Square Foot GardeningPlanting Tips

Square Foot Gardening:

Square foot gardening is simply an efficient and intensive method of gardening using raised beds and a simple grid system.

This system, although perfect for small spaces and is great for make effective use of any size space. Though set up can be labour intensive, it is relatively simple and provides many benefits. Square foot gardening can increase yields, while providing excellent access for watering and pest/weed control. Water consumption is improved due to the concentration of plants and soil in the beds.

Five Steps to a Square Foot Garden:

The process of building a square foot garden can be broken down into five simple steps. Selecting a location, building the boxes, filling the boxes, laying out the grid, and finally planting.

Pick a Location

Ideally square foot gardens should be planted in a sunny spot with good drainage and some degree of shelter, but as with most gardening you can adjust your planting to suit the spot that you do have. If you are planning more than one box ensure that you leave adequate space between beds so that you can comfortably plant, water, and perform maintenance.

Build a Box

Boxes are ideally 4' X 4' with a depth of 8-10", this provides ease of access for maintenance and watering. This size of box also makes it very simple to layout your grid for planting, however any size of box you choose to build should work. One 2" X 10" plank or two stacked 2" X 6" planks are ideal for building boxes. They come in 8' lengths, so two 2" X 10" planks will build one 4' X 4' box.

Fill the Bed

Fill beds with a mixture of compost and topsoil, mixing well. The beds can be lined with landscape cloth, and/or gravelled for drainage, at your discretion.

Layout your Grid

Layout grid in 1' squares. String, fabric or wood strips all will work to mark out your grids. Anchor to sides of boxes using tacks or finishing nails.

Plant your Squares

Each square of your grid should be planted with only one type of plant. This will make it easier to identify weeds and maintain the garden. Using less seeds than conventional planting the amount of seeds, or seedlings planted depends on the eventual yield of the plant. For example, carrots would be considered extra small and would be planted in a 4 X 4 grid, for a total of 16, within your original grid, while a tomato plant would be considered large, and be planted in a 1' grid square by itself.

Plant Sizes and Estimated Number per 1' Grid:

1 plant
4 Plants (2 x 2)
9 Plants (3 x 3)
Extra Small
16 Plants (4 x 4)
Tomato Head Lettuce Bush bean Carrot
Cabbage Basil Spinach Onion
Cucumber Strawberry Beet Radish
Pepper Parsley Cilantro Leaf Lettuce
Melon Turnip Dill

Stagger plantings

of individual vegetables to ensure that plants come into maturity at different times of the season. Try to plant taller plants on the north side of the beds so they do not block the afternoon sun for smaller plants. Water according to each plants needs, and weed as necessary. Other than that, get to work and enjoy your summer bounty!