Square Foot Gardening: Is it the Best Choice?

Amir Tajer

Posted on February 07 2019

Looking for simple gardening methods that make growing fresh veggies easy - even if you have only a small amount of space to work with? Want to supplement your healthy lifestyle by cultivating your very own salad greens, herbs, and other edibles?

Square foot gardening, also known as SFG, is a technique that was developed by American author and TV host Mel Bartholomew in the 1970s. It's designed to make growing food crops easy while maximizing yields, and when treated with organic fertilizer it's a great way to enjoy healthy, organic produce at a fraction of the cost of what you'd pay at your local organic market.

How to Create a Square Foot Garden

 How to Build  a Square Foot Garden

To create your own SFG, start by:

1. Building a raised garden box that measures 4 x 4' and is anywhere from 6" to 12" deep.

2. Line the base of the box with weed cloth, and secure the cloth in place using a staple gun.

3. Once you've built your box, position it in a spot that gets plenty of sunlight and is easy to access. If you plan on using more than one box, be sure to space your boxes about 3 feet apart.

4. Fill each box with a well-blended mixture of 1/3 blended compost, 1/3 coarse vermiculite, and 1/3 peat moss by volume.

5. On the top of the filled frame install a permanent grid comprised of 1 foot by 1-foot squares to divide your entire garden into 16 equal-sized squares.

Choosing the Best Plants For Your Square Foot Garden

Because of the limited space, it's important to choose plants that don't take up a great deal of room in your square foot garden. Think of small, fast-growing crops that have very little root structure such as lettuces, onions, tomatoes, broccoli, and herbs.

 Plants for a Square Foot Garden

Take a look at the recommended plant spacing on the back of your seed packets - this will help you decide which crops are best suited to the square foot gardening method.

Plants like beets can be grown a mere 3" apart, allowing you to plant up to 16 beet seeds per square. By comparison, cabbage and peppers may need to be spaced 12" apart.

Avoid planting crops that take up a lot of room like sweet corn, melons, potatoes, cucumbers, and squash, since these plants will be difficult to manage in your SFG and can quickly overgrow smaller plants.

Maintaining a Square Foot Garden

Of all the various gardening methods you can use to support your healthy lifestyle, SFG is one of the easiest and least time-consuming to work with.

Because the garden is grown on a base of weed cloth, you should have very few weeds to deal with, similar to what you'd find with other types of raised bed or container gardens. All you need to do is add the right organic fertilizer at the intervals recommended by the manufacturer, keep your crops watered, and wait for your tasty, homegrown veggies to mature!

And if you do need to thin out any crops, trim the unwanted plants down instead of pulling them out to avoid disturbing the roots of adjacent plants.

Use Organic Fertilizer for Maximum Yields, Flavor, and Nutrition

Organic Blood Meal

To really amp up the output of your SFG, be sure to use a high-quality organic fertilizer that won't fill your garden-fresh food with harmful chemicals or toxins.

Our selection of organic and eco-friendly fertilizers is a good place to start. You can shop some of these fertilizers, below or head over to our home page to browse some others.

How do you plan to #GrowWithGreenway?