I received a new letter from Mark, one of our best certified instructors from Orange County, California.  Mark gives many talks and workshops to all kinds of people and organizations, from schools to senior centers, from homeowners to apartment dwellers.  He suggests that the answer to the question, “Who is Square Foot Gardening For?” is that the general public seems to have an idea that it is for a select group of people.  Therefore, it may not be applicable to them.

Well, we need to set that straight.  SFG is for everyone – everywhere!  We could go down the list and explain why Square Foot Gardening will be better for each one of these locations and situations.

Not Enough Space?

Big yards or small yards – it doesn’t really matter how much space you have.  Square Foot Gardening will just condense the need for a garden down to only 20% of that space.  If you have a big yard, you can easily put in a SFG but reduce the work by 90% and the watering by 95%!  If you have a small yard, then obviously that’s perfect for a SFG.  It’ll fit into any location, whether it’s in your backyard, side yard, or front yard.  Also, it doesn’t matter whether it’s to go on a patio, deck or even rooftop!

I remember back in the days when we had a public display garden at Thanksgiving Point in Utah.  Quite often a couple would come by and look around.  When we said it saves a lot of space, the man would say, “I’ve got a 5 acre backyard…I don’t need a dinky little garden!”  The wife would roll her eyes and say, “But Henry, you’re out there all the time weeding and rototilling.  If you tried this you could relax a little more and wouldn’t have to work so hard!  I’m worried about your health!”  Of course, he poo-pooed that and seemed to thrive on making his garden bigger and better every year, even though they couldn’t give the produce away – there was just too much.

Existing Large Row Gardens

For this situation, we try to convince the owner to just start with 1 or 2 boxes in a corner and get the hang of SFG.  This is after they’ve said, “I’m going to take out my row garden and fill it with boxes and we say, “No, no please don’t!”  They don’t realize that the same harvest could come in only 20% of the space!  Often they come back the next year and say, “You know, you were right.  Now we have too many boxes and too much produce.”

Apartments and Condominiums

Where can you put a SFG in any of these locations?  On the porch, on the deck, on the railing, or up on the roof.  There are plenty of places because you don’t need much space.  If you have a railing, the boxes can go on the floor in front of the railing – two feet wide by any length.  If you have a wood railing, they could be bolted to the top of the railing – one foot wide by any length.  On a deck and rooftop there is plenty of room for any size, arrangement or pattern that you want.

Age of Gardener

We’ve taught preschoolers and we suggest a sandbox for a toddler right in the middle of the family garden.  That toddler can watch their older brothers and sisters garden in their boxes and you know what they’re going to say in just a few years – “When can I have a Square Foot Garden of my own!”  Just take out the sand, fill it with Mel’s Mix, put on a grid, and teach the child how to walk around the box and reach in to plant their squares.

Youth right through grade school up to college have so many science projects to do.  Even in high school we take the students after they learn the method and turn them into teachers.  They go down to the 4th graders and teach them.  We also send them to a local nursing home to teach the old folks about SFG.

Young adults, middle-aged people and baby boomers all have similar excuses: no time, no room, and no knowledge.  We know you don’t need much of any of those things for a Square Foot Garden, so it’s perfect for that age group.

Elderly, immobile: since there’s no digging involved, you don’t need any strength.  There are no tools involved and just about anyone (even those in wheelchairs) can go up to a raised garden box and keep gardening their entire lives.

You can see that there is no limitation in location or age for Square Foot Gardens.


Can you think of anyone or anywhere that can’t have a Square Foot Garden?  We even put them in prisons and we’re considering the Moon next!

Thanks to Jinxi for sharing her pictures with us and gardening the SFG way!