Simple Square Foot Gardening

Square foot gardening is an easy and versatile approach to urban food gardening that can be adapted to everyone’s needs. Whether you are a busy professional who just wants to grow some fresh salad on a balcony, or a big family growing your own backyard vegetables, this method is perfect for any type of urban garden. Easy to maintain, square foot gardening lets gardeners grow exactly how much they want while reducing the needs for time-consuming weeding, watering, and other garden chores.

Unlike traditional garden rows, square foot gardening divides growing space into 12″x12″ blocks, with each block holding a different type of vegetable, herb, or flower. The number of plants in each block depends on the type of crop being grown. A block with sweet pepper may only hold one plant, while a section with lettuce can hold 4 – 6 plants. This spacing allows plants to grow to maturity, without wasting space between rows, all while allowing the gardener to enjoy a variety of crops in the same growing space.

This square-foot garden in Hartford County has six 12″ blocks in a 3’x2′ growing space.

To create your own square foot garden space,
check out our easy directions below!

To start, prepare the growing space with good quality soil and compost. Clear out any crops from the last growing season, and save any perennial flowers or herbs.

To create the square foot blocks, you will need a hammer, some nails, a measuring tape and garden twine.

Secure a nail at the 12″ points along the edges of the growing space

Using biodegradable garden twine, tie the end around a nail, and then secure the other end on a nail on the opposite side of the space.

This will create the blocks for your growing space.

Select the crops you want to grow, paying attention to how many plants can be sown into the space. When buying seeds, look for varieties that are suitable for container gardening, these provide bumper crops on smaller plants!


It is alway good to grow a mix of vegetables and flowers to enrich the soil and help prevent pest damage. See our Edible Flowers for Vegetable Gardens post for ideas!

Top row (left to right): Borage, Cucumbers, Bush Beans
Bottom row (left to right): Green onions and dwarf Carrots, Kohlrabi, Lettuce

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