How to Plant a Square Foot Garden

Lead Image
What You'll Need
8 large wood screws
12 small wood screws
Pack of twisted nylon line
4 timber boards
Versatile soil
Various seeds

In gardening and landscaping, there are a wealth of different trends, designs, and techniques. One of the techniques that is gaining popularity is the idea of “square foot gardening.” This is the perfect way for small-space gardeners to maximize the space they have to harvest plants and create the garden oasis they desire.

What Is a Square Foot Garden?

You’re probably wondering what exactly a square foot garden is. Odds are, though, that you’ve seen this before. The term square foot gardening refers to a method of creating small and orderly squares of plant space to be individually managed. The idea is to divide a small garden bed into a grid of one-foot squares. Each square contains different seeds, giving your small garden the variety you desire in an orderly manner. This method of planting was introduced by Mel Bartholomew in 1981 in his book Square Foot Gardening, and it’s only grown in popularity since its conception.

Why Build a Square Foot Garden?

A raised garden bed with various plants

Now that you understand the concept, it’s useful to point out the draws of this type of garden. There are several benefits to it:

  • Fast and easy to set up: These gardens are quick and simple. This makes it an attractive method for first-time gardeners or those who don’t have an abundance of time but still want to enjoy homegrown vegetables and herbs.
  • Versatility: The versatility of these small and organized gardens makes them highly desirable. Not only do they allow gardeners to plant a wealth of different plants, but they can exist within a raised bed that can be placed anywhere: a balcony, on the pavement, over grass, and so on.
  • Minimal maintenance: These small gardens require minimal maintenance, making them the perfect fit for someone who has limited time to devote to a garden. There is hardly any need to weed the space.
  • Productivity: Square foot gardens are very productive as they require intense and very concentrated levels of planting. They yield a large number of plants in a small space.

How to Plant Your Square Foot Garden

Now that you know the benefits of a square foot garden, you’re undoubtedly ready to get started on your own. Here’s how to make a square foot garden happen in your outdoor space.

Step 1 - Choose Your Container and Assemble It

Dirt in a garden

First, decide whether your garden will exist in the ground or in a raised bed. If you go with a raised bed, you may decide to build this structure yourself. To do so, use four timber boards to form a 4X4-foot square. Attach the boards between them, using eight large wood screws. Two screws should adhere each side of the square to the other.

Step 2 - Attach the Screws and Nylon

Once your box is assembled, place 12 wood screws on the top edge of your box, each a foot apart. There should be three screws on each side. Attach the nylon line around a screw and make three lines between the two opposite sides of the box until you have 16 squares that are each one foot.

Step 3 - Position Your Box

Now that your box is fully assembled, place it in a sunny area where your plants can flourish.

Step 4 - Fill the Box With Soil

A raised garden bed

To accommodate the wide range of plants, herbs, vegetables, and fruits that your square foot garden will house, choose a soil that is rich in nutrients and that proves to be suitable for most plants. Fill your box with this soil.

Step 5 - Plant Your Crops

Now comes the fun part. Choose your vegetables, herbs, flowers, and fruits and plant them in the various squares. There are a few rules to follow in doing this. First, keep in mind that each square can fit either one large plant, four medium plants, nine small plants, or sixteen tiny plants. To determine the number of seeds you’ll need for each crop, check the package to determine how much space should be left between each seed.

After your seeds are planted, the only thing left for you to do is to care for the garden and watch it bloom. You can enjoy this unique garden and the crops you’ll harvest from it all season long.