Mel’s … In 1975 Mel Bartholomew had just retired as an engineer and decided to take up gardening as a hobby. ", "Claudia, we have an article all about how to preserve wood for raised vegetable beds here: http://www.growveg.com/growblogpost.aspx?id=71 and there are some very useful comments people have added. Thank you very much, I love it! Major Cyber Attack – WAR Distraction or Trump Card For Election Hack? ", "Claudia...go to www.lowes.com and take a look at their 4' x 6' x 9" Cedar Raised Garden Kit. ", "This year Sam's Club sold 42" x 6" x 7' raised bed kits, no maintenance, slide together, $40. In the end, are they going to talk about your housekeeping? The cookie-cutter square foot garden is built 4-feet long by 4-feet wide and six to eight inches deep. I was absolutely brand new to growing ANYTHING and this was a great way to start. By using high-quality soil for your garden, you can help your plants thrive. I did square foot gardening back in the early 80's and I'm pretty sure "Mel's Mix" didn't exist back then. October 07, 2013 Announcements. He suggests a mixture of 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 coarse vermiculite and 1/3 compost. I left the country for a month in early summer, with someone filling the gravity tanks once a week and that was it. I have three current beds 4x12. There also exist diamond-headed scuffle hoes. The most important feature of square foot gardening is using this specific enriched potting soil mixture: blend different organic materials by using equal parts of bagged organic potting soil or compost, vermiculite, and peat moss. Here is a question....if you were to finish the projects you have, sell your home, and move, would you be able to afford another home as nice or nicer? It works best while the weeds are small. My best growing beds are my existing soil with my compost. It was invented by backyard gardener and engineer Mel Bartholomew. Curt. I tried using my Stirrup-U-hoe and found that, because it was a lighter-weighted tool, my muscles instead of the ground were supporting it, making me work harder. Want to start a garden? Very much a no-no for SFG purists, but he gets great results. Many thanks Danny. Add your own thoughts on the subject of this article: All are made out of old scaffold boards which can be purchased quite cheaply on Ebay or in the local ads. Experts say you can increase length, but to keep width at four feet. I've filled with topspoil/vermiculite/compost. I have several employees who also do independent work on the side. So if you're further cutting down the percentage of compost in the mix by combining it with peat for its portion, you're cutting down the amount of … ", "Yes, you can use 100% compost if it comes from a reliable commercial source such as I describe in this article: http://www.growveg.com/growblogpost.aspx?id=74. And would it be move in ready and NOT require any projects like you currently have? I would encourage you to visit our website www.squarefootgardening.org to see how we are carrying on Mel's work to get people growing their own organic, fresh produce. I see that Mel's Mix is equal parts of compost, peat and vermiculite/perlite. I spent almost zero time weeding and no time watering and wouldn't garden any other way. another option I heard of is to place raised bed over existing grass which will break down and be beneficial. ", "Kim - I use a compost for starting seeds made from coconut fibre (coir) called Fertile Fibre and it is fantastic stuff - the best seed starting compost out of all the ones I have tried, so I can well believe that it might work instead of peat in SFG. It depends. You can save your money now for future projects or finish them and budget payment into the future. I believe my soil was the issue. :-D", "My first garden was a square foot garden. However, I'm now growing other things too, just in normal soil, so having this SFG addition to the software is absolutely ideal for me. I would do without the Pete moss, but that is a personal opinion based on my soil type and compaction problems. I would definitely not recommend vermiculite for raised beds. It sounds like you have a really nice home. My questions are: 1) how deep should my bed be (typically grow peppers, cud’s, zucchini, beans and tomatoes) - easiest build is 10.5 inches but heard I should go with 12”? Eliminate all the hard work, expense and mixed results of amending your soil year after year. They have been awesome!! I have 5 raised beds built with the idea that one will be for perennials only. We own two homes, 250 miles apart. Compost supplies the only nutrition in Mel's Mix, as both peat moss and perlite/vermiculite are completely nutrient-free. This fab tool is a shallow pentagon with sharpened edges—looks like a Stealth Bomber—that you push along the soil's surface to unroot the weeds. I'd recommend finding one with a handle long enough to create a shallow angle relative to the ground plane: with a sharper, 45°-like angle, your pushing may drive the head deep instead of gliding just under the surface. Get Square Foot Gardening Soil on Amazon with Free Shipping* Mel’s Mix is available on Amazon in 2 cu. He suggests a mixture of 1/3 peat moss, 1/3 coarse vermiculite and 1/3 compost. Most of the nurseries and big box stores do not carry it and you have to do a lot of phoning ahead (please to not drive all over town looking for it). , ive now dig out all the old soil and have an average depth of 10 to 12 inches over 200 square foot approx , hope this isnt too hard a question. It's 13/16ths-inches-wide which is perfect for the grid. The only problem with vermiculite is that is very difficult to find in the home gardening market place. Mel Bartholomew, author of Square Foot Gardening, describes vermiculite this way, “As you probably know it holds water yet drains when it’s filled, just like a sponge does. is 3" soil just not going to work even if there is soil underneath? The success it brings can often lead people on to discovering the delights of fruit trees, using barrels to grow huge crops of potatoes or managing a greenhouse full of high-value crops. In pots well yeah I would recommend. ", "Norman: I think you plant two rows of four - one row in each half of the square, and you have the support running across the square in between the two rows. Square Foot Gardening. Do you dislike your current home and are you just frustrated and you feel like you will love it when the projects are complete? There's a great quote: "If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail." ft, 29.9 gal, 113 L, which is a big bag and will last a long time to use on all my gardening needs. While compost and peat moss might be easy to find, you will need to search harder to find a quality source of vermiculite. Between the two of them we have 3500 sq ft and 14 acres. Ask your questions! I want everything to be organic and heard landscaping fabric is not. Square Foot Gardening (commonly referred to as SFG) is a planting method that was developed by American author and TV presenter Mel Bartholomew in the 1970s. ", "Thank you for providing information and a garden planner for those interested in the Square Foot Gardening method. Well now the “garden” is a bunch of weeds... so I do not want to plant there unless I put down some sort of barrier (Im going with a raised bed garden so I can more easily control soil quality). I'm doing my best to master square foot gardening and thus, am making Mel's Mix for our 6 raised beds. ", "I am at this time constucting my 1st SFG I always grow runner beans using a conventional support system, I'm puzzled as to how you would plant 8 beans in a sq ft and train them up a support albeit like one in the SFG book.can anyone explain Our vermiculite trial was very successful and is now over. Adding Vermiculite to Your Square Foot Garden Vermiculite is a naturally occurring mineral that is used in gardening as a soil conditioner. Therefore this year I am mixing in some vermiculite to help retain some moisture so I don't have to water as frequently. It's not cheap however and would need mixing with compost like the SFG method describes for plants larger than seedlings. SFG advocates claim it produces more, uses less soil and water and takes just 2% of the time spent on a traditional garden. Necessary? So what makes Square Foot Gardening special and why don't all gardeners use it? Ad… ", "Thank you Jeremy,....having read all the links and comments...I guess I'm on the secure side using rocks as a local resource ...it just takes a bit longer (and the slugs never changed their mind in front my existing timber frames ;-), have to transplant all seedlings anyway, a bit of coffee-ground around the edges also helps ... thanks again", "Jaime, I am veg-gardening in two places: a small kitchen garden with small, raised beds planted in the SFG way, and a 30'x70' row garden. It is mainly used to aerate soil in pots. Instead of buying vermiculite from a garden centre I've used Mycafil (insulation matter made from vermiculite)about £15 for a 100ltr bag comapared with £5 for a 1ltr bag at the garden centre. It sounds like you probably have quite a bit of equity in the home. What's most crucial is done frequently and often more than once per week. I have always had a difficult time finding four foot wood strips to form my grids. The days may seem long right now, but in a shorter time than you realize, they will be fleeting. To get the best results from your square foot gardening, use a mixture of soil and additives like compost, vermiculite and peat moss. Many of the SFG techniques that were revolutionary in the 1980s are now commonly used for vegetable gardening – deep raised beds, not compacting soil, removable covers and plant supports etc. As Mel has explained, the seeds can actually be sown deeper than most normal seeds. More than once I've been tempted to invite all of them over for dinner and cleaning. ", "You can use 100% compost in your boxes? ), By clicking 'Add Comment' you agree to our Terms and Conditions, "I bought the book a couple of months back and now a lovely SFG box in my back garden. You cannot put a dollar amount on your wellbeing or your time with your children. Along with that we have another 80 acre parcel that had a 1000 sq. ", "I started my first-ever vegetable garden in 2012 with the SFG method. It helps to maintain a loose soil structure, encouraging drainage, and helps root systems easily access nutrients and water. In particular he found the average gardener was spending hours weeding the big gaps between long rows of plants, creating unnecessary work for themselves. If you've seen any pests or beneficial insects in your garden in the past few days please report them to The Big Bug Hunt and help create a warning system to alert you when bugs are heading your way. If you were to purchase a comparable new home, would you then have the needed money to hire out any necessary projects, or would you be in the same place financially where you would need to do them slowly and piecemeal? Truly depends on the soil make up available too assumed the row garden would take more work, expense mixed... 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