Guest Post from Snarky Vegan: Indeterminate Optimism

Bad to the phloem! Here’s a little guest post from my friend Julia at I hope you like it as much as I do!




I always thought the concept of square-foot gardening was simply not for me because I tend to grow really big things. Things that get outta hand very quickly. Only the biggest indeterminate tomato varieties and lots of them. Large vining things like Marina de Chioggia squash or Scarlett Runner Beans.


And while I like my raised beds to be tidy rectangles, I’m terrible at maintaining order inside those beds. My plants tend to resemble my work desk: overflowing the rectangular boundaries set forth by management (a.k.a., me). See exhibit A below.








So when I see fellow gardeners plotting out neat little one-foot squares in their raised beds, I panic. I panic for them because I want to tell them it’s hopeless, especially when they plant a Big Bertha tomato plant in each square. But mostly, I panic for myself.


See, I’m a Square-Inch Gardener. Not only do I have to put what will be a huge plant into each square foot, I am absolutely driven to fill in all the gaps with onions, marigolds, garlic, spinach, turnips and whatnot. If there’s a square inch to spare, I can’t sleep until I fill it with something. (We won’t get into the psychology behind my boundary issues 😉


Does it work? Of course not.


Each year I fail to maintain a balance between available space, air circulation and nutrients. But that doesn’t stop me from trying again this year. This year, I have modified my plan. I’ve enlisted the help of cheap little tomato cages to keep my eggplants and peppers orderly and…exactly one foot apart. No cheating is possible because the size of the cages won’t let me space the plants more closely! See?












The only downside I’ve found is that filling all the space between the eggplants and peppers with onions, garlic and marigold seeds required tearing out all the cages and then putting them back. Yeah, I couldn’t help myself.


I’m just lucky I never got pregnant like Kiss My Aster, otherwise I’d surely have tried to make more efficient use of the space allowed. (Congrats BTW dearie. Hoping your seeding sprouts soon!)


–Julia Moran Martz, a.k.a., Snarky Vegan

Sometimes helpful, always snarky, Julia Moran Martz (a.k.a., SnarkyVegan) is never short on opinions about gardening, eating and well, anything really. Born and bred in southern Indiana, Julia escaped to start a branding and advertising firm in Chicago but stays close to her roots by gardening and cooking whenever there’s not a deadline.

Looking for veganic gardening help or ideas on what to do with all those vegetables? Follow her on Facebook and Twitter or check out her blog at



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About Amanda Thomsen

Big, loud and fun- Amanda Thomsen landscapes by day and blogs at night. Her blog, Kiss My Aster, on Horticulture magazine's website has alienated/enraptured dozens. She co-authors a blog called Plants That Suck that is about plants that suck. And she is the less popular half of the podcasting team, Good Enough Gardening, which makes her feel like the "Roy" of of Siegfried and Roy, but without the mauling. She lives in Chicago and does not EVER put ketchup on hot dogs.

4 thoughts on “Guest Post from Snarky Vegan: Indeterminate Optimism

  1. We have a friend who is an ace at square foot gardening and she has something to harvest 9 months out of the year in CHICAGO. I can’t figure out how she does it. I’m fairly certain she’s a witch. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  2. I’m telling you, CURVED foot gardening is the way to go. Also, lay the grid out using random sticks picked up in the alley. That way you can accidentally kick them out of the way when you trip because you made the path too narrow because you were trying to get more planting space.

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