Home Home ImprovementGardening Small Space Gardening Strategies Using Square Foot Beds

Small Space Gardening Strategies Using Square Foot Beds

by Max Connor

Urban gardeners can still reap bountiful harvests, even with limited space, using square foot gardening techniques. On balconies, position planters and hanging baskets above shorter pots. 

Vertical growing opens more space for intensive planting in square foot gardens. Careful interplanting keeps every square continually productive, boosting overall yields from your intensive square foot garden.

The structured square foot bed system allows intensive planting tailored to small yards, patios or balconies. Therefore, continue reading before you look for how many corn in a square foot garden

Choosing Appropriate Crops

Select compact, upward-growing crops suited for close square foot planting. Focus on leafy greens, herbs, tomatoes, peppers, beans, onions and root crops like radishes or carrots. These thrive when spaced 3-16 plants per square foot depending on mature size. 

Avoid sprawling vines and plants requiring wider spacing. Favor disease-resistant, high-yield heirloom varieties ideal for tight quarters. Direct sow quick-maturing salad greens for continual harvests. 

Mix complementary vegetables like tomatoes and basil for efficiency. Whether planting seeds or starts, use proper spacing for each plant’s square. Planning suitable crops ensures your square foot garden matches its productive potential.

Building Vertical Growing Space

Go vertical! Many vegetables grow upwards more than outwards, perfect for square foot beds. Add trellises along the north side for upward-vining crops like cucumbers, peas or beans to utilize air space. 

Insert sturdy cages for tomatoes, peppers and other bushy plants to contain and support their growth. Stake large-leaved plants like squash to keep leaves lifted for better sun exposure. 

Tie flexible stems to stakes as needed. Allow enough vertical room when placing tall crops. Stack smaller square foot gardening broccoli beds on tables or existing structures to double planting layers. 

Interplanting For Intensive Production  

Densely interplant quick “filler” crops between slower growing vegetables to maximize productivity. Sow lettuce, spinach, kale or herbs in vacant spots between maturing plants. 

These harvest out swiftly, making room for the adjacent main crops to continue expanding. Arrange relay plantings based on days to maturity so new plants replace harvested ones in time. 

Succession planting also quickly replenishes emptied squares. Just remember to replenish soil fertility used by the previous planting. 

Protecting Plants In Exposed Areas  

Shelter tender crops in harsh roof gardens or exposed balconies and patios. Strategically placed windbreaks, awnings, shade cloths, cloches or cold frames maintain desired conditions for plants to thrive. 

Use wind-permeable materials to avoid excessive heat buildup. Provide movable shade covers to adjust with sunlight angles and plant needs. 

Start seedlings early indoors for adequate time to acclimate to outdoor conditions before placing them in square foot gardening broccoli. Protective steps prevent stressed, stunted plants so urban edibles adjust and flourish.

Boosting Production In Limited Space

Combine square foot beds with upright containers and vertical growing structures to multiply planting real estate. Fill borders around beds with attractive edible pots of herbs or cherry tomatoes. 

Suspend hanging planters above square plots to accommodate vining veggies. Install wall-mounted living walls or vertical planter systems on fences and rails for adding greenery. 

These can also grow herbs and lettuces. Or transform side walls into a vertical garden using repurposed gutter systems. Use footstools or step ladders for care. 

Efficient Use Of Irrigation And Feeding  

Square foot gardening allows targeted watering and fertilizing by crop needs. Drip irrigation delivers water precisely to each bed. Group plants with similar water requirements together. 

Feed fast-growing crops more frequently, while slower varieties need less. Avoid over-watering shallow rooted crops or shallow beds risking leaching nutrients. Deeply irrigating less often encourages deeper roots for healthier plants. 

Fertigate to combine feeding with irrigation by adding soluble fertilizers to the watering can or system. Use compost tea, worm castings or organic amendments tailored to individual plant demands.


Tailor crop selections and density to match your garden’s conditions and space constraints. Focus on upward-growing, high-yield vegetables suited for close planting. 

Implement these space-maximizing strategies and tiny areas will blossom into thriving urban food gardens. Elevate smaller square beds on tables, low platforms or plant stands to create tiers. 

Make use of out-of-the-way nooks like courtyard corners or along staircases. With creative thinking outside the “box”, compact areas can produce bountiful harvests.

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