Square Foot garden

Just got a new book: "All New Square Foot Gardening" by Mel Bartholomew. <(Amazon.com product link shortened)70223385&sr=8-1&keywords=square+foot+gardening> He dismisses conventional row gardening and promotes a different model. His garden consists of, for example, a 4x6 foot 6" tall framed area with a special mix of soil. Into this arrangement, he plants stuff within each square foot (16 radishes or 1 lettuce). His garden is easier to tend, free of weeds, and produces more vegetables than the standard model.
His "Mel's Mix" of soil consists of equal parts of three ingredients: 1/3 Vermiculite 1/3 Peat Moss 1/3 Manure/compost
He urges that the manure be made up of at least five different sources. That way you get cow manure, mushroom compost, compost made from fast-food scraps, etc., rather than just one source.
His book also give you recommended planting density (in parens below) by categorizing plants based on their size. Extra Large- (1) - Broccoli, cabbage, Pepper Large (4) - Leaf lettuce, chard, Marigold Medium (9) - Bush bean, Spinach, beet Small - (16) - Carrot, radish, onion
That is, you can plant 16 radishes in one square foot.
By the way, he does not support this "throw in a lot of seeds, then thin" business. For him, it's one seed = one plant.
Anyway, I got my 3x6 foot bed built and filled with Mel Mix soil. Tomorrow I'll plant.
Watch this space for future updates.
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HB-
This a totally viable option for gardening. Sunset did some articles a while back.
http://www.sunset.com/garden/fruits-veggies/grow-veggies-tiny-bed-004000000 43335/ http://www.sunset.com/garden/fruits-veggies/best-vegetables-fruit-herbs-to- plant-00400000062826/ http://www.sunset.com/garden/fruits-veggies/small-space-vegetable-gardens-0 0400000044403/
I've toyed with switching over but my garden is already setup & functioning and it seemed like extra work to change methods. If I were starting out or starting over in a new space, I'd definitely do it.
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-snip-

While I think the raised bed premise has merit- I take exception with their headline; "How to grow veggies in 2-4 square feet" When what they are showing is beds that are 2-4 feet square. [4-16square feet]

Corn isn't a good choice for raised beds-- though it might be adaptable to square-foot gardening.

a bunch of container/raised bed gardens.

This year I haven't had time to really 'garden' -- but I made a ~1.5x3' earth box & it holds a tomato plant and a couple cukes. Looks promising so far.
Jim
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On Monday, June 3, 2013 2:19:25 PM UTC-7, HeyBub wrote:

<(Amazon.com product link shortened)70223385&sr=8-1&keywords=square+foot+gardening>

I agree with him as to one seed one plant (if possible); I never liked the sow promicuously and thin.
Re: Mel's Mix - does it include any just plain dirt? Not clear if Mel's Mix consists of modifiers added to soil -- or is that it?
HB
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Higgs Boson wrote:

No plain dirt. The growing medium's composition is as was stated: 1/3 Vermiculite, 1/3 Compost, 1/3 Peat moss. One benefit is that there are no weed seeds in the mixture. Any seeds in the peat moss wouldn't survive the several thousand years it took to produce the stuff and seeds in the compost probably wouldn't survive the 150 degrees hit during the decomposition.)
The disadvantage is the cost. For example, Vermiculite costs $35+ for 4 cubic feet. A ten by four bed would need 6+ cubic feet.
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-snip-

Holy crap-- I'll have to be more careful with my 30gallon bin of that stuff. I don't think I paid $10 for it maybe 5-10yrs ago. I bought a couple bags from an insulation place. I wonder what made it go up so.
Jim
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On 6/5/2013 6:58 AM, Jim Elbrecht wrote:

Google 'vermiculite asbestos' and you'll see why. Basically, the world's largest vermiculite mine (located in Montana) produced vermiculite contaminated with asbestos. Most vermiculite sold in the US up till 1990 came from that mine, and is most likely contaminated. That mine is now closed and vermiculite mined from other locations is tested to ensure that it does not contain asbestos. It's also why the majority of potting/soil mixtures sold in the US no longer contain much, if any, vermiculite. Between its reputation and expense, it's a non-starter.
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On Monday, June 3, 2013 10:19:25 PM UTC+1, HeyBub wrote:

<(Amazon.com product link shortened)70223385&sr=8-1&keywords=square+foot+gardening>

Will be watching..great idea.Windsor UK
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On Tue, 4 Jun 2013 00:50:43 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@thekearneys.co.uk wrote:

We've gardened for about 60 years now. We tried his method when his first book came out. It's okay but we like our own variation of container gardening. I built some stands 3 feet tall. I then adapted the "Walmart" tub garden to a TSC 40 gallon rubber livestock watering tub. And set those on the stands. No stooping, no weeding, just plant, water and harvest. We do not buy veggies anymore. Haven't for years. Oh, rabbit shit is the only fertilizer. Use it hot or cold.
Here's where our idea came from: http://earthbox.com/instructions
Lonesome Dove
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-snip-

+1 on the Earthbox idea- so far. My first one went out 30 days before I was comfortable putting tomatoes in the garden, and is 60 days ahead of the garden.
I followed these for my 'Self-watering container'- http://www.seattleoil.com/Flyers/Earthbox.pdf
Jim
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I use a 4x4 x3 high frame of landscape timbers secured with pieces of rebar. Mix of potting soil and peat moss. Use it for tomatoes mostly -- 4 plants in wire frames. Put my sprinkler in the middle with a timer and low flow. Works great.
/paul W3FIS
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Flush twice ... it's a long way to Washington.
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Must have time on his hands. You never get 100% germination of seeds. And different plants have different soil requirements. You certainly don't want to be growing root vegetables in fresh manure (mixture). Raised bed culture has been known about for millenia. Just another celebrity tosspot gardener trying to sell books.
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On 6/4/2013 12:41 PM, harry wrote:

He didn't say fresh manure, did he? And nobody mucks about with different soils for different plants in their garden.

Yeah, and Mel is the guy who brought the concept to the West's attention...in the 1970s. He's been doing it for nearly a half-century. This is just the latest edition of his book on the subject.
Another oldtime gardening practice that's enjoying a resurgence is straw bale gardening, where you grow plants in/on partly decomposed straw bales. No need to mess about with garden beds, pots, or dirt. You can position straw bales on patios or driveways or wherever the sun is on your property.
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I have a Victorian gardening book describes the same thing. (Over one hundred years old) Recommends it for poorly drained soils such as clay. Which is about all it's usefull for.
Also describe hotbed culture, ( Straw below the beds) Used for raising semi tropical plants.. A form of heating as it rots down. So, just another tosspot with nothing new except a book to push.
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All good gardeners muck about with their soil. I have added sharp sand and lots of organic material to mine as it is a clay. Common practice.
Different soils are better for different vegetables. How much gardening have you done that you don't know this?
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On 6/5/2013 11:40 AM, harry wrote:

Yes, but they don't do it on a row-by-row basis, they apply it to the entire garden bed.

I've just spent the last five minutes laughing. For you, it's a pastime. For me, it's been a lifelong (thirty-five years so far) paid career.
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They muck around with their soil on an area by area basis. Anyone advocating creating raised beds for anything more than a hobby garden is mad. I grow enough fruit and vegs for my own purposes.
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