Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Audio Play Icon Headphones Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Check Icon Print Icon Note Icon Heart Icon Filled Heart Icon Single Arrow Icon Double Arrow Icon Hamburger Icon TV Icon Close Icon Sorted Hamburger/Search Icon

This member-only article is part of our All Access subscription.

Member only

Is Square Foot Gardening a Good System?

It’s popular, but is it the best method for you?

Fine Gardening – Issue 163
I am not here to bash square foot gardening (SFG). Any system that has been encouraging people to grow their own food for the past 40 years should be applauded. I do think, however, that we need some perspective on the realities of growing fresh produce using this much-celebrated method. The concept of growing more vegetables in less space didn’t begin with SFG. Many attribute the basic tenets with the French, who planted a so-called “intensive garden” near Paris in the 1890s. Many years later (in 1981), hobby gardener Mel Bartholomew popularized the phrase “square foot gardening” in a book (photo, below) and his subsequent PBS television series. Using many of the same concepts of intensive gardening, SFG encourages people to build a square garden bed and, using a grid, divide it into 1-foot squares that are each planted with a different type of veggie. The method quickly became—and still…

This article is only available to All Access members

This article is available online for the first time ever exclusively for All Access members. Sign up for a free trial to access our entire collection of articles, videos, and plant records.

Start Free Trial

View Comments


Log in or become a member to post a comment on this article.

Related Articles

The Latest

Magazine Cover

Take your passion for plants to the next level

Subscribe today and save up to 44%

"As a recently identified gardening nut I have tried all the magazines and this one is head and shoulders above the pack."


View All