Benefits of square-foot gardening (2024)

Where I grew up in the countryside, the majority of cottages are surrounded by organic vegetables, and families often spend the whole day ploughing, raking, weeding, and hoeing. When it comes to gardening, people usually think of a big plot, just like me. I revised the concept when I became the owner of my family, and we both purchased our first house. The house met our basic needs, but having a vegetable garden in our backyard seemed out of reach. On the other hand, my wife had a copy of Bartholomew's square-foot gardening method book.

Bartholomew's method allowed us to enjoy reasonable crop production in a small space. With his technique, almost any homeowner can grow their own food.

This article benefits all those who want to see their surroundings green and full of veggies.

Square foot gardening

Benefits of square-foot gardening (1)

Mel Bartholomew introduced the method of gardening, which was first introduced in the 1980s. Active 2: In the 1980s, Mel Bartholomew introduced a method of gardening, and he has updated his book, published in 1981, several times over the years with revised information and additional projects to enhance a square-foot garden. Since it works so well, the original concept of square-foot gardening remains the same; it is the method that produces far less waste and requires less care than traditional row gardening methods. Any layperson can weed the garden without any expertise in gardening, and there is no need to have a green thumb to grow plants with this method. The founder of Square Foot Gardening aims tohelp people all across the world produce their food and end world hunger. He wanted everyone to have one of these gardens in their yard. This means that the design had to be easy to make, simple to maintain, and not take up much space at the basic level.

a) Space Efficiency

One of the most significant advantages of square-foot gardening is that it saves or consumes 80% less space than conventional gardening. Gardeners can plant various crops in a small area by using a raised bed and dividing it into one-foot squares. Intense planting practices with this method make growing more food in less space possible. Those with limited backyard space or who want to grow vegetables on a balcony, a raised garden bed, or a rooftop have a method to make growing food possible.

b) Easy Water Usage

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Square foot gardening requires less water than traditional gardening because it contains the soil in a small space. As a result, water is used more efficiently in a smaller area, resulting in less water waste due to evaporation.

Additionally, gardeners can use drip irrigation or soaker hoses to deliver water directly to the roots of the plants, further reducing water usage. Since the beds are small, it is easy to provide moisture to the crops and not waste water by watering the paths or rows in between. The soil mix absorbs and holds water. The close spacing also helps shade the soil, preventing moisture loss.

c) Adaptable to different areas

Square foot gardening is adaptable to different areas, such as urban areas, balconies, rooftops, or even indoors. Gardeners can use a variety of containers or raised beds to create a square-foot garden in any location.

Its adaptability helps the planters start quickly, plan a new garden, or even expand a garden. Gathering the material allows anyone to build, fill, and start planting it the same day.

d) Versatility and Diversity

One of the major advantages of a square-foot garden (SFG) is its versatility and diversity. With a little creativity, it can grow a variety of crops in a single square foot, including lettuce, herbs, tomatoes, peppers, and more. Additionally, SFGs can be designed to incorporate companion planting, which means planting different types of plants together that have beneficial growing relationships. This not only saves space but also helps to maximise yields and promote healthy growth.

Square-foot gardening is also very versatile. It can be used to grow vegetables, herbs, and flowers. It can be used in small spaces, such as a balcony or patio, or larger spaces, such as a backyard. It is also easy to customise the garden to suit individual tastes and preferences.

One of the keys to successful square-foot gardening is proper plant spacing. Each plant requires a certain amount of space to grow properly. For example, lettuce plants should be spaced about 4 inches apart, while tomato plants should be spaced about 1 foot apart. Proper plant spacing ensures that each plant has enough room to grow and receive the nutrients it needs.

e) Higher Yield

Square-foot gardening can yield more produce per square foot than traditional gardening. This gardening technique involves densely planting crops in a small area, allowing gardeners to harvest more produce per square foot.

Square foot gardening principles also incorporate plants that attract pollinators, which will help increase yields in crops that require pollination, like melons, cucumbers, and strawberries.

f) Companion Planting

Another advantage of square-foot gardening is that it often involves companion planting, where different plant species are grown together to benefit one another. For example, some companion plants can repel pests, while others can attract beneficial insects.

By using companion planting in a square-foot garden, gardeners can create an environment that is more attractive to beneficial insects like pollinators and natural enemies of pests, which can help control pest populations and improve overall plant health.

Companion planting is the technique in which different plants are planted together to enhance each other's growth and health. This method is particularly beneficial for square-foot gardens (SFG), as it maximises the use of available space and resources. By planting compatible plants together, gardeners can create a balanced ecosystem that promotes healthy growth and pest control. Some examples of companion plants for SFG include tomatoes and basil, peppers and eggplant, and squash and beans.

The Multiple Landing Theory And Square Foot Gardening

The “Multiple Landing Theory” or “Oviposition Preference” is a scientific idea that explains how insects decide where to lay their eggs. Essentially, insects must land multiple times on different plants to evaluate their quality and determine if it’s a suitable place to lay their eggs. This process allows insects to choose if the plant has the necessary nutrients and proper conditions for larval development and if any factors may affect their offspring’s survival.

So, what does this have to do with square-foot gardening?

Well, square-foot gardening allows for more intensive planting, with different types of plants grown near one another. The benefit is that insects may land on various inhospitable plants multiple times, increasing the likelihood that they will not find a suitable host to lay their eggs.

Final Thoughts On Square Foot Gardening

A good wrap-up for the article on Square Foot Garden should summarise in such a way that the potential SFG has many environmental benefits, such as water conservation and reduced nutrient runoff, as well as practical benefits for gardeners, such as increased space efficiency and easier garden maintenance. Furthermore, it has already been shared that square-foot gardening is a great way to grow a large amount of food in a small amount of space. It is easy to maintain, versatile, and customisable. By following a few simple steps, anyone can create a successful square-foot garden and enjoy the benefits of fresh, homegrown produce.

In conclusion, square-foot gardening is an excellent method to maximise space, increase yields, and minimise maintenance. Furthermore, with a precise planting layout and close spacing, square-foot gardening allows for more efficient use of space and resources, making it an ideal choice for small gardens or urban settings.

However, like any gardening method, square-foot gardening has pros and cons. While it can be highly productive, it also requires an initial investment in materials and more maintenance than other gardening methods. Additionally, the small planting areas can limit the variety of plants that can be grown, and the soil may require more frequent amendments to maintain fertility.

Benefits of square-foot gardening (2024)


Benefits of square-foot gardening? ›

Pros of Square-Foot Gardening

What are square foot gardening benefits? ›

The Square Foot Gardening Method™ saves gardeners time, effort, tools, space and water. The Square Foot Gardening Method is estimated to cost 50% less, uses 20% less space, 10% of the water, and only 2% of the work compared to single row gardening.

What are some reasons that square foot gardening is practical? ›

Square foot gardening is adaptable to different areas, such as urban areas, balconies, rooftops, or even indoors. Gardeners can use a variety of containers or raised beds to create a square-foot garden in any location. Its adaptability helps the planters start quickly, plan a new garden, or even expand a garden.

What is square foot gardening summary? ›

Square foot gardening is the practice of dividing the growing area into small square sections. The aim is to assist the planning and creating of a small but intensively planted vegetable garden. It results in a simple and orderly gardening system, from which it draws much of its appeal.

Is square foot gardening the best? ›

The Bottom Line

Square foot gardening is a solid gardening method for any home gardener, especially beginners and people who are short on space. The drawbacks (while real) all have fairly simple solutions. Of course, it's all about your individual needs and preferences, but if it interests you, we say give it a whirl!

What is the purpose of square feet? ›

A square foot is a measurement of area used in the US customary system. Square feet are most commonly used in the US as a measurement of a flat space such as a room, the amount of floor space in a house or apartment, farm land, and much more.

What problem does gardening solve? ›

Through growing our own food, harvesting other resources, and managing waste, we can significantly reduce our consumption and negative impact on the planet. We can also help to sequester carbon in plants and soil through creating a sustainable and productive garden.

What is special about gardening? ›

Gardening invites you to get outside, interact with other gardeners, and take charge of your own need for exercise, healthy food, and beautiful surroundings. If you're digging, hauling, and harvesting, your physical strength, heart health, weight, sleep, and immune systems all benefit.

What are the pros and cons of raised gardening? ›

Planting in raised garden beds helps ensure great drainage, warmer soil temperature in early spring, and loose soil that's easy to mix up with compost and amendments. The downside is that you need to construct a raised bed, buy lots of soil to fill it, and you won't be able to move it around.

How deep should a square foot garden be? ›

For square foot gardening, you will need to build a raised garden bed or reallocate one that you already have. Typically, for best ease of use and accessibility to the garden bed, it is recommended to start with raised beds that measure approximately 4 ft x 4 ft with depths of 6-12 inches.

How many plants can you have per square foot gardening? ›

4 inches, you can fit 9 plants in each square foot. 6 inches, you can fit 4 plants per square foot. 12 inches, you can fit 1 plant per square foot.

What is the most productive garden layout? ›

As a general rule, put tall veggies toward the back of the bed, mid-sized ones in the middle, and smaller plants in the front or as a border. Consider adding pollinator plants to attract beneficial insects that can not only help you get a better harvest, but will also prey on garden pests.

How many square feet is a good size garden? ›

As a rule of thumb, you should start small then add if needed. A good starting size for a garden would be between 75 and 100 square feet.

How many square feet should a garden be per person? ›

Generally speaking, 200 square feet of garden space per person will allow for a harvest that feeds everyone year-round. For an average family of four, plan for an 800 square-foot garden—a plot that's 20 feet by 40 feet in size should do the trick.

Is square foot gardening the same as intensive gardening? ›

Intensive gardening is a generic term used to describe methods of maximizing the garden space you use to grow your plants. Square foot gardening, an intensive gardening technique, was popularized by Mel Bartholomew in his book Square Foot Gardening.


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