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All New Square Foot Gardening, Second Edition: The Revolutionary Way to Grow More In Less Space 2nd Edition

1,448 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1591865483
ISBN-10: 1591865484
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Editorial Reviews Review

The key to success of the All New Square Foot Gardening method is to avoid the poor qualities of loc
Once you build the basic 4 x 4 SFG box with rotated corners, add six inches of Mel’s Mix, and add th
All New Square Foot Gardening offers ten new major improvements to the original SFG method. Now, with these improvements, anyone can be a successful gardener.

TEN MAJOR IMPROVEMENTS TO THE ORIGINAL SQUARE FOOT GARDEN METHOD 1. Location—Close to the House 2. Direction—Up, Not Down 3. Soil—Mel’s Mix 4. Box Depth—Only 6 Inches Deep 5. No Fertilizer—You Don’t Need It 6. Easy Access—Above the Ground 7. The Aisles—Comfortable Width 8. The Grids—Prominent and Permanent 9. Novel Idea—Don’t Waste Seeds 10. Expanded Opportunities—Tabletop Gardens

Yes, it’s true; this improved gardening method makes gardening even easier than before. You’re going to love every one of these improvements. You will now be able to reduce the size of your SFG so much that you can locate it close to your house for better care and more enjoyment. You’ll never have to dig up your existing soil anymore as you now build your new garden on top of it. No more hard work or heavy-duty tools needed. All you’ll need is 6 inches of a perfect soil mix from three common ingredients available everywhere. This mix never needs changing and no fertilizer is ever needed using this natural, organic method. You’ll use bottomless boxes made from common lumber, have aisles that are wide enough to comfortably move about in, and each box will have a permanent grid for that unique SFG look and use. You’ll use a minimum of seeds, so you won’t have to buy new packets every year. Best of all, some of your boxes can have bottoms so you can move them or place them at tabletop or railing heights for easier care and unique locations.


STARRED REVIEW This classic reference is updated for beginner and expert gardeners alike on evaluating space, creating a soil mix, vertical gardening, and controlling pests. — Library Journal, Collection Development February 2014

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Product Details

  • Series: All New Square Foot Gardening
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Cool Springs Press; 2 edition (February 15, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591865484
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591865483
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.6 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,448 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,211 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

MEL BARTHOLOMEW, a retired businessman and engineer, found the answer to the frustrations of most gardeners with his square foot gardening method, which has received worldwide acclaim. He also created the non-profit Square Foot Gardening Foundation to promote easy gardening methods for people around the world. He lives in Utah. For more information, visit

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

My family and I have been wanting to plant an organic garden for years. However, we live in an area where the soil is red clay. The thought of tilling our soil was too daunting, so we put the gardening project on hold for several years.

This year we decided to "go for it" and the idea of using raised garden beds made sense (due to our horrible local soil). My wife did some research and found that Mel Bartholomew's method is consistently shown to be one of the best methods around. She bought me this book to get our project off the ground.

My wife had some reservations about this project. The reason being that initial set up (when done correctly) can be a bit costly.

One of the key elements of this book is the innovative composition of the soil used in the garden beds. I'll quote a portion of the book that discusses the ideal soil:

"There are three characteristics of a perfect growing mix. First of all, it's lightweight, so it is easy to work with and easy for plants to grow in. Next, it is nutrient rich and has all the minerals and trace elements that plants need without adding fertilizers. Finally, it holds moisture yet drains well."

Mr. Bartholomew goes on to say, "After many experiments, I found three of my favorite ingredients made the perfect mix when combined in equal portions." Mr. Bartholomew's perfect soil (which he calls "Mel Mix") is made up of 1/3 vermiculite, 1/3 peat moss, and 1/3 compost that is made up of five different types of compost.
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1,206 of 1,249 people found the following review helpful By Susanne Carlisle on March 13, 2006
Format: Paperback
By a happy accident, I stumbled upon the 1982 copy of Square Foot Gardening. I was very pleased with his concept. However, having a full acre but not a tiller, I was even more pleased when I came across his All New Square Foot Gardening. "What an ingenious method!" thought I. No $50 fee for a tiller and borrowing a truck and all that mess! That's until I tried to actually put it into practice. Don't get me wrong, this is a fantastic concept, and it works very well and you should get this book if you want to garden smarter not harder, but there are a few hiccups I wanted other readers to know about before they got started.

For those of you who have not perused the book or are familiar with the new method, I'll sum it up for you: you build these four by four boxes--no tilling required--cover the bottom with weed blocker material, and then fill it with a particular mix that Mel says works like a dream. The boxes are easy, the method is brilliant, but the mix was a different story. 1/3 compost, 1/3 peat moss, and 1/3 vermiculite, agricultural gauge, which means chunky bits of vermiculite, not fine.

Everything was going smoothly until we tried to find vermiculite. We checked all the Home Depot type megastores, the little stores, gardening supply, everything he says to do in the book, to no avail. When we did find it at a pool supply company, we were informed we would have to pay $125 shipping to get it here from Atlanta. Online did not prove much better because we are growing a garden to save money, not spend more.

Finally, we had to settle for the fine stuff from a pool supply company which was pretty fine grade, but made the most luxurious and easy to work with soil I have ever seen.
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327 of 339 people found the following review helpful By Susanne Carlisle on March 13, 2006
Format: Paperback
I rarely buy books, to be honest--it's a matter of money + space - great library = few purchases. However, I have bought several copies of this book because this method is superb: it's neat, it's clean, it's extremely--and I mean extremely--easy to manage. This is--by far--the easiest, best-laid out, user-friendly books I have EVER seen, complete with charts, pictures of each step--you name it. And personally, as a frugalholic, I love a book where someone who doesn't have to worry about cost remembers that other people do--Mel writes this for the frugal at heart complete with LOTS of money-saving tips!!! This book is SO thoughtful it even carries a plan for rooftop gardening and handicap accessibility! It is well worth your money even if you choose another method like lasanga or traditional rows (but why??? My goodness--never again!!!)

It calls for you to--basically--container garden in a four by four foot space and unlike the original square foot method, you do NOT have to til.

Repeat: no tilling. That should cause you to one-click right there. You use a specially made soil called "Mel's Mix". Wonderful stuff. It calls for 1/3 compost, 1/3 peat moss, and 1/3 agricultural grade vermiculite in these very easy to construct 4 x 4 boxes, which are easy to cover, protect, and even make into mini-greenhouses if the need arrises.

The one little caution I want to give is please be aware that the vermiculite is not as easy to find as the author seems to think it is and check in your area before making any real plans. I wound up buying a fine grade from a pool supply company, and then after the fact was informed by an older gardener that I should have looked at the co-op. Start there first, and make sure you always ask if it's agricultural grade.
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