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Post  middlemamma on 4/14/2011, 1:00 pm

@WardinWake wrote:Howdy Folks:

When Mel Bartholomew wrote the first Square Foot Gardening book he did just what all of us did. He started with the soil under his feet. He found that the soil in his garden was just like ours – not the best to grow what he wanted. So he set out to “fix” the soil so it would grow better veggies and flowers. He added a number of items and worked and worked the soil and after a period of time his garden soil became just about what he wanted - loose, moisture holding, but not soggy and nutrient-dense. But, he had to do a lot of work to get it that way.

When Mel rewrote his book he set out to make things easier for all of us. So let us review what he has done for us by rewriting his book, which by the way, was the best-selling gardening book of all time.

The Ten Major New Improvements to the Original Square Foot Garden Method

1. New Location – Close to the House
2. New Direction – Up Not Down
3. New Soil – Mel’s Mix
4. New Depth – Only 6 Inches Deep
5. No Fertilizer – You Don’t Need It
6. New Boxes – Above the Ground
7. New Aisles – Comfortable Width
8. New Grids – Prominent and Permanent
9. New Idea – Don’t Waste Seeds
10. New Opportunities – Tabletop Gardens

Today let us look at number 3, New Soil – Mel’s Mix, and Mel says it best so I will quote from his new book, “ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT GARDENING” which is now the best selling garden book of all time.

“What’s In It?

There are three characteristics of a perfect growing mix. First of all, it’s lightweight, so it is easy to work with and easy for plants to grow in. Next, it is nutrient-rich and has all the minerals and trace elements that plants need without adding fertilizers. Finally, it holds moisture, yet drains well.

After many experiments, I found that three of my favorite ingredients made the perfect mix when combined in equal parts.

1/3 Peat Moss -
1/3 Vermiculite
1/3 Blended Compost

What do these Ingredients Do?

All three of these ingredients are natural – not manufactured. They all drain well, so there are no puddles to waterlog the plant roots; but they also hold large amounts of moisture so the plants will grow well. This mix is a pleasure to work with, has a light fluffy texture, and smells good.

The first two ingredients have no nutrients, but the last – compost – is loaded with all the nutrients and minerals that you could imagine. Compost is the most important ingredient of the three, and making your own is good for both the environment and the garden.
This is about as organic as you can get.

If you don’t think this perfect soil mix will work in the garden, ask yourself, “What do professional greenhouse growers use for growing crops on their benches? Do they go out and dig up the fields for soil?” Of course not. Professional growers mix up a perfect potting soil from several other
ingredients and never use local outside soil.

When you buy a windowbox at the store, what do you fill it with-your yard soil? Of course not. You buy a bag of perfect potting soil. So why can’t we do the same for our vegetable garden? Well, there are two reasons: One, no one ever thought of it-and two, it would be prohibitively expensive, for the typical single-row garden that everyone has been using all of these years.

So, how can we do it now? Because SFG reduces the garden size down to only 20 percent (that’s one-fifth as large), so it is now possible to consider using a perfect soil from the very start. An additional reason is next major improvement to Square Foot Gardening – New Depth-Only 6 Inches Deep.”

Remember folks, when we set out using our own soil we bring all the problems in the soil into our new garden. Weeds and their seeds, low nutrient value, and problems galore. Just what we wanted to get away from when we started using “ALL NEW SQUARE FOOT

God Bless,
Ward and Mary.


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