Frugal Living: 4 Tips for Successful Square Foot Gardening


As I was posting about Square Foot Gardening the other day, I started thinking about one of our rock star readers, April. April is a long time reader of and has posted threads in our forums all about Square Foot Gardening. I asked her to write up a guest post for us and give us some tips as to how this can be done and done right the first time!

{4 Tips for Successful Square Foot Gardening}

I’m posting this to encourage any of you that are on ‘the fence’ about gardening. Do you want to have a garden, but don’t want to spend a ton of time on it? Then Square Foot Gardening is for you!¬† Less space + less watering + less weeding = more fun!!!

1)¬†¬ Read the book ‘All New Square Foot Gardening‘.¬† Really, Mel has it down to a masterpiece :) You’ll want the latest release, but the older one is a neat read also.¬† Borrow the latest from your local library, find it at a Dollar General, on¬ Amazon, or a used book store.¬† Think about using some¬ SwagBucks¬†and you could end up getting it for FREE on Amazon.

2)¬†¬ SFG is basically dirt (Mel’s Mix) in a box with grids on top.¬† You’ll need to know the size of your SFG boxes.¬† Mel uses a 4×4 in the book. I used to use graph paper, but Excel has been my friend for a few years when planning out my SFG :)

Mel’s Mix requires 1/3 Vermiculite, 1/3 Peat Moss, and 1/3 Compost (at least 5 different kinds).¬† For a 4×4 box, you’ll need 8 cubic feet of Mel’s Mix.¬† He has a lot of calculations already done for you in the book. (See picture on flickr) An economical way to save on Mel’s Mix is to¬ make your own compost.¬† Search the web, tons of tips out there.



3)¬ What type of veggies/herbs/flowers do you want to grow?¬† How many of those veggies/herbs/flowers go in 1 square foot? Generally you’ll have a 4×4 square box with grids on top separating into 16 individual square feet.¬† In each square you can plant 16 carrots, or 16 onions, or 9 green beans, 4 lettuce plants, or 1 tomato plant, or whatever you want to grow!¬† If you planted a¬ whole box of carrots, that would be 256 carrots…seriously!!!



4)¬†¬ Involve your family.¬† The hard part of SFG is getting Mel’s Mix and your boxes ready, the rest is soooo easy.¬† Invite the kids, grandkids, neighbors over for a planting party and then later for a harvesting party.¬† Gardening is also a great way to teach your children…my 5 yo daughter just loves to help.Dirt and kids just go together.

Compared to a traditional row gardening, SFG has very few weeds to pull.¬† The weeds that do blow in come up easily.¬† I’m able to weed my SFG in about 5 minutes per week!!!¬† Just sit back and watch your SFG grow and you might even see the kiddos grow right along :)



HUGE thanks to April for sending in this great guest post. I’m so excited about gardening this year! I tried it last year and ended up with one whopping tomato. Let’s hope this year, I have a bit more luck. If you decide to garden, be sure to send us your pics too!

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