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Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew

Book Review

Square Foot Gardening: A New Way to Garden in Less Space with Less Work by Mel Bartholomew (Rodale, 1981 and 2005)

Adults, or kids 10 and up with adult help

If you'd like to start a vegetable garden with your kids but feel you lack space, know-how, or time, this is THE book. First published in 1981, it's outlasted the competition due to its simple, practical, no-nonsense, labor-saving approach. I have other gardening books but this is the one I use every year.

The book explains how to grow lots of produce in a small space. You fill small raised beds with good soil, and then divide the bed into one-foot by one-foot squares. Each square can hold a certain number of plants, depending on the type - for example, four lettuce plants, one tomato plant, or nine carrots. The book includes planting and growing guides for all the more common vegetables, melons, and other food plants. It also explains how to save space by growing cucumbers, squash, and other vine plants up a trellis.

My square-foot gardens are a marvel of low-maintenance I pull out a few weeds now and then, water occasionally, watch for pests, and pick the harvest when it's ready. That's about it. All in all, highly recommended.

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