File Size: 17368 KB
Print Length: 272 pages
Publisher: Cool Springs Press; 2nd edition (February 15, 2013)
Publication Date: February 15, 2013
My children and I have been wanting to plant an natural garden for years. However, we reside in an area where the soil is red clay. The thought of tilling our ground was too daunting, so we put the growing plants project on hold for many years.
This year we made the decision to " go for it" and the idea of using raised garden beds made sense (due to our horrible local soil). My wife do some research and found that Mel Bartholomew's method is constantly shown to be among the best methods around. She purchased me this book to get our project off the floor.
My spouse had some bookings concerning this project. The reason being that initial setup (when done correctly) can be somewhat costly.
Among the key elements of this book is the modern composition of the ground used in your garden bedrooms. I'll quote a part of the book that covers the ideal soil:
" There are three characteristics of a perfect growing combine. Firstly, it's lightweight, so it is easy to work with and easy for plants to grow in. Next, it is nutritional rich and it has all the minerals and trace elements that plants need without adding fertilizers. Finally, it holds moisture yet drains well. "
Mr. Bartholomew goes on to say, " After many trials, I found three of my favorite ingredients made the perfect mix when combined in equal portions. " Mr. Bartholomew's perfect ground (which he calls " Mel Mix" ) comprises of 1/3 vermiculite, 1/3 peat moss moss, and 1/3 fragment that is made upward of five different types of compost. The use of five types of fragment is so that your plants get a variety of vitamins. Using only one type of compost will provide only one type of nutrient. All this makes perfect sense in my opinion.
Here is the negative spend regard to cost: Below I will list all of the soil components I plan to use for my soil mix. I will be using this soil to fill 3 4x4 garden beds with a depth of 6 inches (this means I need 24 cuft of soil). I will list the cost of each (what I actually paid) after each component.
VERMICULITE 37. 98
PEAT MOSS nineteen. 95
COMPOST MADE UP OF THESE:
Organic Veg and Fruit Compost 10. 98
Black Kow Composted Cow Manure: 9. 94
Organic Mushroom Compost 10. 98
Earthworm Castings (worm poop) twenty-four. 98
Natural Composted Chicken Manure 13. 98
This comes to a grand total of 130. 79 (not including sales tax).
I searched and compared prices at four different nurseries. The consumer items above were purchased from all four dependent on price. You really need to do your homework with your local garden centers to seriously get the best price.
Okay. Now, something about cost that can help you feel better: When using this combine again for another early spring, you do not need to ever again add vermiculite and peat moss. The only thing you need to again add is the compost. YET, if you make your own compost (made from all the variety of your scraps), you do not need to to buy the five component fragment mixture again. Needless to say, we IMMEDIATELY started our own compost job. We make daily advantages to our compost containers because we REALLY want to avoid having to buy compost again.
Regarding course the prices above will change depending on where to live. You also may choose compost components different from the ones I chose. As you can see, the earthworm diffusion were the most expensive element of my fragment (however, I learned that earthworm castings hands down provide some of the best nutrients).
Insteading of making my own raised garden beds, I chose to buy ready-made beds. My cost for those was 171. 97.
I also needed seed products, seed starters, ingredients for natural pest control combination (I chose neem essential oil and natural liquid peppermint soap - I got this idea from the Global Healing Center... they wrote an article eligible " 10 Organic Home made Pesticides" ), a hose nozzle, garden fabric (for underneath raised beds), and other miscellaneous items. We have deer and other nasties near our house, so we need netting, rods, etc. Fortunately, a beloved older couple is providing us their anti pet materials because they no longer garden. We likewise require trellises (for plants that vine... like eggplant and cucumber), but my ten year old daughter created some beautiful trellises from bamboo harvested from a neighbor's yard (with their approval of course).
Element in all of the above, and my total cost for this job was around 0. 00. Again, all these prices can vary dramatically, but I am just giving you a ball park figure according to my own experience.
1 nice thing about using the Square Foot Growing plants (" SFG" ) method is there is an SFG website you can travel to. Available information at this amazing site includes a blog by Mel Bartholomew as well as a forum with posts from SFG gardeners from around the world. In the community forum, moderators and SFG home gardeners provide a huge amount of supporting information. A person can post your own gardening questions and, typically, within a few minutes, someone posts an answer.
If you have children, getting them included with gardening is easy with the SFG method. Within fact, Mr. Bartholomew devotes a whole special segment in his book to children. My daughter is having a blast participating in our garden project. Growing plants teaches responsibility and valuable skills. I think any child will really profit from being a part of this kind of growing plants project.
Weeding duties are minimal because the ground composition makes it easy to weeds out. Also, this soil is flexible as it pertains to watering (you cannot over water as a result of water absorbing and draining properties of the soil).
Based on my family's experience so far (we are at the indoor seed elevating stage), I must highly recommend this book. The SFG method is proven to be among the best natural high yield systems. You will get maximum produce production with limited space. There may be other gardening methods out there there, but I think SFG to be the best.
NOTICE: I will periodically update this review to let you know how our project is rushing in along.
UPDATE 3/2013: Our company is in the process of figuring out where our brought up beds should be located based on sun direct exposure. We have a pair trees whose shade interferes with sun exposure. 1 thing that needs to be considered is that as the season advances, the sun's position changes. An area that was sunny a month might not be sunny monthly later.
UPGRADE 3/20/2013: Our little baby plants are springing up beautifully. All of us put them out in the sun during the day and take them in when evening frost sets in.
QUICK SEED STARTING IDEA: My daughter thus i located that a turkey baster is fantastic for watering seedlings softly and precisely.
UPDATE 4/23/2013: I have had various encounters (very bad and very good) with Jiffy seed starters (pellets). A person can read my reviews in my profile. Our seedlings are now " young adults" and are doing quite well. The next thunderstorm in the Southeast has been freakishly cold. Mattresses should be planted soon.
UPDATE 4/29/2013: Made our first batch of " Mel's Mix. " It truly is pretty amazing. The structure is light and well-ventilated. At the same time, it is moist and the color is a wealthy darkish. The soil has a new earthy scent. Our daughter calls it, " Black Gold. "
UPGRADE 5/7/2013: As was noted in this book, you simply cannot over-water when using this soil combine. I have been using the mix to re-pot some of my smaller plants from seed beginners. I have to drinking water, maybe, every other day. When I do water, I give the plants a quite good drink. The drinking water quickly drains without departing the soil soggy. This specific soil mix is amazing! Best of all, my plants are growing like crazy.
UPDATE 07/01/2013: Well, my square foot garden bedrooms are taking off. Right now, as far as fruit establishing, I have baby tomatoes (Black Krim) and and a few sugar infant watermelons. I started my beds somewhat late in the season, but there is still coming back them to produce a good collect. I have lots of other things growing in my beds.
UPDATE 09/15/2013: Properly, some interesting developments:
Credited to events beyond my control, for over 6 weeks my garden received only sporadic watering and natural pest control. Our friends and family do a heroic job of helping. Despite the watering issues, many of my plants still did well! I think my successes are completely due to the SFG method (vermiculite drinking water retention is great). I am aware that my situation is unusual, but I think it is just a credit to this method when circumstances are less than perfect, you won't have a total loss.
My Black Krim tomatoes produced a nice amount of juicy and sweet fruits (and they are still going). The particular complex flavor of the tomatoes is unlike something I've gotten from a food store. My basil plant life really took off and since I planted them as companion plants to the tomatoes, my tomato plants appear to have suffered fewer pests. Those tomatoes not planted with basil near by had some leaves stripped off by caterpillars (I'm not sure if there was a primary connection, perhaps it was a coincidence).
French marigolds (Queen Sofia variety) do extremely well, and greens planted by the marigolds also suffered fewer infestations (aphids in particular). We have one beautiful Sugar Infant watermelon (a personal measured melon and you typically only get one or two per plant each season).
Our chives survived and even our pumpkin did ok. Our lead capture pages, bell pepper, and eggplant, and cucumber plants fared badly. Our radishes little the dust despite my having planted French breakfast time radishes (which are somewhat more heat resistant). I took a large chance on the radishes because they hate very hot weather (I at least wanted to try).
Despite bitter cold days (sometimes in the teens), I have been having fantastic success with winter variety vegetables. I have recently been in a position to devote some time to my garden, but overall, very little effort has been required. Whenever temps were in the teens, I covered everything with tarps. When temperature got up to at least the mid 20's, no tarps were required. Pests are non existent (probably because of to the bitter cold). At the moment, I am working with 9 EarthBoxes (these were a gift) and two brought up beds. I'd like to stress that Mr. Bartholomew does not advocate the use of EarthBoxes, they just happen to be something I possess and they work well for me personally.
Just for fun, my daughter and I planted " rainbow" carrots last fall. These included: Lunar White, Photo voltaic Yellow, Cosmic Purple, Atomic Red, Bambino and Darker Knight. We harvested the carrots earlier recently. The particular very dark purple (almost black) are the Darker Knight. My wife has become partial to the Lunar White and my daughter is partial to the Cosmic Purple. I am going to plant a square each of these just for them for middle spring harvest (hopefully!! ). I need to tell you that these carrots do in truth taste like carrots... and they are sweet as candy. We've never felt a carrot so fresh, crispy and sweet.
I planted tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, anaheim chiles and eggplant 2/21/2014. For that tomatoes I used peat seed starters. I planted the rest in 3" pots containing my homemade Mel's Mix. I learned that peppers really dislike soil very high in peat, so I averted planting them in peat moss starters. The first tomato seedlings peeked out on 2/26/2014. The rest of the vegetables looked to take forever (I'd say about two weeks). - Peppers, in particular, take forever to come upward. I possess once again begun my ritual of adding my seedlings out during the day when it is warm and sunlit. I take them in at day's ending when it gets cold. Georgia weather has been ridiculous. The particular " in-and-out" thing (no pun intended for my CA readers who are burger lovers), can be tiresome. I'm not always recommending it, but it works well for me personally.
Unfortunately, my children and I did not make a concerted effort to prepare our own fragment during the past months. I have purchased these composted materials: Cow manure, chicken manure, mushroom compost, worm diffusion, and vegetable/fruit compost. I will get started amending my beds with compost later this week (hopefully).
I possess quite a few seed products that I accumulated over the winter. Many are disease resistant varieties (but non-GMO). I figure I need all the help I can get as it pertains to disease. Like the rainbow carrots I planted, a number of the seed varieties are novelties. This retains the interest of my girl and that we all have some fun. I purchased some fresh neem oil. I am going to primary sow the rest of my vegetables when the next thunderstorm gets hotter.
I have good news and unfortunate thing:
The bad news is that all but one of my tomato plants have fungus. I will be trying everything I can to help the problem. I have been buying good advice from folks at the Square Foot Gardening Forum. We'll see what happens (of course, I will keep you posted). I did not have any issues with fungus last yr... many gardeners in my area were surprised by this because this problem is common here.
The particular good news is that I have gotten lots of Anaheim peppers, tomatoes of all sorts of varieties and and an eggplant (with more to come it appears to be like). Also, I harvested some garlic from what I planted in October. Excellent zucchini that grew to a monstrous size just one month after it was planted. I am experimenting with asparagus. I am also seeking to grow some Kentucky Wonder beans (bush variety). Eureka variety cucumbers are progressing nicely. I primary sowed some Genova tulsi (same kind I planted last year), and it also is doing well. I set up a large pot packed with Mel's Combine and in it I have rosemary, thyme and ginger. I will probably need to eventually move out all but the rosemary... rosemary gets really big. For the time being though, it's going to be a trio.
Pertaining to tomato horn worms: Right after my daughter saw the first of the season, I applied BT Thuricide. About a week later I found a horn worm dangling from one of my tomato stems. It absolutely was shriveled, brown and mushy (and, of course, dead). Like this comment on the BT Thuricide (I wish I had known about it last year! )
Well, I've planted winter crops. I've got four different varieties of kale, six varieties of carrots, spinach, garlic, winter lettuce and shallots. Something interesting: My daughter has foregone her flower bed for winter variety vegetables. Despite the chance to herb cold resistant flowers, the lady would much rather have fresh lettuce, and so forth I think that's pretty cool!
Despite weather in the teens, my winter vegetables have all come up and are doing quite well. Among the delights of winter gardening is the absence of pests. Also, your body doesn't easily overheat like you might in oppressive spring/summer weather.
Dear reader, this is my last access. I have taken you on my gardening trip for over a yr. I wish you much success with your own garden. Be careful and say thanks to you for reading my review.: )
REMEMBER: Shop around for the best prices... and especially... enjoy your garden!!, I am your average vegetable gardener. I grow the basics and I want to can and freeze what I produce. I got tired of filtering and my husband disapprovals roto-tilling. I was looking for a low maintenance garden approach. I read this book final winter and my husband built 5 boxes for me for my summer season 2016 garden. Lettuce expanded great but other plant life grew to about 4 inches and then seemed to stop. I fixed the situation and had great results. I added more fragment plus dirt from our woods to fill the boxes to 12 in .. This increased my detail (6 inches just was not getting the work done) and lessened the proportion of vermiculite which was making Mel's mix too light and dusty. I really seemed Mel's mix was just too artificial and I decided to give the plants more dirt! The particular book claims to use 1/4 vermiculite which might work for growing flowers, herbs, member of the lettuce family but next time I will make his combine with only 1/5 vermiculite. I mostly followed his advice about how precisely much you can squeeze into a square foot but environmentally friendly beans did better planted 4 to a sq . foot rather than 7. We are hoping to build more boxes for next summer. I love this method. I had no weeding!! We ate from the boxes all summer season together extra to freeze out. Plus, I now have fall peas, lettuce, radish, and am making my gardens. into green houses to extend my growing into November (I reside in Wisconsin). Lastly, Let me confess that I also used fertilizer twice, which I was actually hoping to avoid. Mel's info is great in theory but I found it needed adjusting., I am an absolute novice at vegetable gardening and this book was among the 6 books I found at the library. I obtained 20 pages into this and knew I wanted a copy of my own. I remember Mel's show on PBS and exactly how easy it was to grasp his methods. The book puts all of it in an all sety reference. Winter's coming therefore the book will guide us in the a few months ahead so we're ready for Spring.
We have a problem area on this property that is ideally suited to a raised-bed garden. The problem will go away with SFG and we will have the fun of learning to garden without all of the time-honored annoyance of in-the-ground row growing plants., Second year using this book and doing sfg, yields are as good per plant as we got with rows and that we get far more out in our twenty-four x 40 garden which we made into 12 4x8 beds. That's the same production from 324 sq ft we were getting from 960!!, Scans somewhat as an infomercial (which is why Constantly quite 5 star it), but if you can get past the prose, it's got a lot of great information. It addresses the matters I was enthusiastic about, and it's set out clearly with pictures and photos, which definitely helps if you're a novice or indifferent gardener., I am sort of a Darwinian gardener... I want high yields of veggies without much effort. The SFG method of gardening does just that! I just put my northern NYC garden to "bed" for the fall and feel now inside my place in Florida having another go. This is the first year I'm trying a SFG in FL in the fall and feel curious what will develop best. Everything the publication promises in a garden has worked in mine. I've had greater success with the soil combine than with using typical garden soil and the soil maintenance is simple -- just add more compost each new growing season. Gardening can't be any easier!, Outstanding publication. This got me to go ahead and have again into gardening. I have been paying at the Farmers Market. Also a food co-op. Must cut into that cost. I couple things in there I thought maybe no. Yet kept reading. Realized this individual really has this down. Changed my mind.
I am proceeding ahead with one feet deep. Instead of just six inches. He provides much understanding. I want to plant garlic in the fall. Go through winter in the ground. Also carrots for deeper. Considering other that might be better off with tough winter and deeper grime to protect it.
I can't suggest this guide enough.
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