Mel Bartholomew’s original Square Foot Gardening was published in 1981 and has been one of the best selling gardening books ever. As if that wasn’t enough, within the last few years he came out with All New Square Foot Gardening. It combines old and new square foot gardening ideas.
What’s the difference between the original book and this newer one?
In this new book Bartholomew gives an overview of how square foot gardening got started and how he improved on it for a new generation of square foot gardeners. It’s all about making an efficient system even more sensible.
The biggest difference is that the revision to the square foot system described in this new edition is there’s no more digging necessary. That means even less work than before! You don’t have to dig or double dig into your yard’s soil.
Bartholomew has modified square foot gardening into something like shallow bed container gardening, only it’s done in square raised beds just 6 inches deep. A 4 ft. by 4 ft. square foot gardening box is built and placed over existing soil using garden fabric that blocks weeds. A plywood bottom can be added which allows you to grow on a deck, a sturdy table or even a rooftop if you want. Of course, it needs drainage holes drilled into it.
This construction makes square foot gardening portable so you can put the whole thing wherever you want it. That’s a real plus if you’re an urban survival gardener. As with any garden, location is important and you’ll want to make sure you’ve got at least six to eight hours of sunlight.
As for soil, Bartholomew recommends a recipe of one third peat moss, one third course vermiculite, and one third blended compost. The vermiculite needs to be the agricultural kind and may be hard to find. Check farm feed stores for 40 pound bags. Ideally the blended compost is comprised of more than the bags of composted manure you may find readily available at garden centers.
Bartholomew has a prepared soil mix for sale called Mel’s Mix. Ask about it where you shop locally for your gardening supplies.
Whether you buy Mel’s Mix some other prepared mix, or make your own, Bartholomew recommends re-energizing the soil after each harvest with soil made from compost. He says the best is your own compost.
What this means is you won’t have to worry about poor soil or continually adding fertilizer. Why not add a little molasses solution to boost friendly soil bacteria?
Square foot gardening has many advantages. Anyone can do it—children, novices or gardening pros. The Square Foot Gardening Foundation is teaching square foot gardening to people all over the world.
If you move or simply get a late start gardening this season, you don’t have to forsake having a garden. Even if there’s not enough time to grow longer season crops, you could still put in some radishes or lettuce.
All New Square Foot Gardening gets high marks from reviewers. While it has plenty of pictures and charts, one reviewer says it doesn’t have as much comprehensive plant information as the original edition and suggests buying an inexpensive original edition along with this one if you don’t have the first book already. If you do have the first book, get this newer one and compare notes.
Click on the title of All New Square Foot Gardening wherever you see it in this post to be taken to the page where it’s featured. Order today and put earth friendly, economical square foot gardening to work for you in your survival garden. It’s such a sensible way of gardening, you’ll never go back to the way you did it before.