Square Foot Gardening in Review

On Wednesday, April 6th, Wayne Brunt, Master Gardener and Certified Square Foot Gardening Instructor gave a talk on the Square Foot Gardening System to 60+ attendees at the Doylestown Mennonite Church. The event was a success and everyone enjoyed learning about this "almost too good to be true" gardening system.


Square-foot gardening is the practice of dividing the growing area into small square sections, typically 12 inches on a side, to assist in the planning and creating of small but intensively planted vegetable gardens. Author Mel Bartholomew coined the term “square foot gardening” in his 1981 book of the same name, and the practice has gradually built a following as more people with very little space seek to grow their own food.




Compared to a conventional single-row garden you can:

  • Grow 100% of the harvest
  • Use only 20% of the water
  • 5% of the seeds
  • Do 2 % of the work
  • Have 0% of the weeds 

This system saves time, money, water, work, and seeds!

10 major improvements to the original square-foot gardening method:

  1. Location – Close to the House: It will get more attention and care.
  2. Direction – Up, Not Down: It doesn’t matter what your soil is like.
  3. Soil – Mel’s Mix: 1/3 Coarse Vermiculite, 1/3 Peat Moss, 1/3 Blended Compost
  4. Box Depth – Only 6 Inches Deep: Window boxes and commercial green house benches only use 6”.
  5. No Fertilizer Necessary: Compost is all you need.
  6. Easy Access – Above the Ground, No Digging or Rototilling.
  7. Aisles – Comfortable Width, at Least 3 Feet Wide.
  8. Grids – Prominent and Permanent: Avoid string or other floppy materials.
  9. Don’t Waste Seeds – Just a few seeds in each hole.
  10. Expanded Opportunities: Make them accessible and portable.

Below is an example of what a 4ft x 4ft garden may look like:


Thank you, Wayne, for your wonderful presentation and to Doylestown Mennonite Church for the use of their space!


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