Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Square Foot Greenhouses

Everyone's heard of square foot gardening by now, right?  I've read about it before, but I brushed it off, since space was not my issue.  At least, not until last year, when I tried to cram everything into the greenhouse and it turned into a jungle.  I had pumpkins going crazy, big plants towering over smaller plants, and no room to walk.

I've been thinking about how to get the best use out of my greenhouse space while avoiding last year's mistakes.  And it brought me back to square foot gardening.  I've made some plans, but I'm not quite sure how it will work out.

I'm planning on tomatoes and cucumbers on the back end (north) of both greenhouses, with some trellis (I'm thinking orange plastic snow fence) behind.  This has me a little leery, since the wind beat the snot out of that end last year, and the cucumber in the corner suffered frost damage so close to the wall.  I'm planning two more rows of cukes down the center of greenhouse #1, just to be safe.

I used the black boxes to represent 1X6s, which I'll put in for walkways.  The vegetables are colour coded for spacing.  Most, I found references to on other sites, a few, I'm guessing.  A large square (red) would be 1 plant, while a small square (blue) would be 16.

The three empty squares on the south end are in the doorway.

I'm not sure whether alternating same type of veggies between squares is required, or recommended, or if people just do it to look pretty.  I wasn't going to at first, and then I thought, if one square doesn't work out, another one might.  Height differences between plants might give me more room to work around them, or it might just bury the shorter veggies.

I also have concerns about the broccoli in greenhouse #1, since some of it is in the same spot as last year.

I wouldn't normally worry about carrots or lettuce being out in the elements, but I seem to have room by this plan, and I did spend a lot more time fiddling in the greenhouse last year while the garden weeds got totally out of control, so why not?

I'm only allowing for 12 greenhouse tomatoes.  That means the rest of them have to go outside!  Which is probably for the best, because otherwise I'd have a jungle of tomatoes and no room for anything else.  But, but, but...  I'm already replanning it all in my head, and I haven't even got this posted yet, lol.

Any thoughts?


  1. I would plant the things that you know require more heat like peppers or need a longer growing time or are more delicate in the greenhouses and plant the rest in your outdoor beds. You know beets thrive in your outdoor bed so why waste precious space in the greenhouse?Just my opinion you can tell me to take a flying fall if ya want :) hehe and to stir the pot and embarrass you...Happy Birthday tomorrow dear Sis :) darn you look good for 29!!!love ya lots :)

    1. Why thank you, lol. Having a little play day today.

      Why? Why? Because of that year we had frost around the end of June and I had to start everything over again. Or that year that we had frost on Aug 27th, and killed everything... Because if I plan for it, we'll have beautiful weather, and if I don't, we won't, lol.

      I did rearrange things after I posted that, to make room for more tomatoes. I put more stuff that I can plant and ignore (like beets and carrots) beside the tomatoes, so if they do get buried I don't have to try and find them until fall. I'll post an update when I'm done playing with it.

    2. first off - this whole post made my head spin!!! because i am just not there yet and realize just how much thought and work comes in march....arghghgh! thanks buddy!

      but i agree with cranberry about the beets and green onions, bunching onions, garlic, etc.

      you are 29?!?!?!? 29?!?!?!?! i wouldn't have thought that you were older than 24! 29?!?!?!? for real?!?!?!?

      happy birthday hon. i love coming here to visit.

      your friend,

    3. I tend to be a little overzealous about getting started, lol. I think it's the hermit thing, getting anxious for spring because I've been cooped up all winter.

      Ok, so would either of you plant tomatoes/peppers closer together, or just leave that space empty? I have difficulty with empty space, lol. But picturing last year's tomatoes in my head, they must have been two feet wide at least. I had planted celery between them, which I couldn't see or get to through the summer, but found in the fall, alive and well.

      I'm only 29. + 10. (but don't add it out loud).

      Thank you for the birthday wishes. Glad to see you getting out and about. Migraine gone at last?

    4. migraine finally gone buddy! and you don't have to worry about me adding - i actually have to stop typing and do "air math" in order to add - something i hate doing at the computer!

      i wouldn't put tomatoes and peppers together as the tomatoes are going to cast shadows on the peppers and the peppers won't get enough sun. i would go with garlic and maybe a potatoe plant in each of the tomatoes. and some borage. apparently borage keeps away tomatoe hornworms. back in the city, everyone had probs with the hornworms. but we didn't...because we had naturally occurring borage all over our yard!

      your friend,

      check this out for what to plant...not a full list but still helpful.Or just google companion planting :)
      I walked over to my bookcase to grab out my old Vesey's book on it and realized just how darn lazy I truly am.

    6. Glad to hear it, kymber!

      The companion planting chart says peppers are helped by tomatoes. Mine were pretty well buried under foliage last year, so hopefully the new plan (coming soon) will give them enough space.

      I did a google image search for borage. The kids and I are pretty sure we've seen it growing wild around here. Then I looked up tomato hornworm, and I'm pretty sure I've never seen one of those. I think we're pretty lucky in the bug department here. Other than the cabbage worms, the only pests in the garden seem to be carnivorous. Good for the plants, not so much for me, lol.

      Cranberry, thanks for the link, lol. I don't blame you. Why type something if you can find it online? Very helpful!

  2. It seems that someone, somewhere planted some plants of the same kind in the greenhouse and some out. But, what do I know?

    If you cut the limbs from the tomato plants that are in the way or don't have blossoms, you might have less of a jungle. I did that to some tomatoes but had few at all, so what do I know?...again.

    It all looks good to me. Can all those plants thrive with each other? ooooh, basil goes good with tomatoes. And, basil is short.

    Wish I had a greenhouse. I remember the jungle you had and envied it!

    Thanks for the comments on my blog appearance. It was helpful.

    1. Yup, I'd still be planting beans, carrots, beets, etc, out in the garden as well. The ones in the greenhouses would be my back ups in the event of bad weather. I think they'll also work as space makers between the bigger plants, so I don't overcrowd everything.

      Yeah, Cranberry taught me how to pinch the suckers out of the tomatoes. I don't start that until about mid July, to encourage them to ripen instead of growing new shoots. Maybe I can talk myself into being more vigilant about it this year if they start to take over the greenhouse.

      I haven't figured out which herbs will self seed yet, so I'm trying to establish an herb garden in the front yard.

      I had a list once of all the stuff that grew well with other stuff, and things to keep away from. Can't find it now. I remember dill, garlic and potatoes cause issues with certain other plants, so I'm keeping them out of the greenhouse. I should look it up again.

      lol, thanks. (It's the poop!) I'm going for more of a controlled jungle this year.

      It looks like you got it all sorted out today! Good to see!

  3. Growing in greenhouses would be a dream!!! The deer here are really destructive. Actually, growing ANYTHING is a dream. lol

    I keep hearing the mantra, "Rotate, rotate, rotate!" going through my head. Does broccolli leach something important out of the soil, like say nitrogen? I'd be tempted to change up those spots with something else. Last year we put garlic in the same place (we only have 1 tiny 3x8 bed so far) and it didn't make as good a bulbs as a previous year...only 3 cloves per bulb most of them.

    That's my teensie bit of experience and 2 bits worth of advice :-) I can't wait to see how it turns out!

    1. The goats here are really destructive, lol. I gave up on trying to keep them in the pasture and opted to fence in the garden last year instead.

      Broccoli takes a lot of selenium, if memory serves me correctly, which our soil is already deficient in. It's gotten better since I've been supplementing the critters, and putting lots of manure on the garden, but yeah, I really should move it. I need something along the side walls that I can pretty much ignore until fall, and the broccoli worked well in that respect.

      Thanks for the advice!

  4. i put my comment up above...i have a hard time figuring out where people put their comments. just fyi.