Book Review – “All New Square Foot Gardening”


Posted in Garden, Miscellaneous | Posted on 07-04-2014

chili-hungarianThis year’s Springtime warm-up seems to be running late and I am just not one to wait.  With snow still on my planting beds there is little that I can do about it.  So what to do with my time as I wait for Mother Nature to catch up?  Over the winter season I usually read; a lot.  I like to keep up on various methods of gardening to help me develop a style that works for my yard, my climate and me.  Not to mention, I just can’t stop looking at gardens, planning my beds, and getting ready for the next seasons’ crops.  I might be a little obsessed.  Maybe.  Some books I  have found have helped me be more organized, and given quite a bit of information on how to be a better gardener.  One of the newest I have found, though it has been around for a long time, is Mel Bartholomew’s All New Square Foot Gardening.

Books on gardening are very easy to find, but not all are written the same.  Not every author speaks your gardening language, that is to say, all the information you need is there but the writing style makes it almost impossible for you to make it through the pages.  In the book, All New Square Foot Gardening, I have found someone who speaks my language.  The main focus of the book is getting the most food out of the least space, with the least amount of effort.  Sounds good to me.  Mel Bartholomew begins by explaining how he came up with his revolutionary gardening technique, stepping away from the old ideas of widely spaced rows and labor intensive gardening to a smaller, sleeker version.  He then goes into a brief history of the spread and evolution of the system into the world-wide food system it has become.

tomatoes before hardening offHe explains how he perfected his 30+ year old system  starting with the basics of building a square foot garden,  from soil types to spacing and crop rotating.  Several diagrams will keep you on track with planting, from starting dates to crop overlap so you always have a fresh supply of garden goodies.  Many tables, diagrams, and illustrations fill this book to help round out his simple approach to food production.  They are easy to read and understand, and best of all, there are pictures throughout the book detailing the projects.  Mel couldn’t have made it easier.

This book has given me a whole new level of gardening knowledge and has become an invaluable reference tool.  It’s simple principles and easy to follow diagrams will make a beginner feel like a pro, and can even help the pros look at their gardens with a new eye.  If you think home food production is just too much for you; if you think age, disability, time or space are barriers to home grown goodness, let Mel Bartholomew show you just how wrong those thoughts are.