Posted on 07 April 2007 by urbangardencasual.com

Book Review: Square Foot Gardening: A New Way to Garden in Less Space with Less Work – By Mel Bartholomew

Square Foot Gardending - UrbanGardenCasual.comBy Reggie Solomon

Square foot gardening is the ultimate urban gardening solution!

I stumbled upon this book at the Yale Bookstore this afternoon, and it has changed the way I will forever approach urban gardening.

The Square Foot Gardening book by Mel Bartholomew who also once hosted a similarly-titled television series on public television, is built around gardening in a 4′ x 4′ square subdivided into a grid of sixteen 1′ squares. Mel’s system, which can be organized via a raised bed or at ground-level, incorporates an ingenious vertical trellising design to accommodate vining vegetables such as tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, squash and melons.


The square-foot gardening system is ideal for the urban gardener because it’s suited for small spaces, maximizes growing space by eliminating wasted space between rows, and accommodates vertical growing.

Mel has two books, another called The New Square Foot Gardening that’s more updated, has a green cover and color-photos inside and focuses more on raised bed systems, and an older book (this book) that has a color cover, black and white photos inside and lays out the basics of the square foot gardening system.

The original book is the foundation book that’s best for beginners (it’s the book I chose too).Square Foot Gardening SyStem - UrbanGardenCasual.com

Normally, when I go to the bookstore, I just find a book I like, and then go home and order it online cheaper, but I literally couldn’t put this book down, and after an hour of sitting on the floor at the bookstore, I figured it was worth just doing the outdated buy-a-book-at-the-bookstore thing.

I’m already through most of the book, and I’m totally convinced this is so perfect for the urban gardener.

In fact, Mel is uber urban-garden sensitive and even has drawings of how to incorporate this system on an apartment-building roof! Awesome!!!

Mel also has a modest website that sort of looks like it was created back in the 90s by a part-time, high-school intern, but it offers a good overview of the square gardening system nonetheless.

Here’s to a summer incorporating some square foot gardening into my urban garden!

 

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16 Responses to “Book Review: Square Foot Gardening: A New Way to Garden in Less Space with Less Work – By Mel Bartholomew”

  1. urbangardencasual.com Denise Says:

    Just browsing your site and wanted to say that I enjoyed this book also. My garden is loosely based on the square-foot concept.

  2. urbangardencasual.com Lynn Smythe Says:

    Years ago I used to watch Mel’s TV show (don’t ask how old I am!) I purchased the original Square Foot Gardening book and just about wore it out. Now I have a copy of the new book. Great way to garden. :)

  3. urbangardencasual.com Reggie Solomon (a.k.a., "reggieCasual") Says:

    Many thanks for the comments Lynn. So glad you enjoyed this book and have found it useful as I did last year.

  4. urbangardencasual.com Urban Garden Casual »  Read a Good Gardening Book Lately? Says:

    [...] This is a standard for small space gardening. Bartholemew presents his method for laying out your vegetable gardens in square foot increments. The results are a better producing garden with less effort. A win-win situation indeed! See our Urban Garden Casual book review. [...]

  5. urbangardencasual.com TNP Says:

    Suspecting an Obama win my husband and I decided months ago to plan(t) a garden this year. Already a fan of your blog I’ll look forward to checking in and learning as much as I can on how to proceed.

    Big question, though: How to keep the critters away? We have at least 15 deer grazing on our lawn every day, not to mention a dozen rabbits.

  6. urbangardencasual.com urbangardencasual.com Says:

    Hi TNP,

    So glad you and your husband took a hope-inspired year to plant a garden this past year. I think lots of people are feeling inspired to do more and be better stewards of the earth this year. So glad you like our casual urban garden community.

    Great question on critters. I’ve put one of our writers on the case regarding dear and rabbits. Look for a post in the next two weeks in response.

    Thanks again for your question.

  7. urbangardencasual.com Caryn Webb Says:

    Mel is my hero and I read this book years ago and have been using a lot of his concepts ever since! I grow a lot of food on the decks of my condo in the middle of NJ so much in fact that my neighbors share in the bounty.

    I have been growing my tomatoes up strings for years and they are wonderfully productive and the air circulation sure helps when the fruits ripen. Also where I live deer are a big problem and growing on the decks stops the critter salad bar effect.

  8. urbangardencasual.com Tim’s Square Foot Garden – A Quick Garden Tour, July 3, 2009 | All New Square Foot Gardening Says:

    [...] Book Review: Square Foot Gardening: A New Way to Garden in Less … – Square foot gardening is the ultimate urban gardening solution! I stumbled upon this book at the Yale Bookstore this afternoon, and it has changed the way I will forever approach urban gardening. The Square Foot Gardening book by Mel … [...]

  9. urbangardencasual.com Barbara Collins Says:

    This is one of my favorite books. I have been using this system for many years to great success and often teach vegetable growing classes highlighting these techniques.
    I do object to one thing that the author mentions. That is that he finds a book in a book store and then orders it online. Why not just buy it in the bookstore? I think that it is very important to keep our local book stores in business. Even if it is a national chain it still employs local people. There is nothing more wonderful than losing yourself amid a well stocked book store which will become extinct if people keep buying everything online. It’s like some of my old garden center customers who would come in to find out about the plants and then go buy them at Home Depot. Cheapest price is not always the best thing

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