The Classic Square Foot Garden

Square foot gardening gained popularity in the 1980s, and it’s still very useful for people who want to plant a lot of crops, but have little space in their yards for a big garden. Setting up this type of garden is fairly easy, and it makes it keeping track of your crops simple. Let’s go over the basics.

What Is a Square Foot Garden?

A square foot garden is a raised garden bed that has been divided into sections. These sections tend me measured by the square foot (hence the name), and are marked off with string. Each string is anchored on two sides by a small nail driven into the top of the wooden bed.

The creator of the square foot garden, Mel Bartholomew, divided his space up into four large space, each measuring four feet wide by four feet long. He then took each of those squares and made them into smaller, one-foot spaces, giving him 16 sections in which to plant vegetables, herbs, and fruits. However, you don’t need to adhere to this guideline, and can make your squares larger or smaller, depending on what – and how much of each crop – you want to plant.

Advantages To A Square Foot Garden

Since you’ll be planting a large variety of plants in a small amount of space, you’ll be able to maximize the amount of things that you can grow in your garden. This is useful for people with small yards, or with only a tiny patch of ground that receive the optimal amount of sunlight. Also, you can take advantage of companion planting – planting crops that are complimentary to each other – in order to keep pests away and preventing weeds from gaining a foothold. On top of this, since your garden space is small, creating a protective cover for it is easier than it would be with a large, spread out planting space.

Tips And Suggestions For Success

Choose your soil wisely. Since the garden is a raised bed, you will not be using the existing soil in your yard, and will instead be adding some. There are many types available, from special organic soil to potting mixes, so be sure to pick the best one for your needs and climate. You’ll also want to place your garden in a sunny space in your yard. Ideally, it should receive 6 to 8 hours of sunlight each day. Your garden should also be someplace where you can easily get to it. The general guideline involves placing it as close to your house as possible, although this isn’t always necessary, as it depends on how much drainage and sunlight your crops will receive. Those override house proximity. Lastly, do not make your garden too wide, since you’ll need easy access to all of your crops. If you need extra space, consider adding a few containers off to one side, or even an entirely new raised bed garden.

When done right, a square foot garden is a great way to grow fruits and vegetables.

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Pic by Serene Vannoy

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