Square Foot Gardening With Kids: Learn Together: Gardening Basics, Science and Math, Water Conservation, Self-Sufficiency, Healthy Eating is an excellent resource for parents and teachers who want to help children learn how to grow plants.
Square foot gardening is an intensive technique for growing plants in a condensed raised-bed type of garden – this is a primer for the topic.
Mel Bartholomew developed this form of raised-bed gardening, and he turned his idea and instructions into a book in the 1980s. Cool Springs Press offers a reissue with updated versions for a new generation of kid-gardeners.
Square Foot Gardening for Beginning Adults and Kid-gardeners
This grid-style container garden starts with an above-ground planting bed system set on a platform. Gardeners use wooden slats to make a framework of small, equally-measured squares within the bed.
The design intends for each square to contain one plant. The gardener lays the platform on any level outdoor surface for adults or children to grow flowers or vegetables.
The kid-size version of gardening by the foot measures 3 x 3 feet with 9 one-foot squares. The gardeners section off the raised bed with long wooden slats, which are set parallel in two directions and interwoven into a grid pattern. The size of the planting bed enables most children to reach into the center without stepping in the soil.
Square Foot Gardening With Kids is one version of Bartholomew’s instructions put into garden book form. He writes about the basic how-to built information, mixing potting and compost soils, and setting up a vertical frame that allows climbing plants to grow upright.
Parents and teachers, especially those who are new to gardening, will quickly realize that Bartholomew wrote his garden resource for adults or older teens, not for children to use alone. Some of the projects need the supervision of an adult or experienced gardener.
The Vegetable & Herb chapter contains 26 food plants to consider. The author takes a full page for each plant and describes the plant and enough information for a new gardener to successfully grow their first plants.
Finding Science and Art Projects in Growing Plants
Square Foot Gardening With Kids is an excellent tool for any adult who wishes to show a child how to grow a garden. The resource book encourages kids to use the math, writing, reading and art they learn in school to help build their garden plot.
In the resource book, Bartholomew packs every few pages with project ideas and activities highlighted with a yellow light bulb. The blue pages, called “Say What” reveal garden words that intended to inspire kids, piquing their interest further into garden world. The back of the book includes conversion charts, garden group names and contact information, and an index to help you navigate the pages.
The science and math projects run the range of measuring to build the frames to learning about starting seeds. Adults will find kid-sized ideas for drawing up garden plans whether a child prefers using his or her art skills or prefers to write it down in words and create plant and garden tags. Bartholomew geared the projects for all ages of children; no beginning kid-gardener will be left out.
Drawbacks to Shallow Gardening Areas
This structured gardening system helps to minimize weeding and digging, but by its very nature of limited depth, the system restricts the type of plants which may be grown in it. This limits the experiences a new gardener will encounter and, therefore, learn from, during their gardening.
Perennial plants and other big specimens with deep root systems and wide spacing are not the right plants for this kind of space, nor would they thrive in a soil depth of only six inches. While we call weeding and digging chores, they are tasks that serve as valuable learning experiences for gardeners.
Mel Bartholomew’s Path to Vegetable Gardening
Early in his life, Mel Bartholomew was a civil engineer. In the process of growing a vegetable garden, he created his version of an efficient condensed planting bed and developed techniques others could follow using the same instructions.
Rodale Press published Bartholomew’s original printed version of Square Foot Gardening in 1981.
From 1981 – 1986, Bartholomew hosted the Public Broadcasting Service’s gardening show, “Square Foot Gardening.”
Later he established the Square Foot Gardening Foundation, through which he has sought to share his garden ideas around the world.
An imprint of Quayside Publishing Group, Cool Spring Press published Square Foot Gardening With Kids in 2014.
Bartholomew has written a cookbook and answer book and worked on developing compost soil mixes and other resource tools to enhance the enjoyment of using his method ever since. He lives in Eden, Utah.
Square Foot Gardening With Kids a Tool for Parents and Teachers
Square Foot Gardening With Kids: Learn Together: Gardening Basics, Science and Math, Water Conservation, Self-Sufficiency, Healthy Eating is a worthwhile garden book for anyone who wants to help children experience gardening for the first time.
This contained form of gardening using a raised-bed technique has the potential for producing many flowers and food harvests, even for the novice gardener.
Gardeners, adults or children, will benefit from adding more plant books and similar resources to expand their knowledge on the cultural needs of growing flower and vegetable plants.