Square Foot Gardening is a method of gardening invented by best-selling author Mel Bartholomew in 1976 and updated in his book All New Square Foot Gardening published in 2006. The key principle of Square Foot Gardening is the elimination of single row gardens in favor of gardening in wider, raised garden beds, the surface of which have been marked off with one foot "planting squares". Planting instructions are based on references to the planting squares.
Square Foot Gardening offers many benefits for vegetable gardens:
The raised garden beds sit above the ground, generally six to twelve inches high hanging on the style of garden bed you select. One of the key advantages of raised garden beds is that you do not need to worry about the quality of the soil beneath the surface of the bed. Instead, you simply turn over any existing sod so that the grass faces down into the ground. Then you place the raised garden bed on the overturned sod and fill the bed with high quality planting soil.
Before the surge in popularity in Square Foot Gardening, gardeners had little choice but to make their own raised garden beds. Nowadays, there are very cost-effective options for purchasing raised garden bed systems, including trellises and small animal barriers.
Square Foot Gardening does require conversion of the standard planting instructions provided on the back of seed packs into instructions suitable for Square Foot Gardening. Find the "thin to" spacing on the back of the seed pack, and convert using the following formula:
Be careful not to overcrowd your vegetables. Vegetables are intolerable to a wide range of diseases caused by insufficient airflow from overcrowding. In addition, bees and other pollinators have a more difficult time in an overcrowded garden, resulting in loss of harvest due to lack of pollination.