DIY Square Foot Garden

Posted on

I use the Square Foot Garden method for gardening for one reason. I am lazy. Pure and simple. If you haven’t heard of this method before, it is awesome! It is the no digging, no weeding method of maximizing garden space popularized in the book, All New Square Foot Gardening by: Mel Bartholomew. In fact, I did a review of it, which you can find HERE.

So, how do you garden without weeding or digging, all while maximizing garden space? In the book, Mel really goes into depth so, I’ll be brief.  Basically, instead of digging into the ground you build a raised bed on top of the ground and fill it with your own weedless dirt.

So, after choosing the site for your garden if there is already grass on it then lay down some cardboard.  This will keep the grass from growing up underneath your beds. over time the cardboard will rot allowing worms to swim up into your bed, but not until long after the grass is dead.

Next, measure and cut the sides of the beds. Beds can be made out of anything as long as they are at least 6 inches high (go at least a foot for root crops). The length can be as long as you wish as long as the width is no wider than 4ft. This is to prevent you from stepping on the good soil you worked so hard to maintain. I like to use reclaimed wood whenever possible. Pallets, old fences, decks and construction sites are great sources for scrap lumber. Also, I prefer to use screws to put the beds together. They should look something like this…























Then simply fill it with your soil mixture…

























So, now you have a raised bed. To turn it into a square foot garden you just need to divide it into square foot sections. This will keep the plants separate, maximizing the space allotted. You can use window blinds, twine, wooden lathes or anything else you have at hand. It should look something like this…
























Now you have a square foot garden. From here you can do all sorts of things like nailing wire around it for a fence or erecting a trellis to further increase space. You can even put a row cover over it to make a mini-greenhouse.

Until next time, keep Making a Homestead, one day at a time.


12 thoughts on “DIY Square Foot Garden

    1. Glad to see your quirky humor hasn’t gone on tsaatbical, Mr. Bartholomew!Looking forward to seeing what your most fertile brain comes up with while you’re “away” but how you could possibly improve on the All New SFG, is beyond me. Of course I thought the original book was great, so what do I know?!?

      1. Haneen, you flatter me, LOL. I’m not Mel Bartholomew, but rather someone that follows his teaching. However, I am glad you enjoy my sense of humor. :)

    2. I am attempting a gaedrn for the first time, and am unsure of the best spot to plan it. Our house block much of the sun in our yard, so the best spot is at the bottom of a small slope where the water runoff passes, leaving the ground almost always saturated and soft. I planned on building a bit of a raised bed. Is this a good spot to plan my gaedrn or not? I watched a few videos online and one said it would be a good spot, but I wanted to be sure.Thanks in advance!

      1. If it gets sun it is a good spot, especially if you are planning on a raised bed. However, make sure it isn’t too far from your house or you will inadvertently neglect it. Also, just because you have a lot of shade in the rest of your yard doesn’t mean you can’t garden there too. Shady areas are perfect for herbs, leafy greens and other plants. Check out this article on 40 plants for shady areas. –>

  1. I’m an advanced gardener and have been gardening for many years. I came across this book last year and decided to take it for a spin. I already used raised beds, but I built more using his methods. I followed the book to a “T”
    I had the worst harvest this past year. We have just two people and we planted three 8’x4′ and one 12’x4′ and still didn’t produce enough…

    1. Dang Joe, I’m sorry. I have been using the square foot gardening method for years and always had success. Last year was a pretty bad year for gardening though. The weather was very inconsistent here and everywhere else according to most of the people I talked to. What part of the country are you in?

    2. I don’t know about any plans, but I built some elevated beds by taknig a piece of 5/8 treated plywood and building a stand for it out of 4 4 s. The stand has to be pretty stout, it will be holding a lot of weight. Build the frame first then set it on the legs, It has six legs. I have a full frame around the outside with two cross pieces evenly spaced from end to end. I cut sides and ends out of another piece of plywood 16 tall and then attached them to the floor by running a 2 2 around the edge , set back far enough so that the outside of the sides and ends are even with the edge of the floor. I ran another wall across four feet from each end and stiffened that with 2 4 s. I used screws throughout that are rated for use in treated lumber.I have three of the beds that are three years old and still going great. Don’t forget to drill holes in the floor for drainage.

      1. I have seen these before, usually called salad tables. These are great as you don’t have to bend over to do things. They are also especially good for wheel chair bound people as they can wheel right under them allowing them to garden too. Thanks for the breakdown on how to make them. :)

  2. I just read back on all of your posts and they’re perfect! Entertaining, short and simlpe, educational awesome! Did I mention inspiring? You’ve inspired me to get our back yard in shape and set up a garden somewhere. Keep the posts coming, I’m going to need a lot of help!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *