How to Plan Your Square Foot Garden + Free Printable Planner

Are you planning your garden? This morning as I was thinking about planning the “grid” for my Square Foot Garden and decided to create a planner page to help me. Today I’m sharing all about how to plan your square foot garden. Plus, you can grab my free printable square foot garden planner below!

What Is Square Foot Gardening?

Square Foot Gardening is a simple method which divides a raised plant bed into smaller equal squares, each with a size of roughly one foot in length.

This method allows a gardener to produce more food with less effort while maintaining the garden size and optimizing the space.

The concept of Square Foot Gardening is very simple: to create a small garden bed with the size of 4 feet by 4 feet or 4 feet by 8 feet and dividing it into different grids of 1-foot square.

The seeds or the seedlings of each vegetable of your choice are then planted into the small squares. Since there are no paths, there is no space wasted and the soil in the bed is loose because no one is walking on it, thereby making it better for your plants roots to branch and make stronger, healthier plants.

Why Should You Try Square Foot Gardening?

Produces High Yields: Since it’s intensive planting, it means you can harvest a lot, even in a much smaller space.

Quick Set-Up: If you want to start a new garden, you’re a first timer, or you have limited room, the square foot gardening set-up is ideal for you. You can place the beds anywhere. You can build and fill the bed and start planting seeds or seedlings in just a few hours, with less time and effort.

Less Regular Maintenance: Since your garden setup is small, you only need to do a few specific tasks on a daily basis. This means you only need to invest a few minutes of your time every day for maintenance. Watering and fertilizing are easier since there’s no wasting water between the rows.

Minimal Weeding: If you use a soilless mix for your square foot gardening, this means there are practically no weeds to pull out during the first season.  A soilless potting mix is much better for your plants as it is lighter than garden soil which allows for less chance of compaction and more air flow around your plants roots helping them to grow stronger.

The Challenges Of Square Foot Gardening

Higher Initial Cost: The costs of building a small raised bed and filling it with soilless mix can add up quickly.

Insufficient Depth: The depth of the beds can be too shallow for some plants. The roots cannot extend into the soil. If you want to use plants with longer roots, make a frame with a deeper depth, at least 12 inches deep and top it with growing mix.

Cramped Plants: You can plant a limited number of vegetables, herbs, and fruits with square foot gardening. It is not ideal for crops that take too much room like asparagus, squash or corn.

How To Plan Your Square Foot Garden

Before you start creating your own garden, keep these things in mind:

Consider The Size

Consider how many vegetables, flowers, herbs, or fruits you want to grow.

A raised bed with a 4 by 4-foot size can produce enough crops for a small family but if you want to keep and freeze more of your harvest, you need to make a bigger garden bed.

Choose The Growing Medium

One of the most important components of a square foot garden is the grow medium or the soil.

The ideal mixture of the soil should contain the following ingredients:

Building Your Square Foot Garden

Creating your own square foot garden is not difficult. You only need a few steps to have a productive garden space.

If you’re creating a 4×4 square foot garden, you can use 2×6 boards. You can build your own garden for around $20 per box.

To build a bed, you’ll need:

  • Untreated Cedar (advisable) Boards
  • Wood screws
  • Lattice strips
  • Weed barrier
  • Machine Bolts
  • Staple gun
  • Power drill
  • Nails
  • Screws

To know the process of building a garden step by step, here is a helpful video tutorial.

Prepare The Soil Mix

A 4 by 4-foot garden box needs 8 cubic feet of soil mix. To achieve the perfect soil mix, prepare the soil with the mixture of:

  • 1/3 peat moss
  • 1/3 vermiculite
  • 1/3 blended compost

You can also mix a variety of compost such as worm castings, chicken or cow manure, and mushroom compost.

Start Planting

Do you want to make salads or salsa for the family? Or maybe you want fresh fruits for snacks, or maybe even a tea garden which is growing in popularity?

There are a number of different vegetables and fruits you can place in each grid of your square garden box such as:

  • Radish
  • Beets
  • Onion
  • Carrot
  • Lettuce
  • Broccoli
  • Pepper
  • Tomato

Perform Proper Maintenance

Once you have your garden set up and the seeds or seedlings planted, it’s now time to do proper maintenance.

Square foot gardening reduces the need to use more pesticides or fertilizers.

  • Add a scoop of compost to each grid before planting.
  • Water more frequently throughout the week as the garden beds have less moisture.
  • Place the garden box in a spot in your garden where the plants can get at least six to seven hours of direct sunlight every day.

Square foot gardening is a gardening method for beginners or those who have a limited space in their garden. If this method interests you, make sure to give it a try!

Square Foot Gardening

Square Foot Gardening is the easiest way to get started with a garden in your back {or front yard}. You can buy the All New Square Foot Gardening book on – I own it and love the method!

How to Video for Square Foot Gardening

And if you haven’t read the book All New Square Foot Gardening, you really should order your copy or check it out from the library!

Other books you might love:

  1. Square Foot Gardening with Kids
  2. Carrots Love Tomatoes: Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardening
  3. Vertical Gardening: Grow Up, Not Out, for More Vegetables and Flowers in Much Less Space
  4. The Week-by-Week Vegetable Gardener’s Handbook: Make the Most of Your Growing Season

Other Resources You Might Enjoy:

I hope you enjoy these planner pages!

What are you planting this year?

Printable Square Foot Garden Planner

I created this printable so that whether you have 4 x 4 or 4 x 8 raised beds, you can use this square foot garden planning grid to help you plan.

Free Printable Square Foot Garden Planner @

How to Download

Just click on the button below and you’ll be taken to the download page.

What’s you favorite thing to grow in your garden? Let me know in the comments below!