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Old 05-11-2016, 06:12 PM   #1
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Default Farewell Mel Bartholomew


Mel Bartholomew, a construction engineer who turned lattice into lettuce by popularizing a gridlike framework for what he called square foot gardening, died on April 28 in San Diego. He was 84.

A folksy suburban seedsman once described as a “Will Rogers of raised beds,” Mr. Bartholomew explained his matrix in a public television series, “Square Foot Gardening,” which began in 1982 and ran for six years, and in a book by the same title, originally published in 1981 by Rodale Press (and followed by others, including a “Square Metre Gardening” book for Britons).
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Old 05-11-2016, 06:35 PM   #2
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His utopian version of geoponic geometry eventually evolved into a raised, open-bottom bed with a lumber frame. The garden was made up of nine 4-foot-by-4-foot squares, each subdivided into 16 separate square-foot plots and planted with a different crop. In two months, it would produce at least 32 carrots, 12 bunches of leaf lettuce, 18 bunches of spinach, 16 radishes, 16 scallions, nine Japanese turnips, five pounds of peas, four heads of romaine lettuce, one head of cauliflower and one of broccoli.

“No one ever developed a method to adapt commercial gardening technique to the backyard,” Mr. Bartholomew said.

He said of his philosophy, “I garden with a salad bowl in mind, not a wheelbarrow.”
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Old 05-11-2016, 07:55 PM   #3
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I watched his show when it first ran. His style of communicating made the concepts approachable. His philosophy and ideas were a revelation to me. They freed me from the lockstep approach that I had learned growing up - that a garden had to be consist of long, straight rows with nothing else in it except for the bare naked vegetable plants.

Every garden I've had since then has included at least some of his ideas and philosophy.

Thank you Mel, for feeding my family and my gardener's soul for so many years.

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Old 05-12-2016, 10:05 AM   #4
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Square Foot Gardening was never my style, but I will admit he brought new folks in that might not have otherwise taken it up.
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Old 07-01-2016, 01:24 AM   #5
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My entire garden is beds 4' x 8', raised from 6" to a foot or a bit more. I mixed the soil. put down hardware cloth to nix the entry of moles. volds and gophers. Over the wire, I put down the weed cloth barrier. Weeding is a breeze and flowers and veggies grow like wildfire. Think I used 2 measures of compost 1 of peat moss and 1 of vermiculite. Now, I just work in more compost and peat every year. The vermiculite lasts forever. It's really hard work at first but it sure pays off year after year after year from then on.
Sorry and sad to see him go. A genuinely nice man, and one who loved helping others grow food for themselves.
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bartholomew, farewell, mel

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