Square Foot Gardening

Square Foot Gardening Book Review

Spring is just around the corner for some locales. A good book to consult while you are planning the 2018 garden is Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew. This method presents “A New Way to Garden in Less Space with Less Work.”
Square Foot Gardening is a comprehensive look at intensive gardening. Square units form the garden. Then a grid pattern is implemented. The blocks within the grid are 12 inches by 12 inches hence the name Square Foot Gardening.

The Method

Individual seed is sown across each square foot. The key is placing the seed at the distance needed for growth. For instance, beets need three-inch spacing between plants. So you would place twelve seeds inside your square foot. Plant varieties that need four inches of spacing would yield nine specimens for each block. Something large like a tomato would only have one plant per square foot.

Bartholomew posits that this method of planting reduces time, money, and energy spent in the garden. Seeds are not planted just to thin out. Thus costs are cut. The grid pattern also helps with the weeding. Less time is spent pulling weeds from the grid due to the layout of the seeds. Furthermore, the intensive nature of the beds has reduced the space within the garden and so the gardener has a smaller area to weed.

The author does not stop at describing his square foot gardening theory. The book is a complete guide to gardening. Chapters include advice on garden layout, companion and succession planting, improving the soil, extending the growing season and vertical gardening just to name a few.

Last year I began implementing square foot gardening. I had more success with this method than I did with my potato experiment which you can read about here.  Only a few squares did not achieve 100% germination. Root crops like beets are ideal for this method. But leaf crops benefit as well.

I used a yardstick to measure my squares. However Mel Bartholomew has a website that sells not only books but pre-made grids and other accessories. You can connect with the Square Foot Gardening site by clicking here.

If you can only buy one gardening book, this is the book I recommend. Mel Bartholomew describes an intensive gardening approach in Square Foot Garden but doesn’t stop there. The strategies and techniques described in the book will benefit the gardener all year-long.

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