What is square foot vegetable gardening?

The method of square foot vegetable gardening is a system that a first time or time challenged gardener can easily start with and maintain. A lot of us want to grow a fabulous garden; we clear a large patch, plant seeds and hope they will grow. We are very enthusiastic for a few months and then we get busy doing other things and before we know it our garden is overrun with weeds. This system may be easier for some of you to try rather than the traditional row gardening.

Check out my Square foot garden plan layout for ease in planting your own square foot garden.

The basic concepts of square foot gardening are:

  • You can grow more food in less space.
  • Less space is needed.
  • Less time you will need to devote to your vegetable garden.
  • Growing in 1 foot squares rather than rows.
  • Each square contains one, four, nine or sixteen plants.
  • The 1 foot squares are grouped together into blocks measuring 4 feet by 4 feet.
  • One block will feed one person for a season.

Here is a list of crops to grow in a 1 foot by 1 foot square:

    Small plants:

  • 16 radishes
  • 16 carrots
  • 16 onions
  • 9 spinach
  • 9 beets
  • 4 Swiss chard
  • 4 lettuce
  • 4 parsley
  • 4 marigolds

    Large plants

  • 1 cabbage
  • 1 broccoli
  • 1 cauliflower
  • 1 pepper
  • 1 eggplant

    Vertical plants

  • 1 tomato
  • 2 cucumbers
  • 8 pole beans

More tips on growing vegetables.

Special techniques used:

  • companion planting
    Because the area is so small you have companions in every combination without much planning.

  • crop rotation
    For best results rotate all your plants to a new square each year.

  • succession planting
    When you harvest a square replant, this will give you great vegetables all season.

  • natural pest controls
    Grow a square of pest deterrent crops like onions, garlic, marigold and nasturtiums in squares to keep your block free of pests.

One important rule in square foot vegetable gardening is not to walk on the soil. If you do you will compact the soil, eliminating air space between the soil particles, which are necessary for water and air to penetrate to the plant roots.

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