Country Lore: Sold on Our Square-foot Garden

Intensive use of garden space with a square-foot garden can result in prolific harvests. Learn the method of square-foot gardening to enjoy low maintenance and high rewards!

| June/July 2008

  • square foot gardening
    Deer fencing helps to protect the garden from deer and other unwanted vegetable-eating critters.
    Photo by Ron Taylor
  • square foot garden
    Nutritious soil and tight planting creates a bountiful harvest this “square-foot” garden.
    Photo by Ron Taylor

  • square foot gardening
  • square foot garden

My partner, Ron Taylor, and I recently constructed a green home on five acres near Dripping Springs, Texas. With it came the kind of space and sunlight perfect for serious gardening. We became interested in permaculture and attended a weekend workshop where we discovered a method called square-foot gardening (intensive soil improvement and close garden spacing). I ran out to buy Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew, and we followed it to the letter!

After choosing the space and laying down weed cloth over the entire area, Ron leveled the earth and constructed three 4-foot-by-4-foot wood frames and a 17-foot-by-2-foot frame, each 8 inches deep. We filled the boxes with the “Square Foot” mix: one part mixed compost, one part vermiculite and one part peat moss. We used twine to mark off 1-foot squares in the beds. Our square-foot garden is surrounded with a 5-foot-high hog wire fence to keep out the hungry deer that frequent our property.

Last summer we feasted on the following vegetables, all produced within an 85-square-foot area: squash, chard, chives, cantaloupe, cucumbers, lettuce, radishes, spinach, pole and bush beans, onions and garlic, three varieties of eggplants, seven kinds of tomatoes and four types of peppers. We also enjoyed many herbs and flowers. In Texas, we get two growing seasons. So in October we planted a new garden of greens, beets, snap peas, lettuces and carrots.

Since I left my job last year, this square-foot garden has been our pet project. Its manageable size makes it a joy to do all the gardening with a little trowel, a watering can and a pair of shears. It also allows the time to be playful and creative.

Having a square-foot garden has satisfied my Virgo tendencies to dig in the dirt and commune with nature, and encouraged Ron to reconnect with his love of photography. Now we have time to sit back and enjoy the bounty of the Earth.

Monica Shomos
Dripping Springs, Texas


Fermentation Frenzy!

September 12-13, 2019
Seven Springs, Pa

Fermentation Frenzy! is produced by Fermentation magazine in conjunction with the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR. This one-and-a-half day event is jam-packed with fun and informative hands-on sessions.


Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters

click me