In the last post, we defined a raised bed square foot garden. Below are some advantages of square foot gardens. In the next post, we will talk about the disadvantages.
- Square foot gardens maximize all available space. They are typically smaller than traditional gardens, making raised bed gardens especially good options for areas with limited space
- Raised bed gardens can be an ideal solution in areas with poor soil or hard and rocky soil. One of my customers in Florida told me that she couldn’t grow roses in a marshy area of her yard. I suggested she fill in about 3 feet of topsoil in a raised bed rather than the usual 10-12 inches. She tried it and was able to grow some beautiful roses there.
- Raised beds warm up much faster in the spring, thus getting plants off to an earlier start.
- Raised beds (above ground level) drain much better, a real asset during the rainy season. I’ve watched my own garden survive in a raised bed when my yard was flooded with excessive rain that year.
- Square foot gardens use less water and requiring less weeding due to dense planting. The density of this type of garden keeps the soil shaded so that weed seeds don’t germinate. I have found that my five beds, each 4’x16′ produce more veggies than my family can use and requires only about 1/4 of the time and labor that I spent with a traditional garden in past years.
- Planting by the square foot method will result in higher production, up to twice as much. This is because of less competition from weeds, better moisture control, and more efficient use of space.
- Also, I don’t need an expensive garden tractor or tiller. Many of my customers will say they don’t have thousands of dollars for a tiller or tractor or whatever. After reading Jeff Lowenfels’ Teaming with Microbes, I have experimented with the “no till” practice of not disturbing the soil food web. I don’t plan to use my rotor tiller, shovel, or any other tillage tools when planting my Fall garden this year. So far it looks good. I’ll give you an update later this Fall.