How to Get Started with Square Foot Gardening

Square foot gardening explains just what it is – square foot beds, raised or otherwise. Add clean, healthy soil, compost, and advice from knowledgeable neighbors and local nurseries if you need it. Combined with your personal experiences, you are on your way!

Two Major Ingredients

Two major ingredients of a successful square foot gardening are the amount of sunlight the plants receive and the type of soil. First, most plants need at least five hours of sunlight. Second, the soil has to be loamy, rich, and well-drained.


You can transform even rough ground into suitable soil for square foot gardening by mulching it well. The thickness of your mulch should not be less than six inches. Water it well and protect it from being walked on. If the mulch sinks to less than six inches, keep adding to it. It will take a few weeks for the ground to be soft enough for square foot gardening. Remove the mulch for other later usage. Cardboard, newspapers, and old carpets can be used instead of mulch for your square foot gardening, but you will need to sprinkle regularly to keep the soil moist.


Make sure you have plenty of compost for your square foot gardening. You can purchase compost like worm manure, which is one of the most effective, but it can become quite expensive. Worm composting can easily be learned and done. You may want to try it. For compacted, hard ground, you will need about six inches of compost.

Making Your Own Compost

It is more practical to make your own compost by using garden and household wastes. Include some good soil in the mixture to make up for the clay content. Avoid using sawdust or wood chips in the mixture unless you know the source. Sawdust and chips from deciduous trees are suitable. However, if the sawdust or chips are from timber that had  been chemically treated, you are adding poison to your compost. Just as the name square foot gardening implies, you can treat each square foot individually. It is not necessary to have enough compost for all the squares. You can start growing plants as soon as each square is ready.

Well-Rotted Manure

If you are going the route of well-rotted manure and you are purchasing it, be certain that it is really manure. You can tell by its black color, crumbly consistency, and earthy odor. If you cannot tell, steer away from it, as it can do more damage to you than good.


If you are using trellises, consider that beds in your square foot gardening have front and back. It will take some planning to strategically place the trellises so that both front and back get enough sunlight.

Square Foot Gardening on Balconies

Square foot gardening can also be done on balconies and rooftops, but be very particular about weight restrictions. Remember to add the soil and water content to the total weight of the full-grown plants and their fruits.

Square Foot Gardening Concept

In square foot gardening, you raise the bed, divide each space into one-square foot, and then plant your combination plants in accordance with their needs for space. There is reduced workload, watering, and weeding in square foot gardening. You can learn to grow some of your food! This is a simple concept. Square foot gardening can be used in combination with lasagna gardening.

How to Get Started with Square Foot Gardening - Easy Balcony Gardening

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