There are always new ways of gardening and it can be hard to keep up with them. We’re here to walk you through the pros and cons of square-foot gardening so you can decide if you want to give it a try.
Is square-foot gardening worth it: Square-foot gardening, in which you separate a raised garden bed into square-foot sections, creates lighter soil and less wasted space. You can only grow smaller crops that don’t spread out, so it is better for lettuce, herbs, and some root vegetables.
What is square-foot gardening?
Before we go any further, let’s first recap what square-foot gardening is. Essentially, you take a part of your garden, usually a raised bed, and divided it into compartments that are one square foot in area.
Within each square foot, you plant just one crop. For example, one square can be lettuce, one square can be carrots, and so in.
Should I build a square-foot garden?
There are a few reasons to build a square-foot garden. Let’s go through a checklist to see if it is right for you.
Do you have mobility problems and don’t want to bend over to the garden?
Square foot gardening uses raised beds so you don’t have to bend over as much. You can even have them custom-built so the sides are high enough that you can sit down while gardening.
Are you happy growing just a few kinds of vegetables?
Square foot gardening only works for some types of crops. If you are happy with one or two tomato plants, plenty of lettuce, and some herbs, then this is a good option.
Do you already have a raised garden bed?
While you can certainly start from scratch, it is easier to transition to this method if you have most of your apparatus already built. Then, all you need to do is attach PVC pipes or pieces of wood to make a square-foot lattice for your gardening.
Is there ready access to water?
As the depth of your square foot garden won’t be very much, and as there isn’t a lot of soil in them, it will dry out quicker than with other methods.
You will either need a hose hook-up near the garden or be able to carry a watering can to the garden. Either way, you also need extra time to complete the task.
What are the benefits of a square-foot garden?
Soil stays loose
Whenever you plant a garden, you need to be able to walk around it to weed and take care of your plants. Even if you don’t step on the plants themselves, you will make the soil around them denser and more compact.
Because your square-foot garden is in a raised bed, there is no soil compactness. Thus, your plant roots are better able to travel and grow as needed.
No wasted space
When you plant a traditional garden, you need to leave room between the plants, either to mark where they start and end, or so that you have a pathway to walk on.
A square foot garden is technically divided, but this is by a thin piece of wood. The wood floats atop the garden soil and is attached to the top of the garden sides, so there is no wasted space.
If you already have a raised garden bed, converting it to a square-foot garden is very easy. Just measure out a few pieces of thin wood and nail them down.
If you need to start from scratch, there are plenty of DIY kits to make a raised garden. Then, you simply need to add the dividers, which is also easy.
Anyone who has a traditional garden knows how much work is involved. The constant turning over of soil, digging, and planting, can be too much for most busy people.
Square foot gardening is much simpler. The soil is not compacted, so it is easier to dig out and you can easily see where your plants are for better organization.
Disadvantages of square foot garden
Even though there is more work in digging up a garden in the ground, it is much cheaper. Your dirt is still usable and even if you have to add more nutrient-rich soil, it won’t cost as much as a square-foot garden.
Wood prices are increasing, so the construction of a new garden bed won’t be cheap. Furthermore, for the best results, you should use a mixture of vermiculite, compost, and peat moss, instead of garden soil. These components all add up.
You can only grow certain types of crops in a square-foot garden. For example, larger plants such as squash and corn are too large for a cramped area.
Square foot gardening is ideal for smaller plants such as herbs and some root vegetables like carrots and radishes. If you want a wide variety of vegetables, you will need multiple types of gardens.
Not deep enough
Be careful when constructing your square-foot garden. If it is not deep enough, then you will have trouble growing root vegetables such as beets and carrots.
Some square-foot gardening parameters list the depth at just 6 inches. This is very limiting, so try to build your garden to a depth of at least 12 inches.
How big is a square foot garden?
Even though a square foot garden has parts that are just one square foot in an area, the total area of your garden will be much larger.
A raised garden bed that measures 4 feet by 4 feet is common, or you can go larger and make it 4 feet by 8 feet. There really is no standard size, so you can make your square-foot gardening area as small or large as you want.
Square foot gardening is an innovative way of growing crops. While you can’t grow larger items, it is worth considering more compact plants like lettuce and herbs.