What Is a Square Foot Garden?

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For those who are looking for new and innovative ways to get more of a garden into a smaller space, having a square foot garden can be useful. Square foot gardening is a concept popularly attributed to a fellow named Mel Bartholomew, but various gardeners around the world have been using modified versions of this basic idea for decades. Experienced gardeners who have tried this common alternative often trade tips about creating square foot garden boxes and the vertical trellises and other features that might accompany a diverse square foot garden.

What Is Square Foot Gardening?

This gardening space idea is pretty much what it sounds like. Square foot gardening replaces traditional “row” gardening with a system where plant are laid out in square boxes, close together, and generally in raised wooden beds. Conventional square foot gardening places small wooden shims across the box to form singe square foot areas for each plant. The larger garden boxes are often 4 feet by 4 feet, or 3×3 feet for children’s gardens.

Benefits of Square Foot Gardening

Proponents of this gardening method say it can reduce the costs of growing food and require much less water and soil, along with less weeding. Lots of these pluses are created by having the plants share more space, eliminating some of the maintenance areas around them by changing the row design to a cluster style garden. Square foot gardening is also great for small spaces where there’s not room for a large conventional garden. In addition, since the raised beds of a square foot garden can be supplied without tilling the ground beneath them, they are a popular choice when the gardener does not own the land that he or she is using to plant on.

Considerations for Square Foot Gardening

Some of the fans of this gardening method have come back with some common tips for making the most of this agricultural practice. One of the main ones is that it’s important to support and control larger plants like tomatoes, corn and other tall varieties so that they don’t overgrow the space or fail to develop properly. Square foot gardeners will also want to find a good soil mix for creating the right atmosphere for plants in a raised bed. Practice is generally the best way to find out what conditions will apply to a specific garden with a set list of plants in a particular local space.

Square Foot Gardening Resources

Those who want to know more about the details of this gardening practice can pick up Bartholomew’s book at any large chain book seller. There are also a variety of web sites teaching the public about how to pursue one of these types of gardens. Forums for gardening communities can be a great way to learn about what others have done in square foot gardening and some of the challenges they may have faced.

Keep this idea in mind when planning a garden in a small space such as a balcony, terrace, patio, or small yard area.

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