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Mel Bartholomew's Square Foot Gardening Technique (Videos)

Just ran across this guy who apparently wrote the best selling gardening book called The All New Square Foot Gardening.

I'm entirely new at this and trying to figure out how to get started. This seemed like a good idea.

I did notice that in an interview with Christie Aphrodite he said he used expensive coarse vermiculite because it didn't make him sneeze as opposed to the much cheaper perlite.. not necessarily because it worked better.

What do you guys think of the SFG method?
Do you use a different method?

Any tips for someone that doesn't know his ass from his elbow when it comes to growing vegetables?


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A suggestion

I didn't think about when I first commented. One of the least expensive things I found to use as the frame are cedar fence planks. I got mine from home depot. Since this is kinda experimental for me this year I didn't want to put a whole lot of money into it. They are about 6" wide and I don't plan to plant any root vegetables in those beds so they should work for me. My husband dug a couple more inches down into our existing soil which we then covered with weed cloth.

Ron Paul convert from the Heart of Dixie

It works for me

My garden is a "food forest" and the pattern is based on SFG because it works.

a few comments

I recommend using rainwater (or de-chlorinate the tap water). When I switched to using rainwater last year I had my best results. The other recommendation I have is remove all the existing grass\weeds from the area and use weed fabric.
(I think Mel specifies to do both of the above but I deviated from that and those 2 things affected me the most.)
I had problems with cucumber beatles and other pests, so this year I am going to try a new thing for me...using a summer-weight cloth to cover some of them. And lastly I am saving some money to potentially try aquaponics so that I could raise fish as well ( has some good looking how-to guides).
Good luck

I tried it and found it pretty good

I did 5 4'x4' and 1 2'x8' square foot gardening beds for 2 consecutive years and learned a few things:
-Many plants outgrow their square foot really quickly and take over other plants.
-Plants wrap around the little dividers pretty fast too.
-It works great for a few plants like carrots, lettuce and hot peppers, but it's really no different than any other container growing.
-Don't expect big yields because you can't plant very many things.
-The boxes are a pain to mow around.
-Mel's mix, like any rich soil, grows weeds just as well, if not better, than vegetables and it's hard to hoe when your hands get tired.

I'm breaking out the tiller this year and doing it the old fashioned way. I find walking the rows and seeing the trellises fill infinitely more satisfying to my soul than tending to square foot gardening boxes.
If you have the space, I recommend an old fashioned row garden. If not, you will get vegetables with the raised square foot gardening beds and techniques but you will work very hard getting a little in return

just what i wanted to know


I loved this! Want to try it ASAP - any idea what they used

for the bottom of the frame on the raised boxes? I doubt I'd do that but am curious what they may have used. Thanks for posting this, I'll pass it on also.

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know Peace." - Jimi Hendrix

if i remember correctly

all the mel recommends is weed cloth of some sort. but i don't have the book either so..

i've seen people use plywood and make a big table out of it.. if you don't or can't bend down too much.

i think the key is just to make sure nothing is washing out of it and weeds from your ground aren't sprouting in it.

and you're welcome!

Thanks :-)


"When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know Peace." - Jimi Hendrix

I used this method

For 2 raised beds this year. Both are 4 x 10 and both are mostly planted and doing well already with my hoop house over them. I didn't follow the mels mix recipe exactly but where I cut back on the more expensive ingredients I added in compost. I found 4 sq ft bags of vermiculite at my local co-op for about $20. I'm going to be succession planting these beds for as long as possible to see how much they yeild compared to traditional garden beds.

Ron Paul convert from the Heart of Dixie

that's great

it would be cool if you took some pictures and let us know how it's working out for you. maybe toss some ideas this way.


Will do

It may be Tuesday or after before I do though because of rain.

Ron Paul convert from the Heart of Dixie