What is “Square Foot Gardening”?

For the new gardener, the questions of money and space influence what that first garden will look like. Although developed in the 1980’s by author Mel Bartholomew, Square Foot Gardening has really began to take off as a convenient, cost-effective way to start your own home garden patch. This method can not escape our Pinterest and Instagram feeds, so give it a try and let us know your success stories!


image from squarefootgardening.com

The definition of Square Foot Gardening according to Bartholomew is “the practice of planning and creating small but intensively planted gardens”. The crops are planted in a raised bed that is divided (in a visual way with string or planks) into equal squares that can be easily accessed by at least one side. The plants create their own mulch because of their closeness to one another and the “looseness” of the soil (because there is no need to walk on it!). Organic gardening greatly influenced this method, as it uses a blend of composts to thrive. Bartholomew suggests his special blend of one-third compost, one-third peat moss, and one-third vermiculite. This mixture needs less water than conventional soil, and because these gardens are kept in small, raised beds, the plants can be individually watered by hand to  avoid the waste that automatic watering systems tend to generate. 

These garden are also fairly pest and weed resistant due to their dense environment, but it is recommended to use one of your “squares” to plant a natural repellent such as marigolds, mint, or wormwood. Because of the small size of a Square Foot Garden, plants can also be protected by a built covering if desired (this can protect against harsh weather as well!).

So why is this method perfect for the first-time gardener? With separated sections, it is easy to tell where to plant and keep track of what you’re growing! Also, the size is completely customizable to the gardener and their available space and budget, and if more plots are desired later, another can be built directly alongside it to create a visually appealing and uninterrupted display.

If you previously felt restricted by money and space, why not give Square Foot Gardening a try? With one of our seed kits, you could have a “Salsa” garden, “Super-Green” garden, or “Home Chef” garden right at your fingertips!


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