Today: Aug 17 , 2019

Square Foot Gardening made Easy

02 February 2017  
Photo by Thomask0, from Wikipedia; Used under Creative Commons Licensing

Huge harvest in small space. Things You Need to Know About Square Foot Gardening. How to maximize your raised beds.

Watters Garden Center Classes

Feb 4 – Advanced Landscape Pruning for Spring Success

Not all plants in our yards need pruning, but timing is critical for those that do. The pruning techniques exhibited are sure to help plants bloom better and reduce disease this spring. Wear warm clothing and bring garden shoes, as this is a working demonstration on the landscapes here at Watters. Demonstrations include a walk through Watters’ vineyard and orchards.

Feb 11– Wildflowers: Ready – Set – Grow

Late winter is the ideal time to start wildflower seeds, but you can’t just chuck them onto the landscape and expect success. We share all the local tips that ensure a spectacular showing of these bloomers. Come early, this class can be standing room only.

Feb 18 – Gardening for Newcomers

Learn all the mountain secrets to local garden success. This is an information packed class guaranteed to increase garden blooms and fruit this year. The first 10 students to bring $10 and a soil sample receives a pH soil test done on site with advice on how to improve the garden. 

Feb 25 – Fragrant Mountain Roses

Beautiful roses are admired, but these roses will tickle the nose. Not only will you know which roses are most fragrant, but you’ll have all the insider tips the brings your rose to life with these season long bloomers. 

March 4 – Spring Raptor Experience

We all love to watch birds in our gardens. This class will focus on attracting them with natural vegetation. Special guest instructors will be Anne and Paul Schnell, founders of AZ Raptor Experience. We will be flying large owls, eagles, and falcons through the greenhouses here at Watters, so bring the grandkids and camera, it will offer excellent photo opportunities. Donations – free to the public, but we will be asking for a free will donation to support more of AZ Raptor Experience educational programs.

We’ve covered how to build raised with Stone Walls, also creating the best raised beds, sizes and soils. Once your beds are built, you can plant however you’d like. You can go upward with a potato tower, plant in rows, or go with more intensive garden methods. Here we share a techique with raised beds noted as square foot gardening.

Square foot gardening helps to take the guess work out of planning. If you’ve got a raised bed but aren’t quite sure what to do, square foot gardening takes the stress out of planning this years gardens. Gardening by the square foot maximizes space, minimizes exposed soil, and utilize companion planting techniques.

Square Foot Gardening – is part of a raised bed with a grid added to the top marking off 12-inch square sections. Each square has different plants for simple planning.

Gardeners from the past planted in tidy rows, with space between to walk up and down to weed and harvest. This can be helpful with some plants, like potatoes that need to be mounded throughout the season. But it also leaves a lot of room for exposed ground, which can lead to moisture loss, weeds and become compact.

Advantages - Raised beds bring lots of benefits. The soil is usually mixed with compost and potting soil that is higher quality than the typical back yard garden. This looser planting soil is much easier to work, better for new root formation and higher off the ground for easier access. Yields tend to be higher with the quality soil and intensive planting, and water is typically conserved since the ground isn’t left bare.

Measuring your raised bed into managable sections also brings benefits. By blocking sections, you can easily see how much space you have to work with. This makes grouping companion plants together a cinch in the garden.

Breaking the garden bed into square foot sections also encourages you to try new plants and varieties. Experimentation is always good in the garden! This is a good technique for vegetables gardens, but really plays to your advantage with flowers bed designs.

How to Plan a Square Foot Garden – Start by building your raised bed and filling it with a quality potting soil. It’s important to use raised beds for square foot gardening so your garden soil is loose and well-fed. Decide how much you want to try in the square foot beds.

Make sure you pay attention to water and sun needs when grouping plants together. Companion plants and antagonists are always noteworthy as a garden learns what's happy in the garden. As on seasonal plant fades another takes it's place for a continuous harvest with bare soil showing for weeds to take advantage of. Even after this weeks cold snap I was able to pick parsley, kale and swiss chard fresh from my square foot gardens. It only gets betters with the arrival of the spring growing season.

For a free copy of Watters Vegetable planting guide visit us at the Garden Center. This simple two page guide show how many plants to us per family and when exactly to plant them in the garden. Peruse the new seed arrivals and dream of spring that is soon upon us.

Until next week, I'll see you at the Garden Center.


Editor’s Note: Some of the images shown here may be published under the Creative Commons licensing. Images were possibly altered to accommodate the article.

Ken Lain, the Mountain Gardener

Ken Lain is attracted to sunshine, beauty, happiness, success and health through gardening, and wishes to point the way to others. Throughout the week Ken can be found at Watters Garden Center located at 1815 W. Iron Springs Rd, Prescott, or contacted through his web site at