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All New Square Foot Gardening Paperback – Bargain Price, February 14, 2006
The Amazon Book Review
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"Bartholomew, author of the popular Square Foot Gardening (1981), has refined his original square-foot gardening concept by adding ten improvements, including a new location for the garden that is closer to the house, a special soil mix, and six-inch deep, 4' x 4' above-ground boxes with grids. His techniques do not require heavy digging or fertilizers and feature advice on using vertical gardening to save space. He clearly explains the square-foot concept, from the rationale behind it (the square-foot garden takes up much less space than traditional row gardening and saves time, money, and aggravation) to how to plan the garden, build the boxes and vertical supports, and employ his planting and cultural techniques. There are also helpful charts for succession planting and spacing plants and a schedule for starting seeds indoors. Despite its somewhat annoying tendency to read like an infomercial, this attractive, easy-to-understand, and well-organized book for both novice and experienced gardeners is recommended for all libraries." — Library Journal
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
The two things I would add to Hitchison's review are:
1. In many ways this "All New" book lacks a lot of the scope and detail of the original book. The old book seemed a bit more balanced and complete in the range of specific plants discussed, for instance. While I now follow the "rules" of this new book, I occasionally refer back to the old book for specific plant info, etc., not included in the new book. If you can buy a cheap used copy of the original book along with this new one, I don't think you'll regret it.
2. The editing on this new book was lacking. Some of the information is redundant, and some information in the planting charts is obviously incorrect--information "copied and pasted" into the wrong plant's section, etc. Nothing that will ruin your garden, but enough to leave me feeling cautious about the info. in the book as I read onward.
All in all, I like Mel's improvements to square-foot gardening, and I'm very glad he has written this book.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great information in this book. Some of it is practical, some of it would be more difficult to implement.Published 2 days ago by David P.
I baught this as a gift for my son-in-law and he just loves it. I also baught one for myself and find it to be so very helpfulPublished 4 days ago by Rae Carol
Greatest gardening method I've ever used! Book has great information, and very practical gardening method. This man was a genius. RIP Mr MelPublished 9 days ago by L. Atkins
I'm sort of a Darwinian gardener... I want high yields of veggies without much effort. The SFG method of gardening does just that! Read morePublished 9 days ago by D J R
I love to give this book as a gift and encourage gardening.Published 11 days ago by Amazon Customer
it is the absolute best guide for intensively planting seeds with elementary aged children. I referenced his book to make planting templates.Published 17 days ago by A Customer
I'm an absolute novice at vegetable gardening and this book was among the 6 books I found at the library. I got 20 pages into this and knew I wanted a copy of my own. Read morePublished 19 days ago by Judy Baird