How to grow veg using just 1sq ft

I love the idea of square foot gardening. By following a simple and straightforward formula, anyone with even the smallest of outdoor spaces can grow their own fruit and veg, and it claims to be an idiot proof formula.

In light of the fact that it’s National Gardening Week, I thought it would be a helpful topic to focus on as people turn their attention towards their gardens and what to do with them.  Square foot gardening is the perfect solution for new gardeners, those with little spare time, the elderly, disabled and kids.

The idea:

Square Foot Gardening was developed in the 1970s as a simple way to create easy-to-manage gardens with raised beds. Advocates claim it produces more vegetables, uses less soil and water and takes around 2% of the time spent on a traditional garden.  It claims to save time by avoiding planting in rows and therefore helping to eliminate weeds. Planting in squares of 1ft x 1ft also makes it easy to rotate crops.

How do I do it?

  • Create a raised bed that is 6-12” deep and ideally 4ft x 4ft (with string/canes splitting the space into four equal squares).
  • Soil mix: this should consist of 1/3 compost, 1/3 peat moss and 1/3 vermiculite (although you should really use 100% peat free compost if you want to be kind to the environment)
  • Avoid walking on the soil: it’s important to keep it light
  • Planting: each square will accommodate 1, 4 9 or 16 plants depending on the size of the plant (see planting table below)
  • Thinning: this should be done with scissors instead of pulling up excess plants which can disturb the root system.


By following the above rules, this creates an almost fail-safe method for successful gardening.  Why not find out more about square foot gardening by visiting some blogs, such as My square foot garden or visit the website of the Square Foot Gardening Foundation.  You can also buy the original book, on Amazon which was written by the founder of Square Foot Gardening, Mel Bartholomew, in the 1970’s.

If you decide to give it a go, let me know how you get on – I’d love to hear your feedback!

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