What is Square Foot Gardening?

Written by Jennie Ward (last updated June 25, 2021)

Have you ever thought about planting a garden, but quickly reconsidered when you realized the amount of work that would be involved? What if you could plant a beautiful garden without tilling and digging, required very little space, and was easy to maintain? Square foot gardening is simple to do and can provide a wide variety of fresh vegetables for your table.

The basic concept of square foot gardening is to create a raised bed, usually a 4' x 4' area, sectioned off into a framework of 12-inch squares. This will give you 16 individual areas. Each square should contain one vegetable and the number of plants in each square depends on the size of the plant. For example, you can only plant one tomato plant per square but could plant up to four strawberry plants. The taller plants should be planted in the center of the square and the smaller plants on the edges. Using boxes no larger than 4'x4' will ensure that you can reach every square from the edge of the box.

When planning your garden, just follow the following steps:

  1. Build your box. You can purchase the lumber from your local hardware store, or you can purchase kits from several places online.
  2. Fill your box with dirt. Always use a high-quality soil because the quality of your soil will affect the outcome of your garden A good general mixture includes 1/3 blended compost, 1/3 peat moss, and 1/3 vermiculite.
  3. Create your grid. Some people like to create a permanent grid on the top of the box. Another option is to mark your grid using twine. If you choose to use twine, you will need to replace it periodically.
  4. Start planting.

The standard size for square foot gardening is a 4'x4' square. You can always build boxes with different dimensions that will fit in the space you have for gardening. A 2'x8' box or 2'x4' box can be just as functional as the traditional size.

If you would like to have more than 16 planting areas, you can build or buy more boxes. Just be sure to leave enough room, about 3', between the boxes so you can easily reach every square from the edge of each box.

Gardening doesn't have to take up your entire backyard or be labor intensive. By using the square foot gardening method, you can create a beautiful garden without the headache. Before you know it, your garden will be full of delicious food that your family will enjoy.

Author Bio

Jennie Ward

Jennie is a writer at heart. She enjoys sprucing up her home and yard and loves finding new ideas for home improvement projects. Jennie has a BA degree in journalism from the University of Georgia. ...


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