How to Grow Your Own Food Garden With a Template

July 22, 2013 by


Growing one’s own food is healthy and very popular today even for those living in the smallest of spaces. Some feel it’s just plain empowering to create one’s own sustenance. But when it comes to the planning and doing part–especially for urban gardeners who have limited space and time and who may be away all day–well, the prospect can seem a a tad overwhelming. We’re all too busy for that, right?


Paint by Numbers Gardening
We were kicking around Kickstarter a while back and stumbled on Nourishmat, a reusable no-dig vegetable garden mat. As the original creators describe it,  Nourishmat is “an amazing new way to grow your own vegetables, herbs, and flowers. Designed for people with small spaces and limited time.” This baby makes it easy to plant food just about anywhere.



The kit concept is kind of like The Garden on a Roll that we shared a while back. But that one was for planting ornamental borders, and this one is for growing food. Designed using the square foot gardening method, which makes it super easy for both new and experienced gardeners, the Nourishmat package includes pre-planted seed balls that eliminate the need for tilling, which according to the manufacturer, leaves the soil’s biological components intact and undisturbed.


In addition to what, I don’t know when and where to plant.
Been there. Kind of like a personal gardening coach, the mats come with a planting schedule that tells you when and where the seeds need to be planted and it’s sort of a dating service for plants: based on the principles of companion planting, the nineteen plant varieties you get with your mat have been selected for being great neighbors as they get along nicely next to each other. We’ve seen other vegetable garden seed mats before, but this one takes the guesswork out of the whole process, telling you where to plant and when.


I won’t remember to water.
You can opt for a built-in irrigation system.

I can’t get it together to first grow seedlings indoors and then plant them outside.
Nourishmat comes with seedballs. Weird name ,but wonderful thing. They don’t need to be started indoors because they are in a nutrient-rich encasement of clay and compost. Stick them in the dirt in their designated spots, et go out to the movies.


I’m just going to be honest and say I don’t want to be hunched over weeding on the weekends.
We get it, there are more entertaining things to do. The mat’s clearly labeled planting spots are spaced out to deter weeds. So if weeds sneak up through the space designated for a particular plant, you can easily identify them and yank them out.


So our verdict is: we’d try it. We like easy things that offer a good chance of success. Using a pre-fabricated easy-to-grow-food system like this may not be for everyone, but for some, it is the only way they will start to grow their own. And growing one’s own food has a positive impact on the the way we think about food. That’s delicious.

Tell us what you think. Would you use this? Leave a comment below to let us know!


  1. Dania L. said:

    This could be very helpful when gardening with children, or novice gardeners. Neat idea!

    — July 23, 2013 @ 13:45

  2. Robin Horton said:

    I think this kind of system would be great for kids Dania, glad you liked it!

    — July 23, 2013 @ 14:10

  3. Robin Horton said:

    I agree Dania, this sort of system would be great for kids!

    — July 23, 2013 @ 14:11

  4. Ricks said:

    I thinks this is an awesome idea!! How do I get It?!

    — July 26, 2013 @ 15:50

  5. Robin Horton said:

    The link to the Kickstarter page is in this post.

    — July 26, 2013 @ 16:30

  6. Nancy K said:

    I’d like to see them group plants a bit differently. Some plants, like parsley, take a long time to germinate (between 2-3 wks). Some, like kale, are cool season plants, while peppers and tomatoes are warm season only. I assume the instructions include the instruction not to plant in the template at the same time?

    — August 29, 2013 @ 22:19

  7. Robin Horton said:

    Hi Nancy, you make a good point. I imagine that a seasoned gardener as you sound like you are, could revise or change things up any way you would like. But you probably don’t need a template. I think this idea is meant for those with no or little gardening know-how as a means of making it easy and accessible. Perhaps share your thoughts with the manufacturer? Smart brands are always looking for ways to improve.

    — September 21, 2013 @ 10:03

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