An Introduction to Square Foot Gardening


Someone once said that a good way to learn discipline is by taking care of a plant. That’s why in some movies, you’ll find the really deep and disciplined spies or hitmen with plants, which they ensure is always in good shape. On the other hand, taking care of a plant can be a relaxing and enjoyable experience for some people. I bet very few people will fall under the former example, but many will agree with the latter instance.

If you intend to take up gardening as a hobby, you may find square foot gardening an ideal choice for you. This is a gardening technique that was developed for people who are new to gardening, as well as those who may have some experience with gardening but have a confined space to do their thing. If this sounds like you, let’s dive in and explore what square foot gardening has to offer.

Square Foot Gardening?

According to Wikipedia, Square Foot Gardening is a gardening approach that has been around for almost three decades now. It was introduced by a dude called Mel Bartholomew in the early 1980s. If you’re familiar with the term “Square Foot” in mathematics, then you already have a clue about what the approach entails. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s okay. Square Foot Gardening is simply doing gardening in a box that can be easily subdivided further into smaller boxes, preferably, square-shaped boxes.

Originally, square foot gardening was done directly on the ground, but recently, Bartholomew has revised it and now encourages the technique to be done in raised beds rather than the ground. Raised beds are simply boxes built according to the dimensions of the allocated space for the garden. The boxes are then filled with mixed soil that’s rich in nutrients for the gardening plants.

The advantage raised beds present is having soil that is rich and clean from the beginning. It means no weeds for some time, and little preparation will be required as far as the soil is concerned. The soil used in this revised method is a mixture of vermiculite, peat moss, and compost rather than dirt. Moreover, setting up the raised bed takes little time, and considering the fact that it’s a small garden you are working on, little maintenance will be necessary afterward. The raised beds or box required for the improved method can be any size the gardener desires. If you are working on a confined or limited space, then the space allocated for gardening will be just enough. Just ensure that whatever size you choose, it’ll be easier for you to divide into smaller squares or boxes.


If doing math is a bit challenging for you or for convenience purposes, consider making use of a square footage calculator. Such a calculator will enable you to easily divide the allocated space for your garden. It’ll enable you to work in any measuring units; therefore, no conversions will be necessary on your part. All you’ll have to do is enter the dimensions you want to work with and the calculator will do the rest for you. It’ll take away the math from your plate and enable you to focus on the fun part; planting and taking care of your garden.

One benefit of square foot gardening is the fact that you can plant different crops on each of the divisions of your garden. You can plant tomatoes, on one square, carrots on another, or maybe kales in another square. The trick though is to consider the size of the squares you have available, and the nature of the plant you’ll be growing in it. If you have a good amount of space, such that the divisions you made are large enough to accommodate even plants that require a lot of space to grow, that’s fine. However, if the space you have is considerably limited, it’ll be wiser to only plant crops that will thrive best in that limited space. Furthermore, since square foot gardens (particularly those that employ the new approach of a raised bed) are not very deep, it’ll be wise to avoid plants that naturally need deep grounds to grow well.


Be that as it may, square foot gardening can be pricey if you are not careful. Building a raised bed and having it filled with the mixture of soil indicated earlier can be expensive, even for a small garden. Sometimes, it’s better to look at the kind of soil you have available before deciding to buy the nutrient-rich ones. If you know somewhere you can get the kind of soil you need for your garden at an affordable price, or even for free, that’s a much kinder alternative. Also, watering can be an issue. The soil in raised beds has a tendency of losing water at a higher rate compared to the ones directly on the ground. This means that you’ll have to be watering your garden often, and careful not to let your plants go without water to the extent of dying. That means if you’re ever away for more than a day, you’ll either have to ensure someone will be taking care of the garden for you, or that no significant plant will be harmed due to your absence.

Square foot gardening is ideal for those new to gardening, as well as those who have limited space for gardening. It’s an easy and efficient method for gardening. It’s affordable and requires little maintenance. Albeit it has its demerits, its advantages are far too many to resist it.


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