Square Foot Gardening (SFG): Growing More in Less Space

Square Foot Gardening (SFG): Growing More in Less Space

if there was a method of gardening which promised 100 percent of the harvest using just 20% of the space and only 2 percent of the work most gardeners would be very interested in fact there is a method which claims to do just that Square Foot Gardening is a simple way to create easy to manage raised beds that need a minimum of time spent maintaining them so how does it work and what do you need to know before planting a square foot garden Square Foot Gardening was developed by retired engineer Mel Bartholomew in the 1970s he used his analytical skills as an engineer to eliminate the inefficiencies he saw in traditional gardening methods in particular he found the average gardener was spending hours weeding the big gaps between long rows of plants creating unnecessary work for themselves Square Foot Gardening rapidly gained popularity during the 1980s through Mel's first book and television series Mel's work has carried on through the Square Foot Gardening Foundation which promotes a method around the world the building blocks of the Square Foot Gardening method are raised beds typically 4 feet by 4 feet and 6 to 12 inches deep almost anyone will be able to reach into the middle of the bed with these dimensions these raised beds can be placed on any surface in your garden grass soil or concrete it doesn't really matter what's underneath because each raised bed will be filled with a rich moisture retentive soil on top of this add a 1 foot by 1 foot grid Mel suggests making this out of wood as it makes it easier to work with later on these beds mean there's no need to walk on your soil which risk compacting it and reducing drainage keeping off the soil is common practice now but in the 1970s it was unheard of how else would you read along that 30 foot row the second vital building block is the soil known as Mel's mix this is seen as a key part of Square Foot Gardening it's made from one-third peat moss 1/3 vermiculite which is a mined and processed mineral which helps to retain moisture in the mix and also keeps it airy and 1/3 blend potting soils or compost either use your own compost if you make it or buy several different types and mix them together increasingly many people prefer more sustainable alternatives to peat moss in which case a blended mix of coiour and potting soil can be used as a substitute for the first third the mix is lightweight making it easy to work with and nutrient rich so it has all the necessary goodness for raising great plants without ever having to add fertilizer just top-up the beds with more mix if they need it many people add a layer of potting soil or compost at the start of the year each one foot square is planted with just one type of crop across your raised bed it's recommended that you plant each square with different crops and companion planting flowers so in this four feet by four feet bed you could plant 16 different crop types to keep the planting simple there are no plant spacings to remember instead each square has either 1 4 9 or 16 plants in it depending on the size of the plant easy to position in each square by making a smaller grid in the soil with your fingers it really is that simple the garden planner makes it easy to plan out square foot beds with the correct number of plants in each square enable the Square Foot Gardening mode by clicking the SFG button now when you select a crop the garden planner will give you a 1 foot square block that can be easily dropped into place the number indicates how many of that crop you can grow in the space plan out your bed in this way and then use the plant list to see how many of each plant you need to grow climbing plants such as peas beans and cucumbers should be placed along one edge so they can climb up supportive netting other crops such as fruit bushes which don't fit into Square Foot Gardening squares will automatically retain the standard spacing and if you want to plant traditional rows of crops just switch off SFG mode and add them as usual in traditional gardening methods you would use most of the packet of seeds along a whole row and then fit out the seed links to the correct spacings in Square Foot Gardening you use just a small pinch of seeds in each planting space usually 2 or 3 seeds with this approach you use less seed than you would if you were using traditional methods and thinning out is now simplified too you don't have to worry about the correct spacings if two or three seedlings grow you can just use scissors to snip off the weaker ones that way you won't disturb the roots of the strongest seedlings a common problem if you pull up or transplant the extras it's easy to create structures for the raised beds which will protect your crops and help them to grow a cage made out of chicken wire will protect it from pets and large pests like squirrels or Birds a dome support can be covered with plastic to keep out a spell of poor weather or with horticultural fleece to reduce frost damage and a plant support can easily be created either at the back so beans and peas can climb up them or across the top of the bed to provide support to crops such as tomatoes the all-new square foot gardening book contains full plans of how to make these structures yourself square foot gardening is an almost failsafe way to get started with growing your own but it's not to everyone's taste the experienced gardener can quickly outgrow the method particularly if they want to grow large quantities of crops such as potatoes fruit bushes and perennial plants such as rhubarb and artichoke without the expense of the special Mel's mix soil and raised beds Square Foot Gardening works brilliantly for beginners for those who only have a small amount of space and for creating low-maintenance Gardens close to the house to grow high-value crops that's why 35 years on Square Foot Gardening is still going strong Oh you

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40 thoughts on “Square Foot Gardening (SFG): Growing More in Less Space

  1. Everyone should grow their own.
    Huge believer of home grown fruits and vegetables.
    Please watch our videos.
    My son and I are just getting started.

  2. I've used the SFG method for years. For regular harvests of fast growing veg (saladings etc) it has no rival.

  3. Being an "Avid Raised Bed/Container Intensive gardener" , having my own YouTube Channel "Gardening With Vincenzo" I am always looking for new info on , landscape design as well as growing techniques!
    Thanks for sharing and "Keep Growing !

  4. Captain Ron if you build them on uneven grass , what’s a good way to level it ? We have clay rich soil . Would we amend the soil beneath the raised beds prior to making them ?

    Thank you

  5. Thank you very much for this… Im planning to organize our very small space for gardening and I happened to see this video…

  6. it really is good when you have a small space garden, try this one too the Tiberian Growdome, the Simple Survival System For Destroying Gmos And Growing Delicious Fruits, Vegetables, And Medicine For Less. https://bit.ly/2LtkUHG

  7. I loved Mels show back when. I have his book "Square foot gardening". Thanks for sharing & for keeping Mels Ideas alive.

  8. https://www.facebook.com/Sweet-Home-Green-Garden-1932985963392552/ 🍄🌽🍓🥕🍅🌱🌷🌺🌸

  9. Why do you have to plant this in raised beds? Can you not plant and harvest in ground using the same planting plans and dimensions?

  10. I'm new to gardening and much of it seems overwhelming. This concept on the other hand seems more structured for a beginner such as myself and I'm going to give it a try. I can start small and expand and I don't have to worry about which area of my yard to dig up in a one way move, before I have a lot more knowledge. Thanks very much for putting. this up.

  11. Good job! We've included this video in our Best of YouTube on the topic of creating a veg garden. https://goodgardeningvideos.org/creating-a-veg-garden/

  12. I watched Square Foot Gardening over twenty yrs ago and never stopped. The doors of gardening opened for a novice. Thank you for continuing a very good thing!

  13. I just finished reading THE NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING and have begun to put some of the ideas to use . It was good to see this video , and I look forward to sharing it . ☺

  14. I think I'll start off my tomatoes under plastic bottles cut off in the middle. Same with my melon seeds. I prefer to direct-sow, but those little buggers slugs have gobbled up my melon seedlings too many times now. Grrrrrrrrr! So now direct-sowing but under a cut off bottle for protection.

  15. I loved your video. Very informative content. Please check out my channel and subscribe to me!

  16. Hello fellow gardeners! My team and I from Wilfrid Laurier University are looking to develop a product for gardeners 50+ years of age, and would highly value your input in this short survey :)https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSf7LaZgmNrCkOXWvgWwAui7uMfL20d3pzNY_88uEB0fjI9qWw/viewform

  17. Vie de village, style campagnard, une telle vidéo est très intéressante! J'aime vraiment, je pense que nous aimons tous, s'il vous plaît ne vous arrêtez pas, louange pour vous!👋👋👏👏👏👍

  18. Based on your expertise what would you recommend I grow in 200 square feet for MAXIMUM YIELDS? I am trying to become a vegan and I need help. I am looking for as much weight in vegetables/fruits as possible! (Preferably vegetables)

  19. This has been very helpful! We started doing this at our house and have had great results.

  20. Great video.  I would say that even experienced gardeners can love and expand the square foot garden method.  My neighbor just throws up new beds every year and plants more.

  21. The idea of a US engineer inventing these methods in the 1970s is preposterous. Like gardeners all over the world didn't know not to step into garden beds or the idea of intensive plantings.

    This is just another case of a man claiming other people's knowledge and ideas for his own, giving it a marketable name and making a pile of money from it. And the wold turns on.

  22. I have been doing square foot gardening since 1969 because I had no room to plant them farther apart.  🙂

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