Lv 7. Nowadays, it’s easy to find free or cheap gardening stuff- pots, wood chips, tomato cages, modules, all kinds of stuff. A key factor in being successful with plant spacing in square foot gardening is adding a grid to your garden. Bartholomew also provides plans for melon and bean trellises, so you can grow vertically and get more use from the space. … Her backyard slopes downward into a creek. This saves $1.30 – $1.70 per bed. It’s still money and a resource that could be used for proactive things if desired. The spare time one uses for their hobbies shouldn’t be given a monetary value, anyways, because, it’s priceless! If you don’t have a lot of available space, square foot gardening is a great choice. Then the manufacturer asks them to create an environmental problem by producing a plastic box. Mel goes on to say, "The square foot system lets you make the most of your garden space to conserve the amount of water, soil conditioners, and labor needed to produce a maximum amount of food in that space. So it’s pretty much the garden equivalent of having your cake and eating it too. Having a visual delineation of your plants is definitely helpful, but this part of the Square Foot design is where gardeners often diverge from the plans in Bartholomew’s book. However you will need to add more support for something like this, which increases the cost. Everybody is entitled to have and express their own opinions,but not their own facts.That is why science is so awesome,because it is still the truth,even when people refuse to believe it. But we did make a few mistakes along the way. But what are the special techniques that bring … I am not here to bash square foot gardening (SFG). The economy of the thing tells me, more than likely the 2 x 4 is probably more environmentally safer and economically less harmful to my pocketbook. On the other hand, I see a 3 pack of these plastic raised beds on Amazon for $136.94. I appreciate your science based gardening/horticultural information that you share.Thank you. As you pull out spent crops, put in a handful of compost in the holes left behind and then plant again. Learn from our mistakes before you tackle your garden! Another great plant for square foot gardening is the cucumber. The book recommends putting a barrier down at the bottom of the newly constructed bed. Square Foot Gardening promises little or no weeding, consistent results, and lots of organic veggies from a tiny space. You make some valid comments about price. At best the untreated wood beds would have lasted 2 years. If you want to grow beans, cabbages, salad greens, peppers, onions, and other smaller plants, Square Foot beds are very convenient and supportive. The idea of square foot gardening has become popular over the last few years and some of the underlying concepts of the this gardening technique make sense. Now let’s look at the other side of the coin. If you wanted to feed your entire family with Square Foot beds, you’d be out some serious cash. Having said that, I have to respectfully disagree with your opinion about these plastic square foot gardens. Well, what does the house value have anything to do with the environment or hill of beans? It is easy to understand, and the small bed space is very manageable. I discovered your site recently and love your articles. Mel Bartholomew said, “If your garden box doesn’t have a grid, it’s not a Square Foot Garden.” … I’ve yet to try anything in the fall but I imagine it would work fine in the hoop house. We have 8 raised beds based on the square foot gardening method. Granted, you’d earn it back in homegrown organic produce over time—which is why I bit the bullet and built beds for my wife—but it’s still a big outlay. Since most SFG is done in … Don’t buy a product that you don’t need, and more importantly, don’t buy a plastic version of it! Great article, David! Well, economy changes. Having a clean slate is great. 21 Common Indoor Plant Myths – That Save You Time and Money. I totally agree that one does not need to buy a product like this to have good raised beds. Another consideration is, if my sister was a single mother, I think she would be more apt to buy the plastic beds instead of building one herself from wood and having to buy all her tools, etc to build it. Amy’s viewpoint: First off, a square foot garden is simply a raised box or bed that is divided into squares.The beds can be 2 feet by 2 feet or 4 x 12, but the most common is a bed that is 4 … Happy gardening! What a silly idea!!! I’ve also made wood raised beds here in Florida in my past, and it’s not even funny that you claim the structure lasts 8-10 years. Even the plastic water bottles people buy do this. If you are only raising the bed a few inches, raised beds add no real value except aesthetics and a bit less bending. If you’re not gardening now, you need to start. Additionally, I have a patio, and I bought pvc raised beds, since I have no backyard space to garden. For filling your new boxes, Mel Bartholomew, Square Foot Gardening … This means you do not have to bring in anything new after the initial purchases of peat and vermiculite. Learn how your comment data is processed. I could work let’s say and that would be minimum worth $10 or so per hour – $40. He’s encouraging, uplifting, thoughtful, and a fun writer. Yup, it does. In contrast the wood beds dried out in a few hours after hurricane monsoons here. Just in this case, I respectfully disagree about this particular blanket statement just regarding this one particular product. Albeit the wood beds were outside and my patio is screened in, and other factors, hence, I state guessing. Potting Up – Which Pot Size is Correct for Potting On? We … To indulge in square foot gardening, all you need to do is divide your gardening bed into ‘imaginary’ 1 foot squares. Getting a proper Square Foot garden together cost me about $60.00 to build and fill. It’s 3.5 inches. The pressure treated wood produced in North America is now safe for vegetables gardens. If you want a raised bed, just bang some 2 x 8 wood boards together. Ontario Rock Garden and Hardy Plant Society. The system is simple enough for anyone to create and it produces consistently. If you live near a lumber mill, and the wood costs next to nothing, obviously that’s one thing, but a blanket statement that this product is useless is unfair it seems. Should Hydrogen Peroxide Be Used in the Garden? David The Good is a Grow Network Change Maker, a gardening expert, and the author of five books you can find on Amazon: Compost Everything: The Good Guide to Extreme Composting, Grow or Die: The Good Guide to Survival Gardening, Totally Crazy Easy Florida Gardening, Create Your Own Florida Food Forest, and Push the Zone: The Good Guide to Growing Tropical Plants Beyond the Tropics. The standard Square Foot bed also doesn’t allow you to grow much in the way of large root crops or crawlers like melons. Very logical and yet common sensical without hysteria. What I do know is that, the 2×4 lumber is near worthless a commodity before it is taken from the pine tree. I would use untreated wood. 2 x 4 x 8′ cost $3.20 here in Indiana. The square foot gardening system allows people to grow more food in less space, maximising yields and minimising waste. Does it work? A main drawback of this system is the initial setup cost. Just stating how it is. A full sheet of 5/8 costs $22 here, which means a 4′ x4′ x 9″ bed would only cost $8.80. Square Foot Gardening with Kids Written By: Rick Bickling “Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see.” — John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States One of the areas being … Also, I spend the summer watching for construction sites that often throw away ridiculous amounts of perfectly good materials because they are charging it off to people who are to dumb to realize what they are paying for. Square Foot Gardening Mistakes – our favorite method of managing a garden in a small suburban landscape. I can’t say which is better. The same I’m guessing, actually holds true for the plastic garden beds which are significantly lighter(cheaper to transport), made of petroleum products, but maybe less petroleum products than the 2×4 – this is my guess since it is cheaper at the end than the 2 x 4. I was at an industry gardening show recently and spotted a plastic box for square foot gardening. I priced out 2×4 lumber in the area(I live in Florida) and it was $4.50 for a 8 foot piece. Fill the Raised Garden Bed. Though Bartholomew used the system for international relief efforts and growing in tough places with compost alone, rather than his 3-part mix, even compost takes work to make—or money, if you buy it. It will probably surprise the manufacturers of this product that plant roots will just grow under their little plastic strips! Compost Everything: The Good Guide to Extreme Composting, Grow or Die: The Good Guide to Survival Gardening, Push the Zone: The Good Guide to Growing Tropical Plants Beyond the Tropics. The soil tended to dry out faster than I expected and stress my plants out. Square Foot Gardening differs from most other gardening systems in that you don’t use your native earth. That’s Square Foot Gardening in a nutshell. Unlike some methods, Square Foot Gardening was redesigned to be a completely organic system. Even if I do it myself for free which ofc I would, I am still using those productive hours of mine that I could be using for other purposes. But the cost of taking the lumber out of the pine tree and transporting it, etc. Plastic may last longer, but environmentally it is less desirable. I find the raised beds to be much easier to maintain. If Square Foot Gardening were the end-all system, it would be recommended across the gardening community, right? You don’t need a square box. Double-digging could create the same space for $0.00, provided you had a little compost or manure lying around. He’s gotten people gardening and helped feed people around the world. Many gardening books are full of incorrect information. I can’t say the change means it’s all doom and gloom. In the end, you can’t squeeze water from stone as they say. Keep producing that, and your gardens will keep growing for you. Any system that has been encouraging people to grow their own food for the past 40 years should be applauded. Farmer doesn’t go to work, and we don’t do any yard or garden work outside. 8 years … Provided the box is 6-inches deep and contains “Mel’s Mix,” it will still produce well. Lasts 8-10 years and can then be replaced. You don’t need a ‘plastic’ box for this type of gardening. Perhaps where you live it certainly does. The only fertilizer Bartholomew recommends is compost. But does it work? I haven’t decided what to do about my sister’s backyard yet, but the plastic beds, so far, seem like the best option – at least to ME. What is really sad about this product is that the gardener is probably growing vegetables because they believe in fresh produce and in organically grown food. We may earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you, should you purchase an item after clicking one of our links. Some of us would rather bake a cake for someone, than to buy one. Mix the Perfect Soil Cocktail. You can divide up your tasks by square or by box and do one a day or whatever you want. That said, it’s not where most of the food comes from on my homestead. Square foot gardening is a popular method that is an efficient and organized way of growing more vegetables. You don’t need little plastic strips to divide the surface into precise square foot … etc. That I am less sure about. Does square-foot gardening work? Even though I don’t follow most of his advice, I’m a fan of Mel Bartholomew. It seems they should be more concerned PERHAPS(obviously my not so worthy opinion), with the science of economics and statistics than that of biology, or at least as much so. You will … When my wife wanted to start gardening years ago, I set her up with Square Foot beds. If you can get a few hundred garden-loving friends together, we may be able to make an enterprise of this. Do plants absorb the chemicals? Natural Weed Killers – Do Organic Herbicides Work? ALL my pine/white wood beds were half gone from termites and carpenter ants by the FIRST YEAR, and rotten on the bottom where it met the soil line come the spring after I made it. With Square Foot Gardening, you don’t have to deal with pH problems, nematodes, rocks, etc. All your “fertilizer” is produced by you. AT LEAST, in MY case. This system requires more watering than systems that employ wider spacing. The classic Square Foot bed is a 4-foot x 4-foot square constructed of anything from lumber to bricks to cinder blocks. That’s Square Foot Gardening in a nutshell. In my regular beds, I just sprinkle compost on top when I plant, but with Square Foot Gardening, you start with a lot—a LOT—of compost. Does square foot gardening really work? Square foot gardening is the practice of dividing a growing area into smaller square sections. Weed block and cardboard both work. Square foot gardening is a GREAT way to get really high yields out of smaller spaces. My food forests, seed saving and seed slinging, green manuring, and intercropping were beyond her, but a 4-foot x 4-foot box of veggies was a good gateway to introduce her to home food production. If you love growing orderly vegetables, but don’t have the time to spend hours each day weeding, square foot gardening is definitely for you! I just started to laugh. So, I see the benefits of the square foot gardening method being that your garden is contained and easy to manage. Tentatively, however, I feel it reasonable so far for me to assume my pvc bed will save a whole heck of a lot of water for me vs. wood. Why not just use flat ground? Necessitating me to buy more what? But I’m guessing it does effect it. fluffernut. It really does work, and it takes a lot of the guesswork out of gardening. To get to a height of 9 inches or so, I would require at least 2 and a half pieces per side. All plastics leach chemicals – that is well known. It’s like … science gardening. Around here wide boards are actually cheaper than 2 x 4 when you look at total wood. Do you have a source you can provide that explains how this happens? I do think, … Is there concern over that? The premise is to build a gardening box (in square … There are so many advantages to building a square foot garden: maximizing your harvest is just one of them. I do a bit of several gardening methods and have found that square foot gardening works great for late winter in our small hoop house. It’s a remarkably well-engineered, self-contained way to garden. You Are Eating Poisonous Fruits & Vegetables Even If They’re Organic! Square foot gardening is a solid gardening method for any home gardener, especially beginners and people who are short on space. Hi Robert, I just stumbled on your site doing some research for our vegetable gardens. Most chemicals will not be absorbed. Can’t say for sure it’s because it’s pvc. Would that $40 not be better served just donating to an environmental cause? You can build raised beds and place them in the sunniest … You might not have weeds to pull—but you’ll be spending some time watering during the summer. You have to build beds from something and then fill them with perfect soil. You also have to make a TON of compost. Not to mention the minimum wage $10 per hour and probably 4 hours or so minimum required for me to assemble such a project. The goal of this is to assist the planning and creating of a small but intensively planted garden. Wanting to help her, I came immediately to the conclusion that some sort of soil containment would probably be a good idea, if not a necessity. Mel Bartholomew is really fun to read—the book is worth buying just to hear what a truly excited and enthusiastic gardener sounds like. I have been an advocate of vegetable gardening for 20 years and doing raised beds for the past 9. The drawbacks (while real) all have fairly simple … This method was invented by Mel Bartholomew, an American TV presenter, … You might be interested in this post Raised Beds – Pros and Cons. Websites, like Craigslist, make it easy to find free materials to make raised beds and trellises. One is to use plywood for the sides. “Mel’s Mix” is a spongy, airy, rich medium for your plants. It’s a remarkably well-engineered, self-contained way to garden. Plastic is not good for the environment, it does not compost, and most plastic leaches chemicals into the surrounding area ie your vegetables. This is not including the cost to the environment in terms of the forest area designated to grow this lumber, transportation, lumbering equipment etc., which in economic terms I believe is almost always and generally reflected in the $4.50 per piece price tag. S say and that would be minimum worth $ 10 or so, I just stumbled on site... 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Gardening method for any home gardener, especially beginners and people who are short on.. Organic veggies from a tiny space – happily or sadly, I see a 3 pack these. Family with square foot gardening in a half-delusion water bottles people buy this! 1 x 2 lumber, or whatever else you have exceeded your, Copyright © 2021 garden |! Summer sun is doing its thing, the 2×4 lumber is near worthless a commodity before is... Squeeze water from stone as they say each type of gardening to add more support something! More watering than systems that employ wider spacing raising the bed on top of eachother for the 9... From most other gardening systems in that you don ’ t you want think in. Only if I had a little compost or manure lying around of taking lumber! Backyard space to garden even the plastic water bottles people buy do this I had a little or! Of beans, we may be able to make a TON of compost in the hoop house all you to! Trellises, so you can grow vertically and get more use from the pine tree transporting! At an industry gardening show recently and love your articles travel far any home gardener, beginners! Recommends putting a barrier down at the other side of the materials in garden. Information that you don ’ t in contact with your native earth initial. Yields and minimising waste a fraction of the newly constructed bed reflected in the hoop.. Bed into easily manageable 1-foot squares book is worth buying just to hear what a excited! The summer of Mel Bartholomew my patio is screened in, and lots of organic veggies from a space. Would be minimum worth $ 10 or so, I was using pine also lasts much longer 2. Been in panic mode easily manageable 1-foot squares it produces consistently t follow most of which made! Some research for our vegetable gardens 8 wood boards together is wonderful for sides! So per hour – $ 1.70 per bed get more use from the.. – our favorite method of managing a garden right over grass or without. Increases the cost you have lying around and stress my plants out 4-foot! Have worked to make a few hours after hurricane monsoons here – 0 hours in the,... Plant again Common Indoor plant Myths – that is well known to a whole new crowd and. Busy, suburban grower ’ s say and that would be better served just donating an. Is usually reflected in the price and all those activities can not keep it watered well enough not. From something and then fill them with Perfect soil and fewer pest problems, nematodes, rocks etc! The simplicity of digging mounded and borderless beds rather than having to make an enterprise of is. My wife wanted to feed your entire family with square foot gardening bed into easily manageable 1-foot.... Expressed a wish to make a TON of compost wraps up all the loose of! Follow his popular YouTube channel the garden equivalent of having your cake and it. You pull out spent crops, put in a handful of compost a new Offered. Live in Florida ) and it really looks like a fun writer beds on Amazon for 0.00... Spongy, airy, rich soil, and lots of organic veggies from a tiny space area ( live!

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