This will be my first year using the square foot gardening method in Colorado. I’ve chosen a number of different sized plants to see just how true my resources end up being for plant spacing. I was surprised to find just how many plants could be added in the small number of raised beds I plan to plant this year. With 3 – 4 x 4 foot beds and a single 2 x 6 foot bed, I didn’t imagine I would have enough room for the seeds I chose, nevermind trying to decide what else I would choose to fill in.
I have not had much luck with vegetables in the last couple years, but I am encouraged by the story of a couple in Westcliffe Colorado who grow hundreds of pounds of vegetables at an elevation of 8100 feet. Penn and Cord Parmenter use all kinds of special methods to ensure crop yields. From creating biointensive beds by digging 24″ deep, to ensuring hot plants like tomatoes have enough warmth during the short mountain summer with cold frames and water jugs surrounding plants. If they can produce tomatoes there, surely I can in my sheltered 5000 foot elevation backyard garden!
Below is my original plant list.
- Burpee – Super Snack Sunflower 1/ sqft
- Liberty – Early Crookneck 1 / 3 sqft over the ground does that equate to 1 x 3′ height?
- Liberty – Sparkler white tip radish 16 / sqft
- Burpee – Long slim red Cayenne (18 – 24″) 1 / 2 sqft
- Livingston Bloomsdale Spinach – 9 / sq ft
- Livingston Brandywine red Tomato – 1 / 2 sqft per seed packet, but sqft gardening sources say you can plant 4 tomatos in a 4 x 4 planter as long as they are on center in each sq. ft.
- Burpee Black Krim Tomato – 1 / 3 sqft per seed packet
- Ferry Morse – Poblano Pepper (18 – 24″) 1 / 2 sqft
- Burpee – Kaliedoscope Carrots 16 / sqft
To be purchased
- Super sweet tomatoes
- Tomato with a shorter harvest time
While reviewing where each vegetable should go, I learned about companion planting. Planting certain plants can help attract helpful insects that eat problem bugs. Some, like nasturtiums are preferred by black fly aphids so can act as a trap crop. They also repel squash bugs, cucumber beetles, and several caterpillars. I have nasturtiums next to crookneck squash.
Onions and garlic surround tomatoes to repel insects, as well as marigold.