Square Foot Gardening: An Introduction

By: Jibreel Cooper

Are you new to gardening? Are you someone who likes to keep things in an orderly fashion? Are you just trying to make good use of a limited amount of space? If you answered yes to any of those questions, you should try your hand at Square Foot Gardening!

Square Foot Gardening is an organizational method of planting/gardening designed to maximize efficiency while working within a small space. A standard Square Foot raised garden bed is typically 4 feet by 4 feet and divided into 1 foot by 1 foot individual sections for whatever you are planning to grow. 

While this gardening method may encourage you to plant a variety of veggies, much of Square Foot Gardening lends itself to companion planting. Companion planting is the strategic planting of different crops within close proximity of each other for several reasons including pest control, soil health, and weed suppression. Just as there are plants that are beneficial to one another, there are also plants that can stunt each other’s growth when grown too close together. Be wary of plants that may shade out their square foot garden neighbors or attract harmful insects to your garden. Companion planting as its own topic will be covered more in depth for next week’s Cultivation Calendar installation!    

For those that are new to it, this method of gardening may raise a few questions:

  • (What can I grow in a SFG?)  A lot of things! Square Foot Gardens allow for a variety of things to be planted within them but be wary of trying to grow larger plants.
  • (How much might this cost?) Square Foot Gardens can be relatively inexpensive to construct and maintain but the costs can add up if you’re looking to make a larger scale garden.
  • (How will I know if a SFG is right for me? Is it worth it?) It all depends on what your goals for this coming growing season are! A Square Foot Garden can be useful for all levels of gardening experience but more ambitious gardeners may choose to eschew this method and grow in traditional rows!

Square Foot Gardening will be covered alongside other methods of planning in our Green Thumb Garden Planning Workshops taking place this spring! Be sure to register at vinesgardens.org/events