. I think it’s so great for the environment to repurpose wasted food. So it’s a win win all the way around.

    View Comment May 22, 2016 at 2:16 PM
  • Reply traceykinohio

    First off, if that son of yours gets ANY cuter, it’ll be a crime! Lol. HOORAY for EcoScraps for the genius idea. We are a very wasteful people; everyone should get on board with that idea. I had a fantastic garden about 5 years ago, but it was in a very tree-rooted but sunny area. I rented a tiller & the garden thrived; cukes, cabbage, green peppers, cherry tomatoes. I’ve always had a garden since I was a kid-nothing more therapeutic than the feel and smell of dirt, growing & eating from the yard. The following year, the roots came back with A VENGANCE & I didn’t/couldn’t go thru the whole tiller, pitchfork thing again :-( To that end, the raised bed kit is an awesome idea. I grow herbs yearly in pots on my patio (kitchen garden). So very cool to step outside the door w/scissors & snip off what I need. The main-stays are: basil, thyme, parsley, rosemary & chives. Keep us posted on how ‘your garden grows’; this was a nice read :-)

    View Comment May 20, 2016 at 8:39 AM
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