Benefits of a Square Foot Garden

I am in the process of planning my Square Foot Garden. This concept is brilliant.

It involves creating 4×4 raised beds. You never walk on your garden only the paths between. Conventional gardening demands using heavy work to loosen the soil, but here the soil stays loose. Weeding is easy too because of the soil.

  • Almost no weeds, easy weeding
  • No rototiller
  • You can customize soil mixture for each bed
  • Increased productivity per square foot
  • Less watering (water only plants no paths)
  • Improved soil drainage
  • Beds warm quicker so you can plant earlier and extend your season
  • No thinning (plant fewer seeds)
  • Better pest control
  • Ability to quickly chance soil or plans

This Video Introduces  Square Foot  Gardening

My past gardens were in traditional rows that demanded a lot of weeding, and rotter tiller. When contemplating a garden this year I had to take my health into consideration. Some days I don’t have the energy to work outdoors. I am so excited I found Square Foot Gardening.

Here is my garden plan using the trail version of Growveg.com

Square Foot Gardening Overview

  • Layout: Grow vegetables in squares, not rows. Begin with a 4′ x 4′ box.
  • Boxes: Build simple boxes that will hold soil above the ground. (untreated lumber)
  • Aisles: Leave a minimum of 3′ between boxes for walking between rows.
  • Soil: Mix together 1/3 good compost, 1/3 peat moss and 1/3 coarse vermiculite.
  • Grid: Make a grid with twin in each box measuring 1′ x by 1’squares.
  • Select: Use a variety of crop, plant, herbs or flowers in each square foot.

  • Plant: Read the instructions regarding spacing on the seed packet, and accordingly, plant 1, 4, 9 or 16 crops or plants per grid square. Plant up to 3 seeds or plants per hole.
  • Water: Water your plants directly at their base.
  • Harvest: After each harvest, add compost.

Photos from Flickr

GardenEarly June

Square Foot Gardening Videos

Don’t have a grandpa nearby to teach you to garden. Not to worry. You have YouTube!

More about Square Foot Gardening

If you don’t have the space for Sq Ft Garden, consider container gardening.

I’ll post more with photos when I get my boxes put together.

Visit Works for me Wednesday at We Are That Family for lots of motivating ideas.


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About the Author

Homeschool mom to 11, Marmee to 14 and author.

Comments (36)

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  1. Cindy Lawson says:

    Wow, you have an amazing amount of info on this site. I always find something useful. Thanks.

  2. Gretchen says:

    We are doing square foot gardening for the first time this year and I am excited about it as well. Thanks for this post it is a lot of great information. We have done a regular garden and container gardening. I think we are making our boxes this Saturday. Thanks again!

  3. Kim H. says:

    My husband and I are starting one of these right now – we are very excited, and can’t wait to see what our garden yields. Thanks for your tips!

  4. I’ve used this with some success in the past, especially when we’ve had limited space. We have a much bigger garden these days but we still apply some of the principles of Square Foot Gardening to it, and it really works.

  5. Kathryn says:

    We had one last year and it would have been better if I had gotten it planted before my fil poured in an entire package of tomato seeds in one and cucumber in the other – sigh

    This year we’ve added three more boxes (total of 6) and are planting corn, salad mix, tomatos, okra, strawberries, cucumbers and about anything else that tickles my fancy ;).

    We also do daylilies and iris – the picture on my link if from our yard in 2005 – I’ll try to get some pictures in bloom this year of the sq. ft garden and the flower beds also.

  6. Lori says:

    I’ve never heard of this but it sounds just like what I’m looking for! Great post! (BTW, found you from your WFMW link). Glad I did. 🙂 Have a blessed day.

  7. ter says:

    We were talking about doing a square foot garden this year, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to do it on my own now that he’s gone but I’m still interested in the concept. I borrowed the book from the library last year but I think I’ll buy the book so I can use it for reference. Thanks for the links! 🙂

  8. Frugal Dad says:

    Awesome! Looks like you’ve got a nice layout, and the boxes look great. Thanks for mentioning my article as part of the additional resources. We are struggling to get our garden up and running this year because of some family medical issues, and I already miss seeing those early-April sprouts. Your post has re-energized me!

  9. New to your site.

    I’ve always wanted to try square foot gardening and now the wheels are really turning in my mind.

    Thanks so much.

  10. Tricia says:

    We did this today! My husband followed the Frugal Dad guidelines. The whole family had such a good time that the six-year-old dubbed it “Happy Gardening Day”. Will have post a link when I get photos up. Thanks for the great info.

  11. BElinda says:

    Hi Robyn
    We’ve used this method too – though we didn’t use the actual dividers we marked out our veggie plot this way. I’m going to get my family to read this post as it will inspire them for sure. We are about to plant our veggie plot in the next week or so. Actually I am hoping my mother in law will do it with my kids while I’m out of town! So reading your post here will be just what they all need – condensed information and inspiration. I love your plan – I’ll get the kids to get working on one for us. Can you tell us what computer programme you used to do that?

  12. BElinda says:

    Ha! I have read back over your post and you tell us already how you did your plan! Sorry about that!

  13. Welcome new Gardener Followers. See Benefits of a Square Foot Garden (My plan) http://budurl.com/9jyd

  14. RT: @heartofwisdom See Benefits of a Square Foot Garden (My plan) http://budurl.com/9jyd

  15. Theresa says:

    We haven’t built our beds yet, but I have been reading the SFG book and just wanted to say thank you for posting about it here with all the links… I came here from Jocelyn Dixon’s blog… this was timely!

  16. Mary says:

    Ahhh, this is exactly what I was searching for – thanks! 🙂

  17. Benefits of a Square Foot Garden Time to plan is now! http://ow.ly/1beJU #GF #garden

  18. RT @heartofwisdom: Benefits of a Square Foot Garden Time to plan is now! http://ow.ly/1beEh #GF #garden <–I bought seeds today!

  19. Benefits of a Square Foot Garden Time to plan is now! http://ow.ly/1beKw #GF #garden

  20. El LaGrew says:

    RT @heartofwisdom: Benefits of a Square Foot Garden Time to plan is now! http://ow.ly/1beKw #GF #garden

  21. RT @heartofwisdom: Benefits of a Square Foot Garden Time to plan is now! http://ow.ly/1beKw #GF #garden

  22. RT: @elagrew @heartofwisdom: Benefits of a Square Foot Garden Time to plan is now! http://ow.ly/1beKw #GF #garden #food

  23. Benefits of a Square Foot Garden : http://ow.ly/1khQi

  24. RT @heartofwisdom: Benefits of a Square Foot Garden : http://ow.ly/1khQi

  25. RT @heartofwisdom: Benefits of a Square Foot Garden : http://ow.ly/1khQi

  26. ElektroChik says:

    This is my new goal: http://ow.ly/1khQi A Square Foot Garden. Looks like we plan to tackle Home Depot for wood next weekend.

  27. joie says:

    Robin, how is your square foot gardening going? I got interested in it because of your post on Facebook! We’ve put a box of cold crops in, but have not put in our warm weather plants yet. Our frost threat date just passed yesterday. We’re in Upstate New York. I’ve found it to be expensive, but we’re hanging in there. We just found vermiculite over 75% cheaper at a masonry supply center! It’s is so expensive at the garden centers! $34 compared to $8.50! SAME manufacturer too–Wittemore Co.! They have a website. I’m sure everyone will want to hear of your progress! joie

  28. jay chua says:

    Hi Robin,

    Thanks for this.

    We just thinking of what to do with my new apartment belcony, and your post give us some good ideas how to kick start:)

    Happy gardening.

  29. Ashley says:

    I just started working on my garden. and i love your post, it really answered allot of my questions.

  30. Stan Horst says:

    We’ve done the square foot garden thing for years. This last year was very successful, and I attribute that to having my soil tested, adjusting the pH accordingly, and adding LOTS of organic material, mostly in the form of mushroom compost. Tomatoes and squash went wild, with the zucchini in particular taking up more than its share of the space. Some of the plants spread up to eight feet wide!

  31. amy manning says:

    Interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  32. Great post Robin. We do Sq. Ft. Gardening too. I love your garden layout pic. Thanks too for all the links.

  33. That looks great! It’s similar to container gardening, except it’s much more organized and compact.

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