Living square foot gardeners

Published on June 8th, 2011 | by Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

11

Square Foot Gardening Plans, Layouts, & Tips: a Metaguide

square foot gardeners

I started vegetable gardening in earnest two years ago, and given my tiny little urban yard, square foot gardening made a ton of sense. If you’re not familiar with the method, it’s basically what it sounds like: rather than arranging plants in rows, you divide your gardening space into square feet, and plant specific edibles and ornamentals in each square.

It is a simple method of getting started as a gardener, or simply making more efficient use of small yard space. But, as with any form of gardening, it also presents a gardener with a number of decisions to make. ¬†And if you’re new to raising some of your own food, even a simple system like the square foot garden can feel a bit overwhelming.

Of course, reading Mel Bartholomew’s All New Square Foot Gardening (affiliate link) is a must for anyone wanting to try out the method… but because it’s become so popular since Bartholomew introduced it in the 1970s, an open source movement of sorts has sprung up around the square foot garden. Many have published tips, tricks, plans, layouts… and even created online and mobile tools to help a newbie or an older hand make his or her way through the planning and implementation of their garden.

I keep Mel’s book close at hand… but have also found lots of really valuable information online from other square foot gardeners. And, of course, I’ve learned a bit in my own three growing seasons of trial and error. Here’s some of the best of that information. But I don’t view this guide as complete… let’s keep the open source mentality going. If you know of better resources, share them… and I’ll add them.

First… building your raised beds and marking off your squares (click on the page link below)

Image credit: andypad at Flickr under a Creative Commons license



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About the Author

Jeff McIntire-Strasburg is the founder and editor of sustainablog. You can keep up with all of his writing at Facebook, and at



11 Responses to Square Foot Gardening Plans, Layouts, & Tips: a Metaguide

  1. Skot says:

    Love it!

    Started using SFG a couple of years ago. Since then I’ve moved onto Permaculture, but still use many of the philosophies to produce a ton of veggies from small spaces.

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  4. Hello! I have been gardening in the high country of Breckenridge, CO at 9,600 feet for 3 years now. I do a raised bed garden because the soil is so important–I use a mix of top soil, compost, and horse manure–and the rocky soil in the mountains here are not ideal. The raised bed design allows me to have better soil, and in addition, I build a cold frame which protects my plants from the occasional hail storms that we get in the summer. The cold frame is made inexpensively using pex tubing, commonly used in plumbing, and painter’s plastic. It helps hold in the heat during cold nights as well, as it is common for us to get a frost into the months of June. The cold frame helps to extend the growing season, but you have to water almost daily because it does not allow any rain water in.

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  7. Terri says:

    I love the whole square-foot gardening idea. I’ve used in with small gardens and large, and it always increases my productivity. I didn’t realize that there was an updated version of the book. Must buy!

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