Square Foot Gardening Pros And Cons | Garden Season

Backyard Garden | Pros And Cons Of Square Foot Gardening | Garden Season | Featured

If efficient gardening is what you’re looking for, square foot gardening is what you need. Managing raised beds will be easy and will give green thumbs a neat and orderly garden.

RELATED: Raised Bed Gardening Ideas: DIY A Raised Garden Bed

In this article:

  1. What Is Square Foot Gardening?
  2. 5 Square Foot Gardening Pros
  3. 5 Square Foot Gardening Cons

Basics of Square Foot Gardening | Garden Season

What Is Square Foot Gardening?

Square foot gardening is all about efficiency. It lets you create and manage raised beds that need a minimum time of maintaining them.

In regular gardening, you spend time managing spaces that will not be used and square foot gardening will let you focus on where the plant will be in, giving you more time and be efficient in managing your plants. Square foot gardens are 4 x 4 ft and are 6-12 inches deep.

So what are the good and bad points for this method of gardening?

5 Square Foot Gardening Pros

1. Easy to Set Up

Top shot of indoor plants seedlings | Square Foot Gardening Pros And Cons | Garden Season

Setting up a raised bed is not difficult especially when you’re considering the space and pavements where you plan to place your box. You can place it anywhere allowing you to prepare and set up very quickly. It is great for first-timers, as well, because of the level of difficulty.

2. High Yield

Again, working with a limited room means the place of the square foot garden is cramped up, which also means it will be easier to harvest.

3. Efficient and Easy to Maintain

small garden with different plantboxes | Pros And Cons Of Square Foot Gardening | Garden Season

Planting, harvesting, and maintaining is easier since all your plants will be contained in a smaller space. It also means you can have more time for your plants instead of spending it on the maintenance of your garden.

4. No Weeding

Weed seeds tend to get blown by the wind. This usually results in weeding in traditional gardens. But since square foot gardening requires raised beds, the chances of the seeds going to your beds are highly unlikely. Also, you can control what soil and seeds you put in your square foot garden since you start empty.

5. Minimal Effort Needed

happy woman to water her garden | Pros And Cons Of Square Foot Gardening | Garden Season

Since you have a smaller space to work with, you spend less time working on your plants on a daily basis. Square foot gardens also require minimal effort on you physically. This is possible with an elevated and raised beds. It can help people with back problems from kneeling or bending down since the beds can be installed at any height.

RELATED: Easy Vegetable Gardening Tips To Achieve An Abundant Harvest

5 Square Foot Gardening Cons

1. Initial Cost

woman hands holding dollars | Pros And Cons Of Square Foot Gardening | Garden Season

The soilless mix will hurt you most in terms of expenses since filling up a raised bed will need a lot of soil. However, there is a workaround for this. Using the original method and using in-ground garden beds will cost you less. So you can consider this route, if ever, to lessen the initial cost.

Making a raised bed will cost you more compared to just creating your garden beds on-ground using the soil you already have.

2. Frequent Watering

Especially in the summer, you might need to water your beds more since square foot gardening on raised beds dries up the soil faster. For the workaround, you can always consider a soaker hose, a drip irrigation system, if budget is not an issue, or you can also consider covering the soil with torn newspaper or grass clippings to conserve the moisture.

3. Less Crops Due to Cramped Space

plant seedling with roots | Pros And Cons Of Square Foot Gardening | Garden Season

You may not be able to put more crops that take a lot of room like squash, asparagus, and corn. But you can always make the space bigger for these large crops. Just remember to plant fewer seeds.

A workaround for this is to plant smaller crops such as herbs or carrots to maximize the space of your square foot garden. You have to go with smaller crops since you will be dealing with a more cramped space given the dimension of a raised bed.

4. Limited Width

If you’re into growing larger crops such as sweet corn or asparagus, a square foot garden may not be ideal. These kinds of plants are usually grown in traditional row gardens. Square foot gardens are more inclined to cater to smaller crops such as herbs, tomatoes, or carrots.

5. Limited Depth

closeup shot of seedling in bed | Pros And Cons Of Square Foot Gardening | Garden Season

Most plants require six inches of depth to flourish to a healthy plant. But in a square foot garden, space is essential. Some plants may require more than six inches and some gardeners allot at least double the depth and go at least one foot deep.

In addition to eating up more space vertically to cover the depth, reinforcement should be added for the entire bed to support the added soil.

Watch this video from Project Diaries to learn about square foot gardening and how to create one:

For beginners, especially with those who have limited space for your garden, trying out this method is great. For the drawbacks, there are ways to work around it so don’t be encouraged by the negative points.

Overall, it’s really about your preference and needs if you’d like to try this method.

Have you tried square foot gardening? Share your experience by leaving a comment in the comment section provided below.


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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on November 21, 2019, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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