Square Foot Gardening to the Rescue

Don't let pre-conceived notions about how a garden should look prevent you from releasing your inner gardener! These old rigidly defined concepts are so deeply ingrained that over the centuries certain phrases have remained a part of our language. Don't be fooled.


Planting and maintaining a productive garden doesn't have to be a "long row to hoe." In fact, chances are you'll never need a row, and you might as well retire the hoe. For so many of us now, it has become a thing of the past.

For these and other reasons we can thank Mel Barthomew. For gardeners the world over, theRaised Garden Beds 1981 publication of his first book "Square Foot Gardening" changed the way we look at home vegetable gardening, stripping away many of the old uneccesary limitations we imposed on ourselves. Up until then, for many gardeners, the kitchen garden had to look a certain way, and it had to be cared for in the prescribed manners. "Square Foot Gardening" (SFG) changed all of that. It made things simpler, cheaper, less damaging to our local environments and, in some cases, made the impossible possible.

Advantages of Square Foot Gardening

1. The most obvious advantage, as indicated in the name, is this method's ability to produce the same amount of vegetables in less space. Far less space. In fact, you should harvest the same amount of vegetables in only 20% of the space you formerly used!

2. Less space also means less water-- roughly 10% of what might haved been used for the same plants in a conventional garden planted in rows. No expensive hoses or other watering equipment is necessary.

3. Maintaining the smaller space is far simpler, and there's no longer any need to walk in the growing areas. Paths are easily made, with or without additional materials. When using a raised garden bed, the squares can be elevated to make them accessible to gardeners in wheelchairs.

Square-Foot Garden Beds4. Finding sufficient sunlight in a partially shaded courtyard or patio is much easier with the SFG method, particularly if raised garden beds are used. Also, a raised garden bed may be brought indoors when necessary.

5. The separation of raised-bed garden boxes into well-defined growing areas makes crop rotation an easier process.





Horn of Plenty