square foot garden plan

What gardener could resist the opportunity to provide organic produce for family and friends out of their own backyard garden? It’s easy to feel limited by space, resources and time when creating a garden, especially in more restricted urban gardening settings. Luckily productivity doesn’t require an acre of land or tons of time!

More than thirty years ago Mel Bartholomew developed a system of gardening that makes the most of space, resources and time. Known as Square Foot Gardening, this technique revolutionized the way that gardeners in all locales can produce their food.


Plant And Harvest More Plants with a square foot garden plan

Square Foot Gardening works on the principle that each square foot of a garden can be planted to maximize the output of soil, water and seeds. According to Bartholomew, Square Foot Gardening requires 50% of the cost, 20% of the space, 10% of the water, 5% of the seeds and 2% of the work required by traditional row gardening.


According to Bartholomew, one 4′ x 4′ Square Foot Garden box can provide enough produce for one individual to have a salad every day of the growing season! A second 4′ x 4′ Square Foot Garden box would provide enough supper vegetables for that same person every night of the growing season.


Garden Location

Square Foot Garden plans should be located in areas that get 6-8 hours of sunshine each day, and that do not puddle after rains, or receive heavy shade from nearby trees. The type of soil in the area does not matter because you will be creating your own soil mix to add to the garden.


Setting Up

For a standard square foot garden plan there is a 4×4 wooden square, however smaller 2×2 and 3×3 squares can also be used effectively in locations with limited space. While it is easiest to build a square foot garden that meets these measurements, pre-made container gardens can also function efficiently if measured out into square feet. Square Foot Gardens should be at least 6 inches deep.


The key to an efficient Square Foot Garden Plan is to measure out and then secure a permanent grid on the top edge of the garden. The grid can be created from wood strips, or a more frugal trick is to use venetian blinds. Once created, the grid will make it easy to locate each square foot of garden space to allow for efficient planting.


Soil

A square foot garden plan discourages the use of native soil and instead suggests creating your own soil mix according to Mel Bartholomew’s recipe. His soil mix requires 1/3 blended compost, 1/3 vermiculite, and 1/3 peat moss. According to this recipe the compost should be a blend of at least 5 types of compost. Compost can be purchased from garden stores, or created from your grass clippings, excess veggies, garden clippings, egg shells, etc.


Planting Guide

For a square foot garden plan, small plants such as carrots or radishes should be planted 16 plants to a square foot. Medium plants such as spinach and bush beans should be planted 9 plants to a square foot. Larger plants such as leaf lettuce should be planted four plants to a square foot, while cabbages and broccoli should be planted one plant to a square foot. Plants should be watered by hand.


Square Foot Garden Plan Types of crops which can be grown in a square foot garden plan
Tom Korzen
Founder
Tom is an avid urban gardener, an accomplished industrial designer, and the creator of the Garden365 line of premium container gardening products. He loves finding innovative new ways of making the most of his tiny little patio garden. Tom has also recently published the Garden365 Container Gardening Guide.
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