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Customer Review

332 of 345 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great method for any gardener with any garden size, March 13, 2006
This review is from: All New Square Foot Gardening (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. The fine works great for us, but the large pieces will break down over time and work at greater efficiency longer. And remember, you're looking for 40 pound bags, not the little $3 numbers at the home improvement store--that will break the bank before you get the first plant in and the author--again to his credit--recommends avoiding this costly route.

Be sure and stop by the website, for a great in-depth view of the method--it's a great site and includes a gardening plan for home-schooled children. Mel is a friendly author and one truly gets the impression that he is doing this because he loves it and the advantages this type of gardening can give the average joe (who usually has planting fever in the spring and burns out by the summer) and not because it sells gardening books. You would be well-advised to purchase this book--it'll change your view of gardening forever--in a good way.

I have recieved several questions on my blog about purchasing this book, all of which are answered at, all of which were posted in March of 2006, and I include our progress as well. One of which is no--don't buy the old book at a cheaper price. They are apples and oranges, and after having read both, this is far and away the best way to go.

Did I mention no tilling?
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 12, 2007 4:56:14 AM PDT
San Jose M says:
why do you repeat the review ?

Posted on Jun 30, 2009 6:19:15 PM PDT
Thanks for your great and helpful reviews. Where on the SFG website did you see a "gardening plan for homeschooled children"? It sounds lovely, but I can't seem to find it...

Posted on Mar 29, 2010 6:52:29 AM PDT
nearmain says:
Two reviews on the same day? One friendlier than the other. Why?

Posted on May 4, 2015 1:35:50 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 4, 2015 1:36:49 PM PDT
C. Stogner says:
Not sure if you are East of Atlanta, but if you are try Palmetto Vermiculite in Woodruff, SC which carries the coarse grade of Vermiculite in 40 lb bags. 800-729-2796
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