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All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew

Book Review

The All New Square Foot Gardening Book by Mel Bartholomew (Cool Springs Press, 2006)


Gardening is one of the all-time richest Big-Learning activities, and with this book even you brown-thumbers can do it. Even your kids can. All you need is a small, square space (4-foot square or even smaller), and no digging required! With a small initial investment you can expose your kids to math in real life (plant spacing, area in square feet), plant life cycles, insect identification, fresh food, and lots more.

I know I told you that Square Foot Gardening is THE gardening book in my earlier review. But even if you own that book, go get this new edition. The fully updated "All New" book has an improved method, lots more pictures and visuals, and new information on pest control. The ideas for building garden structures take advantage of new materials that didn't exist when the original book was written in 1981.

Sidebars add lots of fun and practical touches. The planting section has "Kids Corner" sidebars. These suggest fun ways to involve kids in gardening. There are lots of "penny pincher" sidebars throughout that tell you how to get lots more for your gardening dollar.

As much as I like the new edition, I'm not throwing out my original book. The original had a nice crop guide appendix that listed common vegetables in alphabetical order. Each vegetable type had a page or more of information including planting, growing, pests, harvesting, and preparing or cooking. I still refer to it all the time and I'm sorry to see it missing from the new edition.

The other problem with the new edition is its over-the-top confidence that the novice gardener will want to construct an endless stream of garden structures. For example, the square-foot gardening method revolves around raised-bed gardens, which the book suggests you construct from lumber. I wanted cedar, which is hard to get in my neck of the woods, and it was already late in the season when I started. So I ordered raised bed kits from I.P. Woody's and have been very happy with them. sHere's the link:


Square Foot Gardening can't be beat as a gardening method. The book is highly recommended to novices and experts alike.

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