Square foot garden

Food Growing Tips – find out how the Square Foot Garden Method can maximise your planting space. This simple method is great for containers and pots too.


Square foot gardening is a great gardening method for beginners and people with limited room for growing. It was invented by the gardener, American author and TV presenter Mel Bartholomew in the 1970’s.


How to use the square foot gardening method

It’s really only a question of dividing your bed or container in to a grid of 1 foot squares (or in today’s terms 30cm squares).  The diagram on the right will give you an idea of how this can be done.  Each square is planted with vegetables according to the plant size.  In general though, each square will have either 1, 4, 9 or 16 plants. 

Here is the suggested spacing:

  • In a 1 foot square, you can grow 1 tomato plant or 16 carrots.
  • Large plants, such as pumpkins, marrows, and squashes, need two squares  (1 foot x 2 feet space/ 30x60cm).
  • Climbing peas and beans should be planted in two mini-rows (2 plants in a square foot/ every 15 cm).
Square foot garden

This method is also great to use with larger pots and containers.  The square foot garden is a great way to understand the space that plants need for optimum growth.  Watch the video below to find out more. 

For more background this is a good article on the pros and cons of this method.  To read more of Clyo’s food growing tips read here



Clyo heads up Wen’s Live Well cooking and food growing courses in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. Classes explore in a practical way how diet and lifestyles has an impact on the planet. Attendees learn and try new plant based recipes, spend time in the community garden and enjoy a delicious lunch. 


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