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Square Foot Gardening Tips and Tricks to Maximise Your Limited Space

Introduction: What is Square Foot Gardening?

Square foot gardening is a type of gardening that saves space and time. It’s also a great way to grow your food.

This square foot gardening technique was invented by Mel Bartholomew, who published it in ( what is the “All New Square Foot Gardening” – is it a book or a research paper ) “All New Square Foot Gardening” in 1981.

It is a method of growing plants in small soil blocks, usually the size of 4×4 feet. This method has been around for over a century and is an efficient way to grow food in a small space.

The idea behind square foot gardening is to plant more crops in a smaller area than traditional row gardening. This makes it possible to grow more food with less effort and land than traditional row gardening.


A Step-by-Step Guide to Square Foot Gardening

1) Gardening planning

Use a compass or a compass app on your smartphone to determine your garden’s direction. Most fruits and vegetables will grow well in a shady or sunny location, but you can also grow in a sunny or shady place. Generally, shade-tolerant crops are those whose leaves are eaten, such as spinach and chard, rather than those whose roots are eaten, such as potatoes and carrots.  

Place your square foot garden near a water supply and your house as much as possible. In other words, if you see your crops every day, check in, and don’t have to go out of your way to tend to them, you are more likely to take good care of them.  

2) Plan your layout

The next step is to draw a 16-square-foot box in which you can choose which crop to plant in each box. To keep the smaller crops from being shaded too much, grow taller crops at the back of the garden bed and taller ones at the front. Plant climbing vegetables near the vertical structure in step 1 near the back of the bed if you desire climbing vegetables. Considering crop rotation and companion planting at this stage is helpful.

3) Rotation of crops

It was very confusing for me when I first got into gardening, but it is pretty basic. Generally, it is recommended not to grow vegetables from the same family yearly in the same bed because certain pests and diseases can get into the vegetable plants. Plant families include roots, brassicas, legumes, onions, potato family, and legumes.

Gardeners can include three or four beds in their square-foot gardens if they want to keep things simple. One bed can then be assigned to each group of crops, and each bed can be rotated annually.

4) Partner Planting

Consideration should also be given to (Use the same term as used in the subtitle to avoid confusion ) companion planting. Companion planting might seem complicated, but it is quite straightforward. As with people, plants can create beneficial relationships with each other. Plants can, for example, protect their neighbors from pests and diseases. This flower will attract ladybirds and hoverflies, which will help pollinate your crops. Marigolds are perfect for square-foot gardens since they can attract ladybirds and hoverflies.

Plant companionship is a complex subject, and we still don’t know exactly how different plants interact. However, plants requiring similar conditions will perform better when grouped.

5) Create grids and boxes 

For your raised beds, you can buy a variety of square-foot garden kits on the market, but you might consider creating them yourself to keep costs down. Whether using reclaimed wood or bricks, old concrete blocks, stones, or even logs from your garden, you can build a bed with reclaimed wood from old pallets.  

Using a grid, mark off the square feet of the frame once it is complete.  A string makes this task easier. Grids are simply visual tools to help you allocate the same area to each crop you choose. 


Adding accessories to the box 

Stage 3 is the time to build supports for climbing vegetables such as peas and runner beans that you decided to grow at stage 2. Most climbing plants have small tendrils attached to a support network. Salvaged net from a beach will work fine if you don’t have access to a garden center. Attach the bamboo sticks to the netting at the correct height for the crop you are growing. Ensure you tuck away any excess netting to prevent bird and wildlife entanglement.  

If you still have birds eating your crops, consider installing a wire frame around your brassicas (pigeons are the fondest of brassicas) or installing slug deterring tactics such as sunken beer traps and copper piping.   

Square foot garden beds: how to fill them with soil

You must fill your square foot garden frames and accessories with your growing medium after they have been constructed. Mel’s mix – composed of peat moss, vermiculite, and compost – is a soil-free mix that follows Bartholomew’s book exactly.

Since it is not a sustainable resource, the horticultural industry is undertaking extensive efforts to eradicate peat use in compost and plants. For a more eco-friendly and sustainable option, use 1/2 peat-free compost, 1/4 potting gravel or grit, and the remaining 1/4 finely chopped wood bark or chips. This mix retains more water and has better drainage thanks to the gravel and bark.  

Incorporating scraps of old raw vegetables, grass clippings, wood chips, and cardboard into your garden compost can benefit your plants too. Making garden compost is excellent if you haven’t done so already! Besides being extremely simple, it’s also fantastic for your plants and completely free. The horse manure is also an excellent addition to a veggie bed, but you must let it rot for at least a year, or your crops may burn.


Conclusion: Is square foot gardening worth it

Square foot gardening is a technique where the gardener cultivates plants in small, square-foot sections. The method is popular because it takes up less space, conserves water, and reduces weeding.

The idea behind this type of gardening is that you can grow a lot more food on less land. It also reduces the amount of time spent on weeding and watering. It is not only environmentally friendly but also economically friendly.

However, there are some downsides to square foot gardening as well. If you are not careful with your plant spacing, you may end up with an uneven distribution of plants in your garden, making harvesting difficult or even impossible for some plants. ( end with a more positive note stating how if done properly can immensely benefit you)

Frequently Asked Questions

How many plants can you plant in a square foot garden?

This is a difficult question because it depends on the type of plant. The best way to figure this out is to research the plants you want to grow and see how much space they need.

A square-foot garden is a great way to grow your food and get more vegetables in your diet. You can plant many types of vegetables, but you need to know how much space they require before planting them.

You must do your research before planting any plants to ensure they will fit in your garden.

How do I calculate the size of my garden?

The size of your garden depends on your available space and what you want to do with it. If you are planning a vegetable garden, you will need a lot more space than if you just want to grow flowers.

Several things need to be considered when calculating the size of your garden. You will need to know how much space is available, what type of plants or vegetables you plan on growing, and whether or not there is an existing structure, such as a greenhouse.

What is the formula for finding the area of the garden?

The formula for finding a garden area is A = length x width.