The Square Foot Gardening (SFG) Method was created by Mel Bartholomew as an alternative to row gardening. ft. on an 8 ft. trellis, are too thick. Plus, in a 4×4 foot raised bed structure (the method’s standard raised bed dimensions), you don’t have to do anywhere near the amount of work required for the in-ground planting of a larger plot. The beds can be 2 feet by 2 feet or 4 x 12, but the most common is a bed that is 4 feet by 4 feet. The construction price or cost to purchase the boxes combined with buying soil and seeds can seem extravagant, but consider this as an initial cost that you will continue to use for years. It really all comes down to the amount of time and space that you have. Your email address will not be published. on Better for Planting? Continuous planting. 8. For those who have the ability to flood irrigate, row gardening is also a great option. As you prepare the soil, you will need to till it and may even need to add nutrients. He was so frustrated with all… Read More. Maintain with Ease. Of course, there are many different gardening methods out there. The larger get larger and the smaller stay smaller. Once everything is said and done, filling a 4×4 foot plantar box with soil can run upwards of $40 – and that’s before you even build your boxes or buy your seeds! This type of irrigation cuts down on the amount of time that it takes to water, and ensures that the entire garden receives enough water. Clearly, there is no perfect gardening technique. It was developed by Mel Bartholomew in the 1970’s as a more efficient way to garden. You can build your own raised plantar box so that you can cultivate your own veggies on your back porch or balcony. With a square foot garden, everyone can have their little piece of heaven, one square foot at a time. Although recently popularized by Mel Bartholomew, it is based on older gardening methods designed for high yield household vegetable gardens. You can build your gardening boxes right on the ground, or place them on tables or stands for increased convenience. More compost should be added in between every crop (so at least once per year). Your email address will not be published. Sidedress corn by sprinkling a band of 10-10-10 fertilizer along the row at a rate of 1 cup per 25 foot row. Easily reach everything. Square Foot Gardening is in my arsenal—but it doesn’t play a major role in my garden plans. Lastly, raised gardens warm faster, allowing for earlier planting and harvest. Square Foot Gardening is a unique, fun, and efficient way to garden — and it’s different than regular old raised bed gardening with traditional row planting! Well, at least until it gets too hot to grow. The smaller footprint also makes it easier to maneuver around and harvest and is less daunting to the novice gardener. These plants grow quickly to produce a covering that blocks the growth of weeds. As one square has finished producing, plant another crop so there is a continuous profusion of produce to select from, lengthening the growing season for as long as possible. Instead of alternating rows of plants with paths, the genius method involves building a small raised vegetable garden (measuring, say, 4 by 4 feet), dividing it into 12-by-12-inch plots (thus the name), and then planting each square foot as densely as possible with vegetables. Since the right nutrients are already present in your amended soil mix, Square … Each square foot is treated as an individual patch and is planted up according to a specific number of plants per square foot. Rows are easier to construct, make reaching all plants a breeze, and can even make watering easier and more efficient – but that doesn’t mean it can’t be improved upon. Its decorative aspect is yet another benefit to consider. What is Square Foot Gardening? Square Foot Gardening Vs. Row Gardening, Choosing the Right Flowers: Annuals Vs. Perennials, http://backyardfarming.blogspot.com/2011/03/row-row-rowyour-garden.html, http://www.mygardenguide.net/square-foot-gardening.html, http://www.greenhousemanagementonline.com/greenhouse-management-new-study-home-gardening-statistics.aspx. Unfortunately, a few years are probably all you have until a box needs to be replaced or repaired and the soil needs to be replenished (ideally annually). Row gardening is a style of growing vegetables that people have been using for hundreds of years. Sure, traditional row-cropping guarantees healthy plants with ample spacing between rows, but square foot gardening begs the question: couldn’t more plants be used in those spaces as well? I don’t have a favorite method as yet, but have used a couple of the “up-down” tub planters, which are actually closer to 2 ft. square. On the other hand, if you are looking for a smaller project that requires less work throughout the season, a square foot garden may be right for you. Not everyone can have a row garden. Space issues aren’t the only reasons to plant by the foot, however. We do a little of both . So I plant a lot of garlic. Also, these beds protect your plants from insects, which is also much more conducive to organic gardening because it eliminates the need to use pesticides. Times were different. Amy’s viewpoint: First off, a square foot garden is simply a raised box or bed that is divided into squares. There are numerous square foot gardening benefits too, and here we will discuss both sides, weighing the pros of row gardening against the square foot gardening method. They can be placed in areas of full sun that a row garden isn’t accessible to. It was invented by backyard gardener and engineer Mel Bartholomew. Those are pretty easy to maintain, and allow tomatoes, peppers or some other vegetables to grown downward, while herbs or carrots, radishes,and other smaller vegetables can grow upward from the tub. If you are looking to plant large quantities of food, the initial cost of plantar boxes and soil may not make it a worthwhile endeavor. Watermelon will do well in a Square Foot Gardening if you are growing a small size and can trellis it. An Expert Guide Written By The Bonnie Gardener. The root only needs inches but the greens require much more space. An alternative scheme for spacing tomatoes uses an equidistant square grid plan (like Square Foot Gardening) that averages the recommended space between plants and rows. Bartholomew deemed traditional gardening inefficient and believed that gardeners were spending hours weeding the gaps between lengthy crop rows and thus wasting large periods of time. Rows in the garden look nice too, and with so many reasons to go for rows, why wouldn’t you? Square foot gardening. It’s unlikely they would have imagined the small size of land parcels proposed today could be economically viable. The 4×4’ design offers a nicely dense ratio of planting space to the walkway area. Once you have finished planting, the work continues. Also, not all types of vegetables work well in the confined space of square foot boxes. As you plan your garden, finding out the pros and cons of square foot gardening versus row gardening can help you choose the method that best fits your location, lifestyle, and budget. They’re also taller than most raised beds, 44″ to the top of the 1.3 cu. What makes these smaller spaces functional and fruitful? A square foot garden can even be planted on a driveway, parking strip or the aforementioned high rise apartment building. While square foot gardening seems to be all the rage right now, there are still some incredibly good arguments for row gardening. Square foot gardening is an alternative to the conventional method of row gardening. Popular today in raised beds, container gardening, and “disorganized” square foot gardening, this method literally has the gardener planting plants wherever he or she would like and in whatever formation is preferred. If you have a lot of land, time and energy to do the work, row gardening may be perfect. The neat, organized rows are also quite visually appealing in this type of gardening. Flood or drip irrigate. Required fields are marked *. One of the major detriments to square foot gardening is the initial cost. Harvesting is a nightmare! Not only will you need to buy soil and seeds, but you will also need to invest in the wood to build your plantar boxes and the tools to put them together. If you have the space, the square grid layout tends to give each … Square foot gardening is exactly what the name says: dividing a growing area into 1-foot x 1-foot sections. Another benefit of densely planted square foot gardens is less weeding! Another advantage to square foot gardening is its accessibility. Written by: Alex Darc I love garlic and use quite a bit of it in my cooking. This allows plants to be situated more closely together. I have come to see the wisdom in this tip. Amy’s viewpoint: First off, a square foot garden is simply a raised box or bed that is divided into squares. Potatoes also. Also, the soil should be replenished yearly, again adding to the overall cost of this type of gardening. Each area of the square foot garden is destined for a specific use. November 23, 2020. This includes setting up their own home gardens. Raised bed soil does not need to be replaced annually. It is being used by schools across the nation, and by international humanitarian groups around the world, making inroads against poverty and hunger. The beauty of planting a square foot bed is that you can have a continuous succession of plantings going from the earliest spring through to the latest cool weather crops in the late fall/early winter. So if a plant needs a square foot, that could be a ~12"x12" but ~10"x14" can work too since the occupying area is roughly the same. Square Foot Garlic. That said, there are just as many reasons to plant in rows. Greetings, Last year was my first year planting a garden and I went with the row gardening which I had always seen. Square foot gardening isn't an exact science, but more of a firm guideline toward using small spaces more efficiently by eliminating the typical need for walking rows in gardens. Wide rows are especially good for leafy vegetables, like chard and lettuce. It is literally a tried and true traditional method of planting crops and comes with the stamp of approval of generations of successful gardeners. It is an investment. Smith and Stoner presented their data using 100 foot row units – typical for market gardens of the day. They do require as much bending , stooping and weeding . A single row that is 1 foot wide would need to be 16 feet long to equal the same amount of space. I want to explain the main reason why it’s so easy to protect a Square Foot Garden vs. the old-fashioned, way out back single row garden. This Info Sheet can help you create a Square Foot Garden in your backyard, on a rooftop or balcony, in a parking lot, or in a … According to a study done by the Scarborough Corporation, nearly half of the 164 million homeowners within the United States, spent time working on a garden during the 2011 planting and harvesting season. Grow more, harvest more. The entire growing season may become a battle against weeds and critters, requiring careful vigilance and many hours of your time and energy. Square Foot Gardening (commonly referred to as SFG) is a planting method that was developed by American author and TV presenter Mel Bartholomew in the 1970s. I feel like planting by the square foot took too much time in planting and managing the veggie's. Picture that in your mind or draw it on a piece of paper. Sign up to get all the latest gardening tips! However, given the freedom of space, most gardeners choose rows. Additionally, square foot gardening does not require nearly the amount of time, the large tools, or intense effort that it does to loosen and prepare soil for a traditional row garden. Vote on your favorite, or share your input by leaving a comment! Lump Sum, Coolest Cat: Siamese vs. Tonkinese (Tonkinois). When it comes to choosing the right soil, most experts recommend a combination of peat moss, vermiculite and compost. Four-foot stretches are a pretty common suggestion for the max width of a bed, under the proposal that most people can fairly readily reach the two feet to the center for planting, weeding, watering, and harvest. After planting I had read about another way of planting which was called "square foot gardening" which was basically planting in sections vs rows. There are numerous square foot gardening benefits too, and here we will discuss both sides, weighing the pros of row gardening against the square foot gardening method. Go ... After planting I had read about another way of planting which was called "square foot gardening" which was basically planting in sections vs rows. Because you are planting in blocks and plants are situated more closely together than those in rows, the higher density planting allows for higher yields. Square Foot Gardening is the way to garden in less space with less work than traditional row gardening. You'll see an actual SFG in action. In a true square foot garden, an actual grid is placed on the growing area to divide up the space. Square Foot Gardening. This is mainly because some plants in the square will grow faster than others and the slower growing then get choked out for light. Because you use the same soil year after year, this type of garden requires that you analyze the soil and add nutrients as needed. Developed in the 80’s by Mel Bartholomew, you can take an area of 4ft x 4ft and turn it into a grid of 16 square feet. Raised gardening beds are known for draining much more efficiently than ground gardens, they also help to avoid water and soil run-off. With row gardening, you can make watering easier by installing a hose along each row for drip irrigation, or by using flood irrigation if that is an option in your garden. 1 of 3 Go to page. Square foot Gardening is a small area, high yield intensive gardening system. Additionally, square foot gardening does not require nearly the amount of time, the large tools, or intense effort that it does to loosen and prepare soil for a traditional row garden. Reducing, reusing, and recycling are big themes in the SFG Method! Square foot gardening beds are broken down into 1 foot squares. If you draw a big square, that’s your single row. As winter’s icy fingers begin to relinquish their grasp, it is time to start preparing your garden! If you have limited space, square gardening may be right for you. Keep up to date with all that's happening in and around the garden. Row gardening doesn’t have to be narrow. Veggies, fruit, herbs, flowers... you can grow it all. Squares are limited because if they are too big, you can’t reach the plants in the middle. Gardening in rows gives you more space to grow larger vegetables that won’t fit neatly in a square or box. Ours takes up only 20% of the space. Some sections will house 16 small plants, like radishes, or only 1 plant, like a cabbage. As the most traditional form of planting, row gardening has been tried and proven for hundreds of years. Many gardeners with limited space enjoy creating outdoor spaces for aesthetic appeal as well as food production. smaller-scale commercial market gardening was common in the US (Table 1). Planting boxes can be bought or built out of many materials and make lovely additions to the landscape. Next year i'll be returning to traditional spacing. While you can also reach everything in a square plan, you may struggle to get to those in the middle without crushing the outer edge plants. Additionally, it is easier to manage and control pests in a square foot garden. Which method do you prefer? In addition to people who cultivate their own private garden, many others volunteer at community gardens. As the economy takes a down turn people are trying to save money however they can. BTW, “plantar” is a medical term for “of or pertaining to the sole of the foot,” not anything you want to grow vegetables or flowers in. Being able to reach all your plants means you can keep the garden weeded and harvest more easily too. It’s true that single rows take up a lot of space compared with the SFG method. It was especially evident with things like beets and carrots which are supposed to be planted meet inches apart. You are also limited in the amount of plants/veggies you can grow in the given space. Accessibility. If you don’t have a lot of available space, square foot gardening is a great choice. Pros of Square Foot Gardening. Square Foot Gardening is A system of gardening which allows you to grow much more in a small space than would otherwise be possible. Unlike traditional single-row gardening where everything in that row is ready to harvest at the same time, with Square Foot Gardening we plan ahead so that we have a continuous harvest of fresh lettuce all the time—never too much or too little. They look good anywhere. I have not done any of these methods . As previously mentioned, this includes corn and watermelon, two popular garden crops. My pole beans and cukes are totally intertwined and so thick i can barely find a ripe bean or cucumber. Plus, they don’t require digging up a large garden space and yielding the landscape design to a vegetable garden. "Square foot gardening" vs "Row gardening" Jump to Latest Follow 1 - 20 of 43 Posts. For example, a recommended plant spacing of 18″ (46cm) apart with row spacing of about 48″ (122cm) apart, can be planted in 56″ (142cm) square grids. If you have the available space, row gardening allows you to grow larger quantities of food. Big crops such as corn, watermelon and potatoes don’t always work well in this smaller space. ft. container. One that works for today’s world where space is at a premium and access to foods we trust are grown as cleanly as possible. And less work means more fun! Because row gardens are much more susceptible to infestations from insects and the spread of disease, they may need to be sprayed with insecticides, herbicides, or other chemicals that limit the presence of unwanted plant or animal life. – Winston Churchill Mel Bartholomew began developing The Square Foot Gardening method relatively late in life, after he retired in the mid-1970’s, from his first career as an engineer. If you have the space for it, row gardening allows you to plant more and harvest more vegetables. (21″ per side.) Latte vs. Cappuccino – Which is the Better Coffee Drink. Even my cukes alone, 2 per sq. With our brand new eBook, featuring our favorite DIY projects for the whole family, we really wanted to create a way to not only show our appreciation for the growing Gardening Know How community, but also unite our community to help every one of our neighbors in need during these unprecedented times. The Square Foot Gardening method saves gardeners time, effort, tools, space and water. These plantar boxes don’t work well for all types of vegetables; larger plants such as corn, watermelon, and potatoes may be too cramped to grow well in such a limited area. Because there is space between each row, and plants can be spaced evenly, weeding is a lot easier. I think the SFG method has some good uses but I think it's being a little over hyped. 1; 2; 3; Next. As a thank you for joining our campaign, we’ll gift you our brand new eBook,. SFG rapidly gained popularity during the 1980s through Mel's first book and television series and since … Then again, the initial investment of a square foot garden is a worthwhile cost for easier access and harvest of a more environmentally friendly garden. I also grow (and teach others to grow) in many parts of their landscape substituting edible plants for ornamentals. We have a very small area for a garden and very small yard . Happy holidays from all of us at Gardening Know How. With square foot gardening, the soil doesn’t compact since you never walk inside the squares and is useful for those with less than ideal soil. Square Foot Gardening is a method of raised bed gardening. I am certified to teach this technique by the Square Foot Gardening Foundation and I … In fact, I later dug beneath my old SFG beds and stacked in chunks of wood as water reservoirs in a hugelkultur-inspired fashion … but that’s another story altogether. Today, gardeners don’t usually have access to a large garden plot; in fact, many folks make do with a tiny area off a condo patio or even high atop an apartment building. Get good weed cover with wide rows. Mel Bartholomew said, “If your garden box doesn’t have a grid, it’s not a Square Foot Garden.” His book also emphasized that the grids be “prominent and permanent”. The raised gardening boxes that are used for this gardening method are also great for anyone who has knee or back problems, or who simply doesn’t want to spend too much time crawling around on their hands and knees. The basic principles and “rules” allow for extremely high yield gardens which require allot less space and maintenance than traditional row gardening. I do like raised garden boxes because they are arthritis friendlier . While the concept of being able to crowd more plants into a space seems like a great idea I found that the I didn't get any increased harvest. The entirety of the garden is dedicated to crops, leaving little room for weeds. The idea of dividing the planting area into squares makes it more efficient than row planting. "Square foot gardening" vs "Row gardening" Advertise Here. Of course, it goes without saying that a few downsides of square foot planting exist. I tried my hand at square foot gardening this year in some raised beds. As mentioned, row gardening is usually better for larger yields if you have the space. Drip irrigation is also an option, allowing for water conservation. Sign up for our newsletter. This is especially advantageous if you will be sharing food among a number of people, as is the case with community gardening, or if you plan to can, freeze, and otherwise preserve food so that it can be enjoyed throughout the year. It is also easier to water a blocked planting than a row garden. There is a great deal of literature available, if you want to learn tips and tricks for this type of gardening. Hopefully, it’ll help make your holiday season as special as possible. The method I used was with my grandpa when we started planting just in open ground grass so we plant oranges,pepper,and flowers. Gandalf or Dumbledore: Who is the Better Wizard? Star Wars Battle: Boba Fett Vs. Darth Vader, Battle of the Bands: Tool Vs. A Perfect Circle, Best Way to Get Lottery Money: Structured Settlement vs. The beds (Mel suggests 4ft x 4ft) can actually be any length. The amount of compost needed will vary but it may only be a couple handfuls per square. Work the fertilizer into the soil with a garden hoe. It also takes much less room, a boon to those with limited garden space. Given the opportunity (and family members who also like to garden), I’d probably use both methods. Growing Vegetables by the Square Foot. My Square Foot Garden: Top row, left to right, Vintage Wine, Brandywine, and Hillbilly tomatoes; middle row, left to right, "little finger" eggplant, rosemary, and Italian large leaf basil; bottom row, "spicy globe" basil, plus room to plant two more crops. It's a simple way to create easy-to-manage gardens with raised beds that need a minimum of time spent maintaining them. The phrase ‘square foot gardening’ was originally coined by author Mel Bartholomew in his 1981 All New Square Foot Gardening. * do not require as much bending, stooping and weeding. A typical SFG box is 4 feet long and 4 feet wide, which equals 16 square feet. Whether you have years of experience doing gardening, or are just testing out your green thumb, your garden can be a great success. See my blog for what it looks like Typically, plantar boxes for square foot gardening are about four feet wide and can be up to about six feet long. In fact, space can be a serious issue with this type of gardening, limiting its use in homes with small backyards and completely taking it out of the realm of possibility for many people who live in the city. That’s not a deal breaker, but it is a consideration for folks who have limited space. I use a combination of methods ranging from row gardening to biointensive beds to water gardening to food forestry, etc. Square foot gardening is a simple method of creating small, orderly, and productive kitchen vegetable gardens. I agree that the plants need more room than is suggested in SFG. They are filled with “Mel’s Mix”, a blend of equal parts peatmoss, vermiculite and compost. Another difficulty that you may run in to is that your boxes may need to be repaired or replaced every few years. So, this holiday season, we created a giving campaign for two of our favorite non-profits who are working to help put food on the tables of hungry families across the U.S. and around the world. With a row of plants, you can easily reach each and every one of them. A key factor in being successful with plant spacing in square foot gardening is adding a grid to your garden. Corn will do great in a SFG. Time can also be an issue with row gardening. I have used Square Foot Gardening methods for over 25 years and have taught gardening classes for many years including Square Foot Gardening classes. My Oldest Houseplant: A Ponytail Palm That’s Seen It All, Christmas Cactus Plants Bring Memories Of Grandmother, The Challenges Of Growing Gardenia As A Houseplant. I agree with all of your comments, Brad. How Do Benefits of Planting in Rows Compare to Square Foot Gardening? Wide rows and narrow rows alike allow for easier and more efficient growing and harvesting of vegetables. Controlling pests and managing irrigation are key ingredients to combating diseases, thus mitigating the need for extraneous insecticides, herbicides and other chemicals. This condensed method of gardening uses less water, soil, space, and fewer tools. Mary Ellen’s viewpoint: Sure, there is no arguing that a square foot garden does have its share of benefits to the home gardener with little space. Fertilizing is also easier and more efficient. Vertical growing also saves space and reduces pest problems. That means a row garden is 5 times as large! It also drains better. Raised beds allow those with difficulty bending to access the garden. You can participate in gardening whether you live in the country or in the city, in a large home, or in a small apartment. Build trellises at the north end of the bed for vining plants or those you wish to grow vertically, like summer squash or cucumbers, and you can maximize the space even more. Either way, you’ll water more quickly and thoroughly than is possible with square gardening. 29.04.2019 - Square Foot Gardening Learn the easiest way to garden in this beginning SFG class that lasts 75 minutes. Easy maintenance. Container/square-foot gardening has many advantages, too. Additiona… Also, all types of plants are able to thrive in this type of setup – including root plants, tomatoes, sprawling vine plants like cucumbers and melons. Blog for what it looks like square foot gardening is also a great deal of literature available, if want! Earlier planting and managing irrigation are key ingredients to combating diseases, thus mitigating the need for extraneous insecticides herbicides! A row garden conventional method of planting, row gardening is an alternative to row is. However, given the opportunity ( and teach others to grow larger vegetables that have! Beds, 44″ to the conventional method of raised bed gardening space with less work than traditional row gardening design! Suggests 4ft x 4ft ) can actually be any length the need for extraneous insecticides, herbicides other. 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