Watch My Food Grow ~ A South Florida Raised Vegetable Garden

Florida Backyard Raised Vegetable Garden

All New Square Foot Gardening – Mel Bartholomew

March 4th, 2009 by Matthew Steinhoff

All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel BartholomewMy father-in-law, Devon, was kind enough to send me a copy of All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew.

I have heard of this book before but didn’t realize it was so darn popular. Everyone seems to have heard about Square Foot Gardening. In fact if everyone who bought or read his book had a garden, we’d all be self-sufficient.

Mini Book Review for Square Foot Gardening

The book is easy to read and even easier to scan. I really like his methods because they are completely mechanical. Follow his instructions exactly and plants will pop out of the ground like gangbusters, I’m sure.

If you have never grow vegetables before, this might be a nice way to get started. There is no lack of specific instruction in the book. In many ways, I wish I had started with his system. Then again, I have more than 40 square feet of garden and am finding it not enough.

One warning: no one can seem to find his secret sauce, vermiculite, locally. (Check the Amazon reviews for details and alternatives.) If you are serious about following his book, make sure you can find vermiculite.

New Palm Beach County Gardeners Wanted

I’m too far along this season to try the Mel’s square foot gardening methods but I’d like to find someone locally who would like to embrace his book. So, anyone want to be my test subject?

I’d prefer someone in the Palm Beach Gardens area so I could easily take pictures of your backyard square foot vegetable garden on a regular basis. Still, I’ll take just about anyone or a bunch of anyones. Comment below, if you are interested.

—Farmer Matt

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8 responses so far ↓

  • I don’t know how this project is going, but I think I found someone using this book on a balcony garden – one of Trisha’s friend’s sons.

    I can ask about monitoring and photography and that, if you like.

    • Hi Matt- Unsure if this site is still active- We are planning to plant a garden w/ our two kids this week. We live in Hollywood.
      Will update w/ photos if we hear back from you.
      Tom,Ruth,Lily and Tommy Ferner

  • Cool. Thanks, Grant. If the person has interest, have them send me email.

    I found a huge garden along Village Blvd the other day, just south of 45th street. I can only see the back yard so I don’t have a house number. I figure I’ll head on over to the neighborhood and knock on doors until I find someone with dirty fingernails. Then, I’ll ask if I can take some pictures of their garden.

    The harder I look, the more gardens I find!

    —Farmer Matt

  • I have a garden I am getting ready to plant in Jupiter for the fall season. I have raised beds that are 4×10, 4×12 and 4×8 all of them 15 inches deep. I have some smaller beds that outline the garden that are 9 inches deep.

    I have been using the square foot method for a few years but I have never mixed soil as Mel recommends. This year with the new raised beds I am planning on having a truckload of good garden soil brought in.

    I hope to be planting around mid August for the fall crops. I am starting pumpkins now from seed to transplant in a few weeks.

  • Just found these blogs and am loving them. I had been looking long and hard for south florida gardeners as things are kinda different for us downhere. Do not have a garden currently but still love it. In the past when I did I followed Mel’s Soil Mix and had purchased the vermiculite and moss at a wholesale nursery supply in homestead florida that sells to the public. The name of the company is Atlantic Fertilizer 18375 SW 260 STREET HOMESTEAD, FL. 33031 305-247-8800

    Thank you all for posting. I am vicariously enjoying all of your gardens and getting cranked up for when I can once again get my hands in the dirt.

  • Lawrence, thank you, for the tip about where to find vermiculite in South Florida.

    I wish you had told me about two weeks ago. I had to had some dirt to my garden this year and would love to have mixed in some vermiculite instead of just adding regular soil. Oh well, maybe next year.

    Even if you don’t have the time or space for a huge garden, try a few plants in pots just to get your feet wet.


  • […] few months back, I wrote about Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew. In order to be successful in his method of gardening, a key element is vermiculite. Unfortunately, […]

  • Just planted some seeds with my 4y/o daughter and plan to try them in a SFG per the book. We’ve never tried gardening before, so fingers crossed. We’ll see… Oh, we’re in Plantation, FL.