INTRODUCTION TO THE TOOLKIT

Gardening Toolkit

The Gardening Toolkit is for anyone interested in growing their own fruits and vegetables. Learn how to create a Square Foot Garden, start meaningful gardening initiatives in your community, support local farmers, and more. PlantPure Communities thanks the Square Foot Gardening Foundation for their invaluable contributions to this Toolkit! 

From April 1, 2018 through August 31, 2018, PPC is partnering with the SFG Foundation to encourage gardeners to “get growing” through an exciting new initiative. Find out more!

Watch the recording of the “Grow Your Own Fruit and Veggies” Webinarwhich was broadcast live on March 13, 2018.

Overview of Conducting Gardening Initiatives

Is your community considering conducting a Gardening project? This Action Sheet has been crafted to provide an overview and roadmap to inform the decision-making process.

Creating a Community Garden

Community gardens can increase the accessibility of local fresh fruit and vegetables, make use of spare or run-down land, and create meaningful projects. Creating and running a community garden is also a great way for a Pod to get involved with other community members!

Organizing a Workshop on the SFG Method

The Square Foot Gardening (SFG) method offers a simple system that can be implemented in just about any home, even those with extremely limited access to green space. This Action Sheet focuses on how to organize a workshop on the SFG method for members of your community. Sharing this knowledge can teach others to grow their own local, fresh, nutritious, organic food, demonstrate to them the connection between health and food, and increase their self-sustainability.

Organizing a Workshop on the SFG Method for an Oasis

The Square Foot Gardening (SFG) method offers a simple system that can be implemented in just about any home, even those with extremely limited access to green space. This Action Sheet focuses on how to organize a workshop on the SFG method for an Oasis Pilot. While the initial 10 days of the Jumpstart serve as the foundation of the Oasis Program, integrating the Square Foot Gardening method into the larger 13-week Oasis Program will powerfully reinforce the connection between health and food, and increase the likelihood of achieving long-term success and lasting changes.

Square Foot Gardening Method

Gardening in your yard, school, and community can be an educational and rewarding experience. This guide introduces the Square Foot Gardening (SFG) method and the SFG Foundation, and it describes how the method is applicable to individuals, schools, community gardens, senior centers, and more.

Square Foot Gardening Method for Oasis Program Participants

This Info Sheet introduces the Square Foot Gardening (SFG) method and the SFG Foundation, and it describes how the method is applicable to individuals participating in the Oasis Jumpstart Program.

PlantPure Communities thanks the Square Foot Gardening Foundation for developing these documents for use in the PPC Gardening Toolkit.

SFGF Basics Handout

A handout developed by the SFG Foundation on the basics of SFG and choosing a location for your garden.

SFGF Planting Map

A planting map (both blank and with sample layouts) developed by the SFG Foundation. 

PlantPure Communities thanks the Square Foot Gardening Foundation for providing the following answers to the most frequently asked questions. If you have further questions, we recommend contacting your local Cooperative Extension for more information, and join the Official SFG Gardening Forum.

Advice for first time Square Foot Gardeners

Start small and build your SFG box as close to the kitchen as possible. Get 6-8 hours of sun and don’t skimp on Mel’s Mix, it is the basis of a successful SFG! Mel’s mix is completely organic and is a one-time cost. By using Mel’s mix (you can make your own) you can avoid using soil that could be contaminated and contain weed seeds. With proper crop rotation and replenishment of organic compost, Mel’s Mix can last for 10 years or more.

First time gardeners sometimes get over enthusiastic and plant too much! By staggering the planting, you can have a continuous harvest without overplanting. For a comprehensive guide on when, how, and what to plant, refer to the All New Square Foot Gardening 2nd edition to get growing. Know your zone. Locate a SFG Certified Instructor near you for a Square Foot Gardening demonstration in your area, or become a Certified Instructor. Visit www.squarefootgardening.org for events and visit the Official Square Foot Gardening Foundation Facebook page.

What and where to plant

Many people plant what they like to eat! Square Foot Gardening (SFG) spacing is based on giving your plants just the right amount of space. Each square will be either planted by the formula 1, 4, 9 or 16 holes per square depending on the size of the mature plant.  So for example, large plants such as broccoli or tomatoes would be 1 per square, medium plants such as bush beans would be 9 to a square. 

Having shade presents a problem as most flowers and vegetables need sun.  You can make your SFG box mobile by putting it on wheels and following the sun in your yard. Some plants do better in partial shade such as beets, lettuce, onions, parsley, radishes, spinach and many herbs. Check your seed packages for more information. All New Square Foot Gardening 2nd edition will guide you in when, how, and what to plant, as it is a comprehensive guide to get growing.

Square Foot Gardens can be grown indoors in a sun-room or sunny area, even in winter. Make sure you build your boxes so they can fit through the doorway. If you grow indoors, you will need to rotate your box as the plants grow toward the sun. Pick plants that do well in shadier locations for best results. If you live in an apartment, see if you can grow on your balcony or even on the rooftop of your building. Remember to get written permission before starting your SFG on a roof or balcony.

Deer/pest protection

Deer – Cover or surround your 4’ x 4’ box with chicken wire. Remove or open   when you need access to the bed. Chicken wire bends easily and is easy to attach to a frame. You can also use netting to drape over plants. Deer don’t like the feel of netting on their noses and will move on. You can find these items in home improvement stores and garden centers. Natural pepper spray is another useful deterrent that you can make at home.

Pests – Square Foot Gardeners have an advantage over row gardeners when it comes to pests. Pests are less likely in a smaller, controlled space, but you can’t fool Mother Nature. Gardeners know to be mindful of not killing beneficial insects while trying to get rid of pests. Read Square Foot Gardening’s Answer Book to find out how to organically and safely deal with insects. The SFG Method opposes insecticides, pesticides and fungicides! Keep your soil clean.

From April 1, 2018 through August 31, 2018, PlantPure Communities (PPC) is partnering with the Square Foot Gardening (SFG) Foundation to encourage gardeners to “get growing” through an exciting new initiative. Find out more and participate!

  • SquareFootGardening.org – Learn about the SFG method, gardening initiatives, how to find a Certified Gardening Instructor, and more.
  • A Short Video explaining the Square Foot Gardening Method
  • Veganic Farming and Gardening – A list of resources and a three-hour video featuring a workshop by Will Bonsall, author of Will Bonsall’s Essential Guide to Radical Self-Reliant Gardening.
  • Guerilla Gardening Ted Talk – Ron Finley plants gardens in South Central Los Angeles. Learn about his alternative version of fast-food, and how he is making a healthy impact in his food-desert community.
  • American Community Gardening Association – This website provides a wide range of gardening resources and a map of existing gardens by location.
  • Kids Gardening Foundation – Get involved with the School Garden Movement, which creates opportunities for kids to learn through gardening.
  • Why Buy Local Food?” – This article discusses the benefits of eating local food on your health and the environment and why it’s important.
  • National Farmers Market Week – This proclamation shows the $9 billion annually added to the economy by farmers markets.
  • Organic Trade Association – The OTA provides the latest data on everything related to the organic food industry.
  • Why Grow and Eat Organic – This article explains the benefits of growing your own organic fruits and vegetables.
  • GMO Debate Lecture Series – A student-run course from Cornell University that discusses both sides of the “GMO Debate”.
  • GMO Dangers: Facts You Need to Know” – The T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies 2015 Article on GMOs.