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All New Square Foot Gardening Cookbook

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The best-selling gardening book author, Mel Bartholomew, offers more than 135 recipes to enjoy the harvest from your square foot garden. The featured fresh fruits and vegetables offer healthy, cost effective and chemical free addititions to every meal. Mel adds harvesting techniques and yield information for each of the seventeen vegetables, fruits, and herbs and adds penn The best-selling gardening book author, Mel Bartholomew, offers more than 135 recipes to enjoy the harvest from your square foot garden. The featured fresh fruits and vegetables offer healthy, cost effective and chemical free addititions to every meal. Mel adds harvesting techniques and yield information for each of the seventeen vegetables, fruits, and herbs and adds penny pinching tips, square foot advice, and even a kid's gardening corner throughout the book. Full color photographs illustrate the fruits, vegetables and healthy meals throughout the book.

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30 review for All New Square Foot Gardening Cookbook

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    I guess whatever works for people is great, and it seems like he has a lot of converts...but I sure wasn't crazy about Mel's method and even less so about his delivery. It is like listening to a used car salesman - and immediately after saying that while I was reading, I read the next paragraph, where he compared his book to a brand new shiny Cadillac. Sheesh. He essentially advocates container gardening, cloaked in the guise of shallow 6" raised beds. The beds are self-contained, filled with a I guess whatever works for people is great, and it seems like he has a lot of converts...but I sure wasn't crazy about Mel's method and even less so about his delivery. It is like listening to a used car salesman - and immediately after saying that while I was reading, I read the next paragraph, where he compared his book to a brand new shiny Cadillac. Sheesh. He essentially advocates container gardening, cloaked in the guise of shallow 6" raised beds. The beds are self-contained, filled with a vermiculite mix, and broken down - literally, he is very emphatic about this - into 1 foot squares. So, effectively, you are planting each crop in 1/2 cubic foot of soil. And not fertilizing, beyond applications of compost he alludes to but never explains. (Wouldn't these tiny bins soon overflow?) He says it works, but there are very few pictures of actual vegetables in his book - instead it is a lot of petunias and such, which I find pretty ugly planted in a visible grid. I like that his method could encourage rotation, but if you are actually concerned about pests I question whether moving a plant family over one foot would actually make it out of reach of a fungus or insect. If you want a garden, but don't actually want to spend much time gardening, and are a bit of a control freak (he waxes poetic about the beauty of these nice neat 4x4 containers) who doesn't want the messiness of plants, this could be a good book for you. If that sounds sassy, I don't mean it that way - I really do think that this is his audience. Oh, one more thing - he also talks about "Square Meter Gardening", his effort to stop hunger by bringing his method to starving people in the third-world. It just seems awfully absurd, patronizing, and potentially damaging, to bring this method that is focused on purchasing and importing soil (NOT enriching or using any of the existing soil) and is presumably designed for temperate zones where a lush summer vegetable garden isn't that hard to come by, to dry poor countries. I don't know that it is economically nor ecologically feasible. Is his assumption really that subsistence farmers are starving because they just don't know how to farm? (I believe so, since he actually uses the "teach a man to fish" cliche in his proposal.) If so, I doubt that Mel's method will go a long way towards changing that.

  2. 4 out of 5

    UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish

    Includes Photos of Our Own Garden Mel Bartholomew is famous for his Square Foot Gardens, and in All New Square Foot Gardening, he gives us the tools we need to have the garden of our dreams. Pictures, easy to follow illustrated instructions, tips and tricks... regardless of the level of your gardening expertise, this is a must have book! We live in the High Desert of Southern California where the soil is either sandy or like clay. We haven't had much success with our gardens in the past, but th Includes Photos of Our Own Garden Mel Bartholomew is famous for his Square Foot Gardens, and in All New Square Foot Gardening, he gives us the tools we need to have the garden of our dreams. Pictures, easy to follow illustrated instructions, tips and tricks... regardless of the level of your gardening expertise, this is a must have book! We live in the High Desert of Southern California where the soil is either sandy or like clay. We haven't had much success with our gardens in the past, but this year we got serious and decided to go with container gardening, and we are so, so glad we did! Because of the harsh climate here we decided to use cinder block instead of wood for the containers. Not only will it hold up better, it's cheaper! We also had rich, garden soil brought in to replace what nature gave us. The openings along the sides of the cinder blocks will hold marigolds, strawberries, chives, and other plants that don't require a lot of room. The marigolds will help deter certain pests, while also attracting bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies which will help pollinate the plants. Grandsons Helping Out! 4x4 Planter Squared Off and Drip Lines Ready to Use This area will have tomatoes and pepper plants. It's our salsa container! Our Square Foot Garden Ready to Plant! I'll update with photos throughout the season, so stay tuned!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Adrienne

    If I were rating this gardening method, I would give it five stars. No question. But alas, I'm rating the book, and I kind of hate it. The information in it is awesome, but the delivery feels less like a book and more like an infomercial...a really, really long infomercial. Seriously, the whole thing just sounds like a sales pitch. Look, Mel, your method is amazing. It's wildly popular and successful. You don't need to sell it anymore. We are all coming to this book because we are (for the most If I were rating this gardening method, I would give it five stars. No question. But alas, I'm rating the book, and I kind of hate it. The information in it is awesome, but the delivery feels less like a book and more like an infomercial...a really, really long infomercial. Seriously, the whole thing just sounds like a sales pitch. Look, Mel, your method is amazing. It's wildly popular and successful. You don't need to sell it anymore. We are all coming to this book because we are (for the most part) already sold. We just want the details. Honestly, the salesman language kinda harms the author's credibility, in my mind. If it weren't for all the bloggers raving about their success with this method, I would have tossed the book aside after the first few pages, simply because the language feels kinda slimy. But there ARE all those bloggers, and they ARE indeed raving about the success they're having with this method, so I read the whole damn book. And I'm glad I did. But really, I just want the information, not the sales pitch.

  4. 5 out of 5

    thefourthvine

    As a gardening method, Square Foot Gardening is pretty great. This book, though -- this book is not great. Mel is a big fan of science and math, so let me break down this book by the (estimated) numbers: 20% Discussion of how amazing Square Foot Gardening is, or how amazing Mel Bartholomew is 20% Actual gardening content 10% Weird and/or culturally insensitive stuff 10% Charts that don't render correctly in the ebook version 40% Repetition of all of the above The book starts with a full chapter on th As a gardening method, Square Foot Gardening is pretty great. This book, though -- this book is not great. Mel is a big fan of science and math, so let me break down this book by the (estimated) numbers: 20% Discussion of how amazing Square Foot Gardening is, or how amazing Mel Bartholomew is 20% Actual gardening content 10% Weird and/or culturally insensitive stuff 10% Charts that don't render correctly in the ebook version 40% Repetition of all of the above The book starts with a full chapter on the History of Mel and Square Foot Gardening. I will be honest: I don't care. I am glad Mel came up with this method, and I'm glad he's got all this experience teaching it and proselytizing (word used advisedly), but I'm here to read about gardening, not Mel or what was going on with Square Foot Gardening in the 1970s. But you can't just skip the chapter and skip this content -- like everything else, it repeats over and over, throughout every chapter of the book. (He even includes, in the text, quotes from random satisfied gardeners. They all look like this: "Such a great technique! I am definitely happy to be engaging in Square Foot Gardening." -- Jane, Texas. These do not add anything and get seriously old after a while.) Then you start in on the actual gardening content. It's -- look, this part is kind of a victim of its own successs. When I started getting into gardening, this method is pretty much how everyone said to do it. This information is all over the internet. There are a few nuances you learn in this book, but honestly, you can find virtually of this, for free, online. And you get to read it without hearing about the greatness of what you're reading about. Additionally, this doesn't really go into enough detail -- you're going to need another source of information for your local area anyway. Then comes the unfortunate viewpoints. Mel, uh, diverges a lot into things like "remember, we rest on Sundays" (I don't; I'm Jewish, and my sabbath day isn't Sunday), and he talks about how ladies are super bad at building stuff, and about how all poor people really need is a SFG, not a government handout. I don't really enjoy sexism along with my gardening tips. I can't say much about the charts. I read this in ebook form, so I couldn't read them. But the biggest problem with the book, for me, was how incredibly repetitious it is. Everything you read will be repeated dozens of times, in every section of the book. If you've been paying even moderate attention, this rapidly goes from annoying to boring to frustrating as hell. If all the repetition had been cut, there'd have been enough room to go into detail on climates and crop choices, and other stuff that's more important than being reminded yet again how much space SFG saves. I love this gardening technique. It's the one I use (with modifications). But I do not at all love this book. If you're just starting out, google raised bed gardening and go with it. If you aren't just starting out, this book will be useless to you. Get an area-specific book and read that. But if you're mostly interested in the greatness and history of Mel Bartholomew, this is definitely the book for you.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    I agree with the review just before mine in almost every respect. What I personally found most insensitive in the book was his plan to bring his method of farming to so-called "developing nations". The way he talked about it was so patronizing that if only I had read that first (it's at nearly the end of the book) I would have never read any further. He dismisses other cultures' diets in a single sentence and, as the previous reviewer notes, acts like the only reason people anywhere are starving I agree with the review just before mine in almost every respect. What I personally found most insensitive in the book was his plan to bring his method of farming to so-called "developing nations". The way he talked about it was so patronizing that if only I had read that first (it's at nearly the end of the book) I would have never read any further. He dismisses other cultures' diets in a single sentence and, as the previous reviewer notes, acts like the only reason people anywhere are starving is because they don't know how to adequately farm. More generally I also found his method lacking for application in my own American garden, finding it much too highly engineered for my own taste and not in any way intuitive. To my own mind, perhaps people who want to so heavily control their own little space in this world should be doing something that's a little less messy and unpredictable than gardening.

  6. 5 out of 5

    cheri

    Want to grow a veggie or flower garden but don't think you can? Think again. No excuses of not enough space, no yard or no ability. This is the book for any person with any skill level with just a patio or a yard, for the professional or for the handicap in a wheel chair. School children and 3rd world countries have used this technique with great success. I read this book in 1 afternoon and then my 13 year old son and husband built my boxes in 1 more afternoon. I'm taking pictures along the way Want to grow a veggie or flower garden but don't think you can? Think again. No excuses of not enough space, no yard or no ability. This is the book for any person with any skill level with just a patio or a yard, for the professional or for the handicap in a wheel chair. School children and 3rd world countries have used this technique with great success. I read this book in 1 afternoon and then my 13 year old son and husband built my boxes in 1 more afternoon. I'm taking pictures along the way to show our progress. I think this is something that even my grandparents, who are both in wheel chairs, would enjoy and can do. If not for you, then buy this for a friend, neighbor or family member. They will thank you!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Debra Cleaver

    this is my favorite gardening book. what can i say? there's a man with a neck beard on the cover. his name is mel. mel is more or less my favorite person on the planet. he retired from his job as an engineer at 42 and then turned to gardening. when you set an engineer loose in a backyard gardening, you get precision gardening. basically, he figured out how closely you can plant things so that you get the maximum yield per square foot. each individual plant produces less, but the overall yield is this is my favorite gardening book. what can i say? there's a man with a neck beard on the cover. his name is mel. mel is more or less my favorite person on the planet. he retired from his job as an engineer at 42 and then turned to gardening. when you set an engineer loose in a backyard gardening, you get precision gardening. basically, he figured out how closely you can plant things so that you get the maximum yield per square foot. each individual plant produces less, but the overall yield is much great. plus, there's way less to weed. this book rocks

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jared

    Mel Bartholomew is a huge advocate of box gardening. Box gardening is a great idea, especially when you have alkaline clay like we have in our backyard. Constructing the boxes is a snap -- okay, more like a whine, because it takes a drill. He doesn't emphasize enough, though, that the gardens take a huge amount of water, because the wood seems to wick the water away from the dirt. Stuff seems to grow well in Mel's Mix, if you plant it in the right part of the season. Last year we planted quite la Mel Bartholomew is a huge advocate of box gardening. Box gardening is a great idea, especially when you have alkaline clay like we have in our backyard. Constructing the boxes is a snap -- okay, more like a whine, because it takes a drill. He doesn't emphasize enough, though, that the gardens take a huge amount of water, because the wood seems to wick the water away from the dirt. Stuff seems to grow well in Mel's Mix, if you plant it in the right part of the season. Last year we planted quite late, so our harvest was pretty meager. This year, all of our varieties of lettuce are already huge, our asparagus is coming up, our strawberries are going wild, and our carrots seem to be doing well. For some reason, though, tomatoes seem to just as well in the clay, if not better. So we're doing an experiment: planting tomatoes in boxes and out of boxes to see which are better. The square-foot part of the idea seems to work for some things, but it's not as helpful for others. I find his emphasis on the idea a little funny. For things that can be planted in a single square, they're great. But last year our tomatoes plants got so big that they overflowed into other squares, choking out the plants that were in them. And, I'm sorry, but strawberries were meant to take over a whole box. There's just no point in dividing the plants up. The book is very conversational. Some of the concepts could use better diagrams, like the greenhouse idea. And he mentions that each box will last for several years, but he doesn't give any ideas about how to move the dirt when you have to take one apart. And his idea of putting chicken wire on the bottom of the box to keep critters out is great -- but we've learned that you have to use maybe quarter inch chicken wire, because small rodents like voles can get through the one inch. And the edges of the wire tear up the weed fabric, so we have weeds around the edges of the boxes. Thankfully, though, the garden boxes themselves are really easy to weed, because the dirt doesn't get compacted from being walked on, like you get with a normal garden. Overall, I'm glad we're using this approach, because the results we got the first year trying to plant directly in our clay (with some topsoil thrown on top) was rather sad -- except for the tomatoes.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

    My garden roughly follows Mel's plans, so this was clearly an influential book as I built my first garden. However! According to Mel, I don't have a square foot garden because I don't use a physical grid. And I plant a little haphazardly. I mean, it's a great system in a lot of ways, but you don't have to follow the rules. This kind of garden drill sergeant business is not for me, so I just focus on the information in the book that is useful to me and carry on. There is a lack of detail on some My garden roughly follows Mel's plans, so this was clearly an influential book as I built my first garden. However! According to Mel, I don't have a square foot garden because I don't use a physical grid. And I plant a little haphazardly. I mean, it's a great system in a lot of ways, but you don't have to follow the rules. This kind of garden drill sergeant business is not for me, so I just focus on the information in the book that is useful to me and carry on. There is a lack of detail on some points: he says "use mulch!" but never talks much about what kind of mulch. However, one point where the lack of in-depth information is actually something I appreciated is Mel's philosophy about pests and bugs. Too many beginner gardening books are loaded down with tales of fungi, mildews, and other plagues. I think it's important to wait and see, or talk to your extension office if you're really worried, and otherwise just keep going. So you lose a few plants, it's okay. There's no sense in freaking out ahead of time about plant problems. His writing style irritated me. I would have preferred a straightforward, no nonsense treatise on his system. Instead, I got a lot of not-funny jokes and plenty of Mel talking about how great Mel is.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Marisa

    Honestly, if you can get past the bragging and boasting about how great Mel thinks he is, and how the SFG method TAKES! UP! LESS! SPACE! and how it's revolutionary and how everyone else is doing it wrong, it might be an okay book. But gosh, I think on every page of the forty I read, he mentioned something about how this garden takes up less space. WE GET IT, MEL, it's why we picked up the book! I couldn't take it anymore. I just wanted to read about gardening. You can learn all you need to know Honestly, if you can get past the bragging and boasting about how great Mel thinks he is, and how the SFG method TAKES! UP! LESS! SPACE! and how it's revolutionary and how everyone else is doing it wrong, it might be an okay book. But gosh, I think on every page of the forty I read, he mentioned something about how this garden takes up less space. WE GET IT, MEL, it's why we picked up the book! I couldn't take it anymore. I just wanted to read about gardening. You can learn all you need to know from this book by reading the back of seed packets and a few free online resources. So glad I didn't buy this, like I originally planned.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tara

    Such an anal approach to gardening that you can't help but succeed at it. I love an anal approach (that's what she said) so I was all over this.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mike (the Paladin)

    I'm going to have to buy this I suppose...I have the library copy. I grew up on a farm and now that I'm, not so young, I have a bit of time to grow things. Time, but my body is shot, my knees won't bend and my shoulders are week. Neither do i have a lot of money. Still I enjoy a little bit of gardening. Right now there is what had been a flower bed in front of our porch...it's now my basic vegetable bed. Some tomatoes, some bush beans, some onions. A few. So, I finally got this book (I had to wait I'm going to have to buy this I suppose...I have the library copy. I grew up on a farm and now that I'm, not so young, I have a bit of time to grow things. Time, but my body is shot, my knees won't bend and my shoulders are week. Neither do i have a lot of money. Still I enjoy a little bit of gardening. Right now there is what had been a flower bed in front of our porch...it's now my basic vegetable bed. Some tomatoes, some bush beans, some onions. A few. So, I finally got this book (I had to wait as I was like 4683rd in line). This gives wonderful ideas and suggestions many of which I plan to act on. How to build the SFG (Square Foot Garden) containers or beds and suggestions as to how much of what to plant in each "square foot". There are of course suggestions of other types of bed and materials to use. I plan to (try) and get a couple of 4X4 beds prepared this summer and fall so I can have them ready for next spring. So, handy book i like it and plan to (possibly) buy a copy. Some advice I'll take, some not. If you're into gardening in a limited area this might be tour book.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Dahlene

    I'm starting a new square foot garden this year. I am thrilled at the prospect of no weeds, less watering, and lots of produce! I already have little radishes, romaine, spinach, and some wild flowers popping up! I'm sure I'll refer to this book all summer. For the first time I am really ready to have a fall garden too. I always say I'll plant a second crop, but by the end of summer and all the weeds I'm tired of gardening. I think this may be the easiest and most enjoyable way to garden!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    The idea that I like is that it reminded me that I want to grow more things vertically this year to get the most out of my kitchen garden. I also love that it encourages you to get away from the mindset of planting in rows and following the seed packets word for word in terms of spacing. From experience, raised beds are excellent for starting a garden from scratch. I created and tended two 8'x4' raised beds when I lived in our former house that didn't have a backyard garden (we were in a townhou The idea that I like is that it reminded me that I want to grow more things vertically this year to get the most out of my kitchen garden. I also love that it encourages you to get away from the mindset of planting in rows and following the seed packets word for word in terms of spacing. From experience, raised beds are excellent for starting a garden from scratch. I created and tended two 8'x4' raised beds when I lived in our former house that didn't have a backyard garden (we were in a townhouse at the time so I also planted heavily in containers on our deck - my first plant was chives and I absolutely think they are the perfect first herb for kitchen gardeners as they are so easy to grow... but that has nothing to do with this book - LOL!). So let's get back to the book...What I didn't like was the planting mix recommended and the need for soil testing. I read the newer edition (from my local library) as well as the older one that I had on my shelf to compare. The newer one eliminates the need for soil testing but I think makes use of peat in the recommended soil mix, which is not renewable, so is rather taxing on our planet if everyone went out and built a garden like this. I'm much more in favor of building up the soil with compost. And them measuring for each square foot and nailing it down with window blinds!!! Are you kidding me? I just can't imagine myself doing this (though I was tempted to try this method next season for the sheer reason of getting rid of all of the weed seed - what I SHOULD do it just put some black plastic or newspaper down now and plant through it come spring). I also don't think I would like how everything will *look* in a garden of this sort. The tomato will be in this square. And the lettuce will be in this square. It just seems too orderly (even for someone fairly anal such as myself). Also if all of my lettuce and carrots are planted in their own square all together isn't this like open invitation to the bunnies that frequent my garden to come right in and make themselves at home to our square-foot buffet? The only reason I had some lettuce and arugula available is because some of it was hidden under some other plant and they couldn't get to it. (Yes, I should probably look into some protective covering... and I DID use some this year on the strawberries but the birds still got to the ripe berries. I was so frustrated with our lack of berries that I pulled the pushes a few weeks ago and tossed them in the compost. Of course, I sorely regretted it two days later... but these are the challenges that we invite into our lives when we pick that seed pack and shovel). I am aiming for more of a casual kitchen garden - a cottage garden of fruits/vegetables/herbs (though I am very far from having this garden ideal since I haven't found any good references on this subject but not for lack of trying. So mainly it's been trial and error. I've either found lots of books on formal kitchen gardens and one where you would need to become a full time landscape architect to be able to have the time and knowledge to be able to implement such designs). But I have a strip of dirt on the side of my house... no room to make fancy hexagonal herb gardens that you would need a gardener on staff to maintain. I envision rosemary intermingling with peas, and tomatoes getting cozy alongside basil, lavender alongside green beans. I am continually inspired by the French potager gardens and the casual Italian kitchen gardens that I've seen. Maybe this is too idyllic or maybe it IS something that can become a reality.. along with the garden arch full of trailing roses that are free of disease (which has a few years yet before these will even be purchased)... but I still have a lifetime to perfect it. And as all gardeners know, despite these trials and frustrations out in the garden, when December and January roll around we will be right there by the mailbox awaiting the seed catalogs for the new year. I've already started collecting the stack that started arriving and making a list for the essentials that I MUST have in next season's garden. I can just taste the potatoes now (that will be grown in an old garbage can on the deck just as soon as Mike drills holes in it or shows me where the drill is)!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Janel

    I'm not a beginner gardener... I've had 3 summer veggie gardens. I'm also not anywhere near experienced-gardener level and have become frustrated with the methods taught by my botanist husband who combines a rather unique mix of environmental long-term planning, old-timey row gardening, and plant pathology, not to mention a limited amount of time to assist me. The result was always extremely weedy, hard-to-navigate gardens that produce extremely unpredictable yields. I decided that neither of us I'm not a beginner gardener... I've had 3 summer veggie gardens. I'm also not anywhere near experienced-gardener level and have become frustrated with the methods taught by my botanist husband who combines a rather unique mix of environmental long-term planning, old-timey row gardening, and plant pathology, not to mention a limited amount of time to assist me. The result was always extremely weedy, hard-to-navigate gardens that produce extremely unpredictable yields. I decided that neither of us actually know gardens that well even if he has the book knowledge. Since the garden is entirely in my hands this year and we have just moved to a beautiful garden-friendly area (as opposed to the desert-like So Cal gardens I've raised before), I'm making my garden my pet project for the year. It's January, so that mostly means reading gardening books for the moment. OK, great, so what about this book? Mel Bartholomew is basically the first person to try anything but old row gardening and making a productive garden work in a small space. Yay for intuitive thinking! I love the concept of the square foot garden. I love the idea of planting veggies in an organized and customizable way, of keeping crops rotating easily, of having seasonal crops cared for together without losing track of the big picture. Basically, it's a great starting place and it's worked for thousands or even millions around the world. If you've never read a gardening book, read this one. But why not 5 stars? Certain things got under my skin. You have to have a permanent grid nailed to your garden bed or it's just not even qualified to be called a square foot garden. Really? I personally find that look very unappealing, sorry Mel. I also felt like he repeated himself 10 times to get a point across. Also, if you don't use "Mel's Mix" to fill your garden beds, well... that's got failure written all over it. I can't afford that kind of soil, even in small beds. Our new place actually had raised beds waiting for us when we moved in. No way am I refilling them with a perfect blend when what's there looks just fine. Also, Mel is an engineer by trade (if I remember correctly) and a consultant on efficiency, and um, you can tell by the pictures of his gardens. His idea of adding interest is planting the four corners of the beds in your favorite color of flower. Lot of other bits and pieces that just bothered me... so 4 stars. It's a great start, but looking forward to another author with a little more aesthetic creativity and a little less adorable of perfectly divisible squares.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    I purchased my 1981 edition of SQUARE FOOT GARDENING in the early 1980's when I was fairly new to gardening. At the time I had limited space and my husband had built me some raised beds. I was able to invest both time and money and grew some fairly decent vegetables. What I learned is that smaller plants such as lettuce, spinach, carrots, radishes and onions did well provided that you use good soil to avoid disease problems. It is also important for you to rotate crops. Another plus was that it w I purchased my 1981 edition of SQUARE FOOT GARDENING in the early 1980's when I was fairly new to gardening. At the time I had limited space and my husband had built me some raised beds. I was able to invest both time and money and grew some fairly decent vegetables. What I learned is that smaller plants such as lettuce, spinach, carrots, radishes and onions did well provided that you use good soil to avoid disease problems. It is also important for you to rotate crops. Another plus was that it was easy to contain the beds with netting to avoid pests and frosts/freezes. The experience I gained by using this book as a guide helped prevent future mistakes years later. Vertical climbing for melons and cukes did not fair as well. Some vegetables just do better with plenty of space. In this edition growing potatoes is not listed. Forget about watermelons and winter squash. Small summer squash varieties would provide a few things to eat but healthier bigger plants need more space. My experience with growing tomatoes and large pepper plants using Mr. Bartholomew's methods stressed the vegetables. So, almost thirty years later, who would I say would have success with this book? Those looking to grow the smaller vegetables. Parents and teachers trying to instill the love of gardening with young children. Handicapped persons that have access to high-rise raised beds. Someone that wants to try herb gardening using caution with invasive herbs (mints) and ones that take up too much space (rosemary comes to mind). I no longer use his book but the experience I have gained growing different vegetables was worth trying his method at that time. I am now going to donate my copy to our local library.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Neil Snyder

    I grew with a traditional row garden and enjoyed eating the fruit and vegetables that came out of it. I also observed that we had to wait to get our first couple tomatoes when essentially all of the tomato plants began giving ripe fruit. Then it was time to begin canning. About a week later, we all of the canned tomatoes we wanted. We ate the three or four tomatoes a week on salads or in chilli, but after the canning was done, quite a few tomatoes went to waste simply because there were too many I grew with a traditional row garden and enjoyed eating the fruit and vegetables that came out of it. I also observed that we had to wait to get our first couple tomatoes when essentially all of the tomato plants began giving ripe fruit. Then it was time to begin canning. About a week later, we all of the canned tomatoes we wanted. We ate the three or four tomatoes a week on salads or in chilli, but after the canning was done, quite a few tomatoes went to waste simply because there were too many coming ripe at the same time. I thought that there must be a way to change this, and Mel came up with it. I also thought that all of the time weeding made gardening not very fun for me. Mel fixed this too! This year I attempted to use the SFG method. I also tried to use the staggered planting approach allowing for a 'continual' harvest. To my surprise, I was largely successful. I planted three different tomato plants inside in late Feb, then three in late march, and the I planted all six of these and three new seeds in the middle of May. So, I had three plants of three different varieties of tomatoes about a month apart from each other. So, in late July the first three starting producing, then the next set started about three weeks later, and the last one about two weeks after that. Once all of them began producing, I canned some tomatoes. Once the canning was done, the first three plants were just about done with producing, while the rest continued. The last three plants are still producing now and they should continue until the first hard frost. I did not do everything right this year, and I have more to learn. I did very little weeding. I was able to stagger most of the crops rather well, and (most important) it was fun and not a chore.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Caron

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. A friend insisted that I just had to look at this book again. After rejecting it over a decade ago, and since then, having heard only one or two neophyte friends mention "square foot", in all those years, I was dubious. But I thought, "I respect his opinion, how bad could THAT BOOK really have been?" My memories were that the book was gimmicky and uninformative and therefore useless to me, myself having grown up with at least some experience in growing food. However, upon second look, I am forced A friend insisted that I just had to look at this book again. After rejecting it over a decade ago, and since then, having heard only one or two neophyte friends mention "square foot", in all those years, I was dubious. But I thought, "I respect his opinion, how bad could THAT BOOK really have been?" My memories were that the book was gimmicky and uninformative and therefore useless to me, myself having grown up with at least some experience in growing food. However, upon second look, I am forced to say: It's worse than I remember. This book is truly awful. It should be called "Gardening for non-gardening, tool-phobic, un-environmentally-friendly, controlling, sexist, Dummies". There. I said it. I will feel even better when I return this book to my friend (stuffed in a paper bag to hide the cover). I leave you with the quote that made me drop (literally drop) this book in disgust: "Women tell me they love this because it requires no tools, wire cutting, equipment, or familiarity with construction." Hello, published in 1981... And goodbye.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    As a farm boy who never really wanted to farm, I do spend a great deal of time being nostalgic about my bucolic days in the country. At any rate, even though I refuse to have anything to do with cows (with the exception of eating them), I do at times return to the soil and grow a mess of vegetables. Unfortunately, living in a gentrified urban area means that our small garden plot suffers from the usual ills of a former-ghetto environment -- do shards of glass count as clay, sand, or loam? Which i As a farm boy who never really wanted to farm, I do spend a great deal of time being nostalgic about my bucolic days in the country. At any rate, even though I refuse to have anything to do with cows (with the exception of eating them), I do at times return to the soil and grow a mess of vegetables. Unfortunately, living in a gentrified urban area means that our small garden plot suffers from the usual ills of a former-ghetto environment -- do shards of glass count as clay, sand, or loam? Which is why this year, I decided to pull out all the soil in our 4' x 8' boxed garden and start from scratch. In order to help me succeed with said project, and to see if I can’t get the best yield in the smallest amount of space, I picked up All New Square Foot Gardening. Does it work? The hell if I know, but the advice that Bartholomew gives not only seems sound, but also seems fairly easy to follow as well. I’m sure at some point I’ll be blogging about my experiences with this method, so feel free to follow along.

  20. 5 out of 5

    GoldGato

    This is a very good book for anyone who wants to grow a market garden, even if there is little open ground to do so. By creating squares divided into specific grids, the author provides an easy guideline for would-be gardeners, who want results without too much work. For me, I found his chapters nicely laid out with tidbits on pests, water, soil, and structures. While I don't use too much square footing as I have plenty garden space, I've seen it in action at a neighborhood open garden, where ea This is a very good book for anyone who wants to grow a market garden, even if there is little open ground to do so. By creating squares divided into specific grids, the author provides an easy guideline for would-be gardeners, who want results without too much work. For me, I found his chapters nicely laid out with tidbits on pests, water, soil, and structures. While I don't use too much square footing as I have plenty garden space, I've seen it in action at a neighborhood open garden, where each owner successfully follows Bartholomew's advice as gospel. His chapter on vertical gardening is eye-opening, so it's hard to go wrong with this book as a basic bible for first-timers. Book Season = Year Round (each season has its seed)

  21. 4 out of 5

    Robert Butson

    could have been shorter if homeboy didn't spend so much time bragging and making fun of old school gardeners

  22. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    In my small yard a good principle. I apply to the Ronco school of gardening--you know set it and forget it. That's right, I plant my seeds, let the sprinklers and sun do their thing and pray that I'll get more that 4 tomatoes.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    Very thorough, simple explanation of how to garden with no weeds, wasted space and water, or expensive equipment, from building the boxes, to using the right dirt, to when to plant things and how much space to give them. There are even explanations for how to adapt the boxes for various needs, whether it's adding vertical trellises for vine plants, making covers for shade or snow, being able to garden while in a wheelchair or on your balcony railing, etc. The only cons were the repetition of cer Very thorough, simple explanation of how to garden with no weeds, wasted space and water, or expensive equipment, from building the boxes, to using the right dirt, to when to plant things and how much space to give them. There are​ even explanations for how to adapt the boxes for various needs, whether it's adding vertical trellises for vine plants, making covers for shade or snow, being able to garden while in a wheelchair or on your balcony railing, etc. The only cons were the repetition of certain points and how it sometimes sounded like an infomercial, but you have to agree Mel is very excited about the success and ease of his gardening method and just wants to share. The writing itself is a little annoying, but the method is what matters and that part's great. Since this is a how-to book, I only expect the writing to teach, which it did, not stun me with its eloquence, which it did not. We just built planter boxes, will soon add trellises, and will be using the very handy plant charts, schedules, and other tips as we start our first gardens in our new house.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Teri-K

    Not impressed. There's a lot of self promotion in this book, which lacked the detail of the original. I understand that he believes you don't need to fertilize, etc., if you use his soil mix. But this book didn't even discuss succession planting by putting early lettuce in the corners of the broccoli square, for instance. I'm pretty sure the original covered that. There's enough info here to get someone started gardening for the first time, but nothing for the experienced gardener except his spa Not impressed. There's a lot of self promotion in this book, which lacked the detail of the original. I understand that he believes you don't need to fertilize, etc., if you use his soil mix. But this book didn't even discuss succession planting by putting early lettuce in the corners of the broccoli square, for instance. I'm pretty sure the original covered that. There's enough info here to get someone started gardening for the first time, but nothing for the experienced gardener except his spacing suggestion, which you can get off the internet.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Matthew B.

    Overall had lots of good information. The author is a bit eccentric and could have shortened the book a bit by not adding so much fluff. It was nice to know how one can pack lots of crops in a small space and this book does that.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dustin

    I agree with many other reviewers. 5 stars for gardening content, far less for writing style. Mel Bartholomew is extremely repetitive and the majority of the book feels like an infomercial. Stop selling and bragging, just explain the process! While the writing was frustrating, my wife and I are extremely to start our garden this summer using his process.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    I may like the book even better once I actually get a chance to use it the technique. I will probably buy it for reference since it had some good information. It had really good content and ideas, but there were a few details that rubbed me the wrong way. A major thing that was irritating about reading through it: It read like a commercial. He was constantly patting himself on the back and saying how great the method was, different and better and easier than the way everybody else has always done I may like the book even better once I actually get a chance to use it the technique. I will probably buy it for reference since it had some good information. It had really good content and ideas, but there were a few details that rubbed me the wrong way. A major thing that was irritating about reading through it: It read like a commercial. He was constantly patting himself on the back and saying how great the method was, different and better and easier than the way everybody else has always done things, tell your friends, you have to put square dividers in so it LOOKs like a REAL square foot garden and your friends will ask you questions and you'll be able to convert them. It would have been more efficient and concise (and less like a corny infomercial) if he just left all that out. Also, he seemed to think that you need to make a whole bunch of different structures to go on the beds (and this after he goes on about how practical and efficient he is and how he's analyzed the system for wasted resources.) It seems to me a waste to build a trellis frame out of electrical conduit, a cage/lid out of chicken wire and a pvc frame to hold row covers or protective greenhouse sheeting when I'd think with a little thought you'd be able to build one structure that would be suitable for all of it. Also, he made composting seem a lot easier than it actually is, he made a plug for it and then didn't really provide much information. If you're going to try composting, be warned you probably want to read a separate book on that first.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jt

    Not a bad idea for a new gardener to read, if they can make it through. This book takes some solid gardening concepts, ones which would help with a low-effort raised bed garden, and proceeds to beat the reader about the head with them. Here are a few of the main points: create a raised bed and fill it with a certain soil mix (an even blend of composts, vermiculite, and peat moss). Plant and tend each square foot separately (instead of planting in rows). Make use of vertical space with a trellis. Not a bad idea for a new gardener to read, if they can make it through. This book takes some solid gardening concepts, ones which would help with a low-effort raised bed garden, and proceeds to beat the reader about the head with them. Here are a few of the main points: create a raised bed and fill it with a certain soil mix (an even blend of composts, vermiculite, and peat moss). Plant and tend each square foot separately (instead of planting in rows). Make use of vertical space with a trellis. There's more, but that's really the core of it (or at least what I took away) - things I'm glad to have learned. The problem lies in the way this information is conveyed. Each step is explained in such a way that a toddler could direct the creation of a SFG (square foot garden), and both prefixed, concluded and sprinkled with summaries of the overall garden. The superfluous summaries are tedious, but what makes this so much worse - to the point where I almost stopped reading - is the fact that the entire book is narrated in a style that I can only describe as the child of a used car salesman and an infomercial. There are a few other flaws (like skipping over the topic of composting), but they pale in comparison. In short, I'd give the book 5 stars based purely on content, and 2 on delivery.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kristine

    I first heard about this gardening method either watching the church's annual general report or seeing a link to it on the LDS.org website. It was highlighted in a story about teaching poor people in third world countries or in big cities with tiny plots of growing space to start gardens. The church would go in to teach and most of the time they used this method. I was intrigued so I bought the book. We always had a garden growing up and all I remember is LOTS AND LOTS OF WEEDING and never having I first heard about this gardening method either watching the church's annual general report or seeing a link to it on the LDS.org website. It was highlighted in a story about teaching poor people in third world countries or in big cities with tiny plots of growing space to start gardens. The church would go in to teach and most of the time they used this method. I was intrigued so I bought the book. We always had a garden growing up and all I remember is LOTS AND LOTS OF WEEDING and never having lots of food at the end. We hated it. The premise of the book is to change the way you think about gardening (not in rows in a massive mud pit that attracts more weeds than plants) but in easy to reach blocks (usually 4x4 sf) and utilizing vertical plants by having them grow up (i.e. tomatoes) thus you can harvest twice as much crop in half as much space. I got this book last year when we started planning our first garden. People think I'm crazy -- and Darik thinks I'm too into "the method" but I swear everyone will understand when it comes harvest time.

  30. 5 out of 5

    heather-lee

    Incredibly annoying home-shopping-channel-esque tone made it difficult to get through this book. However, the actual material was very useful. If I rate to reflect the knowledge gained from the book, it would be a four or a five. If I rate the writing style I would give it a one. Sheesh, Mel, I already bought the book, why do you have to sell me the method at the beginning of every section? Highly obnoxious! Still, we are adhering pretty strictly to this book's guidance in setting up our garden Incredibly annoying home-shopping-channel-esque tone made it difficult to get through this book. However, the actual material was very useful. If I rate to reflect the knowledge gained from the book, it would be a four or a five. If I rate the writing style I would give it a one. Sheesh, Mel, I already bought the book, why do you have to sell me the method at the beginning of every section? Highly obnoxious! Still, we are adhering pretty strictly to this book's guidance in setting up our garden this year after seeing others do well with it last year and I am hopeful it will yield us a decent harvest in our small sunny corner garden space.

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