Square foot gardening

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The Square foot gardening concept was created by retired civil engineer Mel Bartholomew who wrote the book Square Foot Gardening published by Rodale Press. His gardening concept was also featured on the Public Broadcasting System. As the name implies, the garden is designed in one-foot squares, which may further be divided symmetrically: a relatively large plant goes in the center, while small plants could be placed in twelve one-inch squares within the one-foot area.

Originally, Bartholomew assumed 4x4 foot raised beds on the ground. There have been several variants, including placing it on a platform to discourage weed growth. It can also be built as one unit and placed on a table or saw horses allowing the garden box to be brought indoors. This portability allows disabled persons the opportunity to garden using this method. When placing it at waist level, it can be useful to build garden boxes that are smaller than 4x4, such as 3x2 or 4x2, so they are light enough to lift and move.

Variations also include planting quick growing plants next to slower growing plants. Some of the quick growing plants that could be planted next to a slower growing plant could be radishes or quick growing lettuces. Throughout the growing season plants are harvested and later replanted within these squares.

Bartholomew recommends purchasing and using Mel's Mix to fill the raised garden bed, but his book does give directions on how to make your own garden mix. The garden mix consists of peat moss, vermiculite, sand, compost, lime and organic fertilizers.

Watering the Square Foot Garden can be done by using a bucket of water or by using a drip irrigation system.


[1] Tim's Square Foot Gardening web site

[2]Square Foot Gardening

  1. Tim's Square Foot Gardening. Retrieved on 2011-01-30.
  2. Bartholomew, Mel (2005). Square foot gardening: a new way to garden in less space with less work. Emmaus, PA: Rodale. ISBN 1-57954-856-3.