Square Foot Gardening

Square foot Gardening is a small area, high yield intensive gardening system. Although recently popularized by Mel Bartholomew, it is based on older gardening methods designed for high yield household vegetable gardens.

The basic principles and “rules” allow for extremely high yield gardens which require allot less space and maintenance than traditional row gardening. The method also allows people like me with a short growing season to maximize yields.

Larger Yields

Square foot gardening will provide a better yield for the area you are using.

Requires less space

Very well adapted for those with limited space, even apartment patios.

Weed Control

Weeds get crowded out by plants (less weeding).


Easier to access to plants for those that have problems bending over or kneeling down.

Less Water usage

Plants keep moisture in the soil better so water is used efficiently (less watering).

Extends the Growing Season

Raised beds heat up faster in the spring, extending the growing season.

Maximize growing season

Beds can easily be converted to cold frames or mini   greenhouses further extending the growing season.

Gardening Shortcut Links

Hodge Podge Garden
Stir fry Garden
Three Sisters (Corn, Pole Beans and Squash/Pumpkin)

The plants listed here are available at the physical shop located with the Nipigon River Bait Shop at 21 Second Street in Nipigon Ontario. Limited quantities are available, and all seeds are fresh and have been tested to grow here in NW Ontario.


The Rules

There are some pretty specific official rules for soil compositions, box design and layouts. I have modified some of the rules to make my life easier and to adapt to my specific growing conditions. Rules are suggestions, feel free to modify as needed but the following are what work well for me.

Boxes made from 2×6 pressure treated
Yes pressure treated has been scientifically proven to not leech into soils/vegetables. the 2×6 gives the depth as well as width for attaching row covers using PVC piping and some dowel. 2×8 or 2×10 are just more expensive.

Soils need to be loose and rich in compost/organic matter
If you are growing an intense garden, it will need food and soils deep and loose enough for its roots to get to. I dig and loosen soil at least 12 inches deep, sometimes 30 inches for root vegetables like potatoes and carrots.

Maximum size of a single box should be 4 foot x 4 foot
A 4 foot by 4 foot box can be reached easily from all sides without walking on the soil. If I am making large boxes I will want to put row covers on I will use 2 foot by 8 foot as they are easier to attach the row covers to.

A minimum of two feet between boxes on all sides
This is to allow you room to move around the boxes and keep them separate.

If possible use a trellis
Trellising allows alot of plants that spread out to stay in position by growing vertically. When setting up a trellis keep in mind the suns position during the day.

Never walk on the soil beds




Square Foot Gardening

Information and resources for square foot gardening here in NW Ontario.

Excel Garden Planner

An excel worksheet I developed to help plan and track my square foot gardening.


North Hardy Plants

Not all plants will grow here, but a lot will.


Garden Planning

North Hardy Plants

Tips and Tricks

Square Foot Gardening

About Garden Planning

Laying out your garden and pre-planning what to plant is best accomplished over the winter months. It gives you escape from the north winds, allows for ordering of seeds and allows you to put some time and effort into laying out your garden.

Since I use the square foot gardening method, I have created a garden planner using Microsoft excel. It allows you layout your garden using the cells in excel, then based on what plants you choose it will calculate planting/harvest times, potential yields, how many seeds you will need and more.

The Garden planner is provided as is, I can and will answer questions on using it and I have made videos on using it. I am hoping to have a full updated version ready for 2019 planning season.

Get In Touch

21 second street, nipigon

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