DIY Square Foot Garden Planting Templates

comments (9) November 11th, 2011

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yourownvictorygarden Greg Holdsworth, contributor
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Click To Enlarge Photo: Greg Holdsworth (All photos)

I'll start this post with two admissions. First - that I'm divided when it comes to how I want the plants and layout of my garden to look. The obsessive-compulsive, perfectionist part of me wants everything to be near perfect. The laid-back, free spirit part then immediately reminds me that, "the plants could care less if they're not all straight," or that "you're not trying to win an award."

  DIY Square Foot Garden Templates
Photo A

DIY Square Foot Garden Templates
Photo B

DIY Square Foot Garden Templates
Photo C
 
DIY Square Foot Garden Templates
  Photo D
 
DIY Square Foot Garden Templates
  Photo E
 
DIY Square Foot Garden Templates
  Photo F
 
DIY Square Foot Garden Templates
  Photo G
 
DIY Square Foot Garden Templates
  Photo H
 
DIY Square Foot Garden Templates
  Photo I
 
DIY Square Foot Garden Templates
  Photo J
 
DIY Square Foot Garden Templates
  Photo K

In my attempts to side with the perfectionist in me, I've built tools to either save time or fulfill that desire to have all of my seedlings, plants, or rows evenly spaced.

My second admission is that I have not yet applied the Square Foot Gardening methodology to my garden plans – at least not completely. As I started to experiment more with planting in squares rather than rows, I immediately saw a need for something that could save me time and help plant seeds evenly.

In Square Foot Gardening, the common quantities used in planting are 16, 9, 4, and 1 per square foot. So, to accomplish this, I built a set of four "templates" (or "jigs" in the machinery world). Granted, the holes created by this tool may be too wide or deep for certain seeds; this can be remedied by simply filling in the holes with a pinch or two of soil.


The list of things you'll need:


1. Four 1-foot by 1-foot pieces of plywood, either 3/8" or 1/2" thick. Use whatever your home center has that will require the least amount of cutting. If you only need to have 2-3 cuts made, they should be able to do that for you free of charge. If you wish to do the cutting of course, you'll need a saw.

2. Tape measure, square or ruler for measuring

3. Pencil or permanent marker

4. 30 "marker hole makers" - small objects to make holes in the soil. I found some wood "spools" from my local craft store.

5. Wood glue, water-resistent or waterproof

6. Four door or cabinet handles

7. Sandpaper (optional - if you wish to smooth out the edges of the boards)

8. Wood varnish, paint or stain (again, optional if you wish to dress up your new tool)


Skill Level:

Easy


Construction:


1. Take the plywood and cut four 1-foot x 1-foot square pieces from it. If necessary, sand the edges or any rough areas (Photo A).


16 Points Per Square Foot Template:

2. Measuring 1 1/2" from the edge, put 2-3 pencil or pen marks along each side (Photo B). Then, using these marks, draw a guide line around the board. This area is about 9" square. Then, put a mark at the 3" and 6" points along each side of the board. Draw lines connecting these points, from one side of the board to the other (Photo C). The board should now have a 9-square "grid" drawn on it (Photo D).


9 Points Per Square Foot Template:

3. Measuring 2 1/2" from the edge, again put 2-3 marks along each side. Then, using these marks, draw a guide line around the board. This area is about 9" square. Then, put a mark at the 4" point along each side of the board (which is basically the center of the line). Draw lines connecting these points, from one side of the board to the other. The board should now have a 4-square grid drawn on it (Photo E).


4 Points Per Square Foot Template:

5. Measuring 3 1/2" from the edge this time, put 2-3 marks along each side. Then, using these marks, draw a guide line around the board. This area is about 6" square. Draw lines connecting these points, from one side of the board to the other. The board should now have a single square drawn on it (Photo F).


1 Point Per Square Foot Template:

6. Measure 6" from the edge, around each side, and put a mark. Draw two guide lines across the board. The lines should intersect at the center point of the board.

Now that we have all of our guide lines drawn, they will indicate where we will be gluing our "marker hole makers". To make the holes, I found some wood "spools" from a craft store. They are 3/4" wide x 1" high, perfect for making a very visible hole in the soil (Photo G). You can also use wooden "beads" or anything else you find that will make a small noticeable hole. If you are planting seeds that require a much shorter depth (i.e. lettuce, spinach, etc.), you can come back and fill the hole with a pinch or two of soil.

7. Using a good water resistant/ waterproof wood glue, glue the spools (in this case) to the boards at the points created by the lines we drew in steps 2-6 (Photo H).

8. You'll have 16 to glue on the first board (Photo I), 9 on the second board, 4 on the third board, and finally 1 on the last board. Allow those to dry for at least a few hours.

9. Attach one of the door handles to the opposite side of each board. I measured and marked the center point on the board so that the handle would be placed correctly (and because of that 'perfectionist' thing) (Photo J).

At this point you're basically done. To use them, you simply place the board in the corner of the bed and press down on the handle (Photo K). Here's the cool part. It not only makes the holes that you'll put the seeds into, it also marks the edge of the square foot itself! To add more sets of holes, you line up the marks made in the dirt with the edge of the board. Voila!

Mel Bartholomew would be proud.

 


After you try it, show it off to other members in the
gardener's gallery.
Post your photos


posted in: Projects, raised beds, tools, Square-Foot Gardening

Comments (9)

kenackr writes: Very cool!
Posted: 1:46 pm on March 17th
SquareFootGardener writes: These are great, after making a similar set I have just seen you can now get a handy set of guides online at plantspacer.co.uk
Posted: 9:01 am on November 20th
SquareFootGardener writes: These are great, after making a similar set I have just seen you can now get a handy set of guides online at plantspacer.co.uk
Posted: 9:00 am on November 20th
tnpakrat writes: This is absolutely the best idea I've seen in quite awhile. I LOVE it, and I'm off to my shop to make all of them right now! Thank you soooo much for sharing this. God Bless. :)
Posted: 6:12 am on June 14th
floria writes: This is a wonderful idea! I had been taking a yard stick, laying it down on the bed and planting seeds as needed. I will ask my husband to make these for me.
Posted: 8:02 am on April 5th
MikeTheGardener writes: Love this! Definitely sharing. I made one similar to this only a bit larger and I drilled holes in the wood as opposed to using dowels. I then use some sand to mark the spots in my garden by pouring it through the holes. I'll post a photo later.
Posted: 9:57 am on April 2nd
wildernessny writes: I did a modified square foot gardening in some of my beds this year and had very good success. I made a 16 hole jig. However I drilled holes and clued little pegs that are used when laminating wood together. The were great for the fine seed like carrots and beets. I plan on doing a 9 hole jig for next spring and I have a size larger peg I will use for that.
Posted: 10:36 am on December 6th
WhatsTheMuck writes: OOPS, typo, meant to say "All in the name of healthy, home-grown veggies..."
Posted: 10:37 am on November 20th
WhatsTheMuck writes: Love it! Having been a square-footer for years, I always just did the finger poke method, but this is a cool excuse to have another gadget. Especially the 16-hole version. I never minded poking nine or less holes, but with 16 it's easy to start getting some too close together, some too far apart.

This would work with wine corks too I bet, instead of the spools, and give me an excuse to drink more wine! All in the name of a healthy, home-grown veggies, of course...<|:o)
Posted: 10:34 am on November 20th
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