Square Foot Gardening feels Hip and Square to Family

PinExt Square Foot Gardening feels Hip and Square to Family

If you are limited in gardening space have you heard about Square Foot Gardening?  I have shared about container gardening for indoor and outdoor spaces before.  Today, let’s talk about Square Foot Gardening founder, Mel Bartholomew’s, method.  I  remember him on television many years back.  I tried it and works.  Living on more than an acre of land snuggled and hidden from the city I have lots of room to garden.

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A look into our country land with sheds

This method is great for the beginner or the advanced gardener.  It works for those who want to use limited space, avoid weeding and get an abundant crop.  Mel can show you more in his books.  Or, you may have the room but not the time.  Regardless, it is a great opportunity to explore.

The famous Mel Bartholomew’s Perfect Growing Mix:

1/3 Peat Moss – garden/nursery centers or even Home Depot, Lowe’s may have. Try hardware store too

1/3 Vermiculite – coarse grade in 4 cubic foot bags sold at above places

1/3 Blended Compost – Your own homemade compost is great or you need to buy.  You need blended compost, so don’t buy all of the same kind.

Note: Soil is key to getting any garden to grow besides your love, light, water and food.

Did you know that those long rows that you plant can have “weedy uninvited nasty” visitors show up?  With this type of gardening this problem is pretty much solved.   

Does everybody need a square foot garden?  I think it depends on your needs and wants.  On our land ideally using Earthbox works well.    However, that can change if I do more gardening closer to the back door.

Let’s look at what is starting to grow in my Earthbox.  The plants are still small, but they will grow.

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Tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers so far

The book…“All New Square Foot Gardening”

This book shares tricks and tools Mel learned over the years.  Worth looking for at the library or owning your own. I  just recently heard about it. 

Now imagine your garden built in a grid.  This saves space and is the Square Foot Gardening method, 1′ x 1′. 

It takes up approximately 1/5th space and allows 1/5 work to get a bumper crop too. 

Here’s how it works…

Think of one foot squares as you read on think about your grid.

What goes into one square:

4 lettuce plants will come from one square which is one foot.

carrots: 16 produced

spinach: 9 in one square

This is system is base on a grid.

Calling all schools…

Today there are many school programs where kids can grow their food and harvest.  It’s like “on the job training with fun and food rewards.”  Schools today are using Mel’s Square Foot Gardening method too.

What’s your excuse?

Space, time, lighting or…

I challenge you to grab one of his books (his other one: Square Foot Gardening), or search online and get started.  What about the kids?  Wonderful project for them to learn from watching things grow and eating fresh. Organics is always best.

Reflecting and Acting…

How about saying “Yes I Can” to square foot gardening. It is a fun project for you or your family. Remember the kids.  Also if you have knee problems there are knee pads you wear or even pads you can place on the ground.  I just hope you are able to bend and water to gain the harvest.  Let me know and comment here how you are doing and if this post spoke and encouraged you to start.   Share the “good news” about gardening, eating healthier and many times saving money too with others.  Being frugal this way works.  After reading this check on youtube but first comment.

What Did You Think? Please share.

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Carol Giambri is a writer, photographer, gardener and health food specialist living a green lifestyle for decades.  She sees beauty around her and always has her camera in hand.  It can be a dog, fruit, vegetable, cloud or whatever catches her eyes.  She loves saving money, coaching people how to embrace healthy eating, gardening and living. Carol is now raising “worms.”


pixel Square Foot Gardening feels Hip and Square to Family
PinExt Square Foot Gardening feels Hip and Square to Family

{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

Dr. Sarah David July 18, 2012 at 9:52 am

Thanks so much for these great tips! I tried growing tomatoes, strawberries and blueberries and have determined I am not very good at it. I will try again and incorporate your great tips.

Gina Parris July 18, 2012 at 11:20 am

Very cool! The thing I’ve missed the most since leaving Spokane Wa, 8 years ago was the huge garden in our back yard. We just don’t get much sun here due to the huge trees that surround our yard. I’m always wondering where to try some containers.

Olga Hermans July 18, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Awesome tips Carol; we have a small garden. I would love to plant some herbs and vegies of course. This showed me that I could do it!!

Ty July 18, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Any way for me to stretch my dollars is truly a gift. Thanks!

Carol Giambri July 18, 2012 at 3:43 pm

Sarah, I think for your needs Earthbox would be better. Square foot gardening is more restrictive as strawberries love to spread their “wings” below ground. Glad you enjoyed them.

Carol Giambri July 18, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Gina, maybe pruning the trees back a wee bit so more light will come in to get container gardening going? Some plants can handle several hours of shade, but still sun is key with water and food.

Carol Giambri July 18, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Olga, you can garden in tiny areas including herbs and veggies. Square foot gardening may be your ideal answer to prayer. But for herbs, if the weather gets cold, I would suggest a container from thrift store, recycling your neighbors or consider an Earthbox inside if you have the room. However a container you can transport from outside to inside may work better for herbs if you want to have them all winter long. Glad this gave you a “way” to grow herbs and veggies. Go organic way too. Earthbox has a junior size, but I would still prefer the “original” one which is larger. You can put wheels on them too. Amazing!

denny hagel July 18, 2012 at 7:11 pm

What an awesome idea!! Thanks! The grandkids will love this!

Christiane Marshall July 18, 2012 at 10:39 pm

I love square foot gardens! Even though we have all these acres, I do a few of those too!

Holly Jean July 19, 2012 at 6:52 am

Thank you so much for the simple advice! As a non-green-thumb, this actually looks achievable!!

Heather July 19, 2012 at 7:49 am

I read an article about someone doing this in her front yard and she got in trouble from the city—- they want all the front yards to be grass, grass, grass. Silly—– growing veggies saves money, is healthy, and is a good thing all around.

Carol Giambri July 19, 2012 at 4:50 pm

Denny, big and little people love. The grandkids will love as they can harvest with very few weeds–the blessing.

Carol Giambri July 19, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Christiane, It’s more compact than the acreage and more controllable unless you have a tiller going down the rows to remove the weeds; still weeds come between plants.

Carol Giambri July 19, 2012 at 4:53 pm

Heather, depending on the area one lives in and the city, laws can determine doing an edible garden in the front. Sometimes beauty and resale value is based on the yard so a front yard even beautiful can be a nightmare to the person selling it if it an edible garden. Yes, healthy for sure but we live under the “laws” till we change them.

Kim Hawkins July 19, 2012 at 9:02 pm

Have been looking a various gardening methods since our move into the RV. My main obstacle is what to do if/when we move. I love your tips though. Thanks for sharing.

Jan Maskew July 20, 2012 at 5:29 am

This is awesome. I have a friend that does this. :)

Susan Mckenzie July 23, 2012 at 6:34 am

I remember our garden, as a child…. weeding was a DAILY chore. What I like about this gardening method is where you said: “It takes up approximately 1/5th space and allows 1/5 work to get a bumper crop too.”

That really grabbed my attention. I’m really enjoying learning about alternative gardening methods. Thank you, Carol, for always adding fuel to my imagination! You are gradually converting me to raw foods, you know!

Sharon O'Day July 23, 2012 at 7:09 am

While I love gardening, I’ve always focused on flowering perennials, palms and all sorts of tropical beauties. But I’ve never given much thought to growing food crops in any way. My garden is small, so this may be the solution. Thanks for making me aware of it, Carol!

Anastasiya Day July 23, 2012 at 9:05 am

Carol, very useful information and brilliant tips. Thanks for sharing :)

Suzanne Jones July 23, 2012 at 10:17 am

Really great ideas. All doable for any living arrangement and I love the fact you added a recipe for it…Me, I would buy dirt alone and just expect it to grow! (of course with love and sun and water)

Pat Moon July 23, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Carol, thanks for your insight into efficient and effective gardening. We have skipped gardening for many years because of other issues but reading your article motivates me into wanting to put effort into gardening once again. It has just been difficult when we are not in one location for the entire growing season. I will remember your ideas for the future. Thanks.

Edmund Lee July 23, 2012 at 9:18 pm

Carol, are those images from your land? This concept is so foreign to me living out in Southern California where the people around me DO NOT do any of this.

Nancy Tierney July 24, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Well, we have what I call a “postage stamp” yard out in back of our house here. While I’m not the gardening type, my honey-bunny keeps talking about planting something in this small space of yard. This post makes me think it’s possible!

Carol Giambri July 24, 2012 at 11:05 pm

Kim, for your RV living you could bring Earthboxes in as you travel; however, it is heavy to carry it in and out. Maybe for you herbs grown in container boxes, like flower pots, you can travel with.

Carol Giambri July 24, 2012 at 11:07 pm

Pat, maybe a traveling herb garden would put some of the gardening love back into your lifestyle. I know it has to be hard living this way, but you have to be settled in perhaps before you start my suggestions.

Carol Giambri July 24, 2012 at 11:07 pm

Edmund, yup these are my backyard pictures. Cool for a big city girl here transplanted to my neighbors: the mules on one side, horses on the other.

Carol Giambri July 24, 2012 at 11:09 pm

Suzanne, you are funny about my recipe. Inside gardening can be as simple as flower pots with holes in the bottom. Start with herbs you love!

Carol Giambri July 24, 2012 at 11:10 pm

Anastasiya, glad you found the tips brilliant. Let me know how I can help you further.

Carol Giambri July 24, 2012 at 11:11 pm

Sharon have you ever considered edible flowers? So many but you can pick and run with it. Remember their growing conditions: light, water, soil.

Carol Giambri July 24, 2012 at 11:12 pm

Susan, Interesting a “new” raw food eater convert coming aboard. It’s really easy but really do cook a little plant based here too. Glad I am able to fuel your imagination.

Dr. Daisy Sutherland July 25, 2012 at 5:14 am

Great tips Carol! Thanks so much for sharing…this article is perfect timing for me since we are in the midst of restructuring our yard and adding an herb garden and vegetable garden. We’ve begun our very own compost pile and we’ve begun using containers for the herbs and may soon transplant or perhaps not after reading your post…thanks again:)

Becky Fisher July 26, 2012 at 6:57 am

Great article, Carol! I’m going to do a mix of this when we get our own place, I think. That and container garden. With the heat here in TX we have to be so careful with water and this is just the thing.

Carol Giambri July 26, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Dr. Daisy,
Awesome about your upcoming transformation in your yard. Fresh herbs and vegetables is awesome when you can grow them. Glad to share and thanks for exciting my gardening love to the higher level. Hope you have an amazing growing season.

Carol Giambri July 27, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Becky thanks for comments. Container gardening would be great for you to monitor water. Even those Earthboxes would be a blessing as I water sometimes every other day. And, no weeding or fussing!

Carol Giambri October 17, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Awesome that your honey-bunny didn’t let gardening be turned away because of plot size. Yeah.

Carol Giambri October 17, 2012 at 12:39 pm

Awesome about your friend who uses the square foot gardening method. It still works and decades later I am living proof.

Carol Giambri October 17, 2012 at 12:40 pm

Gardening comes easier for some but still possible for all. Just like social media that can be overwhelming so can gardening. But, step by step it can happen. It’s a journey without stress, but relaxing as a gardener.

Carol Giambri October 17, 2012 at 12:41 pm

I love stretching my dollars as best as I can including buying mostly organics. I feel I don’t need to buy a whole pound of organic ginger at $6.99 pound but a little still works.

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