What is Square Foot Gardening? – All You Need to Know

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what is square foot gardening

The recent lockdowns have inspired a lot of people to learn and try newer forms of gardening. Likewise, square foot gardening is becoming increasingly popular lately.

This method is commonly found in nurseries, and advanced gardening equipment is not necessary at all.

Additionally, it is also included in the wholesome list of DIY activities that help people stay productive while staying idle at home. 

It is pretty easy and even child-friendly to begin with. This is the main reason people with both large and small gardens have been motivated to try this form of gardening.

This article will generally focus on the essential facets of square foot gardening and embark on a journey towards perfecting it in minimal time.

As the name suggests, this advanced form includes the division of the area into small compartments so that the concept of less is more can be brought to life. 

Favored Areas and More

It is mainly practiced in areas where essential commodities like seasonal vegetables are not available as easily as they are in urban areas. These days, even city dwellers have begun employing this technique as a trend or as a way to hone their existing gardening skills.

Experts believe that square foot gardening was initially developed to properly manage space and grow different varieties in the same place. This technique was introduced by Mel Bartholomew, who was a gardener cum engineer.

By this, it’s clear that this highly efficient technique combines the core concepts of engineering and gardening.

Space utilization is the need of the hour, and this practice popularises precisely the same idea. Read on to know all about square foot gardening, plus some extra tips and tricks.

“Gardening adds years to your life, and life to your years.”

The Breakthrough

Before stepping into the actual process, it is worth mentioning the source of this wonderful technique – a book.

Thanks to the propagator mentioned above, Mel Bartholomew, the common populace gets to learn about square foot gardening and its nuances.

The book authored by the versatile man is available under the title “All New Square Foot Gardening: The Revolutionary Way To Grow More In Less Space.” 

Now, how is this simple process revolutionary? This is actually pretty intriguing. The reason behind such a proposition is the effect of the discovery. Mr. Bartholemew discussed his findings in 1981, and it still serves as the best source. 

There have been many television shows on square foot gardening. In case someone you know is enthusiastic about this method, you can give these classic books to them.

Ever since Bartholemew passed away, the fans and followers have been encouraging people to buy his books. Do check them out if you’re wanting an immersive gardening experience. 

Planning Decoded

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

With this thought, the essence of proper planning (before indulging in the actual planting procedure) is rightly established. It is a good idea to have two plans before beginning.

This ensures that your motivation would not drop in case things don’t work out as expected on the first try. The easiest step is making accurate and well-spaced divisions. 

Primarily, a four-by-four-foot area is designated for this procedure. Planning essentials include thorough research on crop availability and their particular requirements.

Once this is sorted, you can easily move on to the choice of vegetables. Though it is common to start with veggies, it is equally feasible to go for spices and seasonal herbs. Some of the regular practitioners suggest beginning with easy options like basil leaves and chilies.

Top Ten Essential Guidelines 

guidelines for square foot gardening

1. Go for Plants with Good Yield

Square foot gardening is a simple but time taking process. Certain species require individual attention.

Since chilies and tomatoes are high in yield, try them first or alternate with oregano and other herbs. 

2. Choose Veggies that are Consumed on a Regular Basis 

Consuming homegrown vegetables is highly satisfactory. That is why one must pick the ones which are common and do not need other special arrangements. Wash thoroughly even if they are right from the garden. 

3. Do Not Go Too Fast

In the beginning, limit the divisions to sixteen sets each. Whether you choose vertical or horizontal gardening, take care of the old ones first.

It is beneficial to keep track of plant growth and yield regularly.

4. Removing Weeds is As Essential As All Other Steps

No one prefers a spoiled gardening experience. To prevent the same, make sure the plantations are free from stubborn weed and other infestations.

Weeds can easily be plucked by hand but wear gloves before doing so. Fertilizers and insecticides are a must.

5. Secure the Plantations

Good environmental conditions play an essential role in the lifespan of square foot gardening.

Irrespective of the season, the young plants should be protected from harsh weather.

6. Begin With the Easiest Ones

Do not try to compete with the gardening giants right from day one. Give your best but begin with low maintenance options for a good kick start.

7. Give Good Consideration to the Soil Quality

Apart from the weather, the quality and yield capacity of the soil used is equally important. In case it is low in water retention, the end results might be drastically affected.

8. Seasonal Plantations are Bound to Wither Away with Time

After repeated attempts, one might get emotionally attached to the green friends. Do not be disheartened, as drying off is the fate of seasonal plants.

9. Proper Aftercare is a Must 

Initially, the motivation is relatively high. It is natural that the excitement might fade away with time. Still, maintain the necessary conditions suitable for the plants. 

10. Overwatering Does More Harm Than Good 

When people plant for the first time, it is pretty tempting to water them continuously. While the person might think it to be beneficial for the saplings, this is not the case.

Final Call

Now that you have been introduced to all the essentials regarding this highly efficient technique, it is time to apply it wherever you wish.

Gardeners who consider growing plants as a holy activity have regarded this practice as “a gift to mother nature” owing to the systematic organization. For advanced gardeners or those currently planning to start a home garden, this guide is sure to suffice all your needs. 

It is crucial to possess sound knowledge about square foot gardening concepts before being employed in the concerned area.

One must ensure that the whole experience is enjoyed. This way, the gardening process will become a leisure activity instead of a tedious chore. 

“Practice makes a man perfect.”

It is completely fine to err in the beginning. With rigorous practice, one can easily master the art of gardening, even the most unique and complex crops. 

The Way Ahead

Once the skills are adept for this process, one can promote this work as well. These days, gardening is not just limited to a freelancing activity.

People having even the smallest garden areas have adopted this process, and the videos of the same are floating all around the web.

Anyone can do so. Simply create a collection of your square foot gardening compartments and share customized secrets with the netizens. 

A lot of entrepreneurs have also stepped into this nature-friendly venture. Apart from this, video lectures are being produced to guide others.

All this makes square foot gardening even more accessible.

We hope you have a great experience. Do not forget to share your skills with the netizens!

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