Basics of the square foot method of gardening

There’s no disputing the health benefits of growing your own food, but how do you decide which method to try? There are many ways to grow your own food, from growing fruit plants inside your home near a window, to having a container garden or a large plot of land with herbs and vegetables. Another popular option is to use the square foot method of gardening, or just square foot gardening. This involves using square sections for the growing area. Here are some basics of this popular method.

the square foot method of planting carrots

The Basics of the Square Foot Method of Gardening

Why use the square foot method?

The main reasons people do a square foot garden are convenience and lack of space. If you are trying to grow a lot of different vegetables, you need to space everything out properly. Otherwise, it gets disorganized and hard to keep track of. To space things properly, you need a good amount of land in your backyard too. Using the square foot method, you usually only measure 12 inches per side. That way, you can grow a separate crop or plant in each square foot frame. It keeps everything contained in a smaller area and separated properly, but lets you grow a lot of food even with a small amount of land. Square foot gardening is very popular among people living in cities with small backyards, like me! I talk more about how to get started on square foot gardening on my podcast, Crunchy Christian Podcast.

How to Build Your Square Foot Garden

When you want to build a square foot garden, each box in the area should be about a square foot, hence why it is 12 inches on each side. Usually, you would connect several of these squares to make a larger grid. First decide where the garden will be, and then calculate how many squares you can have in that area. Creating a grid is really helpful when figuring it out. Then you will need to build a box with this layout, and add potting soil to each square evenly.

For the box, try to use lumber that has not been treated, as you don’t want chemicals to be touching your plants and vegetables. To prevent weeds from growing up, use some type of mat materials on the bottom below where the box will be. Compost works really well as potting soil for the square foot garden.

What to Plant

You can plant just about anything in the square foot garden, from vegetables and fruits, to herbs. You can use more than one box for a certain vegetable you want more of, or use each square in the grid for a separate vegetable and herb. Just make sure you label each one so you know when to water it. Want to know more about how many plants of each type of vegetable you can fit in each square? Check out my podcast episode, how to get started on square foot gardening!


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