Gardening is one of those hobbies that keeps on giving.
Nothing beats the experience of watching your plants grow and harvesting the fruits of your labor. But there’s more to gardening than just the harvest.
Also Read: Square Foot Gardening Kale
If you want to reap the benefits of having a garden without the hassle, you might find some luck with the square-foot gardening method.
Square foot gardening is a novel method of growing fruits and vegetables. It utilizes small, square garden plots that are further divided into square-foot sections.
Growing plants this way saves space and water and is easier to maintain than a traditional row garden.
Working outside is a great way to get some gentle physical exercise. Plus, spending time under the sun can boost your production of vitamin D.
There’s even evidence that gardening can fight stress and lower the risk of getting dementia by 36%.
Unfortunately, gardening requires access to space, tools, and natural resources, such as water and fertile soil, that not everyone has.
It might also be difficult for you to start a garden if you lead a busy lifestyle. It will require a considerable investment of time and effort.
The dense planting setup has the double benefit of providing a larger harvest in less space while preventing the growth of weeds.
The raised height of the garden beds also makes it easier for those with mobility issues to access them.
High yield, ease of maintenance, and accessibility are the clear pros of using the square-foot gardening system.
However, this method does have some drawbacks. The emphasis on growing in a compact space means that you won’t be able to grow larger plants like squash or potatoes.
There might also be more upfront costs associated with square-foot gardening since you’ll have to buy the components for the soil mix.
Beans are one of the most popular crops for at-home growers. There are two major categories of beans– pole beans and bush beans.
You can always start with growing bush beans. Bush beans are popular in home gardens because they grow well with minimal effort.
For beginner gardeners with little space and time, growing bush beans in a square-foot garden is the perfect way to develop your green thumb.
Pole beans are vining plants that require some support when growing, while bush beans are smaller and can grow without a trellis.
Both are quite easy to grow in a square-foot garden. Although, bush beans offer the benefit of requiring less work since you won’t have to worry about providing them with a pole to climb.
Their small size also makes it possible to grow more plants in a square-foot garden. This will maximize the efficiency of your harvest.
If you’ve decided you want to give square-foot gardening a try, the first thing to do is find a space for it. Pick a spot that has decent drainage and gets six to eight hours of direct sun a day.
After you’ve found the perfect area, start your square-foot garden with three steps.
Standard square-foot garden boxes are at least four feet by four feet. However, you can choose to make them as large or as small as you need.
The most common material for garden box frames is wood. Make sure treated wood doesn’t touch the soil so that toxins won’t leach into your vegetables.
However, you aren’t limited to using wood for your garden box. Any food-safe materials are suitable for the frame, from cement blocks to recycled plastic bottles.
This is where you can let your creativity shine! Finding inexpensive materials will reduce the cost of your garden even further.
Put some landscape fabric at the bottom of your garden bed to keep weeds from growing into your garden bed. This will save you time and effort later.
You can make the recommended growing medium from three ingredients:
- One part coarse vermiculite
- One part sphagnum peat moss
- One part blended organic compost
You can use this soil calculator to determine the total volume of growing mix you’ll need to make.
You’ll be able to find these materials at gardening and hardware stores across the country.
This recipe is specially formulated to help the plants in your square-foot garden grow healthy and strong.
Vermiculite and peat moss aids in keeping water in the soil. And organic compost provides a healthy source of nutrients. Moisten this mixture before placing it in your garden bed.
The last step before planting is to divide your garden bed into one-foot square sections. This grid acts as a guide to help you space your seeds and as a way to keep your garden tidy.
Again, you can get creative in the materials you use to mark your grid. You could use old Venetian blind panels, dowels, or even yardsticks as inexpensive materials.
Read Post: Square-Foot Gardening Soil Mix [Best Tips & Tricks]
With so many varieties of bush beans to choose from, you might be wondering which one is the best. The answer is highly individualized and will depend on several factors, including:
- Your USDA Plant Hardiness Zone
- Plant pathogens present in your area
- Your preferred potential yield
- The length of your growing season
For example, you may live in an area where the growing season is short. So, you might want a variety that matures faster or is bred to have a higher yield so that you can enjoy a bountiful harvest.
Additionally, pathogens that cause diseases like fusarium wilt might be present in your area. This means you’ll have to look for resistant cultivars.
That being said, some hardy varieties are common across gardens in North America. Here are four of the most popular varieties of bush beans.
Roma II is an Italian-style bean with a flat shape and firm texture.
These snap beans are stringless, which makes them easy to prepare. They are also some of the best beans for canning if you plan on preserving your harvest for winter.
- Zones: 3 – 9
- Days to Maturity: 59
- Germination: 6 – 10 days
The Maxibel bean variety produces elegant, full-sized seed pods.
The stringless, slender pods grow to be about seven inches long and have a tender flavor. These beans will be a welcome addition to your dinner plate.
- Zones: 11 – 12
- Days to Maturity: 59
- Germination: 4 – 10 days
Kentucky Wonder is arguably the most widely-grown bush bean variety. It’s easy to see why.
The beans this plant produces are full-bodied and tender and can grow up to eight inches long. They mature in only 50 days, making this variety a great choice for short growing seasons.
- Zones: 3 – 12
- Days to Maturity: 59
- Germination: 4 – 10 days
If you’re looking for an unusual garden showstopper, Royal Burgundy is the cultivar of bush beans you’re looking for.
The purple pods are easy to find against the green foliage, making it a favorite for kids and adults alike.
- Zones: 3 – 12
- Days to Maturity: 50
- Germination: 7 – 12 days
Also, have a look: Companion planting square foot gardening [Complete Guide]
Are you ready to grow bush beans using the square-foot garden method? Keep reading for a comprehensive guide on the best practices for growing bush beans.
Plants can have widely different requirements depending on the zone you live in.
There are great resources for figuring out when you should plant your bush beans, depending on where you live.
Generally, for those living in the northern US, you can grow your bush beans between May and early October. If you live in the South, you can start planting in March.
However, these are just generalizations. Check out the map to find the best time to plant bush beans according to your specific region.
Bush beans should be sown directly in the soil since they don’t tolerate transplantation very well. Ideally, the soil should be around 60 degrees Fahrenheit when sowing.
Plant your beans one inch deep into the soil. They should sprout within 10 to 16 days, after which they’ll need full sunlight to thrive.
According to some gardeners, you can fit nine bush bean plants in one square foot, but some have found that this is too cramped and will reduce the health of your plants.
Others recommend that you plant four bush beans per square foot to let your plants have room to breathe.
The number of bush bean plants you can grow in your square foot garden will likely depend on different factors, like your region and the quality of your compost.
You might have to experiment to find the ideal number of plants that can healthily grow in one square foot.
Adding fertilizer to the garden seems to be a common practice. However, it’s not necessary if you follow the above recipe for soil mix.
The compost in the mixture will provide enough essential nutrients for your beans to thrive throughout the growing season.
Adding too much fertilizer might even harm your bush bean plants. This would reduce yield because too much nitrogen in the soil encourages leaf growth over bean production.
Check out: Okra square foot gardening
Harvest your beans often to encourage the plant to produce more flowers and hence, more beans.
You’ll know the beans are ready to harvest when they are firm and have a uniform thickness. Waiting too long to harvest the beans will cause them to be stringy and tough rather than tender.
To harvest your beans, break them off from the little stem that connects the bean to the main plant. Don’t pull too hard, or else you’ll risk damaging the plant itself.
Frequently Asked Questions About Square Foot Gardening
Do you still need more information before committing to a square-foot garden? Here are some frequently asked questions to help you make your decision.
How Many Square Feet Is a Good-sized Garden?
The minimum recommended size for a square foot garden is four feet by four feet.
This will give you 16 square-foot plots, a decent size for growing enough vegetables to feed your family through the growing season.
What Are the Three Materials Used in Square Foot Gardening?
The traditional soil mixture for square-foot gardening is one part vermiculite, one part peat moss, and one part compost.
However, there are alternate recipes if any of these components aren’t available in your area.
How Do I Plan a Square Foot Gardening Layout?
The best layout for a square-foot garden depends on how much space you have available. You can find lists of plans for different living situations you might find helpful.
Are There Any Disadvantages to Square Foot Gardening?
The main disadvantage of square-foot gardening is that it isn’t suitable for plants that need a large area to grow.
It won’t work for common crops such as melons, squash, or potatoes.
Furthermore, you may like some more Gardening articles:
- Square Foot Gardening Raspberries [All About To Know]
- Square Foot Gardening Eggplant [How to Care]
- Square Foot Gardening Cucumbers [Helpful Tips]
- Square-Foot Gardening Radish [How to Grow]
- Square Foot Gardening Broccoli: the best way to grow
- Square Foot Gardening Tomatoes (7 Ultimate Tips)
- Square Foot Gardening Strawberries (Unbelievable Ways)
- Square Foot Gardening Spinach (Helpful Tips)
- Square Foot Gardening Basil (Phenomenal Ways)
- Grow Corn in Square Foot Gardening (Detail Steps)
Square foot gardening makes it easy to grow bush beans at home.
Once you build your garden bed, you’ll be able to plant and harvest green beans year after year. You can even experiment with other crops once you get the hang of growing bush beans.
At the end of the growing season, you’ll have a basket full of beans, reduced stress, and a sense of enjoyment and fun. What more could you ask for from a hobby?
I’m Elsa, and I love gardening. I started GardeningElsa.com as a resource for other gardeners, and I offer expert advice on gardening topics such as plants, flowers, herbs, and vegetable gardening. On my website, I share my latest tips and tricks for creating beautiful gardens. When I’m not working on my website, you can find me in my own garden, tending to my plants and flowers. Read more about me.