Apartment Gardening in 4 Square Feet (in Winter)

square foot garden layout blogpostI’ve written 3 posts about square foot gardening, the most I’ve written about any topic, but was compelled to add yet another! I have to be honest, I’m quite skeptical of the chapter on gardening on pavement. I can’t help it. There is so little soil involved, and my gardening mind cannot wrap itself around the concept.

One day my apartment dweller friend Holly was deploring the plethora of buckets filled with vegetables on her front “porch” that died for reasons unknown or succumbed to bugs and diseases each year. The idea of trying out a square foot garden came to mind, and this cute little garden was born. To build your own, click here.   The soil in the garden is a special planting mix created by Mel Bartholomew, author of Square Foot Gardening.  To read about how to make the mix click here.

Since we garden in the Central Valley of CA, it’s mild enough to plant some veggies and flowers in late January. We visited a local nursery and found peas, spinach, green leaf lettuce, fairy primrose (not edible) and cilantro plants.

Often, gardeners create rather utilitarian plots devoid of flowers for maximum production (yours truly is guilty)  Over the years I’ve realized it’s important to feed both the soul and the stomach, so I always include some flowers. Plus, many flowers are edible and can serve both purposes!

Aside from primroses, we planted nasturtiums (edible flowers and young leaves that taste peppery), breadseed poppies (edible poppyseeds), and sweet peas (not edible). For other vegetables we added baby bok choy, carrots (baby bites, which stay small), radishes, and red leaf lettuce. The radishes will be ready first in about 30 days. At this point, Holly can replant more radishes if she wants. The lettuce and spinach can be harvested in just a few weeks. These leafy plants grow continuously, and leaves can be pinched off the outer edge of the plant and added to salads as long as weather stays cool. Most of the planted crops grow best during cool weather and begin to taper off or die once weather becomes too hot. At this point (or earlier) Holly can replace them with tomatoes, basil, eggplant, peppers and marigolds, etc.

The neat thing about a square foot garden are the 16 squares of 1 foot space for each type of plant. Each square can hold a certain number of plants, depending on the plant. To find out how many plants per square, check out my post here, or purchase Mel Bartholomew’s book, All New Square Foot Garden (or find it at your local library).

As Holly’s garden progresses, I’ll add photos to the blog. I’m really excited to watch it grow! Since the garden is located right outside her front door, she can easily remember to water and care for it. Plus, now that I’ve written about it and mentioned updates are coming, you can IMAGINE the pressure Holly now feels to keep her garden healthy and tidy, LOL!!




  1. Uh YEAH! I now have to make sure I don’t kill everything! Not mentioned in the post – I’m growing radishes only cause I want to actually say I got a veggie from my garden. I don’t like them much. I’ll be growing eggplant later which I also don’t like, but think are pretty. Anne’s gonna win on that one.

  2. Your radishes will be sweeter if you grow sun flowers near them….

    Have fun!

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