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The following is Brett Elliot's story. Brett is a newly certified Square Foot Gardening Teacher.
Brett's SFG Story
I first came across Mel's book in 1998. I had moved into a rental house
with a large backyard and I was eager to put in a garden. I had helped
my father in the family garden when I was a kid and wanted to get back
into the hobby. Since it had been so long since I'd done any gardening, I
decided to look for a book to get me back up to speed on the latest
gardening trends. Of course, there was a bewildering array of gardening
titles available at the local bookstore and I had a hard time deciding
which one to choose. As I worked my way through the shelves, I
eventually came across a book titled "Square Foot Gardening". I began
flipping through the pages and I quickly saw it was a new way of
gardening, different from the way my father and grandfather had
gardened. But it seemed to make a lot of sense and I like what I saw.
Soon I had put all the other gardening books back on the shelf and
bought only Mel's book, since it seemed to have all the information I
needed to get back into gardening.
Back home, I read the book straight through and couldn't wait to get
started even though it was already late summer. That actually worked out
alright, since the gardening season actually begins in the fall and not
the spring. I began by staking out five 4'x4' beds and one 1'x10' bed.
Then the digging began. The soil where I live in central Oklahoma is
rather sandy and I needed to add a lot of improvements like composted
manure and peat moss. This caused the garden beds to mound up, so I
decided to frame them in with with landscaping timbers. I also got steel
fence posts and trellis netting for the 1'x10' bed, since I intended to
grow vining crops there.
I gardened this way for about 4 seasons and had great success using the
SFG method. However, I then moved into an apartment complex and could no
longer garden. But in early spring 2008 we bought a house and as soon
as we moved in I dusted off my copy of Mel's book and dug three 4'x20'
garden beds in the backyard. It was a lot of work but even that first
year I had a great harvest using the SFG method. It wasn't until the
winter of 2009 that I realized that Mel had released a 2nd edition of
his book. A quick scan of the pages made it clear that this wasn't just
the same old book with a new cover, it was a genuine revision of the
entire SFG method. I told my wife if she was still looking for something
to get me for Christmas, she could add that book to her list. Needless
to say, I did receive the book and I spent the rest of the winter
studying it. The following spring I expanded my existing SFG by building
a framed-in, above-ground bed filled with Mel's Mix soil. In one 4x4
bed I planted 2 varieties of tomato, a cucumber vine, and muskmelon
vine, (all grown vertically), 12 onions, 2 pepper plants, 2 eggplants,
and a variety of marigolds, zinnias, vincas and petunias. Everything
grew prolifically, produced very well and I was very pleased with the
results of using the new SFG method. I will still keep my old, in-ground
SFG beds because I have so much work invested in them, but I do plan to
build additional above-ground beds in the future.
However, all of that will have to wait until Spring 2012 because I am
currently mobilized with the Oklahoma Army National Guard and we are
preparing to deploy to Afghanistan. I cannot say a lot right now about
what I'll be doing, but it does look like I'll be working with our
counterparts in the Afghan National Army, helping them to eventually
take over the security of their own country. -Brett Elliott
Certified SFG Instructor
- Posts : 935
Join date : 2010-02-26
Age : 66
Location : Wake, VA
Excellent! Best wishes and many prayers.
I have seen women looking at jewelry ads with a misty eye and one hand resting on the heart, and I only know what they're feeling because that's how I read the seed catalogs in January - Barbara Kingsolver - Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
FB: Square Foot Gardening 4 U
FB: Square Foot Gardening 4 U
Certified SFG Instructor
- Posts : 1899
Join date : 2010-09-30
Age : 58
Location : Glen Burnie, MD
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