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Square Foot Gardening Method

The Square Foot Gardening Methodsaves gardeners time, effort, tools, space and water. The Square Foot Gardening Method is estimated to cost 50% less, uses 20% less space, 10% of the water, and only 2% of the work compared to single row gardening. Additional benefits are: virtually no weeds, no digging or rototilling, no fertilizers, and no heavy tools are necessary.

Anyone can be a successful gardener using the Square Foot Gardening method. While there are many more details, tips, and applications in the SFG books, the basics are very simple.

Once a spot is chosen that has good drainage and receives 6-8 hours of direct sun per day, there are three simple steps:

Step 1: Build a box

You can use many materials to build your 4’ X 4’ box such as UNTREATED cedar, pine or fir. If treating wood only treat the outside of the box as to not have contact with the Mel’s Mix growing medium. You can even use brick, cement blocks, vinyl or recycled plastic. Be sure to put down weed mat or landscape fabric to prevent weeds from sprouting up through your soil.

Step 2: Fill SFG with Mel’s Mix™

This tested and proven formula is easy to make at home. Please note: these ingredients will be in equal volumes, not by weight.
• 1/3 Coarse grade Vermiculite (Mel’s preferred medium)
• 1/3 Sphagnum Peat Moss (You can also use Coconut Coir)
• 1/3 Blended Organic Compost (Mel recommends 5 different composts combined for optimal results)

The Square Foot Soil Calculator

Enter your dimensions

Total by volume

Step 3: Add a grid and start planting!

Grids can be made inexpensively from Venetian blinds, wood lath sold in home improvement stores, or even wooden yardsticks twist-tied together. The grid is one of the most important features of a Square Foot Garden. The grid lets you clearly see how to space your seeds/plants and keeps your garden looking neat and organized. See the Planting Chart to learn seed and plant spacing. This efficient and organized planting promotes higher yields at harvesting time, providing the most out of your limited space garden.


This highly efficient method creates healthier gardens, larger harvests…and happier, more fulfilled gardeners!

Would you like to learn more?

Row Gardening VS Square Foot Gardening

  • Back-breaking digging and tilling
  • Wastes seeds with thinning
  • Constant weeding
  • Requires a big yard
  • Harvests all at once
  • Wastes water
  • Relies on fertilizers
tomato rotting Cool-weather-early-spring-SFG
  • No digging, no tilling, no fertilizer
  • Weeding is minimal – and effortless
  • Perfect for small spaces
  • Plant in Mel’s Mix, not soil
  • No gardening experience needed
  • No machinery or heavy tools needed
  • Raised beds offer easier access
  • Ideal for rooftops and patios
  • Saves seeds and water
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