The benefits of square foot gardening: Less weeding, high yields, consistent results, and more

Square foot gardening is an intensive gardening technique that efficiently makes use of limited space and raised beds to grow a variety of crops. According to an Olivia Solutions entry, the technique has been developed by retired civil engineer Mel Bartholomew. The gardening method is touted for its practicality and low maintenance approach, which allows gardeners to conserve labor, water, and soil conditioners.

The practice basically involves the use of a square planting area that is divided into grids, with each one containing a different crop. Here are a few tips on starting your own square foot garden:

  • Gardeners are encouraged to use raised beds with weed-free soil mix and weed barriers to boost yield and prevent unwanted weeds from sprouting.
  • It is also advisable to leave some space between crops planted on two or more plots to make maintenance a bit easier.
  • Gardeners who are suffering from any kind of disability are recommended to raise the square beds to wheelchair level to provide for easier locomotion around plots.
  • Experts suggest spreading landscape cloth or newspapers on the ground to keep weeds at bay.
  • A trellis can be installed at northern ends of the squares in order to grow vines vertically.

Top 10 reasons why you should opt for square foot gardening

  • Requires less space — One of the most obvious advantages of square foot gardening is its use of minimal space. This gardening technique can be accomplished just about anywhere such as a deck or a patio. Likewise, the space needed for square foot gardening is about 80 percent less compared with conventional gardening.
  • Easy weed control — An article posted on the Rodales Organic Life website notes that building a square foot garden will inhibit the growth of unwanted weeds. The technique also discourages the use of rows, thus discouraging weeds from popping from time to time.
  • Easy pest management — Due to their small size, square foot gardens are fairly easy to cover and protect from destructive pests.
  • Greater yield — The relatively small size of square foot gardens enable people to plant in each and every inch of the area, which in turn may produce a bounty during harvest. Moreover, a wide variety of crops — such as onions, cabbages, and peppers as well as beans and salad greens — can be readily grown in these gardens.
  • Beginner-friendly — Square foot gardening is the best option for novice gardeners to test their skills in cultivating plants.
  • Low maintenance — Square foot gardens take up less space than conventional gardens, which makes it easier to maintain. This gardening technique only requires a few minutes of tilling, composting, and fertilizing. Likewise, gardeners need not to worry about heavy digging, hauling of scrap materials, and building big compost piles.
  • Raised bed advantage — A Keeper of the Home entry highlights that the raised beds used in square foot gardening helps prevent the onset of soil compaction, which in turn may affect plant growth. Likewise, the article has stressed that the gardening method provides increased drainage and helps the crops to breathe better.
  • No heavy tools required — Because it takes up less space, square foot gardening does not require the use of heavy tools and machinery to till and amend the soil unlike traditional gardens.
  • Suitable for physically disabled people — As with novice gardeners, square foot gardening may also provide an advantage to people who are physically disabled. The garden’s limited space lets physically challenged individuals do their functions without the hindrances usually associated with traditional gardening.
  • No soil amendment needed — The smaller space required to make a square foot garden means that people need not spend hours on back breaking work to till and amend the soil. (Related: 8 ways to make healthy organic soil for your garden.)

For more tips on how to start your own garden, visit

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