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Post  jpamcgovern on 4/12/2013, 7:56 pm

We are new to square foot gardening but are committed to getting started. We have 4 – 3x8 foot raised beds and would like to get ideas on the best planting options. Does anyone know of any apps or websites that can help us layout plantings for most favorable lighting and companion planting based on a list of plants we know we want? Or does anyone have any suggestions for our following list? We are a family of 3 and would love to incorporate the following plants. The layout of the garden is dictated by preexisting building layouts. We get 8 solid hours of morning to mid afternoon sun.
• Tomato (cherry, plum and heirlooms)
• ‘Lettuce’ (Frisee, loose leaf and romaine, spinach)
• Broccoli (3-4 varieties including purple and broccoli rabe)
• Cucumbers (2-3 varieties)
• Baby watermelons
• Musk Melon
• Zucchini
• Bush beans (yellow and green)
• Beets
• Onion (Red and White)
• Bell Peppers (Mini and regular)
• Standard herbs (except thyme because we have TONS by the house)
• Edamame
• Carrots (different kinds)
• Cauliflower
• Brussel sprouts
• Flowers (any companion flowers like marigolds, nasturtiums, etc.)
• Celery (maybe)
• Corn (just a couple of plants for kid’s desire to plant corn)
• Sweet Peas (for kicks this spring and then for real in the fall)

An suggestions would be really great and thanks!

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Post  camprn on 4/12/2013, 8:07 pm

Hi There and welcome to the forum. There are a bunch of threads with planning tool links and software links. You can peruse them at you leisure, but to find them use the search feature on the left. I think there is one at almanac. com and another at gardeners supply. There is often a free 30 day trial for some of these programs.

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Post  herblover on 5/7/2013, 11:12 am

One comment about herbs; chives, basils, parsley, and rosemary would be good options in your boxes. Plant basil near your tomatoes; they are good friends. Chives are perennial and rosemary may be depending on your zone and winter weather. Do not put anything in the mint family, oregano or sage in your boxes. Mints are extremely invasive, oregano spreads easily and a happy sage plant will become a small bush in a couple of years.

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Post  Lemonie on 5/7/2013, 12:52 pm

Everyone finds their own method that works best for them and you will too. I have done free trials on some of the online planning programs and they can be really fun! However, I keep going back to just pen and paper. I create a grid layout of my boxes (noting where trellises are) and print out the blank layout. I then put it inside a sheet protector and sit down with some dry erase markers, my seed packets, a companion planting guide, last year's layout (for crop rotation) and any notes of problems and success last year. Once I have it all organized on my sheet protector, I write it in pencil (because you will still find yourself making changes) on the actual layout and number how many of each per square. Once planted, I fill in the planting date on my layout. Now it's a good time to make your seed and supplies shopping list and go for it! Smile

So, last year I got a late start and several of my cold crops bolted or were lost to pests before harvest. This year, I planted more of my cold crops (brassicas, lettuce, ect.) in the same location (my most shaded bed) to keep covered with tulle and prolong harvest. For the plants that need pollinator access, I surround them in pest deterrent plants like certain herbs, nasturtium and marigolds...sometimes in adjacent squares or potted up near by.

This is what is working for me, but you will find your own groove. The one thing I highly recommend for your first season is to keep a notebook of everything you may need to know for next season: 1) Pests (how bad and what worked/didn't work), disease (important to note for crop rotation too!), experiments and results, trellis/support do's and don'ts, over and under planting, plants you want to try next year, ect.

Have fun and keep us posted!

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