How to Make a Grid for your Square Foot Garden

In this simple tutorial, learn how to use bamboo to make a grid for your square foot garden bed. No more floppy string! This grid lasts for years.

little girl watering raised garden bed with yellow watering can

Styles of Gardening

Through my years of gardening, I’ve tried many different methods; tilled earth, cinderblock raised beds, wood raised beds, square foot gardening, Back to Eden/deep mulch and no-till gardening. One method I’d still love to try is a food forest. Doesn’t that just sound so cool?

raised cinderblock garden with lettuce and marigolds

Currently my favorite way to grow here on the farm, in our very large garden, is a combination of Back to Eden and no-till gardening methods.

large no-till vegetable with wood chips on the paths

However, when we lived in town and had only a small garden, my favorite way to grow was using the Square Foot Gardening Method in raised beds. I feel that this is by far the easiest method to use, especially when you have limited growing space.

small squash plant growing in vegetable garden with trowel and hand rake

The key for this method to work well is having really good soil. Don’t fill your raised bed with top soil, instead use leaf or mushroom compost. The Square Foot Garden book has a formula for what to use in your beds but I chose to use mushroom compost and Black Kow from Home Depot as fertilizer to amend the soil.

Square Foot Gardening is Perfect for Small Spaces

Square foot gardening is such a great way to grow a lot of food in a small space. It gives you specific boundaries as to how much to plant per square, so you don’t end up with an over-crowded garden.

I alway used to struggle to not over-plant my beds. The seedlings always look so small and lonely when they first get planted.

two cinderblock raised garden beds with vegetable and flowers growing

However, in just a few weeks they would all be crowding each other out. Then only the strongest would survive as the rest tried in vain to catch enough sunlight to grow beyond a stringy little seedling.

On the other hand, a benefit of the square foot garden method is having the plants close together. Sound like a contradiction doesn’t it?

Having the plants close, but not too close, helps to suppress weeds. This makes the upkeep of your garden much easier. In the heat of the summer, when weeds go crazy, your other plants will be shading exposed soil which keeps weeds from growing as vigorously.

It’s a pretty good gardening system if you ask me.

Discovering Bamboo to Build a Grid

The Square Foot Gardening book suggests using string and staples to create your garden grid. This is what I did initially but ended up with a not so even grid. The string was floppy.

I felt like I needed to be really careful so I didn’t catch my garden tools on it and break the string. It worked, just not great. I needed something sturdier.

square foot garden grid with twine

I’m sure this would have worked better if my garden had been a 4 ft by 4 ft square like the book recommends. However, my garden was 4 ft by 12 ft. I needed another solution to create my garden squares.

I found some thin bamboo stakes in the garden section of Home Depot for something like $5. Then I purchased some small zip ties from the Dollar Tree.

The bamboo grids I made from these simple supplies ended up working really well for me. They also lasted for several years so I didn’t need to make new ones.

Supplies Needed to Make a Square Foot Garden Grid

Supplies to make square foot garden grid: bamboo stakes, tape measure, zip ties and pruning shears

bamboo stakes – at least 4 ft long

zip ties – 4 inches long

pruning shears

tape measure

Instruction for How to Make a Grid for Your Square Foot Garden

Step 1 – Lay bamboo stakes across your raised bed at one foot intervals. Lay more bamboo stakes across going the other direction at one foot intervals.

step 1 - building a square foot garden grid with bamboo stakes and zip ties

Step 2 – Cut the extra length of the bamboo to fit right inside the edges of the garden bed.

step 2 - woman using pruning shears to cut bamboo stake

If your bed is a 4 foot square, you will need to cut the the bamboo stakes going both directions. If your bed is longer like mine, either cut to 4 foot or leave longer to make grid larger. (I left my stakes 5 ft and made 2 grids to fill my larger garden.

bamboo stakes laying in raised garden bed in a grid

Step 3 – Use a tape measure to measure 1 foot increments on your bamboo stakes. Then use two zip ties in a crisscross to secure the stakes in place. Be sure to pull the zip ties tight so the grid doesn’t slip around. This makes the grid sturdy enough to move around if you want it somewhere else.

using zip ties to connect two bamboo stakes together

Completed Square Foot Garden Grid

That’s it! It’s a really simple garden project. The bamboo is so much sturdier than the twine. They also lasted for several years so I didn’t need to make new ones every year.

large raised bed vegetable garden with square foot garden girds made from bamboo

The other great thing about this grid is it is portable. If you want to move it, you can!

sturdy square foot garden grid built from bamboo
garden grid laying in empty raised garden bed

Hopefully this super simple grid project is helpful in your garden this year! The square foot gardening grid made my garden feel lush and full, but not overcrowded as I followed the space planting instruction in the Square Foot Gardening Book. It also kept all my plants organized in their own little squares. My garden never felt tidier!

square foot raised garden bed with bamboo garden grid

Hope you enjoy this simple project. Be sure to tag me on instagram if you decide to try this in your garden. I’d love to see how you make it work in your growing spaces!

Other Gardening Posts for Inspiration and Learning

Simple Steps to Start a Garden for Beginners

Everyone Should Start a Garden This Year

Starting a Back to Eden Garden From Scratch

How to Grow Sweet Potatoes in a No-Dig Garden

How to Grow Broccoli Sprouts in a Jar

newly planted raised wood garden bed

Pin It For Later

pinterest graphic for how to make a square foot garden grid

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