The Redneck City Slicker Square Foot Gardener

Friday June 3, 2011

I would say my  gardening prowess is best defined by my ability to spend money at Home Depot.  I have never considered myself to have a green thumb, and have viewed lawn and garden care as my husband’s domain.

Last year, when I decided to get more frugal, I got  interested in  growing our own vegetables.   Armed with all the knowledge the internets could provide, I jumped in by planting a square foot garden on the side of our house.

This year, I wanted to expand our garden but still was stuck with the problem of too much shade.   One day, as I glanced outside our side entrance I realized we had a bed that got pretty good sun.   As I stared at it mid-day, I was convinced it was the perfect location for another square foot garden.

With the passion of a person who likes to bite off more than she can chew, I began to rip out the plants in this bed and prep the space for my new vegetable garden.  I decided the bed needed to be raised because there is a half wall on the back edge of the bed and I wanted to increase opportunity for maximum sun exposure.

I built another frame, spent more money at Home Depot, and after a few weekends, voila!  Another square foot garden bed for veggies!


I filled the bed with lettuce seeds on the left (where it still looks bare), bell pepper plants in the middle, and basil, cilantro, and peppermint on the right.

I love starting with a plant because it is so much easier than seeds.   More on that later…

Of course, after building this bed and paying more attention to the sun it received, I realized it was still less than the optimal 6 — it really gets closer to 4 hours.

I didn’t plant any tomato plants in it because I didn’t think they would do well with the lesser sun.  But then, one day, as I was staring at the back of our house, I realized right off of our back steps gets pretty decent sun.   We don’t really have any bed set up there and the ground isn’t level, but I saw how well my planter was doing and I got to thinking…


I figured I could do some kind of smaller container garden and get a couple of tomato plants in it, but what to use?  I didn’t want to spend any more money at the Home Depot, so I looked around the yard for something I could re-purpose and looky what I found!


We have an old rusted out wheelbarrow that had fallen apart and was just languishing.  It has holes from where it was screwed into its base, so I thought… perfect!

So… I put some gravel in the bottom for drainage, then top soil and fertilizer and voila!


A redneck container garden!

You may be wondering.. what about the SFG bed from last year?  I have to say, it is in pretty sad disarray.

At one end, hubs transplanted some  brussel sprouts into.  They seem to have taken hold, but are an unruly mess and I have no idea if they will produce.


In the middle, I planted some jalapeno plants.   They’re still small, but I have hope they will do well.


At the far right (and not pictured), I planted more lettuce seeds.  I was hoping to experiment and see which bed did better at growing lettuce.

I turns out I’ll never know, because it seems squirrels or somebody must have planted something in my bed because I kept finding it dug up.   The only greenery to pop up in that end have been weeds.

I also bought some zucchini and cucumber plants for the hubs.  I expected him to plant them in his garden, but it never got tilled, so the plants just sat around.  I didn’t want to put them in my beds because I know they spread.   So finally, just to get them in the ground somewhere, I planted them in some soil against our wall.  The dirt looks pretty dark and I was really just putting them in as a holding place.


So… after a few weeks, how’s the garden doing, you ask?

Bed #1 — in the side yard by our backdoor seems to be doing mostly great!


The peppers and herbs are going gangbusters.   I also put in a dill plant and a cherry tomato plant a neighbor gave me.

Here’s some close-ups:







Bell Pepper close-up


Cherry tomato plant


Then there is the lettuce.   Frankly, I have no idea what in here is lettuce and what is weed.  I keep picking out the obvious maple trees but am letting the rest develops.


Lettuce, maybe?


A few days later, look at the blooms on my zukes!


Also, my tomatoes in my redneck container plant are also thriving.  I swear they seem to reach a new ring on their cages every other day.


Just how redneck is it to use a wheelbarrow as a container garden?   Probably not terribly, but when you consider what I had to do to keep my cages from falling over (I don’t have enough depth for the cages to dig in)…  lets just say I don’t expect this plot to win any garden club awards.


I had to tie them to what is supposed to be a lovely hanging planter.

But look at what’s growing!  I already have the beginnings of one cherry tomato!


I love watering the beds in the morning and listening — I swear I can hear stuff growing.

I will try and remember to take some more pictures as our bounty hopefully starts to fill in.

How is your garden growing?


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One Response to The Redneck City Slicker Square Foot Gardener

  1. 1
    Grandpa says:

    Something from me must be rubbing off, cause I am sure enough a ruff and ready redneck.

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