These photos show examples of what can be produced with square foot garden beds – abundant crops twelve months a year!  All grown with simple tools, raised beds, trellises, and unheated cold frames.

View of square foot garden
These are photos from my previous square foot garden, before I had to move and switch to more container gardening and tall concrete beds due to my disabilities.  Because my goal for my own garden is to produce most of the fruits and vegetables I eat year-round, many of my garden beds are filled with only one or two types of vegetables at a time.  Most people with square foot gardens will plant many varieties of vegetables in each garden bed.

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Onions from one square foot garden bed
My standard 4′ x 4′ garden bed usually produces over 40 pounds of onions, nearly one bushel.  This is 2-3 pounds per square foot.  I grow storage onions that will keep in good condition in a cool room in my house until the next spring.

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Greens in November under row cover
As soon as the onions are harvested in early-mid August, I plant fall and winter greens – Bright Lights swiss chard, tatsoi, Red Russian kale, and more.  Many of these will be harvested from the fall, and throughout the winter, until March or April in the spring.  I can’t say I have ever weighed this harvest, as I usually just pick a few leaves at a time. But as you can see, these plants are growing abundantly.

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Squash on trellises
In another bed, I plant salad greens, root crops and miniature cabbage in the spring.  Then, as I make room by harvesting them, I grow two to four butternut squash plants on two trellises attached to this one bed.  These four plants produced 20 squashes in this one bed.

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Squash & spinach from one bed
After I harvest the squash, I plant the third crop (spinach this time) in the same bed.  These squash are only part of the harvest – I ran out of room to line them all up!

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Spinach in cold frame in February
Here is the spinach inside a simple cold frame in February.  My winter spinach is very sweet and crispy.  I have had people begging me to grow it for them. (I wish I could!)  I will finish harvesting it in March or April, in time to plant a spring crop.

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Watermelon in square foot garden
Watermelon is another crop that can be grown on trellises.  I grow small icebox watermelons, and have learned the hard way that it’s best to support them with slings as the melons get larger!  This watermelon has conveniently chosen to grow on the edge of the bed.

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Partial summer harvest
This is about half of the summer harvest from this one bed.  The rest of the tomatoes and beans were eaten fresh or given away.  This bed also produced spring greens, and there is still time to plant winter salad greens, such as corn salad and miners lettuce, after the summer harvest.

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Potatoes in raised garden bed
Potatoes can also be grown in square foot garden beds.  I plant nine potatoes in a 4′ x 4′ bed, and harvest an average of 30 pounds.  Some varieties, like Caribe, can produce even more.  Instead of trying to hill these potatoes with soil, I leave the sides of the cold frame in place to support the 6-8 inches of straw or grass mulch that I add as the potatoes grow.

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Garlic in March
I love garlic, and after an unusually warm winter, this crop is already nearly a foot high in late March.  This variety, German Extra-hardy, stores very well for at least eight months on my kitchen counter.

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Snap peas on trellis
By April 1st, I start planting my snap peas on a trellis on the north side of the garlic bed.  I plant a second batch 2-4 weeks later, to extend the harvest season of the peas as the weather warms up.  I’ll also plant a fall crop of snap peas in another bed in mid-July, to harvest in September and October.

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Carrots and beets in square foot bedAfter the garlic is harvested in mid-July, I plant root crops.  This is a solid bed of carrots and beets in September.  I usually average at least 3 pounds per square foot.  I will be harvesting this bed over the next 6 months, throughout the winter.

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Beets & carrots under winter mulch
As winter arrives, I bury the carrots and beets in 6-8 inches of mulch, and cover them with a cold frame.  Whenever I want to harvest a few, I just uncover the bed and dig them up.

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Carrot blossom for beneficial insects
I often have extra carrots still in the garden bed when spring arrives.  Most go into my refrigerator, but I transplant a few carrot roots into my fruit tree and grapevine beds.  They produce large numbers of flowers that bloom for weeks, and feed the beneficial insects in my garden.

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Mini dwarf apple trees on trellis
Fruit can also be grown intensively.  Mini dwarf apple trees can be raised as small 4 foot high trees in a single bed, or as single cordons along a trellis like I have done.  Each of these tiny trees are able to produce 15-25 apples per year.  My 3 foot by 16 foot bed with five trees has produced as much as 100 apples per year.  One of these varieties, Liberty, is disease-resistant, and the apples will store well when harvested in October.  The other disease-resistant variety is William’s Pride, an incredibly delicious early type that ripens in August.

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Strawberry plants in raised garden bed
One of the most productive small fruits in the garden are strawberries.  One standard 4′ x 4′ bed can produce 15-25 pints per year.  I grow Tristar, a type of everbearer that produces fresh berries from late May to late September.  Many varieties of blueberry bushes will fit in a 4′ x 4′ bed, too, and can produce 5-10 quarts of fruit each.  Even grapevines can produce up to 16 bunches of grapes in a standard small bed.

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Square foot beds next to row garden
My sister also used square foot garden beds.  Her previous garden was surrounded by a horse pasture, and it needed the electric fence to protect it.  She also covered a few beds with window screening to keep out insect pests and small animals.  Next to her beds, the barn owner had a standard row garden, which was several weeks behind my sister’s garden in being planted.  This is because he had to wait to till the soil in a wet spring.  The soil in the raised beds warmed up and dried out faster.

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Mini broccoli & lettuce under screening
This was a close up of one of her beds under the screening.  She had planted miniature broccoli or miniature cabbage in each square, with fast-growing lettuce tucked around each plant.

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Raised beds & cold frames under snow
After a heavy snow, my square foot garden beds still stood out.  Several of these beds had lush greens and root crops inside their cold frames.

These are just a few of the many ways that you can use square foot gardening to produce abundant crops year-round.

Next page:  My Journey Towards Square Foot Gardening

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