your garden solution

Why Square Foot Gardening?

(From Joe’s perspective)

I was gardening the traditional way (row gardening) for about 8 years. I would always start out very enthusiastic getting the garden ready: First I would try to enhance the soil by spreading some kind of fertilizer on it, then till it under and begin digging out the aisles and piling up the soil to create the rows. I would then proceed to hammer in the tomato stakes and tie twine between them so the tomatoes had something to grow up on.  I would also plant rows of cabbages, broccoli, peppers and other vegetables.  By the time mid-July came around, the weeds would be so thick, my friends and family thought I was creating my own little jungle in central PA!

In the summer of 2007, my friend Steve, gave me the book, “All New Square Foot Gardening” by Mel Bartholomew.  After my wife and I read the book cover-to-cover in about two days, we became convinced that this was an innovative, yet easy way to garden.

So in the spring of 2008, we converted my whole garden to eight 4 x 4 square foot gardens.  I had my wife and kids out in the garden plotting out what they wanted to grow in each of their SFG boxes.  That year, we harvested about 70% more vegetables than we had ever harvested row gardening.  The best part was that there was very little maintenance involved once the gardens were set up.

After seeing the success we were having, my brother-in-law and business partner, Seppi, decided to try square foot gardening.  He became convinced that this type of gardening was the solution, and it’s worked very, very well for him and his family.   In the summer of 2011, Seppi became interested in Permaculture and earned his Permaculture Design Certification.  He has 24 square foot gardens in his back yard, 2 swales and vernal pools to slow down the water flow to minimize his need for irrigation (and to keep water out of his neighbor’s basement).  With the growing power of the square foot gardens and his ability to plant on the swales and in the vernal pools, he should be able to almost completely feed two families, including his own.  Please feel free to contact him for a tour of his yard.  

The next year, 2009, was when I realized the time savings involved with SFG, especially in the preparation of the garden for the upcoming growing season. It took me approximately 45 minutes to get my boxes ready for planting!  No more tilling, no more digging, it really made gardening much easier and more manageable while enabling us to produce more!  What a great concept!!