Square Foot Gardening — Sq ft Garden — Box Gardens

Sq ft Gardening - sowing seeds in a square foot garden

What's square foot gardening? Is it a dance? Actually it's almost the opposite, because when you have a sq ft garden layout, it's rather easy to sit down on the job.

Square foot gardening or box gardening, is, you've guessed it... all done in small squares or boxes.

This is one of the easiest ways to garden. It's perfect for beginners because it has very specific guidelines.

No need to wade through a lot of information or pile of books... there's nothing new or super cool—just remember, stay square.

It's also great for small garden owners because you can concentrate of lot of plants together and it keeps the garden in little compact spaces.

And finally because it's simple and accessible to work with, it makes gardening a pleasure for those who are less agile, frail or disabled.

So guys and gals, grab your pardner (or a spade) 1..2..3..♬ and let's go square dancin'!

Doin' the square foot gardening shuffle ♫♫

But first a teensy bit of strenuous preparation. Build your garden first (the no-dig method naturally) using a solid boundary, such as planks, logs or tyres, around the edges.

Make your square foot garden beds long and narrow, or make a U-shaped bed, allowing for cultivation from either side without having to step on the garden. If your garden is against a wall, make it your arm's reach wide.

There are plenty of ways to mark out your squares or boxes. For example...

  • On the outside of the planks or edge, knock in short upright stakes. If they get a bit skewed sometimes, sort them out but no need to be too fussy. The inside is then divided by coloured tapes or twine into roughly 12-inch (30cm) squares.
  • If using tape or twine, it must be strong and thick enough so that it doesn't get lost amongst the plants. Light string tends to sag; strong twine is fine, but needs replacing yearly. Otherwise a little bit of the dreaded plastic in your garden won't hurt, such as vinyl strips, plastic clothes line or nylon rope.
  • sq ft garden boxes in tiers
  • OR...use wooden slats nailed to the edge of your raised box
  • Build 1ft square boxes or oblong boxes in multiples of 1ft. Then put these boxes side by side or in tiers.

This one square foot garden size seems to be not too big, not too small, but just right... thanks Goldilocks!

Really these sq ft garden plots mean no wastage, and make it easy to use the minimum of seed; thus a minimum, if any, of thinning. They are concentrated little factories of delicious plants.

Great for kids!

Give them their own square to look after... this will seem really special and less daunting than part of a larger garden.

square foot gardening growing concentrated lettuces

What to Plant with Square Foot Gardening

Per square or box (depending on varieties chosen), you can plant:

  • 1 cabbage
  • or 1 pepper plant
  • or 1 tomato plant
  • or 1 broccoli
  • or 1 corn
  • or 2 cucumbers
  • or 3 marigolds
  • or 4 lettuces
  • or 4 celery
  • or 4 chard or silverbeet
  • or 4 garlic
  • or 4 parsley
  • or 8-9 beans
  • or 16 carrots
  • or 16 radishes
  • ... and so on.

As with all gardens, planning your square foot garden should take into account the usual rules, like north/south aspect for sun, water availability, and prevailing wind.

And because this neat little box gardening method is so suitable for the less-than-agile gardener, make the site as near the kitchen or living room as possible so you can easily nip out for some garnish, a lettuce leaf, or spot of maintenance.

After harvesting one square, add a trowel of compost, maybe some mulch and rotate with different plants, You can see that sq ft gardening is not at all daunting as you do it square-by-square over time if necessary.

Most work can be done seated, though some people prefer to kneel. You can lean down from an ordinary plastic chair, but don't strain your back. You may find a low bench seat with back support the best. Use an adjacent light chair to help yourself to rise by putting a hand on its seat.

square ft gardening feet in box

Time to settle back, put your feet up and get into this method of sq ft gardening in a box...

Here's more information about similar gardening methods as square foot gardening:

Raised Vegetable Garden

Straw Bale Gardening

No Till Gardening

Lasagna Gardening

Back to HOME page: No Dig Vegetable Garden

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