By: Jennifer Murray

Planning A Square Foot Vegetable Garden

Last year was our first shot at gardening, and it was more successful than we expected.  We had a great taste of a variety of vegetables, and a bountiful supply of others.  Today we are picking out seeds for our first Square Foot Garden.  We used a raised garden last year and followed several of the recommendations from the Square Foot Gardening method, but after reading the All New Square Foot Gardening* book, we’re diving in!

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If you haven’t heard of Square Foot Gardening, it is a system of organized efficient gardening in less space.  The garden is divided into 1’ x 1’ squares and a calculated amount of the same produce is planted within that square.  For instance, 16 carrot plants can be planted in one square, or 1 pepper plant per square.  I highly recommend the book for getting started and as a great overall resource. Our garden is a 4’ x 8’ space, which should allow us to grow sugar snap peas, romaine lettuce, spinach, sweet corn, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, onions, eggplant, basil, carrots, and green beans in our small space.  It almost sounds too good to be true!

how to build a square foot garden

I’m just looking forward to eating FRESH produce straight from our backyard!  It’s also so much fun to watch things grow with the boys and see them get excited in the process!

And now we’re off to purchase our seeds!  (You can check out our past gardening posts while we’re out if you’d like!)

What’s YOUR favorite home grown produce?  Have you ever tried Square Foot Gardening?  Any tips or advice?



*Links to Amazon Affiliate Link

17 Responses to “Planning A Square Foot Vegetable Garden”

  1. Trippin' Mama
    April 11, 2011 at 1:36 pm #

    We have used the square-foot gardening method. Works great for some things, and not so well for others! My tomatoes always crowded out their neighbors, for example. I’ll be interested to see how your sweet corn does. Corn takes so much out of the soil, I wonder if its neighbors will suffer?

    I skipped the 1×1 grid this year in favor of rows. (Also in a 4×8 bed. Well, a couple of them.) I put the rows closer together than recommended, and also interplanted. So the radishes will be done and gone before the peas get too big to bother them. And the lettuce will be pretty much spent before the green beans encroach.

    With good planning, you can get a lot of a little garden. Just be sure to give that soil a lot of compost and a little fertilizer before next year’s planting!

    Good luck.


  2. HoundDogMom (Sherri)
    April 11, 2011 at 2:36 pm #

    We put in a huge garden every year. Green Beans are my favorite and I can them as well. Last year our groundhog ate everything in the Garden so I am hoping this year will be better. Our garden was horrible last year, but my goal is to a least can 70 quarts of beans a summer. We also put in about 30 tomato plants and can them as well. Never tried this kind of gardening but I have always had enough space to put a huge one in. I learned last year for the first time about Straw Bale Gardening, that was pretty interesting. You basically plant everything in a well soaked bale of straw. Look foward to watching your garden grow. Sherri

  3. Josephine
    April 11, 2011 at 3:31 pm #

    We also did a raised bed garden last year and after reading this post we did NOT make the most use of our space! I’m hoping to grab this book at our local library and enjoy the fruits of my harvest this year!!

  4. Aimee
    April 11, 2011 at 5:00 pm #

    We are underway as well! This will be my first attempt, but I have fond memories of doing this with my mother & grandmother as a child–I hope it will be a good activity for my girls as well! I’ll be blogging on the topic too, so we’ll keep each other posted!

  5. Crystal
    April 11, 2011 at 6:41 pm #

    We have raised beds in a small space too and love it! My 3-year-old absolutely digs watching everything grow, pun intended. 🙂

  6. Lana
    April 11, 2011 at 7:32 pm #

    Keep on playing with it. I’m thinking you might have trouble with sweet corn in a 1 x 1 space, but other plants will thrive. Just enjoy the process and watch the kids learn so much about the food they eat. We plant our sweet corn alongside our field corn. Right now we seem to be a mecca for rabbits, so I am not sure I am going to try and put out too much. Depends on how quickly the 1800 acres of corn and beans we need to plant go in to the ground.

    • QuatroMama
      April 12, 2011 at 10:54 am #

      Last year we planted our corn in a small circle, and it shaded out our cucumbers, so this year I think I planned it a little better. We shall see! =) Love fresh sweet corn!

  7. Barbara Manatee
    April 11, 2011 at 10:01 pm #

    We have a huge garden in our back yard. Each year it seems to get bigger and bigger! I think we currently have about 15 large raised beds. My husband doesn’t exactly follow the square foot gardening but I’m sure its somewhere along that idea. We used to have a garden that sat flat in the middle of the backyard but it took up a lot of space, was hard to prep and weed and often flooded. We’ve had much more success since doing raised beds. My husband plants a little of everything and we always have an abundance of fresh veggies all summer long!!

    April is Autism Awareness Month. I’m dedicating my blog all month long to Autism!

    • QuatroMama
      April 12, 2011 at 10:38 am #

      15 raised beds! Holy Veggies! =) That’s awesome! Can’t wait to taste some homegrown goodness!

  8. Deb
    April 12, 2011 at 7:50 am #

    Don’t forget the plastic dinosaurs & monsters!!!

    • QuatroMama
      April 12, 2011 at 10:24 am #

      Oh yeah! Garden Dinosaurs for the Win!

  9. Alicia @ Alicia's Homemaking
    April 17, 2011 at 8:36 am #

    Oooh, so exciting, Jen! We have a garden for the first time this year…our zucchini plants are blooming, and I’m so excited! *Hoping* for some tomatoes and peppers, as well.

  10. Stephanie
    April 27, 2011 at 1:02 am #

    I’ve always wanted to garden, but have been intimidated by the process. Thanks for making the endeavor seem doable!

    • QuatroMama
      April 27, 2011 at 12:08 pm #

      Totally doable. Trust me. If you can survive life in an RV that it will be a walk in the park! =)

  11. Danielle
    May 1, 2011 at 7:55 pm #

    Thank you!!!! We are endervering to do our first raised bed/square foot garden ever because you have inspired me. I am super excited and looking forward to seeing what we can grow. We had a garden about 8years ago but not since. I can’t wait to continuing reading about yours. Thanks for the inspiration and recommendation of the book (currently on back order:-( ) but we are waiting patiently and starting what we can now:-) Thanks again


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