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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