Definition of “Square Inch Gardening”

Q. I have a question about your gardening because we have an even smaller space and eat only raw/living foods. I have a family of 5 and we eat a LOT of veggies and fruits so I wondered if you could explain or direct me to a link to the “square inch gardening”.
I’ve heard of square foot but not inch.

A. “Square inch gardening” is a term we coined to describe our method of growing many plants packed closely together, emulating how plants grow in nature. So if you have a small space for gardening, growing plants more closely together than recommended by seed packets may be beneficial. We sow our seeds very close together; in nature seeds don’t measure distances in inches as is recommended on backs of seed packages. Spacing plants closer together acts like a “living mulch” – preventing evaporation from the soil and saving watering costs. We also plant multiple-layers. For instance, bigger vegetables like broccoli or peppers are planted with a carpet of greens – lettuce, arugula, etc., underneath. With this type of technique the green carpet acts like a living mulch, preventing weeds and keeping the soil moist.

This method of growing requires one to experiment since each garden’s growing conditions are different. But you’ll be rewarded with increased yields!


  1. Jessica Adams says

    Thanks for this post. My partner and I have went back and forth on this subject for the last 2-3 years. I think we may have planted too closely in the past, and this year we spaced them a little further apart, though not as far as the seed packets suggest. Wish me luck!

  2. Jim says

    I’ve been Square Inch gardening for several years now. The soil in my garden is very poor (I cannot afford to buy anything to add to the soil). I save almost all of the vegetation to use as compost (not the Crab Grass or Bermuda Grass …. and several other weeds). I’ve found that some Weeds are actually beneficial > They provide a little (much needed!) shade, help to loosen up the soil, attract Beneficial Insects (Wasps, Lady Bugs, Praying Mantis), and also produce Flowers, which attract Bees, and provide more Compost!

    • James says

      Maybe you need a lot more compost…Ask your neighbors for their leaves, and any compostable materials. Provide them with 5 gallon buckets and pick them up once a week. Your compost will grow and the quality of your soil will improve.
      Hope it helps!
      Jimmy V

    • Justin says

      in addition you might also want to try vermiculture (using worms to compost) that way you can recycle your grass and your food leftovers although don’t include meat. if you can invest in “Worms Eat My Garbage” by Mary Appelhof and Mary Frances Fenton

  3. James says

    Hey there,
    Just wanted to say Awesome website!!! Unbelievable amount of information available to an aspiring Homesteader!!! For the past four years my girlfriend and I have had raised bed gardens based on the square foot gardening techniques. We had success, but I have a large extended family and I want them to have quality food as well…and I would love to be able to give some food away as well.
    I was researching urban gardening on the web and came across your website. Then I heard those magical words “square inch gardening”! Great concept, and by what I see…Great application of that concept!
    For now, I have two questions; How far apart are your clay watering pots? and how do you save and store your seeds from your vegetables?
    All the best to your family!
    Jimmy V

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