Square Foot Gardening takes Raised Bed Gardens to a whole new level.  Learn the square foot garden method and save in many different ways.

  • Cost – is about half the cost of a regular garden
  • Space is much less for much more production
  • Water – use less water since your garden is contained
  • Seeds – use fewer seeds
  • Work – once your boxes are made, the time required to work your garden is less

Mel Bartholomew has been teaching and educating people around the world about the many benefits of Square Foot Gardening.  Through his books and television specials he has become known as the Father of SFG (Square Foot Gardening).

Type of Materials to Use

Your boxes sit on top of the ground and ideally measure 4′ X 4′ square and 6″ or 8″ or 12″ high.  You can use non-pressure treated lumber, synthetic boards or vinyl fencing.  Actually you can use anything to build your 4′ X 4′ square garden.

The most attractive and best wood to use is redwood.  This is also the most expensive type of lumber.

Cedar is probably the next best type of wood to use.  It does cost more than your softwood varieties, but it will last longer outside.  You can usually find unfinished cedar boards in 1″ X 6″ or 8″ X 8′ and then use a 4″ X 4″ or even a 2″ X 4″ cut into shorter posts for your corners.

Weed retardant material to sit on the ground and prevent weeds from growing up through your container garden box.

Think about adding a trellis on one end for your climbing crops like peas and beans.

Don’t forget some string to mark off your little squares.

Square Foot Garden Soil

As with a raised bed garden, you will want to prepare a soil mixture that allows for good drainage.  I like to use a mixture of

  • Peat Moss
  • Compost
  • Vermiculite or Peri-lite

As my budget allows, I also like to use Miracle Grow Potting Soil which has everything you need mixed together.


  1. Choose your location to make sure the area gets at least 6 – 8 hours of sunlight.
  2. Plan to leave a 3 foot walkway around your garden box
  3. Be sure you can reach your garden from at least 2 sides
  4. If you add a trellis, be sure you can reach the trellis from the back side to make your harvesting easier.

Square Foot Gardening is a perfect introduction to gardening for your children.  They can each have their own little square foot garden area.  These gardens could be built in 3′ X 3′ or 2′ X 2′ sizes so each child can be responsible for their own garden.

Square Foot Gardens can be built higher off the ground using tables to accommodate people in wheel chairs or people who have back and knee problems which prevent them from working in a garden at ground level.

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