The Q&A Archives: staking out a true square

Question: I am planning a waffle-shaped square garden, with 4 corner raised beds. I plan to remove the sod under the corner squares only, but am not sure how to stake out a true square to start with. Any suggestions?

Answer: It sounds to me as though you're taking the "square foot garden" to a whole new level. "Square-foot gardening" is exactly what its name implies, gardening in square-foot increments. Rather than the conventional long rows of plants and wide aisles leading throughout the garden, the garden area is divided up into usable square-foot sections.

The whole idea is to maximize growing-space potential while minimizing wasted space. The original idea requires the actual construction of a free-standing garden frame, but don't let that deter you from giving the theory a try.

It can be modified to work directly in the garden without any special carpentry. The plan calls for a raised, square bed with wooden sides measuring 4-by-4-feet by 12 inches deep. These particular measurements are important because they allow the gardener to reach the middle of the garden from all sides without ever having to step into the garden and pack the soil down.

Once the frame is made, subdivide it using wood slats, creating 16 individual 1-by-1-foot squares.

You could use any measurement; 8 by 8, 10 by 10, etc. As long as you can divide it into one or two foot squares, you can make it work.

Hope this information helps!

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