Survival Gardening–My Square Foot Gardening Bed


square-foot-gardening-bed ready for planting


Above is a photo of my new 4 ft. by 6 ft. square foot gardening bed. It was put in a week ago. It’s inspired by Mel Bartholomew’s All New Square Foot Gardening.

My good friend Gerald was instrumental in bringing about this bed. He decided we both should have one. We nailed the boards together, and then we made a soil mix as close as possible to Mel Bartholomew’s Mel’s Mix.

The soil mix contains a bale of peat moss, a bag of coarse vermiculite and nine bags of a product called Eko soil as the organic compost.

Since I’ve got a terrible problem with invasive tree roots in my yard, we decided to lay a couple of layers of overlapping plastic down before putting in the soil. My row cover had a few small holes in it, so it didn’t seem adequate to keep out the invaders.

The above picture shows the excess plastic before I trimmed it off. Now it doesn’t stick out above the edge of the boards.

I’ve planted sweet corn and beans in the bed. Golden Bantam sweet corn is planted along the far edge of the bed. That left 18 square feet, which is plenty when you plant intensively, as is called for in square foot gardening.

Nine square feet on the lower right part of the bed is planted with Hurricane bush beans, while the nine square feet on the left side is planted with King of the Early beans, meant for baking.

As of today, not much is coming up yet because our nights have been cool. I figure I’ve still got time to replant if need be. I’ll know for sure before long. Meanwhile, I have high hopes of good things from this square foot survival gardening effort.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could call a company near you and order all the supplies you need for making the square foot gardening bed? The soil mix ingredients would all be available for you, or you could buy premade mix. Better still, wouldn’t it be great if someone could come out to your place and put in the bed and soil for you? Then all you’d have to do is plant the seeds of your choice.

That may be daydreaming, but it sounds like a business opportunity—maybe even a franchise opportunity—just waiting to be developed.

When it comes to gardening, think survival.

Update: Later in the fall I had to dig out all of the soil and get rid of the plastic underneath. It wasn’t draining moisture adequately. I replaced it with weed barrier, as Mel Bartholomew recommends. Yes, it was a lot of work, but worth it.


Author: John Wesley Smith

John Wesley Smith writes and podcasts from his home in Central Missouri. His goal is to help preppers as he continues along his own preparedness journey.

9 thoughts on “Survival Gardening–My Square Foot Gardening Bed”

  1. I was on Yahoo and found your blog. Read a few of your other posts. Good work. I am looking forward to reading more from you in the future.

    Tom Stanley

    1. Thanks. There’s plenty to see in the archives as well if you don’t want to wait for future posts. The archives are on the sidebar.

    1. Thanks for the info. It looks like an excellent resource. I’ll put a link to it on my Links of Interest page. Still, wouldn’t it be neat if there were ready made square foot gardening package deals that could be bought locally without having to do a lot of legwork? I know, it’s a daydream.

  2. Square Foot Gardening is the most productive, efficient, and easy way to garden. Not only does it use just 20% of the space a traditional row garden, it saves water, and time spent digging and weeding. For more information on Square Foot Gardening please visit our web site Happy Gardening Everyone! PS check out the new forums on the website, SFG certified teachers and master gardeners, as well as many gardening enthusiasts, are online quite often to answer posts and questions on all topics.

    1. Thank you for that info, Amanda. By the way, one of our local nurseries says people are lining up for Mel’s Mix soil.

  3. I want a gardening bed for my backyard now but to me The best and most important thing you need for your garden is a row cover they are very important so your garden can survive through harsh climates and destructive insects.

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