Square foot gardening: a formula for successful intensive gardening

Square foot gardening is an intensive gardening system that provides lots of tasty vegetables from a small space

A large wooden frame sectioned off into 16 square foot sections. There is a wooden trellis on the back and six different green plants planted into the soil of six different square foot sections.
Getty image.

If you love to pick fresh veggies but don’t have room for a traditional garden, try square foot gardening. Over the past few years, Mel Bartholomew’s idea has taken gardening to a whole new level.

In his book, “The All New Square Foot Gardening Book”, Bartholomew highlights his formula for success. His methods are a great resource for seasoned gardeners and those new to this ever-growing hobby.

Bartholomew explains his easy-to-follow intensive gardening system. Using the square foot system, you can grow more fresh produce with less space, and save time with less watering, weeding and tilling.

The principles of square foot gardening are simple. You start with a mix of soil made up of compost, vermiculite and peat moss. Then you divide your garden space into square feet, planting each foot according to the number of plants you can plant per square foot. For example, 16 carrot plants or nine bean plants are ideal per square foot, but larger plants such as peppers use one square foot per plant.

You can find a great online tool to plan your square foot garden at growveg.com. Bartholomew also has a serious of YouTube videos to get you off to a great gardening season. These videos also demonstrate how this intensive gardening system is being used in developing countries to help feed the world.

Looking for another way to increase your crop production from limited space? Try companion planting – interplanting fast growing crops that will be harvested early (such as radishes) with larger, later-maturing plants (such as tomatoes). To find out more about companion planting, the book “Carrots Love Tomatoes” by Louise Riotte is a great resource.

Michigan State University Extension hopes this gets you off to a productive and tasty gardening season!

Did you find this article useful?