What is Square Foot Gardening?

As urban gardening becomes more and more popular, gardeners look for new ways to make the most of small spaces.



As urban gardening becomes more and more popular, gardeners look for new ways to make the most of small spaces. Although it’s not a new concept, square foot gardening is one of the more clever ways to grow plenty of vegetables in a small space.

The principle behind square foot gardening is that each vegetable can grow in a single square foot. The concept fits well with natural vegetable spacing requirements, as the majority of vegetables need 6 to 12 inches between plants.

Of course you can’t grow everything in a square foot, but most backyard favorites, including lettuce, tomatoes, peas and broccoli fit perfectly. Since square foot gardening is intended to maximize space, the practice isn’t recommended for large gardens with walkways between rows. It works best in small, 4’x4′ gardens, and raised beds are common for this gardening method.

Square foot gardens are available for purchase from several retailers, but you can create your own garden grid with stakes and twine. Place a stake at every foot around the perimeter of your garden and tie twine to stakes opposite each other to create straight lines. Plant seeds or transplant nursery stock into each of the sections. If planting from seed, sow several seeds and thin to the strongest plant once the seedlings are 2 to 3 inches tall.

A square foot garden is great for families–each junior gardener can have a favorite vegetable to care for! Learn more about square foot gardening from Mel Bartholomew, a pioneer of the practice and founder of the Square Foot Gardening Foundation.

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