Square Foot Garden: plant markers and trellises

Because I can’t always remember what I planted where, and when they start coming up, they all look alike to me, I like using plant markers. It also helps because once some of the cool weather crops bolt or die, I plant something else in the square. That’s 48 squares to remember what I planted or replanted. Of course the tomatoes are pretty obvious, but I am planting several varieties and I want to remember what’s where.

Last year I bought the plastic sticks that you write on with permanent markers. Unfortunately, the permanent marker wore off in the sun and rain. Bummer. I found some really fun ideas for plant markers here, here,  and here. They were adorable, but they didn’t have pictures of all my veggies, no herbs and no words for different varieties. Plus I didn’t have all the supplies (like 48 spoons or sticks!), and since I had a sick child, didn’t feel up to running to Michaels. So I looked through my supplies and found an overabundance of seashells. Hmmm…they’re small, easy to move from square to square as needed, are made to be outside in the elements…and free!

Very simply, I looked at the spreadsheet that listed all the veggies and herbs I was growing, and made a marker for each one. I painted the name on the flat back of the shell, then outlined a tiny picture of the plant in black acrylic. Then I highlighted the picture with a little colored paint, based on the plant. Some of the herbs aren’t really that true to life, but I did the best I could. Doodlebug “helped” paint the sugar snap peas green and the red pepper red, and was delighted with the results. After the shells dried, I painted a coat of varnish to seal the paint and hopefully help them last a little longer. What do you think?

There’s a big emphasis on using trellises in square foot gardening to maximize space. According to Square Foot Gardening, you can use trellises for pretty much any vining plants–beans, tomatoes, peas, cukes, cantaloupes, even personal-sized watermelons. The book suggests using metal tubing, but it was just too expensive. I bought 1/2 inch PVC pipe (10 feet long) and joints, 24 inch rebar, and nylon garden netting. Last year, I tied the netting on the trellis, but it seemed to stretch a good deal, which made me nervous as the tomatoes grew. This year, I used electrical ties along with tying the netting to the tubing. We’ll see how that works.

The pipe is very easy to cut–even my 10-year-old helped. I scored it with the saw and then snapped it in half. I made the vertical poles 5 feet long and then measured each horizontal pole individually. Some of the trellises I put at the very back of the square, in the corner of the right angle to help add stability. On the trellises I’m using for beans and peas, I angled the trellis, so one end was in the corner, but the rest of the trellis angled out into the middle of the squares. That way, I can plant peas and beans on both sides of the trellis and there’s room for more plants per square.

Notice the trellis on the right side--the back of the trellis is in the corner. The front corner angles to the middle of the square. You can plant 4 pea plants on each side of the trellis in one square--that's 8 plants per square!

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Square Foot Garden: plant markers and trellises

  1. Pingback: Square Foot Gardening « Yurts And Things

  2. Pingback: 2013 Square Foot Garden | never picture perfect

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