Square Foot Gardening
Maximize your small garden
Square foot gardening is a logical way to get the most vegetables from a small raised garden bed. It's perfect for small spaces and can even work if all you have for a yard is a concrete patio.
Mel Bartholomew is the mastermind that developed this ingenious gardening plan that will ensure every square inch of a vegetable garden is used to its fullest potential. His book will teach you how to vertical garden, extend the growing season, produce a more plentiful harvest and so much more. I can't recommend it enough.
My husband built this lovely garden box pictured here with gates on 2 sides to keep out the bunnies and dogs, but let me in to work. I used string to create my square foot gardening grid, which you will learn the significance of later. All said and done, we have a 4x4 raised garden, filled with "Mel's Mix" that can be refilled year after year with at least 16 different varieties of plants.
This page will point you in the right direction, but I highly recommend the Mel Bartholomew's book: "All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!"
Photo Credit: Nibbled.
All New Square Foot Gardening - Grow More in Less Space! - Author Mel Bartholomew
Looking for a way to garden that will produce large quality harvests without having to spend your entire spring and summer tending to the garden? Then this is the book for you!
Mel even takes you through what plants do well when placed next to each other and even has a section for flowers if you'd rather make your own bouquet cutting garden.
The Theory of a Square Foot Garden
How can a 4x4 box garden produce more than a row planted garden?
A 4'x4' garden box allows the gardener to easily access plants from all sides of the garden. The garden boxes can be extended, but each side should be accessible so you are not having to reach more than 2 feet. For example, many people will line the foundation of their home, say with a 12'x2' garden box. We chose the 4'x4' plan. You might choose 3'x3' or 2'x2' for a child's garden.
The grid system is essential to a productive garden plan, and is a step that shouldn't be skipped. Use string, dowels or scrap wood to assemble the grid. A 4'x4' garden box will host up to 16 different squares. Each square can hold a plant or plants of your choosing depending on the space requirements for the plant.. For example a single tomato plant will take up a full square and will be planted in the middle of the chosen square, but you can plant anywhere from 16/24 carrots in a single square. Each individual square can be broken down further with an additional grid to plant your seeds evenly. I recommend creating or purchasing seed planting templates that will help keep your seeds evenly spaced.
Another important element to the square foot garden is the special soil mix, dubbed "Mel's Mix". You may be surprised to find that there is no dirt in this mix, it's a blend of compost, vermiculite and peat moss. The combination creates a nutrient rich food source for your plants that holds water incredibly well. This special soil-less mix is what creates such a plentiful harvest. The mix cuts down on weeding and only needs added compost to keep things growing.
Photo Credit: Nibbled.
What is in my square foot garden for 2013
No starter seedlings this year again, too much work with a baby in the house! But we plan to visit a nursery once we go more than a week with no snow!
- Multiple bell and hot peppers
- 2 tomato plants, one cherry
- Green beans
Square Foot Gardening Videos
Check out these great vids with tips and instructions for the perfect square foot vegetable or flower garden.
Squarefoot Gardening Resources - All the info. you need to get started
Learn about the theory behind square foot gardening, what plants thrive in your area and what plants are best to grow together. Plus a slew of happy square foot gardeners welcome you into their gardens.
- Square Foot Gardening Foundation
The square foot gardening foundation is a non profit foundation dedicated to ending world hunger.
- Tim's Square Foot Gardening
Tim Beckman welcomes you into his Square Foot Garden.
- Square Foot Gardening 101
Our family project to build a square foot garden. Includes a supply list, cost breakdown, seed/plant recommendations, and even a few photos of our garden box. Updated throughout with gardening lessons learned.
- My Square Foot Garden--Square Foot Gardening Basics
Follow the progress of my square foot garden. I provide helpful tools for companion planting, square foot gardening layouts and plans, square foot gardening spacing, and more!
- Square Foot Gardening - GardenWeb
This forum is for the discussion of square foot gardening as well as other methods of intensive gardening.
- An Introduction to Square-Foot Gardening
Personal finance that makes cents.
- Square Foot Gardening | SFG - Organic Vegetable Gardening by the Square Foot
Organic Vegetable Gardening by the Square Foot
- Square Foot Gardening
My Square Foot Gardening Experiences Steven Hicks I used the method described by Mel Bartholomew, in his famous book and the PBS Television Series. Recently, I've given up Square Foot Gardening because my back yard has become more and more shady over
- Build a Square Foot Garden - Wired How-To Wiki
When you think of growing your own food, you probably think of endless rows of corn, the middle of nowhere, people in overalls and dial-up internet. You're also probably thinking about hours spent planting seeds, mulching leaves and plowing soil.
- Home Gardens To Go™ :: Square Foot Gardening Boxes
Home Gardens To Go will actually prepare & deliver a square foot gardening box with Mel's Mix... all you have to do is plant! Never has home gardening been so convenient, fun, and easy. We offer white & tan vinyl boxes & Do it yourself wo
- How to Create Mel's Mix | My Square Foot Garden
Creating Mel's Mix--a special soil developed by Mel Bartholemew
Seed Starting - For those in colder climates
If you aren't one of the lucky ones that can garden year round, you probably want to start your seeds indoors before all that snow melts. There are certain plants that are simply easier and sometimes cheaper to pick up at your local nursery, but seed starting can be a fun and satisfying experience.
Photo Credit: Nibbled.
No Yard, but Still Want a Garden - No yard needed for square foot gardening
Photo used under Creative Commons from andy pad.
With a raised bed and wonderful Mel's Mix, you won't need a yard to plant a garden. Set up your raised bed on the concrete patio, deck or even rooftop. You will still have the same amazing results.
General Gardening Tips & Resources - Plant types and planting schedules for your zone
- Average Frost Dates | Farmers' Almanac
Courtesy of the National Climatic Data Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The dates listed above are normal averages for a light freeze/frost. The possibility of a frost occurring after the spring dates and before the fall dates
- Planting Zones
The map shows 10 different zones, each of which represents an area of winter hardiness for the plants of agriculture and our natural landscape. It also introduces zone 11 to represent areas that have average annual minimum temperatures above 40 F (4.
- Garden Designer from Gardeners.com
Plan out each square foot with this interactive tool that helps determine the number of plants per square foot
Have you tried Square Foot gardening? Please let us know your experience!