Book Review – All New Square Foot Gardening II: The Revolutionary Way to Grow More in Less Space by Mel Bartholomew

All New Square Foot Gardening II: The Revolutionary Way to Grow More in Less Space

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All New Square Foot Gardening II: The Revolutionary Way to Grow More in Less Space by Mel Bartholomew is a best seller that has sold over 2 million copies for a very  good reason – it’s a book that revolutionizes intensive produce gardening. The Square Foot Gardening method developed by Mel Bartholomew is possibly one of the most efficient, logical and easily understood gardening systems ever devised. It will provide very high yields for a given space, but more importantly, the right amount of produce that you actually need (and can use)!

How amazing is this new way to garden? If you’ve ever wondered what intensive vegetable gardening would look like if you went back to the drawing board, took out all the dogma, superfluous information, and inappropriate practises carried over from commercial agriculture, and redesigned it from scratch as a scalable system that was optimised for home gardeners, which made complete logical sense where everything that was done was done for a good reason, then you would arrive at Square Foot Gardening.

Mel is an innovative gardener who brings his engineering background to the gardening world to do what engineers do best, solve real world problems! He reasons that when you go to the supermarket or greengrocer to purchase a cabbage for instance, you don’t buy a dozen cabbages all at once, yet that’s how most gardeners grow them. Fine if your goal is mass production on a farm, but a very inefficient use of space in a home garden where space is often limited. What Square Foot Gardening does is let you grow the right amount of produce so that what you produce and harvest fairly closely matches what you need (and would purchase) week by week. That’s not all though, this system is designed to save the gardener a lot of time and money.

This system brings a new level of efficiency to home gardening never seen before in optimizing space for vegetable gardening. If you have a small space available to garden, use raised garden beds or self watering ‘wicking beds’ where every square inch of garden counts, or even if you have lots of space but want a more structured and efficient way to garden, then Square Foot Gardening is definitely worth looking into. It basically boils down to this – more produce with less waste, with less work and effort all from a small space. Over time, Mel has incorporated lots of organic gardening techniques into his system as well as vertical gardening. It just keeps getting better. This system will work well for organic gardeners as has a lot to offer. Another ‘plus factor’ is that this system of gardening is useful not just in the US where the writer heralds from, but internationally. It’s a very universal system that works almost anywhere.

Mel Bartholomew really has started a gardening revolution, this system has so much to offer for urban gardeners and this latest edition of his book is highly recommended, in fact I can’t recommend it enough!

Deep Green rating for “All New Square Foot Gardening II: The Revolutionary Way to Grow More in Less Space” by Mel Bartholomew is 5 stars!

five out of five stars

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2 thoughts on “Book Review – All New Square Foot Gardening II: The Revolutionary Way to Grow More in Less Space by Mel Bartholomew

  1. I originally set my vegie garden up according to this book but am now removing all my squares. By setting up continuous, double reach beds instead I will have more growing area. To access the square foot beds from all sides you lose the sides of the beds to paths (approx 30cm for each bed if they are next to each other) whereas with the continuous bed the would be path is extra growing area.

    1. Hi Sonja, you can ‘square foot garden’ and grid up any shape and size garden bed, that shouldn’t be a problem. What I teach in my classes is to make garden beds an ergonomic width which allows access without stepping in the gardens. The optimum width that an adult can easily reach across is 1.2m (4′) if you can access the garden bed from both sides, or 60cm (2′) if you can access the garden bed only from one side.

      The length of a garden bed can vary, as long as it’s not too long because people will walk through the garden bed rather than go around it. This width of garden beds that I suggest lends itself perfectly to square foot gardening, whatever the length of the garden beds. If your garden beds are large, it’s best to use paths to avoid ever stepping in the garden beds. I discuss this topic in my article on no-dig gardening.

      With more paths, you lose some space, but gain ‘edges’ which are important because they’re the most productive areas in any ecosystem. In permaculture we seek to maximize the edges in a garden bed. The tenth Permaculture design principle is in fact Edge Effect the use of edge and natural patterns for best effect.

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