Square foot garden: what is the best way to plant crops that usually are planted in rows?

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square foot gardening
Image by Mad Mod Smith

Question by SWWIFL: Square foot garden: what is the best way to plant crops that usually are planted in rows?
We just set up our first square foot garden and the instructions I’ve found are a little vague on the pattern to use within the square to take full advantage of the square. Especially for plants like carrots, radishes, beets, lettuces, etc. that are usually in a row.
Lots of good suggestions-thanks! It will be hard to pick a best answer.

A few more details:
Our ground soil is hard clay mixed with rocks, (we live on the side of an extinct volcano-but have none of that lush volcanic soil). We opted to try the method mentioned in the Square Foot Gardening book, rather than try and improve our soil. For now we have a 4 foot by 4 foot square box, and may add a second for warmer crops. We are in the southwestern U.S. so we can start planting now-at least things like peas and radishes.

What do you think? Answer below!

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7 Responses to Square foot garden: what is the best way to plant crops that usually are planted in rows?

  1. it is more depending on the size of the plant.
    for radishes or lettuce, I spaced them evenly over the area of the square (not in rows). and they did fine.
    there is a chart somewhere, that gives guidelines on this – sorry I don’t have it on hand right now – it may be from the square foot gardening book, or from a gardening forum.
    try a specialized gardening forum for more info.

    February 15, 2012 at 1:43 am

  2. They do not have to be in rows…just plant whatever you like the best in there, eat it, grow some more later. Greens will grow early in the spring and even into the late fall where I live. I would plant lettuce first and some green onions if you like them. You can plant green pepper plants along a fence, green beans, and tomatoes the same way. They will climb up the fence and you will not have to string them up, just stick them between the openings in the fence. I even put some in my flower garden.

    February 15, 2012 at 2:19 am

  3. I must not understand the concept. If the total garden’s dimensions are one square foot you are not a serious gardener and you cannot plant multiple vegetables and expect a return. Please provide more information.

    February 15, 2012 at 2:26 am

  4. In highly limited space, you are better off planting low early producers (lettuce, spinach) about 1′ apart, then come in with higher plants (beans or corn) while the low ones are maturing…interspercing the later, higher produces between the lower, earlier veggies…doubles the plant space and makes better use of soil for longer periods.

    February 15, 2012 at 3:15 am

  5. A square foot garden does not mean that it’s only one square foot in size……duh….. Lets say you want to have corn on the cob through out the Summer. You take an area, such as 10′ x 10′ and across the back 10 square feet you plant corn in the first 5 squares. Wait a week, and plant the next 5 squares. Continue until it’s complete. All Summer long you reap your harvest. Make sure the first row is at the back in relation to the Sun. What you end up with is a solid block of corn stalks that the wind will have a hard time blowing over. Hundreds of ears of corn and all from a small area.

    Take another 10’x10′ area and plant a bunch of potatoes, then on top in some of the squares, other vegies that will grow up before the potato plants take over. If they are small treat one square as 9 squares, each being 4 x 4 inches.

    Have fun…..

    February 15, 2012 at 3:40 am

  6. Here is the square foot gardening site. It’s a great way to garden.


    February 15, 2012 at 4:23 am

  7. I hope this helps draw a on a paper the size of the square that you want to use I use 18-18-18-18 and put five plants in the square one in each corner and one in the center five plants total as I harvested i replanted I Hope this help good luck

    Henry H
    February 15, 2012 at 5:21 am

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