It’s all about densely planting many plants in defined squares, as opposed to conventional rows.

Not only does this practice use 5x less space than conventional gardening, it’s also great for the planet, saves you time and eliminates the need for heavy gardening tools. To make gardening even easier, you can build table-like raised beds. No more excuses like “I don’t have time to garden after work” or “My back is too sore.” This practice can make growing your own food an absolute pleasure, even for the elderly or disabled.

Square-foot-garden

This technique eliminates 80% of:

  • Weeds
  • Watering
  • Space
  • Work

Check out this introduction by the inventor himself: Mel Bartholomew

Planning the Size of Your Square Foot Garden Box:

Some things to consider when planning what size to make your garden box:

  • Do you need to raise the garden with legs for wheel chair access or due to a bad back?
  • Make sure you can reach the squares from all sides:
  1.  4×4 is ideal.
  2. 4 squares wide max.
  3. 8×8 would leave you stomping on your bed.
  4. 3×3 is great for kids.
  • What space are you working with? A square foot garden can be catered to your specific living situation. Below are only a few examples of what this method could look like for you:

Apartment

This little square foot garden box is great for apartment gardening.  Picture it on your balcony, or under any window!  It looks small, but you can actually fit 64 small plants like onions or carrots into this baby! And once you harvest a square, you simply replant!

How are you are gardening in your apartment?

Balcony

This one is twice the size and is perfect for balconies of your apartment, duplex, condo etc.  Remember, this can fit up to 128 small plants!!!!  And you can always raise it if you have difficulties bending down. You could paint the planter or add your own special twist to suit these to your own style and needs.

Yard:

Here’s a larger scale version. You can grow as much as your space will allow you to.  Keep in mind, if you are doing the larger scale version, you will need walkways. Three feet is ideal to walk comfortably and fit a wheel barrow.

Have you heard of the “grow food not lawns” movement?

It’s pretty self explanatory: dig up your lawn, and put a garden there instead.  Depending on your areas bylaws, you may be able to implement that.  Imagine little walkways through your very own front yard supermarket?! Maybe even a pretty tea area to drink your home grown teas. The options are limitless.

What You’ll Need to Get Started:

  • A spot with 6-8hrs of sun.
  • Enough soil to fill your desired amount of squares. Use 1/3 compost, 1/3 course vermiculite and 1/3 peat moss.
  • String, small strips of wood, or old window blinds to separate each square foot.
  • Non-treated wood (6in deep), screws, weed fabric or if using on a porch etc, you may want to build a wooden bottom and use plastic liner.
  • Seeds!!
  • Your Free square foot garden planner

How To Build Your Box:

Basically, you are going to want to screw four boards together and staple some weed liner to the bottom.  But check out the video for more detailed instructions. Or if you would prefer to buy a premade garden box, I found these awesome, inexpensive ones here.

HOW TO PLANT YOUR SQUARE FOOT GARDEN AND PLANT SPACING:

Here’s the fun part!  Let me break it down for you:

Grab your desired seeds and check the back for the seed packet for the plant spacing NOT the row spacing. This is going to show you how many plants can fit into a square.

3″ plant spacing= 16 plants per square

4″ plant spacing = 9 plants per square

6″ plant spacing= 4 plants per square

12″ plant spacing= 1 plant per square

18″ plant spacing= 4 plants per 9 squares

24″ plant spacing= 1 plant per 2 squares with a trellis or

per 4 squares if you have a cage.