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How to Practice Square Foot Gardening

Square foot gardening doesn't require a lot of space, so it's a great way to fit a garden into your life. Here's how you do it.


  • Step 1: Choose a layout Choose a layout that does not require you to walk on the beds; 4-by-4-foot beds are a good choice.
  • TIP: Allow adequate spacing for walkways -- 3-foot aisles work well.
  • Step 2: Build or purchase frames Build or purchase garden box frames. They can be made of practically any material, but don't use wood that has been chemically treated. The boxes should be from 6 to 8 inches high.
  • Step 3: Fill the boxes with soil Fill the boxes with amended soil. A soil mixture of one-third compost, one-third peat moss, and one-third vermiculite is recommended for square foot gardening.
  • Step 4: Construct grids Construct grids of 1-foot-square segments as overlays for your beds. You can use wood or plastic strips fastened together by screws or rivets for the grids.
  • Step 5: Plant seeds Make holes in the soil with your finger and plant seeds in the grids.
  • TIP: Plant a different type of seed in each square foot segment. Check the recommended spacings on the back of seed packets for planting densities. If a plant requires a larger growing space, use more than 1 square foot segment.
  • Step 6: Water Water seedlings with sun-warmed water.
  • Step 7: Add compost Add some compost to the soil each time you harvest. Then replant with a different crop. Now you've mastered the happy art of square foot gardening.
  • FACT: The first Arbor Day took place on April 10, 1872 in Nebraska.

You Will Need

  • Layout
  • Box frames
  • Amended soil
  • Grids
  • Plant seeds
  • Water
  • Compost
  • Walkways (optional)
  • Seed packets (optional)

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