What To Plant In A Square Foot Garden

In my last post about square foot gardening, I gave you a quick guide to this 40-year-old technique. We talked about what it is, the basics of getting started, and the value/efficiency of choosing square foot gardening over classic row gardens. But what about planting in your square foot garden? Here’s a quick guide to help you with that as well.

How Much Per Square?

So, you have your 4×4 square foot garden, filled with soil, divided into 16 individual squares. But what do you plant, and how much of it? 

square foot gardening

Well, the first step is to almost look at each 1×1 square as a separate little garden in itself. But how much you plant in each square will be determined by what you want to plant there.

Larger plants that take up more space will need more of that square foot to themselves then smaller ones will, which grow happily along with some friends in the same square. Allow me to break it down for you…

One Per Square

These plants are the ones that need the whole square all to themselves. Make a little hole right in the middle of one of your squares, plant your seed, or transplant it from another location. Some of the plants on this list include: 

  • Broccoli 
  • Peppers 
  • Parsley 
  • Kale 
  • Cauliflower 
  • Tomatoes (use a stake for them to grow upwards) 
  • Oregano
  • Brussel sprouts

Two Per Square

The following can be planted two in a square with enough space between them: 

  • Cucumbers
  • Winter squash
  • Watermelons

Four Per Square

Try some of the following delicious plants. Place one per corner with an equal distance between each and the edge of the square: 

  • Basil 
  • Parsley 
  • Swiss chard 
  • Onions 
  • Rutabaga
  • Leafy greens

Nine Per Square

Can you believe it? These plants can be happy in a square with up to eight of their same-plant friends planted in a simple 3×3 grid with equal spacing, of course: 

  • Peas
  • Spinach
  • Cilantro 
  • Beets 
  • Turnips

16 Per Square

You can get up to 16 of these guys in one square. Just space them out like a mini square foot garden within the 1×1 square in four rows of four: 

  • Carrots
  • Radishes 
  • Parsnips
  • Spring onions

Remember, just because you can plant more of a plant in one square doesn’t mean you have to. If you aren’t going to eat that much or don’t expect to harvest right away, fewer per square is better and healthier for the plants too.

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Jesse grew up obsessed with movies and so it only makes sense that he graduated from McGill University with a degree in Political Science. He then put that degree to good use with a job at a video store. After that he spent months backpacking around Europe - a continent that he has been back to visit many times since. Jesse is super curious and loves to learn and explore new subjects. For the last 15+ years he has been writing online for a number of different sites and publications covering everything from film and television to website reviews, dating and culture, history, news and sports. He’s worn many hats - which is ironic because he actually loves wearing hats and he has many different ones.