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My Square Foot Gardening Adventure

Updated on December 13, 2014

How we built a Successful Square Foot Raised Bed Container Garden

Square Foot Gardening is a method of gardening where you grow vegetables or flowers in a raised bed container garden.You plant in the square foot area instead of rows like a traditional garden. I always wanted to garden, but traditional gardening never worked for me. Two years ago, I decided to research how to build a square foot garden and grow my own vegetables. I was so excited to start. Since I am a homeschooling mom, I thought building a square foot garden and growing our own vegetables would be a perfect school project. This has been an interesting adventure. After a few false starts, we got our garden box built. My son learned how to drill, my kids got to measure and figure out cubic measurements, and hopefully, we will all get to harvest fresh, homegrown veggies this summer. Here is our progress in pictures! (All of the pictures on this lens are our actual garden and my wonderful blessings, er, my kids!)

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First you need to build your raised flower or vegetable garden box

A field trip to Lowe's anyone?

I got the plans to build my raised bed from a website called "The Pioneer Woman." She had pictures and directions and it looked so easy to build a raised flower/vegetable bed. The kids (at the time there were six of them aged 12 to 9 months) and I could do this! I wrote down all the "ingredients" for the raised box, and loaded the kids in the van for a field trip to Lowe's Hardware. Since we were a bit tool challenged, I figured that we could have Lowe's pre-cut our wood for us to make it easier. Our adventure began. See the link further below for the Pioneer Woman's excellent plans!

Time to build our raised bed - We got our supplies, now we need to head home and put the square foot garden box together

We got everything we needed. The biggest challenge was fitting it into the van!

All About Square Foot Gardening - Direct from Mel Bartholomew

Mel Bartholomew invented the Square Foot Gardening System.

Here you will find everything you need to know to get started!

All New Square Foot Gardening II: The Revolutionary Way to Grow More in Less Space
All New Square Foot Gardening II: The Revolutionary Way to Grow More in Less Space

Mel Bartholomew invented the square foot garden concept. He has updated his original book with all kinds of great ideas for your garden.


The Pioneer Woman's Awesome Plans!

These are the directions we followed to build our square foot garden. You will find pictures, measurements, a supply list, and step-by-step instructions to build your own raised flower/vegetable bed. Just click the link (but them come back and read the rest of my story). The Pioneer Woman.

Measure and Mark your boards - Get the kids involved!

My boys wanted to use the tools. This was a great project to teach them about construction! This whole project is also an excellent homeschooling project!

Drill the holes in the boards - This makes assembly easier!

CA$H from Square Foot Gardening
CA$H from Square Foot Gardening

Hmm, who wouldn't like to earn a little extra?


We built a 2-layer box - The first layer is done, the second one is coming together

Okay, did I mention we were tool challenged? After drilling holes and screwing the first layer together (with a manual screwdriver), we decided to just nail the top layer box together. It worked. See, you can do this too!

The finished square foot garden box - I'm growing children instead of plants!

We were so thrilled to get our garden box built. Unfortunately, the box was as far as we got that year. We got a late start, and by the time the box was built, we were into vacation and camping season, and never did get any dirt delivered or veggies planted. At that point, I may not have been growing plants, but I was growing children! But the story didn't end there....

Are you with me so far? - Does it seem worth the effort?

Okay, it was a bit of work to build our garden box with six children 12 and under (one of them a nursing baby). But we had a great time doing it. So maybe we didn't get to the harvest that year, but we made memories and there's always next year!

Does it seem like a lot of work to build the box?

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Two years later, the garden adventure continues - Here's what our garden looked like after waiting 2 years

Why did it take 2 years to get dirt and get going on our square foot garden? Well, I think I told you I was growing children instead of vegetables. I was in no shape to garden last year, I was just too pregnant. (Baby #7 was born last July.) So here we go again. Our garden didn't look too good after being ignored for 2 years, but hey, the box was already built. All I need to do this year is add dirt and veggies! Here's what our garden looked like when I started. I removed the top layer of the box so that I could dig out the weeds and grass.

Digging out

I want to garden so I can eat healthier. And gardening is great exercise! Here I am working hard to dig out 2 years of weeds...

Ready for the Dirt - Gardening is great exercise!

I dug out the sod and weeds and grass in about 2 hours. Then we reassembled the box and staked the corners to hold it together. Now all we need is some dirt and some vegetables! Looking good...

I lined my box with Weedblock

Before I filled the boxes, I lined the bottom and up the sides with weed block fabric.

Fill 'Er Up - A whole lot of wheelbarrow trips!

My precious daughter (Annamadagan on squidoo) helped my fill the boxes. I ordered a load of mushroom dirt to fill my box.

Measure each 12 inches to make your grid - This is what makes your garden a "Square Foot" garden

Hammer in nails to tie twine to mark the grid - Or you could use another method, but I thought twine would be easiest!

Get the little ones involved! - Okay, she didn't really hammer in any nails, but she sure looked cute trying!

This is my sweet 2 year old--she was the baby in the original picture!

Ready to plant - Now I need another trip to Lowe's for Plants!

Well, we accomplished a lot in a weekend, now we are ready to plant our veggies! Time for another field trip to Lowe's to get some plants and seeds!

It always helps to have some moral support! - Here's our little fellow cheering us on!

Water your garden - You don't need much water for this garden

Mel Bartholomew states you only need about a cupful of water on each square. This garden will be quick and easy to water.

Planted and growing! - Waiting for our harvest!

I had a successful trip to Lowe's to get some plants and seeds. To plant in the square foot garden, you have to determine how big the plant will be and then you know how many plants you can put into each 12 inch x 12 inch square. My garden is 8 feet by 4 feet, so I have 32 squares to plant. After getting the seeds and plants into the ground, I realized that I have a few squares left, so I will make one more trip for a few more veggies. I can't wait for the harvest!

It's Growing! - See how much has changed in just 2 weeks since planting!

A month of growth! We have baby veggies!

Save time, work, water, and money with a Square Foot Garden!

Our first harvest!

The kids were so excited to pick these veggies. I actually ended up moving the zucchini and squash out of the raised bed and into the ground beside it because they grew so big. I'll know better what to do next year!

All New Square Foot Gardening Cookbook
All New Square Foot Gardening Cookbook

Use your harvest to make great recipes! Fresh Veggies are so good for you!


I'm a Happy Gardener!

Update and an unexpected twist

Now I'm growing baby bunnies!

When I went out to pick some veggies today, I noticed that there is a nest of baby bunnies in my square foot garden. No wonder my beans weren't producing! Because my kids are animal lovers, now they can watch the baby bunnies grow along with the veggies! This will present a bit of a challenge in watering my garden, but I figure there is always next year! So we will continue to harvest what we can and share our garden with the bunnies.

So what do you think of my garden adventure?

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    • ghoststorylover profile image


      5 years ago

      I used to square foot garden with my mom, I had the best time to doing too. I loved watching the veggies grow!

    • LauraHofman profile image

      Laura Hofman 

      5 years ago from Naperville, IL

      What a terrific family adventure! I'd like to try this type of garden. Wonderful photos of your project!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      You have a beautiful family. This is a perfect idea for a family project.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Pretty cool garden adventure! You did an awesome job. I've not tried a vegetable and fruit garden, but am working on a sunflower garden!

    • rattie lm profile image

      rattie lm 

      5 years ago

      Just fabulous. I have learned a lot.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I love my square foot organic garden, and the concept really works well, I'm rotating crops etc and enjoying fresh veges - also planted fruit trees that are already bearing a crop - yum.

      Make sure you let us know what happens with the baby bunnies! Can't believe they are living in the vege bed... mum didn't run away or move the babies yet????

    • CCGAL profile image


      5 years ago

      My husband and I love this concept - prior to learning about square foot gardening, we were introduced to a similar idea called French Intensive Method, which is also raised bed with no weeding, but each bed holds either a single crop or two crops that do well together. We've also done some gardening that starts with bales of straw, and that was an interesting year. No gardening for us at the moment, but if we ever have land again, we'll be out there in our boots getting dirty hands and lovin' every moment.

      This was a delightful read for several reasons. One, your children are precious, and seeing them work in the garden was a pleasure. Two, that you shared how you started and ended up having to wait 2 years to complete the project is inspirational and will help others realize that it's OK to take a break, and do what you can when you can. And three, the topic of square foot gardening, since you can produce so much food from such a small space, is very much needed by the world as things get tighter. People who can learn to garden in small spaces and produce some of their own food are better prepared to manage hard times. Kudos to you!

    • LPerry60 profile image


      6 years ago from East Coast United States

      Between the beautiful kids, adorable bunnies and harvesting adventures, I was really sad to come to the end of the story....I could have kept reading and reading and reading. A wonderful, captivating lens !

    • EMangl profile image


      6 years ago

      great green picture book :-)

    • vegetablegardenh profile image


      6 years ago

      I love this lens! And how great for your kids to be a part of building the garden, planting the veggies, and harvesting them. You've done a great job, and your "journey" is an inspiration to others.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I loved this lens. *Blessed* You've convinced me that it can be done. I don't need a lot of space to grow some delicious veggies. That zucchini was huge!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Beautiful lens, well done!

    • JoyfulPamela2 profile image


      6 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

      How's the garden coming this year? =D

    • spunkyduckling profile image


      6 years ago

      wow! you've put in some real work here. i love gardening but I haven't got around to it yet. Thanks for sharing :))

    • surfer1969 lm profile image

      surfer1969 lm 

      6 years ago

      I like to do the herbal gardening type of thing.Most of those can be grown In the house too.If you put some peppermint plants around your box you'll be able to repeal mice and rats and makes for a great tea too.

    • pheonix76 profile image


      6 years ago from WNY

      I hope you were able to grow whatever you wanted in these raised beds! This is such a great project, and a wonderful way to get the whole family outdoors for some fresh air. Thanks for sharing. :)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      This is how I learned to garden. It was just for us kids. We learned all about what to plant and how to care for them. It was fun and if I had the space I would start one in a heart beat.

    • VarietyWriter2 profile image


      6 years ago

      Awesome lens. Blessed by a Squid Angel :)

    • Monica Ranstrom profile image

      Monica Ranstrom 

      6 years ago

      Really enjoyed following your adventure! Love the pictures. We have been wanting to do this for a while and this may be the kick I need!

    • KarenHC profile image


      6 years ago from U.S.

      Lovely! My son who will soon be 28 has his own 4' x 4' square foot garden, since they have a very small area behind their townhouse for gardening. They have their first child, and I could see my son having his son help him when he gets a little older!

    • wyrm11268 profile image


      6 years ago

      Your garden looks great. Loved reading about you and your family building your garden. You have a lovely family.

    • Gayle Dowell profile image

      Gayle Dowell 

      6 years ago from Kansas

      Great job on the garden. My projects tend to last longer than I anticipate. I have a painting that I started 3 years ago waiting to be finished. :) Blessed.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Very cute lens! I hear ya girl! I homeschooled my son. We raised goats, milked them, made soap, raised all kinds of birds and chickens, gardened....anything to teach them how to take care of themselves and think for themselves and to keep 'em busy! lol

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Wonderful, wonderful pictures! I love raised bed gardening. Angel blessed!

    • knit1tat2 profile image


      6 years ago

      both garden and kids are prospering, thanks for a fun and great lens!

    • RusticWeddingGu1 profile image


      6 years ago

      Very cool lens! Love the pic of the final product :).

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      i mean do you recommend this?


    • Kristenrs profile image


      6 years ago

      What a great Mom! I bet your kids learned more about science and nature from this project than they did from their science textbook! I also love all of the pictures in your lens. Well done!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Love this lens, it really caught my eye and held my attention. Boy, the kids look like they're having a ball! Thumbs Up.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I love this lens! Thanks for creating it. I'm going to share it on my blog with other moms at This is a great resource for any mom who wants to grow their own veggies and teach their kids to be self-sufficient! Way to go :)

    • allenwebstarme profile image


      6 years ago

      Adorable to see your lovely cute kids participating on gardening work. This the cutest lens so far I've seen on Squidoo. Thank you so much for sharing your garden adventure with kids steps by steps with pictures. God bless you all!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      It's so interesting a thing,but is very significant.Very like.

    • jholland profile image


      6 years ago

      Great education for the kids. My 3 year old thinks gardening is the best thing ever.

    • Ecolicious LM profile image

      Penny Pincher G 

      6 years ago

      i love it and i think it is so great you do it with your kids. blessed

    • Ecolicious LM profile image

      Penny Pincher G 

      6 years ago

      i love it and i think it is so great you do it with your kids. blessed

    • Mickie Gee profile image

      Mickie Goad 

      6 years ago

      Your box lasted longer than mine did. You probably had better wood. You are also lucky to have such a sunny spot! Did you think about using the water from the air conditioner condensor?

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image

      Itaya Lightbourne 

      6 years ago from Topeka, KS

      Awesome article! I featured this article on my Raised Beds Gardening article. Love watching the project unfold with your little ones. :)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      What a fantastic veggie patch...great lens and great pics.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      very nice gardening..and i like the idea..

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 

      6 years ago

      Back to pin this to my How does Your Garden Grow board. The newest thing I am going to try is planting on straw bales.

    • ViJuvenate profile image


      6 years ago

      I love it! A blog that might interest you is, you remind me of her.

    • RachelDillin profile image


      6 years ago

      What fun! It looks like you and your children learned a lot and got to enjoy the fruits of your labor!

    • fifta profile image


      6 years ago

      that's so awesome! I remember growing cassava during my childhood.. I believe your children enjoy gardening as much as you.

    • ottoblotto profile image


      6 years ago

      I think it is so sweet that you are "producing" bunnies along with your produce!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      What energy! What wonderful life lessons you are passing on to your children!

      I really enjoyed this lens. Thank-you for sharing this part of your life.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I picked up a book about square foot gardening, but opted to do container gardening this year instead because we might be moving. But I hope to try square foot gardening next year.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      very fun and cute lens. Loved the baby bunnies at the end!

    • EdTecher profile image

      Heidi Reina 

      6 years ago from USA

      I did square foot gardening 20 years ago. Lots of fun and an easy way to grow a small garden. Kids love it!

    • IMKZRNU2 profile image


      6 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      I love this lens! Thanks for sharing this adventure with us!

    • peggygallyot profile image


      6 years ago

      I always love gardening stories and yours really helps

    • Einar A profile image

      Einar A 

      6 years ago

      I love how you made your children so much a part of this project--what a great learning experience for them.

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      6 years ago from Canada

      What a wonderful surprise to find a family of bunnies growing in your garden. What a wonderful tale for a book that is. Loved my visit to your family box garden article. How heartwarming.

    • LisaDH profile image


      6 years ago

      I'd love to give this a try, especially if I could get my garden to grow bunnies. Now THAT's a pretty cool trick. :-)

    • squidoopets profile image

      Darcie French 

      6 years ago from Abbotsford, BC

      You're awesome! I'm always amazed and awed by your capabilities as a parent and your ability to go with the flow (loved the baby bunnies story!). You make the world a better place, one child at a time :)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I'm glad we did the garden.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Thank you for sharing your wonderful story. (brought to you by the captcha word "snugpea")

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      You must have had so much fun thinking about it afterwards.

    • suzy-t profile image


      6 years ago

      What a beautiful family and garden...and the bunnies are so cute. I love the personal touch. Blessed...

    • gold3 profile image


      6 years ago

      This is one of my favorite lenses so far. Your personal pictures make square foot gardening seem so fun. Well done!

    • GonnaFly profile image


      6 years ago from Australia

      Great story. Loved the bit about sharing with the bunnies!

    • iWriteaLot profile image


      6 years ago

      What a great lens! You and your kids look like you're having so much fun. Love all the pictures.

    • wilfredpadilla profile image


      6 years ago

      Wow! I like this. This is a great idea. Congratulations to you and to Anna.

    • BunnyFabulous profile image


      6 years ago from Central Florida

      Love how you are growing kids...and veggies and bunnies on the side. Thanks for the how-to's and the great story and photos. When we have space for an actual garden rather than just containers, I'll have to try this with my daughter.

    • puppyprints profile image


      6 years ago

      Totally love this. I want to give it a try. Bunnies are fun watch too

    • dahlia369 profile image


      6 years ago

      My favorite kind of lens - when people share their personal experiences, especially the fun ones, like yours. Best of luck with your garden and everything else!! :)

    • wheresthekarma profile image


      6 years ago

      This is a great lens! I just built my own little garden bed and really enjoyed looking at your success. Will pin this on my pinterest gardeing board!

    • MelonyVaughan profile image


      6 years ago

      What a beautiful lens and a wonderful story! You have a wonderful family and your children seem to have lots of fun with you - God bless!

    • Ribolov LM profile image

      Ribolov LM 

      6 years ago

      Nice lens, great pictures and a lot of good informations. Thnx for this lens!

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 

      6 years ago

      What an excellent, delightful lens. A helpful fun topic with adorable pictures. You and your kids are lucky. I was inspired that you kept going even though it was a few years from the first time you worked with the garden to when you actually planted. I think that is an important lesson for everyone: making something worthwhile takes time, and there can be delays, but if you keep the vision it can be done. That Mel Bartholomew is a character, I really enjoyed the video and learned a lot. The re-done book sounds worthwhile. Angel Blessed!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I love our square foot garden! I hope we can do it again this year. Blessed!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I love our square foot garden! I hope we can do it again this year. Blessed!

    • RashellR profile image


      6 years ago

      My mom has a few of these in her back yard. My nephew (2) loves to walk through and pick all the vegetables with her. And there are certain vegetables he'll only eat at "Nana's house". Guess he knows the benefits of true organically grown. Great lens!

    • intermarks profile image


      6 years ago

      That was really a great experience, and it worth the effort with the collection of the fresh veggies in return.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I love the fact Bunnies moved in at the end. How wonderful for you and your family!

    • Julia Morais profile image

      Julia Morais 

      6 years ago

      Wonderful lens. Love the part about the bunnies.

    • KamalaEmbroidery profile image


      6 years ago

      Interesting. I live in a small apartment but I have some space I want to grow vegetables in. This looks like the solution.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I really enjoyed your lens. I started doing a bit of container gardening last summer to learn to become more self-reliant. After reading your lens I may expand into square foot raised bed gardening. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • athomemomblog profile image

      Genesis Davies 

      6 years ago from Guatemala

      Love it! I did a square foot garden a couple of years ago, and it was growing beautifully . . . but then Tropical Storm Agatha hit and drowned everything. And then I was pregnant. I'm going to try again this year. Though I think you did an awesome job of growing those kids. ;)

    • knitter82 profile image


      6 years ago

      Awesome lens with great information! I live in a city apartment and so badly want a garden so we can have better quality veggies so have been searching for info on container gardening and the like. Beautiful kids!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Its nice to teach children on how to make a garden at your backyard.. Its nice to know that you tech them how to manage the space wisely. Be organic and live healthy.. great hub... I LIKED IT!.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      This is a great gardening adventure. I have Mel Bartholomew's book...just haven't had a place yet to get to garden. Great job...and wonderful family photos.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Great educational tip for those with just a little space to do. Great way to get entire family to participate. *blessed by a squid angel*

    • glenbrook profile image


      6 years ago

      My mom got the book for my wife last Christmas and we can't wait to try it this summer.

    • lbrummer profile image

      Loraine Brummer 

      6 years ago from Hartington, Nebraska

      Great adventure for not only the idea of a garden, but also for the memories the children are making.

    • tjmaj1959 profile image


      6 years ago

      nice lens and great info, thanks

    • HealthfulMD profile image

      Kirsti A. Dyer 

      6 years ago from Northern California

      We put in several square foot containers last year and plan to do more this year. Great project for the kids. Bet they eat the veggies you grow.

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 

      6 years ago from Land of Aloha

      Bravo! It was a lot of fun following along. Blessings! :)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I think you are one of the very best lensmasters with your use of family photos to tell a story. Fantastic job!

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 

      6 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Great lens - square foot gardening is gaining in popularity with good reason!

    • safereview profile image


      6 years ago from Kansas City

      Great lens and I love that the whole family was able to be involved... it doesn't get any better! Really enjoyed this lens, thank you!

    • gamecheathub profile image


      6 years ago

      There's major space limitations in Los Angeles, so square foot gardening is all the rage. This was a great lens with gobs of info.

    • BlueStarling profile image


      7 years ago

      I do want to start a garden, and the square foot garden looks like a good way to start. I do always put tomatoes in pots, but this year the rabbits or squirrels made away with them, before they even turned red, so, like you, I've got to figure out how to keep the wildlife out. Love your photos -- and I like the idea of putting a lot in a small space. Enjoyable lens!

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 

      7 years ago from New York

      For the next year garden, save yourself some money and use thick layers of newspaper instead of buying that weed block. The newspaper blocks the weeds and draws the earthworms. The earthworms love it and will break it down into rich organic soil. I do hope you have started a compost pile. With the amount of kitchen waste and paper waste your huge family must produce, a compost pile is practically a necessity. It eliminates most of your families waste while enriching your garden soil without the use of chemicals. It is a win-win all the way around! If you put up some chicken wire around next years garden, you will not have the problem of rabbits eating your harvest. Bunnies are cute, and you don't mind sharing a wee bit with the critters, but you don't want to feed the bunny family everything you have work so hard to produce to feed your own family! Good luck to you and happy gardening!

    • Anthony Altorenna profile image

      Anthony Altorenna 

      7 years ago from Connecticut

      I really enjoyed following your journey to build the raised bed and planting your garden. Congratulations on a successful harvest!

    • blessedmomto7 profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago

      @TonyPayne: Thanks for the visit and the blessing!

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 

      7 years ago from Southampton, UK

      It's a great project, and everyone looks like they had fun too. Remember to rotate your crops each year, or find some way to stop disease or bugs. You might find some things didn't grow as well as others too. It's a good learning project to find what grows best in your garden. Sounds like you are having great fun with this. I came, I enjoyed my visit, I left a little Squidoo Fertilizer behind in the way of a blessing.

    • SoyCandleLover profile image

      BW Duerr 

      7 years ago from Henrietta, New York

      Beautiful pictures of your growing kids. Oh... the veggies, too. Can't wait to see your results with Square Foot gardening. Featuring on Green Gardener Tips. Tweeted, too. Thanks!

    • marckq profile image


      7 years ago

      Looks like fun, read this lens with my kids and they were green with envy. We'll try making our own square foot garden, thanks a whole lot for sharing

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Very cool... can't wait to see what you get out of it!!!

    • KimGiancaterino profile image


      7 years ago

      What a fun learning experience, and your family will reap rewards through the year. Everything tastes better home grown!


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