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Square Foot Gardening Templates

March 19th, 2009

A few of you asked about the template I was using in my photo yesterday, so I decided to explain what they are and how we made them.
I use the Square Foot Gardening method in my raised beds. Which basically means that I break my raised beds down into square foot sections for planting.
I don’t plant each square with something different as other people do, I usually plant large sections of different types of plants. This is how I like my beds organized. On Monday I planted a bed full of beets; 2 different kinds, Bull’s Blood Beets and Crapaudine Beets. I had Mr Chiots make me these squares for quick and easy spacing of seeds.
Basically these are a square foot piece of some scrap plywood we had laying around. We measured and drilled holes for 3 inch and 4 inch spacing of seeds and plants. Mr Chiots even routed the edges to give them a nice finish.
I contemplated having him make ones that had dowels or small squares of wood nailed for spaces so I could “punch” the holes into the soil with them, but we didn’t have any dowels and these were much faster (I think they’re 2 inch holes).
You could drill smaller holes in these, but I decided I wanted larger ones to have room to work and so I wouldn’t risk getting any splinters or anything. This also allows me to plant small plants through the holes as well. I like to plant my seeds in vermiculite so these allow me plenty of room to punch the hole, drop the seed in and cover with vermiculite.
I sanded and painted them yesterday to help protect them while using them in the garden. I had some spray paint sitting around that I needed to use up and I figure it will help protect them if I accidentally leave them outside sometime.

What method do you use for planting? Anyone else using the square foot method?

54 Comments to “Square Foot Gardening Templates”
  1. Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary on March 19, 2009 at 6:27 am

    How very cool. I’m going to have to show my hubby those! Thanks!

    Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary’s last blog post.. Trader Joe’s Quick Cook Steel Cut Oats

    Reply to Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary's comment

  2. Emily@remodelingthislife on March 19, 2009 at 8:16 am

    I definitely need those!!

    Emily@remodelingthislife’s last blog post.. Another Photo Tiles Project

    Reply to Emily@remodelingthislife's comment

  3. lindsay on March 19, 2009 at 8:36 am

    Wow! Your planting lettuces and things outdoors already? I’m in Michgan, a zone 5/6…We just built a cold frame and I’m reluctant to put anything out there. It’s not holding in as much heat as I thought it would (at night anyway)& my seedlings are only a couple of inches tall. Our night temps are still in the 30’s. How do you determine we to start planting out there?

    lindsay’s last blog post.. Garden progress…

    Reply to lindsay's comment

    • Susy on March 19, 2009 at 9:54 am

      I covered my cold frame with polycarbonate and I think this helps it retain more heat. I also painted it black on the outside to absorb heat during the day. I’m planing on adding some weather stripping under the lid panels to aid in holding heat even more.

      The kind of lettuce I planted in my cold frame is a cold weather loving lettuce. Last fall it grew in my gardens without any kind of cover down to the low 30’s high 20’s. I’ve already hardened them off on my front porch on the cold nights & days we’ve had.

      My cold frame has been getting up to the mid 80’s during the day, I prop it open since it’s too warm to lettuce. But that warms the soil nicely for night warmth.

      This is my first year with the cold frame, so I’m kind of guessing when to plant, but my lettuces are doing well out there. I figure I can plant things a few weeks ahead of the time I would normally plant them in the garden (it’s all one big experiment).

      Reply to Susy's comment

    • Will the Gardener on March 24, 2010 at 12:07 pm

      Couple of things you can do.

      1. If you have a perminent cold frame, one that stays put in the same spot, you can add insulation board around the perimeter. (This is the stuff they use to insulate trailers). You want to get the 2inch thick stuff R13 Rated with silver foil on both sides. Then you dig a 10 – 12 inch trench around your cold frame and put the insulation board down in the trench like a little wall. What this does is insulate the soil inside the cold frame and keep it at a near constant temp.

      2. On the inside of your could frame, get some 1″ bubble bubble wrap. It is available from any shipping store. Fasten the bubble wrap, bubble side up to any poly carb surfaces. The air spaces in the bubble wrap act as insulation, because the air inside the bubbles heats up. This has an R value of like 5 or 6, which helps.

      3. You can also get a soil warmer, which is basically a thermo cord designed to sit in the ground. It requires electricity of course, but essentially it functions the same as pipe wrap that keeps pipes from freezing over.

      4. Lastly, on the outside of the cold frame itself, if you add straw around the perimeter of the cold frame, the straw will help retain heat inside the cold frame.

      I live in Montana (Zone 4) and I use these methods to start my growing season in February with outstanding results!

      Reply to Will the Gardener's comment

      • Susy on March 24, 2010 at 8:47 pm

        Thanks for the tips, much appreciated!

        to Susy's comment

  4. Daphne on March 19, 2009 at 8:41 am

    I love your templates. I could use some templates to help me plant the close things in my garden. I plant intensively and have wide rows, but I don’t plant in the SF method. I offset my rows. So instead of planting in a square grid, I plant in a triangular grid. It is a slightly more efficient means of shoving the plants close. I also don’t like the idea of forcing things into one foot squares. Some things need to be on an 8″, 9″, 15″ or 18″ grid which doesn’t fit into 1′ squares, so isn’t used in his method. Also I let some things self sow in my garden. If I used a real grid I’d have to rip them out. If the dill, coriander or parsley comes up in a spot it often gets to grow there. I think the SFG method is just a bit too orderly for me. I like order but just not too much of it ;>

    Daphne’s last blog post.. Tomato Flowers

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    • Susy on March 19, 2009 at 8:48 am

      I know what you mean about the different layout. I give my cabbages more room that listed in the book and a few other things. I like order in some areas and not in others. When I’m planting mass amounts of things I like these squares so I can maximize space, but for other things I don’t plant so rigidly.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  5. Sherri on March 19, 2009 at 10:54 am

    These have to be one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen! Totally going to have D make some for me! Thanks for sharing!

    Sherri’s last blog post.. Busy Few Days…

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  6. Don on March 19, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    Great idea,I’ll be making me a few of these.

    Reply to Don's comment

  7. inadvertent farmer on March 19, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    Brilliant…so simple yet brilliant!

    I used to square foot garden…then we moved to 10 acres now my garden is sprawling everywhere. I miss the tidieness of the square foot garden…it is such a beautiful way to do it! Kim

    inadvertent farmer’s last blog post.. How I Know Spring is Here…part 4

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  8. Palm Beach, Florida on March 19, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    I use a large muffin tin to make a hole for the seeds and then cover them
    with soil.

    Reply to Palm Beach, Florida's comment

    • Susy on March 19, 2009 at 2:57 pm

      That’s a great idea as well. I’m sure a mini muffin tin would work well for things like carrots.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  9. Jesse on March 19, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    This is such a great idea! i was just about to start laying seeds in for the summer. thanks!

    Reply to Jesse's comment

  10. Jimmy Cracked Corn on March 19, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    Very nicely done! That puts my idea to SHAME. :)

    Jimmy Cracked Corn’s last blog post.. Back yard veggie garden now has a cold frame

    Reply to Jimmy Cracked Corn's comment

  11. granny on March 19, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    wow,you are neat and tidy in the garden!great idea!I might try this for spring planting later this year.Thanks for the tip :0)

    granny’s last blog post.. Just For You Trish !

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  12. Jennifer on March 19, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    This is the first year I have attempted square foot gardening. I like your idea of the plywood templates. Sure does take the guesswork out of spacing the seeds and seedlings. I think I will have to do some sweet talking to my honey. to make some templates for me. *smile*

    Jennifer’s last blog post.. Geraniums and lightbulbs

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  13. Stephany on March 20, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    I do and I am going to make my husband make me one of the templates. Brilliant!

    Stephany’s last blog post.. Back to Blogging

    Reply to Stephany's comment

  14. Kaye - SandwichINK on March 21, 2009 at 9:43 am

    Hi, I read the book, Square Foot Gardening, years ago and loved it. I’ve stayed too busy with other projects, including writing, babysitting grandkids, caregiving, etc., to give it a try. But I’ve always kept it in the back of my mind that if/when I really give vegetable gardening a try, that’s the way I want to go. I’ve bookmarked this for that moment in time. (I know me, it will happen, just not sure when :)) Thanks for sharing this info.

    Kaye – SandwichINK’s last blog post.. SandwichINK Has a Great Video for Ewe!

    Reply to Kaye – SandwichINK's comment

  15. Mike Howell on March 21, 2009 at 11:57 am

    I was going to make a set of the templates, but was searching for more information on SFG and found them available online. I ordered me a set. Will make planting much easier.

    They are available at:

    I’m lazy sometimes and like the easy way!

    Reply to Mike Howell's comment

    • Susy on March 21, 2009 at 12:03 pm

      Thanks for the tip. I’m sure that will be a great option for some people. We wanted to use up scrap wood and we try to make our own before we buy, but if you’re not handy or don’t have the time, buy them. They’re not that badly priced either at $12.50 for the set of 4!

      Reply to Susy's comment

    • Laura on January 1, 2010 at 2:37 pm

      Did you get the templates you ordered? I saw your blog and tryed to go to the site you provided but the site is down. Is there a new site for this company? I would like to look at their product.

      Reply to Laura's comment

  16. […] plan and plant. Chiot’s Run has a fascinating blog on organic gardening with a great article on a Square Foot garden […]

    Reply to SandwichINK Twitter Resources 3/21/09 |'s comment

  17. David on March 22, 2009 at 8:01 pm

    I square-foot garden. I have onions, carrots, lettuce, garlic, and radish coming up in my beds already. I am making one of those templates for sure! I like the idea of the dowels, especially since with them, I can control the depth of planting precisely.
    Thank you for posting this!!!!

    David’s last blog post.. Tigers and Lions and Hail, Oh My!

    Reply to David's comment

  18. Soyun on March 23, 2009 at 3:19 am

    What a cool idea~
    I love yout templates. The colors are so exciting.

    Soyun’s last blog post.. Texturized / Embossed Linen Hemp Coasters (set of 4)

    Reply to Soyun's comment

  19. Michele on March 23, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    Wow! I love that idea! We are doing square foot gardening, too!!! Thanks!

    Michele’s last blog post.. And…you’ve had a birthday, shout hurray!

    Reply to Michele's comment

  20. Red Icculus on March 24, 2009 at 6:53 am

    Your squares for square foot gardening are great. I have seen you on several food and gardening blogs, it’s about time I dropped by!

    Red Icculus’s last blog post.. Foccacia, Like No-Knead Bread, but Quicker and Just As Delicious

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  21. soferoo on March 26, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    I built my first square-foot garden last year (only a 4′ x 4′) and it was somewhat successful except that some critters in my garden enjoyed it a little too much. This year I’m going to build something to keep the squirrels and raccoons away from it. I love your template for evenly spacing the seeds/seedlings. I just got a router so i will be using it soon to make a couple of templates myself. Thanks a lot for the tip!

    Reply to soferoo's comment

  22. Lynn on March 27, 2009 at 12:43 am

    Don’t forget to fertilize heavily with a sq. ft. garden. Also, consider planting a few marigolds around and in your garden as a natural way to keep the pests away.
    I started with a sq. ft. garden years ago (TBS had a special and I got hooked into watching it) and it’s grown into a rather large garden. Oh well…It’s only the two of us now so we share our bounty. The hubby takes a large basket to work on Friday and sets it in the break room with a sign that invites everyone to take something home. It’s become a HUGE hit!
    I’ve got the grand-girls doing a little gardenting themselves. They are planting ‘pillow gardens’ this year because of their limited yard space. Simply buy a bag of potting soil and decide where you want your little garden. Now, lay it on its side and punch some holes in it for drainage. Flip it over and cut a few ‘X’s’ down the middle. Plant your plants in the ‘X’s’ and water as needed. In no time you’ll have a cute little garden.
    My friend lives in an apartment and grows an herb garden every year this way. She then harvests, dries and/or freezes things and has them to enjoy and cook with all year.

    Lynn’s last blog post.. How To Spot a Scam and Avoid It (5 things you MUST do)

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    • Susy on March 27, 2009 at 9:14 am

      That’s true. I do fertilize often (with organic fertilizers and a mix of rock & mineral dust). I also make sure I add plenty of compost between each planting.

      Reply to Susy's comment

    • Sharon A. on June 2, 2011 at 8:21 am

      Hey Lynn, what a great Idea! son and his wife just bought a house and will be moving into it in a couple of weeks…my DIL wants to tear up a space for a ‘garden’…which my son is against, as he knows once the noveltiy wears off, he’ll be left with a torn up yard. Your idea will be great…she wanted to plant a ‘pumpkin’ plant for their little boy…I think my son will ‘go’ for this idea, rather than tearing up his yard! Thanks!

      Reply to Sharon A.'s comment

  23. Landscape Designer Sydney on March 31, 2009 at 10:52 pm

    Thats a great idea. Thanks

    Reply to Landscape Designer Sydney's comment

  24. hydroponics on April 10, 2009 at 3:50 am

    great tips. I enjoyed reading this

    Reply to hydroponics's comment

  25. engineeredgarden on May 6, 2009 at 11:32 am

    Very nice! I really like the dowel idea…


    Reply to engineeredgarden's comment

  26. a noni on September 24, 2009 at 7:05 pm

    just plain silly. just plant the seeds. forget the silly superfluos templates.

    Reply to a noni's comment

  27. John Myrick on October 6, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    That is really cool! I use the SFG method as well and it is always nice to pick up something new.
    .-= John Myrick´s last blog ..Harvesting Chili and Jalapeño Peppers =-.

    Reply to John Myrick's comment

  28. Jim on March 16, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    That’s a neat idea. I use a combo of SFG and biointensive and generally just use a yardstick to eyeball plant spacing. My home garden is more SFG, and I also do an urban micro-farm & CSA where I use biointensive/French intensive spacing and techniques. I use the Fantastic Farm & Garden Calculator to help plan both. It makes succession planting and intercropping a lot easier to plan. Plus it allows me to easily figure out how many people I can feed, and how much produce I can provide each week.
    .-= Jim´s last blog ..New companion planting chart added =-.

    Reply to Jim's comment

  29. Robbinscabin on April 12, 2010 at 9:33 am

    I love this idea! Someone linked a pic from here to the SFG forum boards and I just had to know more! I’m so excited to see how simple you’ve made the entire planting process! I will be making myself a set! And since I was here anyway I loved checking out your blog. Very cool info.
    .-= Robbinscabin´s last blog ..In Search of Mulch =-.

    Reply to Robbinscabin's comment

    • Susy on April 12, 2010 at 9:47 am

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  30. Lauren on February 23, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    Thanks for the tip on the template I will definitely try!

    This will be my third year for the square foot garden in a community garden in my hood. I just ordered my seeds this week to start in the greenhouse.

    Here are some of my square foot attempts!

    Reply to Lauren's comment

  31. Kris on April 9, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    Hi, thanks for the ideas. Would you please explain the mix you are planting with that’s in the bowl? Are you using that just when starting from seed?

    Reply to Kris's comment

    • Susy on April 10, 2011 at 9:26 am

      It’s vermiculite. I often sow the seeds and cover with vermiculite so I can tell where the seeds should germinate. Then I can easily pull weed seedlings from around them.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  32. Herb Bennet on April 28, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    I am always interested in how others do things. It is good to change up every once in a while. SqFt gardening is great when you have limited space, giving a maximum yield with less effort. Your plywood templates are a great way of minimizing your time at planting too.

    Reply to Herb Bennet's comment

  33. Heather O. on May 5, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    What a very cool idea! My family is building our first square foot garden this weekend and I may have to use your seed template idea as well. How very neat and orderly it makes your garden look!

    Reply to Heather O.'s comment

  34. Sharon A. on June 2, 2011 at 8:09 am

    I’ve done the SFG in the past at another place I’ve lived at, and had nice results….THIS year am doing the same thing in raised beds but with a little help from Mr.Mel Bartholomew’s ‘recipe’ for soil…it’s in his new book, “All New Square Foot Gardening”…a really good book to have on hand for all sorts of ideas…Will be putting my beds together this weekend, and putting my plants in also…am doing both transplants and seeds…am hoping my son will bring my 22 month old grandson over so I can have him ‘help’ me plant (he likes the sand, but thinks dirt is ‘ocky’ lol !!!..You know the saying, “Start ’em young” that’s my game plan…wish me luck!

    Reply to Sharon A.'s comment

  35. Allie on June 25, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    Perfect for OCD planters, like myself!

    Reply to Allie's comment

  36. Tiffiny Felix on January 22, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    I love Square Foot Gardening, and this template idea is genius! I saw this on Pinterest and I’m so glad I took a peek! Thanks for the super amazing idea *:)*

    Reply to Tiffiny Felix's comment

    • Susy on January 23, 2012 at 8:08 am

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting – glad you like the templates. I’m hoping to do a how-to on them soon as well as a few other garden helpers.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  37. Mary Pitman on May 2, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    Love the ideas and information I get on this sight..

    Reply to Mary Pitman's comment

  38. Rockin' Robin on May 5, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    You really need to sell these!! I would love to have one, but don’t have the tools to make one myself.

    Reply to Rockin’ Robin's comment

  39. deborah on September 30, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    Great idea! You have really done an outstanding job on your homeplace. Congrats!

    Reply to deborah's comment

  40. Polly on January 11, 2013 at 5:48 am

    I LOVE this idea! Going to show my hubby, too! THANKS!

    Reply to Polly's comment

  41. angie h on February 1, 2013 at 8:17 am

    This is such a good idea! When building raised beds, what is your recipe for the soil you put into them?

    Reply to angie h's comment

  42. SquareFootGardener on November 20, 2013 at 10:06 am

    These are great, if you want some all ready made check out

    Reply to SquareFootGardener's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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