Thursday, November 25, 2010

square foot gardening?

I don't think we can ever know everything that there is about any subject; that is especially true of gardening. While I was at my favorite garden center the other day, I picked up a copy of a book by Mel Bartholomew called All New Square Food Gardening. Not that we have a shortage of space, but I was interested in what he had to say about his gardening system.

I will tell you honestly that I did not sit down and read his book cover to cover. It was repetitive enough that I got the idea fairly quickly and just skimmed the remainder of the book. I tried to keep an open mind and I paid careful attention to what he said about building boxes, using his special, Mel's Mix soil, and staggering the plantings.

According to his method of gardening you should build 4 X 4 foot boxes. The plants will only require 6 inches of soil to grow, but he wants you to avoid using filler dirt since it increases the chances of weeds. After filling the boxes with equal parts of peat moss, vermiculite and blended compost, you should lay out a permanent grid. The end result is a very orderly garden.

I am loaning my copy of Mel's book to a friend, who clearly likes order. I, on the other hand, will will probably keep my raised rows and avoid obsessive compulsive gardening, it's just not my style. How do you like to set up your garden?


Rae said...

I would never call it obsessive compulsive gardening by any means. There are a great many advantages to the square foot garden besides OCD. He may taut order in the system, but that is only a secondary advantage of the system.
We have used a square foot garden system for years and have always been quite pleased with our results. I was doing things this way before I had heard of the SFG system.
According to his "rules" I don't have a true SFG because, while I mark the areas, I don't always have a permanent visible grid.
But I have been doing a raised bed for over 15 years and it has been our most successful garden even when we did multiple areas of the yard and used different types of gardens in each area.

Whether the area was SFG or Raised rows we have always grown our garden up and not out. I learned it all from my grandfather who did all these things on his one acre garden every year. Between his garden and hunting, they hardly EVER went to the grocery store or paid for food.

marye~ said...

I thought he had some good points too, he just started getting on my nerves with how his way was better that any other method and that if you didn't use his soil mixture, mark your areas permanently, and on and on it wasn't a square food garden.
So, like I said, I'll take the ideas I can live with and leave the order to Mel!
Good luck with your garden!!!

Anonymous said...

That's the system we use. It's great for tomatoes and peppers!

Dana said...

I really liked his plant summaries at the back and the idea of succession planting and trying to plant what you'll actually use, but keep it coming in for as much as the season as possible. I know those aren't terribly new concepts, but his was the first book on gardening I read, so I guess I'm sort of partial. :)

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