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Square Foot Gardening Mel Bartholomew Dies

I'm sure many of the members in this group utilise Mel's system.
I know I adapt part of his methods and use much of the SFG charts and tables to see how biointensively I can plant my wicking beds.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/08/nyregion/mel-bartholomew-an-engin...

He did revolutionise how to think about small space gardening and probably got more people into growing their own food because of it. For anyone who doesn't know what square foot gardening is it's well worth reading up on it, even if it's to see how much you can grow in a small space.

How many of you use or have used SFG principles in your gardens?

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Thank you for sharing this Cres! We bought both of his books and tried to put it into practice. On a slope with trees all about gardening inground was not producing any returns commensurate with the effort and inputs. The system is fine, our plot is not. You've reminded me about SFG now and I'll have another go since we have wicking-beds wall-to-wall (more or less ;-).

Compost was king with Mel 'cept he figured on removing plant roots when the crop was finished. He was always available to answer questions coz that was mine to him.

Yes I believe he revolutionised gardening for home gardeners with his emphasis on composts made from up to 12 ingredients and the closeness of the plantings.

Sounds like we have similar problems. My block is steep with dense clay and shale so all water dropped to the base of the bed and ran downhill. My initial raised beds were just magnets for nearby trees to send their roots with the concentration of nutrient. Hence me converting them to wicking beds.

I use SFG spacings to maximise my yields in the relatively small grow areas of the wicking beds. I don't bother with his nutrient combo as I'm pretty up to speed on DIY composting. But for the beginner his mix is a great no thinking recipe.


We need more humans like him.

As we did here.

Square foot gardening no doubt was inspired by a traditional Zuni method of 'waffle gardening'.(gallery) 

My problem with Bartholomew's system is that if you create soil like that it doesn't matter what method or shape you use thereafter because plants will surely grow.

For those interested, the Zuni traditional methods -- and more recent experiments --  warrant consideration under Australian conditions.

My sand doesn't hold shapes so I could not make it work. But if you have clay  it warrants consideration. 

I spent some time reviewing Native American Indian gardening methods such as the Three Sisters, mounds, waffle gardens and olla irrigation..and waffling makes a lot of sense. 

I did a variation by dividing one of my past gardens with car tires. That worked a treat: circle gardening. Great for a small space. 

In like mode, if you put a bunch of soil filled  milk crates together you get similar effects. We apply that at the school garden and I also have a milk crate patch at home.

It works fine. Mobile too --albeit with trolleys. 

Ye old brutal regulation of straight lines and traditional ' garden beds' can cloud your options -- especially in regard to the best use of precipitation...

Soil filled crates, intrigued. What did you use to keep the soil in?

Weedmat. 

When you place the crates butt up against one another you also get good insulation.

FYI: any tire gardener will advise you not to proceed with tires big time as they are so difficult to get rid off as in you need to pay the tip, despite your recycling attempt.

When we said goodbye to ours a couple of years ago, it was $8 per tyre tip fees. They seemed like a good idea at the time :-\

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