From Portland, Maine to Pueblo, Colorado, square-foot gardening is a fun way to start gardening.
It is a simple and efficient way to grow your food, and arugula is a great plant to grow in a square-foot garden. It is easy to grow and does not take up much space.
Also, Read: Square Foot Gardening Watering [5 Best Methods to Water]
What Is Square Foot Gardening?
TV host Mel Bartholomew created square-foot gardening in the 1970s. He developed the method as a way to garden in small spaces.
The key to square-foot gardening is to divide your growing area into small squares. Each square is one foot wide and one foot deep.
Square foot gardening is a type of gardening that allows you to grow a lot of plants in a small area.
It is an excellent way grow food if you have limited space or want to maximize your yield in a small garden.
Square-foot gardening works by dividing your growing area into square feet and then planting one type of plant in each square.
This division allows you to space your plants evenly and to know precisely how many plants you can grow in a given area.
You can grow various vegetables, herbs, and flowers in each square. The density determines how many of each item you will plant in a square.
For example, you can grow nine garlic plants in one square. But, you would only produce one tomato plant per square.
This process works well because it allows you to control your plants’ spacing better and ensure that each plant has room to grow.
It also helps you to avoid overcrowding, which can lead to diseases and pests.
Square-foot gardening increases yields by allowing you to grow more plants in a smaller space. It also helps you to use your area more efficiently and to get the most out of your garden.
What Is Arugula?
Arugula is a leafy green vegetable from the Brassica family. This family also includes vegetables like kale, collards, and Brussels sprouts.
Arugula has a milder peppery flavor than some other greens in this family.
Arugula is often used in salads and is a good source of vitamins A and C. It is an excellent addition to salads, sandwiches, and pizzas.
You can also cook arugula, but it’s best when used fresh.
Arugula is a cool weather crop you can plant in the spring or fall. It grows best in full sun but can also tolerate some shade. Just be sure to keep it watered, and it will do well.
Arugula is relatively easy to grow and does not require much care. It is drought-tolerant and can even handle some frost.
Arugula is a fast-growing crop and can be harvested just 4-6 weeks after planting.
It can be harvested continuously throughout the growing season, making it an excellent crop for gardeners who want a steady supply of fresh greens.
Once it starts to bolt or produce flowers, the arugula will become too bitter to eat. You can still harvest the seeds from the flowers and use them to grow more arugula next season.
Check out: Square Foot Gardening for Swiss Chard
How To Grow Arugula in a Square Foot Garden
You can plant up to four arugulas per square foot. Do not them go to seed; they will grow everywhere and be challenging to control. Once your arugulas are ready to harvest, cut the leaves about one inch above the soil.
Start with seeds or transplants to grow arugula in your square-foot garden. Plant the seeds or transplants in the center of each square. Arugula does not need much space to grow so you can plant them close together.
If growing arugula from seed, start the seeds indoors about four weeks before the last frost date. Plant the seeds in a damp potting mix and keep them warm.
The seeds will germinate in about ten days.
Transplant the seedlings into your square-foot garden when they are about four inches tall. Space the plants about six inches apart. Arugula will mature in about 40 days.
Arugula is ready to pick when the leaves are about four inches long. Cut the leaves off at the base of the plant.
Here is some advice on growing arugula in a square-foot garden:
- Choose a sunny spot in your garden for your arugula plants. Arugula likes full sun but can also tolerate some shade.
- Use a sharp knife or garden shears to cut the arugula plants back to about 6 inches tall when they start to flower. This process will encourage the plants to produce more leaves and prevent them from going to seed.
- Harvest the arugula leaves when they are about 4-6 inches long. You can harvest arugula continuously throughout the growing season.
- Store the arugula leaves in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
- Rinse the arugula leaves before use, and chop or tear them into bite-sized pieces.
Pros and Cons of Square Foot Gardening
Here are the pros and cons of square-foot gardening.
- Square foot gardening is a great way to maximize space in your garden.
- Square foot gardening allows you to plant more plants in a smaller area than traditional gardening methods.
- Square foot gardening can help you save on soil and fertilizer costs.
- You can use square-foot gardening to grow various vegetables, herbs, and flowers.
- Square foot gardening can easily be customized to fit your needs.
- Square foot gardening can be time-consuming and labor-intensive.
- Square foot gardening may require more work than traditional gardening methods.
- Square foot gardening can be challenging to maintain.
- Square foot gardening can be expensive.
- Square foot gardening may not be suitable for all gardeners.
Have a look: Square Foot Gardening Rosemary [Growing Tips]
Why Does Square Foot Gardening Use a Grid?
The plants are usually in long rows if you’ve seen a traditional garden. Square foot gardening uses a grid system to plant its crops.
This design may seem like a lot of extra work, but there are reasons for doing it this way.
For one thing, it makes weeding a lot easier. When the plants are in rows, it’s easy for weeds to get mixed in and grow unnoticed. A grid system makes the weeds much easier to spot and pull.
Another advantage of using a grid is that it makes watering more efficient.
When the water can flow evenly between the rows of plants, each plant gets the same amount of water. This system prevents drought conditions and ensures the plants get the moisture they need.
Finally, a grid system makes it easier to keep track of what’s growing where. When you have a traditional garden, it can be hard to remember which plant is which.
Each plant has its own space with a grid system, so you always know exactly where it is.
How To Water a Square Foot Garden
Hand watering and drip irrigation are the best methods for watering a square-foot garden.
Hand watering is the simplest method and requires a hose and a sprinkler head.
This method is best for small gardens or if you want to water your plants more slowly so they can absorb the water better.
Drip irrigation is more complex, but it’s worth it because it saves a lot of water. Drip irrigation uses a system of pipes to match your garden grid.
Drip heads will slowly water each plant individually. This method is best for more extensive gardens or if you want to save water.
Regardless of your chosen method, water your plants deeply and regularly. Deep watering means getting the water to the plant’s roots where it can do its best.
Regular watering means not letting the soil dry out ultimately between waterings, which will help your plants stay healthy and prevent them from getting stressed.
Read: Marigold Square Foot Gardening [3 Easy Steps to Plant]
What Kind of Soil Should You Use in a Square Foot Garden?
A good mix is equal parts vermiculite, compost, and coconut coir. Vermiculite is a lightweight material that helps aerate the soil and retain water.
Compost is rich in nutrients and helps improve drainage, and coconut coir is made from coconut husks and helps improve drainage while retaining moisture.
This mix will give your plants the nutrients they need to grow healthy and strong. It will also help the soil hold onto water so your plants don’t dry out.
Common Square Foot Gardening Mistakes
It’s easy to make mistakes when trying out new techniques or hobbies. Here are a few common square-foot gardening mistakes people may encounter.
Not Measuring Grids
You’ll likely have wonky, uneven rows if you try to wing it and create your gridlines without measuring. This disorganized system will make it harder to plant and care for your garden.
Planting Near Fences
Planting against a fence will make weeding extremely difficult when plants are fully grown and difficult to access the back of your garden.
Pick a location that receives sun and shade for your square foot garden throughout the day, which will ensure that your plants get the sunlight they need to grow but will also have cover from the harsh midday sun.
Not Starting Small
You may be excited to start your square-foot garden, but it’s essential to start small. You can add more later, but it’s much harder to reduce the size of your garden once you have planted.
If you start too large, you may be overwhelmed by weeding, watering, and maintenance. Stick to a small area to start, and you can always expand later.
Not Caring for Your Soil
Soil is the foundation of a garden, so it’s important to take care of it.
Care means adding compost and other amendments to keep it healthy. It also means avoiding chemicals that can harm the microbes in your soil.
Not Planning Your Garden
You may be in a rush to start planting, but it’s important to plan your garden first. Planning includes drawing a map of where you want everything to go and what you want to grow.
Planning will save you time and frustration later. You’ll be less likely to make mistakes, and you’ll be able to take advantage of your space better.
Not Watering Properly
Water is essential for plant growth, but too much or too little water can be detrimental. Water your plants early so they have time to dry out before nightfall.
Water the base of the plant, not from above, to help prevent disease and reduce evaporation. And make sure to check your soil before watering to see if it needs water.
Fertilizer helps plants get the nutrients they need to grow. But using too much fertilizer can harm your plants and pollute the environment.
Only fertilize when your plants need it. A soil test can tell you if nutrients are missing from your soil. And be sure to follow the directions on the fertilizer package.
Not Inspecting Your Plants Regularly
Inspect your plants regularly for pests or diseases. This way, you can catch problems early and take care of them before they get out of hand.
Check the undersides of leaves for pests, look for brown spots or wilting leaves, and pull up any plants that seem to be suffering.
Check: Square Foot Gardening Kohlrabi [6 Tips to Grow]
Pruning is vital for both fruit and vegetable plants. It helps promote growth and ensures that your plants produce the best possible fruits and vegetables.
For most plants, you should prune in the late winter or early spring because this will help the plant put its energy into new growth instead of fruit production.
Composting is a great way to recycle organic waste and improve your soil. It’s easy to do, and it’s a great way to reduce your impact on the environment.
Composting adds organic matter (like food scraps or leaves) to your soil, provides nutrients for your plants, and helps improve the structure of your soil.
Not Using Pest Control Methods
If you have pests in your garden, it’s important to take care of them immediately. Otherwise, they could destroy your plants.
There are many organic pest control methods available. You can use neem oil, diatomaceous earth, or beneficial insects.
Starting a square-foot garden can be a great way to grow arugula. But it’s essential to do it the correct way, or you may not be successful.
These tips will help you avoid common mistakes people make when starting. So don’t forget these basics, and you’ll be on your way to enjoying fresh produce from your garden.
Additionally, you may like some more gardening articles:
- Square Foot Gardening Kit
- Square Foot Gardening Bell Peppers [How & When to Plant]
- Square Foot Gardening Ginger [Most 5 Benefits]
- Square-Foot Gardening Green Beans [How to Plant & Care]
- Square Foot Gardening Fertilizer [All about to know]
- Square Foot Gardening Cantaloupe [Best Tips & Tricks]
I’m Elsa, and I love gardening. I started GardeningElsa.com as a resource for other gardeners, and I offer expert advice on gardening topics such as plants, flowers, herbs, and vegetable gardening. On my website, I share my latest tips and tricks for creating beautiful gardens. When I’m not working on my website, you can find me in my own garden, tending to my plants and flowers. Read more about me.