Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Square Foot Gardening

All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!I have previously mentioned using the the book All New Square Foot Gardening to help me decide how to develop my vegetable garden this year.  I had been debating how to plan my vegetable garden for some time when this book leapt at me from off the store shelf.  I read it quickly both because it was easy to read and I was very interested in the ideas presented by this book.  The author, Mel Bartholomew, has some very well thought out and tested ideas about raised beds and the content of the book was really inspiring for me.  Lots of visuals were used to get the ideas across with pictures and graphs which was very helpful.  Some of the topics that are touched on include the size of the bed, both vertical and horizontal measurements, and the quality of the soil.  As well there is discussion on spacing and location of plants which is a dramatic change from those of us used to planting in rows. There are step by step instructions and photos to tell you how to build a bed, how to mix your soil, and how to build a trellis.  Overall I found this book a really inspiring tool to get started with raised beds.  I do have a thorn to pick with the author though.  It is repeatedly stated throughout the book that you must build your garden in the exact manner that is described, otherwise it says, you are not Square Foot Gardening.  While I think the idea behind Square Foot Gardening has some wonderful advantages I'm not sold that I have to follow the Square Foot Garden 'rules' to have a great raised bed garden.  When it comes to gardening, and life in general, there is never one correct way to do anything.  Gardens are subject to all sorts of variables such as climate, location, unstable weather patterns, and animals.  Some you can control, most you can't.  This is what makes gardening a challenge and a joy.  A no fail formula for gardening seems a tad optimistic to me.  Like an infomercial with all it's promises I just don't buy it.  And I don't want to.  I like making mistakes in my yard, I like combining different ideas with my own and discovering the results.  I don't want to be told how to build a garden like it's baking a cake.  Gardening, and even baking, are enhanced by ingenuity and personal taste.  So use the ideas but bring a little personality with you and see where it leads.  Personally, I can't wait to try square foot gardening but don't expect me to stick to the rules. 


  1. I used to watch Square Foot Gardening on television when I was a kid. If there is only one way to do it, how could they devote a television series to it?

    I personally subscribe to the "square inch" gardening technique. That's where I try to squeeze a plant in ever square inch of the garden :)

  2. I too, was at first very excited about Mel's square foot gardening technique, but I have since adapted it to suit my own needs. I kinda' follow SFG and find it works out well for me.

  3. Hi there and welcome to my corner of the world. Nice to "see" new faces!

    @ keewee, so glad to hear what I've been suspecting. People are taking this tool and adapting it and it still works.

    @ Sylvana, oh boy, I hear you on planting too close. It's partly why Square Foot appeals to me I think. I'm constantly trying to rein in my tendancy to plant too much of everything and too closely together. I'm hoping this technique will work with my bad habits instead of me having to behave myself!