NDSU Extension - Williams County


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Square Foot Gardening- March 31, 2016

Gardening has been a great outdoor activity for many for year, but there is a new trend in gardening that is allowing those with little room to have successful gardens. Many of us love to have fresh produce every summer, but some that live in an apartment or confined spaces might have some difficulties. Square foot Gardening (SFG) is a trend that is we are seeing pop up more and more. Square foot gardening is a method of intensive gardening, which is very practical for residential areas. To simply state, SFG allows the vegetable and flowers to be planted very close together in raised beds that are framed with natural, nonrotting wood. These beds can be built with pressure-treated wood which is free of arsenic. The soil used for these beds is specially designed to have optimal drainage, soil usually consists of a combination of sandy loam and a generous amount of sphagnum peat moss or well-matured compost. The soil should be mixed four parts sandy loam with one part sphagnum peat moss or compost. If you are not interested in making your own, you can purchase high-quality bagged soil, using lawn soil or heavy soils will not work for your square foot garden.

Constructing a square foot garden is relatively easy, most cases they are 4 feet by 4 feet by 12 feet. But these are designable to fit your need, you can use as little as 6 inches deep, but 12 inches is better for accommodating root crops such as carrots, potatoes and parsnips. After you add your correct soil to your container, you add in your dividers; the dividers are one square foot. Square foot gardens are an option for those who love gardening but are unable to get down to the ground. These gardens can be built high off of the ground with the ability of using a false bottom. Here are six examples of what you can plant in each square foot; example 1- nine inions, beets, bush beans, bush peas, garlic or spinach. Example 2; 16 carrots or radishes. Example 3; 4 lettuce, chard, marigolds or kohlrabi. Example 4; 1 tomato, pepper, eggplant, broccoli, cabbage or corn. Example 5; 1 squash, cucumber or melon per 2 square feet. Example 6; vining plants such as beans or peas.

To learn more about square foot gardening visit, www.squarefootgardening.com. All information was gathered from the North Dakota State University Extension Service publication, The Facts of Square Foot Gardening. This publication was written by Esther McGinnis, NDSU Extension Horticulturist, Department of Plant Sciences. If you are interested in more information please call the Williams County Extension Office at 701-577-4595.


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