21 Best Seeds for Square Foot Gardening

Looking for the best seeds to plant in your square foot garden? These popular vegetables will make the most of every square inch.

Square Foot garden with wood grids

Square foot gardening is a compact way to grow vegetables, a method popularized by Mel Bartholomew. His goal was to help gardeners grow more in less space with less effort. Using a tighter space and optimal soil increases food production, and there’s no space for weeds.

In a square foot garden, a 4-foot by 4-foot bed is divided into 16 squares. Square foot gardening does not mean that every seed will take up one square foot. Some plants, like beets, will have multiple growing in one square, while other plants, like zucchini, will take up more than one square.

For gardeners using this method, choosing the best seeds will ensure a prolific harvest. We’ve selected 21 of our top vegetable seeds to help you maximize each square foot of garden space.

Our Top Vegetable Seeds for Your Square Foot Gardening Plan

Yes, we know that a 4x4 foot bed will have 16 spots. But since we know that not all gardeners like the same vegetables, we have some varieties to swap out for what you would rather eat. Because, after all, gardening is all about the harvest. Don’t waste your time growing something you don’t enjoy eating.

Here are some of our best heirloom variety seeds for growing in the square foot method:

1 - Bush Beans

If you want a no trellis square foot garden, try French Slenderette bush bean. This classic heirloom plant grows in a compact size and produces an abundant crop of slender, flavorful green pods. Enjoy French Slenderette green beans fresh, steamed, or sautéed. They are also an excellent choice for freezing since they keep their flavor and texture well.

2 - Climbing Peas

Sugar Ann Dwarf Pea is a small plant capable of growing a large harvest. The vines only grow 20 inches. This All-America selection produces delicious pea pods that are around 3 inches long. You’ll be able to fit several plants in one square foot.

3 - Musk Melon

If you want to try melons this year, add Honey Rock Melon. This heirloom will produce 5 to 7 melons per vine. Each melon grows to about 6 inches in diameter. The sweetness of these melons will surpass anything in the grocery store.

4 - Tomato

Tomatoes are a must in most vegetable gardens. Tiny Tim is a prolific option for square foot gardens. This small cherry tomato plant will take up less space, which means that you use fewer squares.

The Homestead Tomato is a semi-determinate variety that is also excellent for square foot gardening.

5 - Green Pepper

You can’t go wrong with the classic California Wonder Pepper. This prolific heirloom can be harvested as a crisp green pepper or wait longer for the even sweeter red flavor to develop.

6 - Eggplant

Eggplant is a popular vegetable in many cultures. The Long Purple variety is a prolific producer. It has a mild flavor and grows well in hot weather. Perfect for slicing and roasting, breading, frying, or any favorite recipe.

7 - Head Cabbage

Golden Ace Cabbage has compact heads and fits into small gardens. It is an early maturing variety and can be replaced with the next crop after it is harvested.

8 - Broccoli

The Di Cicco variety is the perfect choice when growing broccoli in a square foot garden. This heirloom produces numerous heads for a bigger harvest. A great use of space.

9 - Cauliflower

If you want to try cauliflower in a square, plant Rober cauliflower seeds. This Polish variety is extremely reliable even in variable weather conditions. The dense, white heads can reach 12 inches.

10 - Curly Kale

Kale is fun to grow for its looks as well as its nutritional benefits. Dwarf Siberian Kale is a beautiful and delicious heirloom variety that grows well in smaller spaces.

11 - Leaf Lettuce

Lettuce is an integral part of square foot gardening. The All the Year Round variety will allow you to succession plant. This lettuce is slower to bolt and more heat tolerant than most other varieties.

12 - Onions

Classic onions are worth the space in any garden. The Yellow Sweet Spanish variety is known for its reliable harvest. Grow this heirloom onion to have the most flavorful ingredient in your best dishes.

13 - Radishes

Radishes can be grown in early spring and then harvested to make room for warm-weather crops. Cherry Belle Radish is a classic variety that you’ll love.

14 - Leaf Spinach

Bloomsdale spinach will give you everything you’re looking for to maximize your garden space. This heirloom spinach is cold, hardy, and more heat tolerant than other varieties. It can be added to your garden whenever you want to enjoy its deep green, flavorful leaves.

15 - Cucumber

The Spacemaster Cucumber will ensure your square foot garden doesn’t get out of hand. This variety is ideal for small spaces with vines only 2 to 3 feet long. The 8-inch cucumbers are crisp and sweet, perfect for eating raw or pickling.

16 - Hot Pepper

Hot peppers are easy to grow and add so much flavor to your food. A Jalapeño Pepper is a prolific plant that offers many eating options. It will look beautiful in your garden and add zest to your plate.

17 - Carrots

Carrots can have their own dedicated square foot or be tucked in with other vegetables. You’ll love the variety of the Rainbow Mix Carrots. This special mix comes in a rainbow of purple, red, white, yellow, and orange. Carrots are easy to grow and perfect for raised beds and containers.

18 - Beets

When you have a dedicated square foot for beets, Cylindra is the perfect choice. This Danish heirloom beet has long, slender roots. It is excellent as a space-saving root vegetable. It doesn’t get woody and has a sweet flavor.

19 - Zucchini

If you’re going to make room in your square foot garden for zucchini, make sure it’s round! This Round Zucchini variety grows in a compact bush. The fruits can be harvested when they are 3 to 4 inches big.

20 - Tomatillo

During the hot summer, when the rest of your garden is wilting, your tomatillo plants will be thriving. Use a tomato cage to keep them from spreading, and you’ll love growing these in your square foot garden.

21 - Swiss Chard

There are many reasons to fill up a square foot with Swiss Chard. It’s one of the easiest vegetables to grow. It is highly nutritious and can be eaten raw or cooked. With Swiss Chard, you’ll get the most out of every inch of garden space.

Square foot gardening means you can grow food in a small amount of space. Even a beginner gardener can create a square foot garden plan with these outstanding, reliable varieties. These heirloom seeds are guaranteed to grow, so plant today to enjoy tomorrow’s harvest.

Happy Growing!

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