Planning My Square Foot Garden Layout

Oh, the weather outside is frightful…

My raised beds are currently buried with over a foot of snow…with more falling.

So, I’m planning my Square Foot Garden layout today. With winter storm “Stella” dumping more snow today, planning the vegetable garden gives me hope that Spring is actually coming.

 I have made my list of this year’s plants and I know how many of each I will be growing. Next, I will decide what plants go in which bed and lay it out on graph paper using the SFG (Square Foot Garden) method. I have five raised beds, two are 4×8, three are 3×8 and one square keyhole garden that is 8×8.  I also have large plastic storage boxes that I place next to the fence in the dog’s play area. For obvious reasons you can’t plant in the ground where the dog “fertilizes” it. 🙁

A Brief Guideline for Square Foot Garden Planning.

Step 1. Get out the graph paper and outline the size and shape of each bed, raised or otherwise. Label them on the sides with north, south, east and west. This will be helpful when planning. Label each bed outline with a name that makes sense to you. ie: 1,2,3 or north bed and south bed or bed by fence and bed by garage, etc. I use 1″ squares so that I have room to write the name and number of plants in them.

Step 2. Grab the list of what’s to be planted and how many of each. Start penciling them into sections on your grid. The Square Foot Gardening method has specific guidelines as to how many plants go in a square.


This chart explains how to space to the correct number of plants.

A few tips to help you decide where to plant them:

  • Keep taller plants on the north side of the beds. This will keep them from shading other plants. Plants like lettuce and other leafies like a bit of shade on hot summer days, so plant them on the east side. This way they will have a bit of shade on sunny afternoons.
  • Don’t plant in large blocks. Having large sections of the same plant can increase the possibility of insect infestation and spread of disease.
  • To increase your garden’s yield without taking up more space, think vertical space. Consider adding a section of fence, a trellis or an arbor for climbing plants to grow up. This will work for peas, cukes, pole beans, and vining squashes and will free up some planting space. It will result in easy picking, more produce per square foot planted, straight cucumbers and clean veggies. Just remember to put it on the north side of the garden.
  • Keep low growing plants on the outer squares. You don’t want to have to reach over or through your tomatoes to harvest your lettuce.
  • Definitely use pencil when filling out your plan. You will probably be changing it a lot before it is finalized. I know I do!

Step 3. After finalizing your layout, make a copy to save for next year. This will remind you where you planted, so you don’t plant the same thing in the same spot again. It is a good idea to slip a copy into clear page sleeves, as you will be working with it outdoors. That way it is protected from getting wet and dirty while you are planting.

A well thought out plan will make your planting experience so much easier and faster! So, now that I gave you the information on laying out your plans, I can get back to planning mine. 🙂 When I finish them I will post them here. If you have any questions or concerns, please leave a comment and I will get back to you!


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