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Square Foot Gardening Layout and Spacing Method Tips

Updated on August 27, 2012

Raised Bed Square Foot Garden From Amazon

Get started on your square foot garden with this 4' X 4' raised bed Garden from Amazon today!
Get started on your square foot garden with this 4' X 4' raised bed Garden from Amazon today!

Square Foot Gardening - What is it?

Square foot gardening is a very interesting concept that is starting to gain popularity. If followed correctly, square foot gardening layouts can maximize space and minimize waste. Square foot gardens can be (and have been) planted nearly everywhere, even in places with very poor soil.

Mel describes Square Foot Gardening in his book, as "a system of laying out, planting, and maintaining a productive, attractive garden in any amount of space. The garden is based on a grid if 1-foot by 1-foot squares, with single seeds or plants placed in carefully determined spacings."

He goes on to say: "The square foot system lets you make the most of your garden space to conserve the amount of water, soil conditioners and labor needed to produce a maximum amount of food in that space. A square-foot garden takes only one-fifth the space and work of a conventional single-row garden to produce the same harvest."

Square Foot Gardens - Intro

Square foot gardening was developed in the late 70's as a way to get the most garden out of the least space. This all new system lets you grow tomatoes, potatoes, strawberries or pretty much anything you want in a compact, energy-efficient manner.

You'll want to get yourself a good square foot garden kit.

All New Square Foot Gardening - Mel Bartholomew

This is the book that started it all. Updated for today's garden, this is a MUST for all serious square foot gardeners. Grab a copy from Amazon today!
This is the book that started it all. Updated for today's garden, this is a MUST for all serious square foot gardeners. Grab a copy from Amazon today!

Pick up some Gardening Tools from Amazon

Square Foot Garden Planting Tips

  • Don't plant your Square Foot Garden near trees or shade.
  • Make sure that your garden gets 6-8 hours of sun daily, preferably near the house.
  • The area you choose should be free of puddles after rainstorms.
  • Don't worry about the existing soil quality, you're not going to be using it.

Sq. Ft. Gardening - How do I start?

The first thing you'll need, once you've determined your location, is to build a box (or buy a pre-made one) that is approximately 4' x 4' square and 6-8 inches deep. Any wood is good, except treated, it has harmful chemicals that can leech into the garden.

Then you'll fill it with "Mel's Mix," a specially-designed soil just for square foot gardening. You can either make it yourself or buy it. If you make it yourself, you'll mix 1/3 compost, 1/3 peat moss and 1/3 coarse vermiculite together.

Lastly, add a grid made from thin boards to make 16 same-size squares for easy planting.

Square Foot Gardening might be cool and all, but what can I grow?

Pretty much anything you can think of - including flowers. A partial list might include: Cabbage, peas, Brussels sprouts, lettuce, corn, onions, tomatoes and many others. The only limit is your imagination.

More Information

There is much more information that can be found around the web. Mel's site (link above) is a good place to look if you think this is something that might be for you.

Remember, Square Foot Gardening is for beginners.

It doesn't take near the time, effort or space that a traditional garden would and the best part about it is that you can do it right from your back yard - even if you've never planted a thing in your life. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to: ("" (, or,,, or


Submit a Comment
  • akeetlebeetle profile imageAUTHOR


    8 years ago from Mesa, AZ

    Actually, I haven't. Until doing the research for this article, I had never even heard of such a thing.

  • Growlightguy profile image


    8 years ago

    Have you tested out Square foot gardening? I purchased the book but after reading reviews on Mels Mix online I decided against using his methods. I guess I am just going to have to test out various types of intensive gardening myself!


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