Square foot gardening, invented by Mel Bartholomew (of Austin!), is a highly efficient gardening method that produces a bigger harvest than conventional row or container gardening. Instead of traditional raised beds, square foot gardening utilizes a 4x4-foot box divided with a grid system. Because of the grid system, and the idea of planting a specific number of plants in each grid (to create a smaller grid), the risk of overcrowding is null. But here's the best part: Even if you only have a sunny apartment patio, you can put in a square foot garden. The smaller version (think 2x2') on your patio can be just as effective as an even bigger grid in a backyard (four 4x4' gardens with paths between them).
Check out the Square Foot Gardening Foundation's site for easy-to-follow instructions, join the message board for new tips and a q&a opportunity, and check out the SFG book.
And as always, if any of you readers have tips and success stories about this gardening method, please share!
Photos of SFGs in Austin and Lockhart, TX, via squarefootgardening.com.