Wednesday, July 10, 2013

July newsletter for Certified Instructors

Official Publication of Square Foot Gardening Foundation

 Harvest of  News
In this Issue:
  • Welcome to new Certified Instructors
  • 2013 SFG Garden Contest Announcement
  • My SFG Classes by Joyce Swanson
  • Get Inspired: Featured Photo by Pat & Connie Lahr
  • Quote of the Month by Thomas Jefferson
  • Announcements & Upcoming Events
  • Special appearance by Mel in Minnesota, July 15-16, 2013
  • Victoria at The MoonWalk NYC July 20th, 2013



    Just a reminder to all our new certified instructors, WELCOME, and we are glad you are with us! Please take some time to review older issues of this newsletter available on this blog. Archived issues of our general newsletter are also available if you'd like to read up on what the foundation has been doing over the past year.  If you haven't already done so, please sign up for the general newsletter. It will help you stay up-to-date about what is going on with the foundation. There is a sign-up box on the left side of the homepage of

    David Silvia, a CI from Wilmington, NC, sent us a write-up about his volunteer work with LINC, a transitional facility. It is featured in the July issue. Santi Rogers, CI from Kansas City, Missouri, sent us a photo of his community garden project with SFGs made from salvaged junkyard lumber. It is featured in "Get Inspired" in the general newsletter. Thanks to David and Santi. We'd like to feature you too. Do you have an interesting community project you'd like to share? Thanks to Joyce Swanson  and Connie Lahr for guest posts this month. Send story ideas and write-ups to me ( or to Sally, our communications writer (

    I'd also like to point you to our official online forum. Not only can you help others and meet potential clients through this gardening forum, but you may also provide a helpful answer to someone. You might even get your own questions answered! 

    Square Foot Gardening Foundation also has a Facebook page, and a Facebook Group. We hope you will join us there as well. SFGF and Mel are both on Twitter too - please follow us & we'll follow back.

    Here are our websites: (the online store plus links to other info), (the official foundation website), (Instructor's website), and (Mel's blog).

    Please feel free to offer suggestions, take part, ask questions & contribute! We welcome and appreciate your input. 

    Happy Gardening,

    Belinda Jensen
    Instructor Specialist, Square Foot Gardening Foundation

    2013 Square Foot Garden Photo Contest
    Click here to enter NOW! 

    There are now FOUR contests with $1,400 total in prizes!

    Back again by popular demand.
    Plus…a special new category for Certified SFG Instructors ONLY!!
    Build a SFG this summer and be a Winner!

    In Your:

    • Front Yard
    • Back Yard
    • Side Yard
    • Patio/Deck

    At Your:

    • Home
    • School

    With Your:

    • Kids, Parents, Grandparents
    • Students
    I’ve also added a special one for Certified SFG Instructors only! I want to highlight your Square Foot Garden to the rest of the world. What better way than to start a contest so you can show off your garden and at the same time win prizes! As you can see above, your garden can be located just about anywhere under any category, and used by anyone. The chart below lists the four contests we have going with their details. All you need to do is pick one (and only one) and sumbit the form below the chart and you’re ready to grow!
    Here is a comment from last years contest that I think tells more than words what this means for families that garden together the Square Foot way.

    Stephanie, Texas -  "Dear Mel, My son and I entered your photo contest but did not win. You know the best part was actually putting together a few pictures and thinking about what a wonderful bonding time we’ve had this summer. A few moments in the sunshine of childhood is a very worthy investment. Even if we’ve only gotten a few cucumbers out of the deal. Thanks Mel for the inspiration and chance for reflection. Looking forward to our Fall and winter garden and an expansion next Spring!"
    Important Note: All prizes are gift certificates redeemable for any product (shipping/handling not included) at our online store.

    #CategoryWho/WhereSignup BeforeSubmit Entry BeforeWinners Announced1st Prize2nd Prize3rd Prize
    1 Front Yard Anyone, front yard only July 31st Aug 31st Sept. 31st $200 $100 $50
    2 School Teachers, school July 31st Aug 31st Sept. 31st $200 $100 $50
    3 Family Kids, grandparents, etc, anywhere July 31st Aug 31st Sept. 31st $200 $100 $50
    4 Certified SFG Instructors Certified SFG Instructors, anywhere July 31st Aug 31st Sept. 31st $200 $100 $50

    How to Choose a Contest

    First of all I want to thank you for signing up to one of our contests this year. I’m very excited that you are participating and I wish you the best of luck – hopefully you can win some big money! Before that happens though, you need to know exactly what the rules of our contests are.
    For all 4 contests, your Square Foot Garden (SFG) must comply with the ALL NEW SFG book. This means your (built or bought) box must be:

    • At least 6″ deep but no more than 10″ deep
    • Built from wood or vinyl
    • Use a wood or vinyl grid (no string please)
    • Use formula for Mel’s Mix
    • Follow the rest of the details like plant spacing, different crops in each sq. ft., etc
    We encourage you to keep notes and photos during the planning, building, planting, and harvesting stages. When you first sign up to enter ANY of the contests, we will e-mail you instructions on how to submit your pictures an final entry, a free copy of our SFG Tips, as well as my advice on how to become a contest winner.

    Front Yard Garden

    Create a SFG bed at least 32 square feet (one 4’ X 8’ or two 4’ X 4’ beds) or larger in your front yard. The garden must be visible from the road. Plant crops that will look good as all your neighbors will be very interested and may want to follow your lead. Keep notes of their comments for your entry report.

    School Garden

    This contest prize is for teachers of public, private or even home schools with at least 4 students. You can build and plant a garden or do any type of school science project that relates specifically to SFG. This contest is dedicated to Gail Bartholomew Osgood. For more information on Gail, please click here.

    Family Garden

    For any family shared type garden between kids, parents, even grandparents. Give each child their own 3×3 with adults a 4×4. Let each plan, plant and care for their own box. Share the prize with all that participate.

    Certified SFG Instructors

    This contest is for currently registered Certified SFG Instructors only who create a display and teaching garden of at least 64 square feet at their home, community or any other public area in their town. This contest is the only category open to a currently registered Certified SFG Instructor/Teacher.

    Steps to Enter

    All you need to do to enter one of these contests is:

    1. Pick the contest you would like to enter (only one allowed)
    2. Fill out and submit the online signup form below before July 31st, 2013
    3. You will get a confirmation e-mail telling you how to submit your pictures and final entry report for the judges as well as our Getting Started With SFG pamphlet and Mel’s advice and suggestions on how to become a contest winner
    4. Start building your garden (existing gardens qualify too!)
    5. Submit your final entry to us no later than August 31st, 2013

      Guest Post: By Joyce Swanson - "My Square Foot Garden Classes"

    Belinda asked me to write up some info about my experience as a Certified Square Foot Gardening instructor, to encourage others. Here goes:

    Last fall I became certified as an instructor for Square Foot Gardening. This year I taught about 40 people the method. I offered the classes on Saturday and Sunday afternoons in a 3-hour workshop. In this workshop, I used most of the slides from the 3-hour PowerPoint that came with the materials I bought several years earlier. I also showed a very short clip of Mel explaining the method to a group of people. 

    I introduce people to him that way. I have lots of my own raised beds, so I took people out to see those before class started.  I have beds made of bricks, composite wood, and plastic. That way they have a picture of what this is all about. I also show them my compost bins. Then we go inside to view the PowerPoint and get all the details about doing this kind of gardening. 

    My class includes lots of hands-on experience. We make a garden trellis out of electrical conduit. We practice putting the netting on with cable ties. I show them how a trellis can be made in about five minutes. We go into my garage and practice putting together 2 or 3 kinds of kits that they can buy in local stores. They see that this can be done in about 5 minutes. We practice laying down weed barrier and poultry wire on the bottom of the box. 

    We practice mixing together various kinds of compost, then making Mel’s Mix by combining the mixed-up compost with equal amounts of vermiculite and peat moss. We do the mixing in a bucket or a wheelbarrow.  When they leave, they know exactly how to put together a bed. They know they can easily repeat the process at home.

    I always tell people they can call me if they have questions when they get home. I get questions about how much vermiculite and peat moss they should buy, based on their size garden. They give me their dimensions and I tell them how I arrive at the amount needed for their beds. They especially have questions about how to find enough kinds of compost. That can be quite a challenge in our area. I emphasize to them the value of making their own compost for future planting.

    The best thing about this method of gardening is that people get excited about having their own gardens. Some come to me after giving up on regular gardening. Others come because they have heard that regular gardening is too much work, and are hoping this will be easier. It is so fun to watch their faces as they realize that gardening can be fun and pretty and easy. It gives them hope for healthier lives.

    Happy Gardening,

    Joyce Swanson
    Certified Square Foot Gardening Instructor
    Canton, SD


    No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden. ~Thomas Jefferson

     GET INSPIRED! Guest Post by Connie Lahr



    Here are two pictures of a raised bed garden, 13 inches deep with
    the 8-inch base collecting compost tea, and already Pat has 10 gallons
    since May 14.  The base mix of 8 inches is amended garden soil from
    years past and the top 5-6 inches is the 2013 soil mix.

    I planted with seedlings and seeds on May 14 and took the second picture June 4,
    3 weeks later, and this week I see more growth.  The weather has been
    cool and rainy and we have even covered the garden when we thought the
    nights would be too cool.

    Our growing season is upon us and we are eating greens from the garden,
    one radish, and rhubarb to make a sweet treat!

    Thank you,  

    Connie Lahr

    (Pat & Connie Lahr, a husband and wife team, are both certified SFG instructors. Here they are pictured with a guest.)

    Announcements & Upcoming Events

    Reminder: Instructors, please send us your scheduled events. We'd like to advertise them for you in the general newsletter and this one, as well as in our online calendar. Quite often, we have to search the Internet for events by our instructors. I know you're busy, but it will help us to help you better!

    July 20 & October 19, 2013, 10 am – 1 pm, Arcadia, California, Square Foot Gardening Class at Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden, Instructor Jo Ann Carey - Details

    July 27, 2013, South Africa, Lynwood Ridge, Pretoria East, Square Foot Gardening Workshop, 11 am – 3 pm. Details

    July 28, 2013, Seaside Park, Bridgeport, Connecticut, "Gathering of the Vibes"  with Amie Guyette Hall, Square Foot Gardening Coach & FTNS Host of "The Green Gate. Details

    August 8, 2013, Bridgeport, Connecticut – Farm-to-Fork / Garden-to-Table Benefit Luncheon w/ Amie Guyette Hall, Square Foot Gardening Health Coach. Details

    September 20-22, 2013, Cincinnati, Ohio, proposed 3-day SFG Symposium to become certified as an SFG Instructor. Details are not yet finalized; however, if you have an interest in attending this symposium, email for more information.

    A special appearance by Mel Bartholomew in Minnesota, July 15 - 16, 2013
    Founder, Originator, Promoter of SQUARE FOOT

    7 pm Monday, July 15 at Monticello Middle School Garden,
    800 East Broadway, across from Hospital.
    Meet Mel, Learn SFG availability from Home Depot personnel.

    Also visit the beautiful gardens of Robbie and Karen Smith, Monticello, Minnesota
    7 pm Tuesday, July 16 at 4936 54th Street NW, Maple Lake, Minnesota
    At the Greenhouse, bring your chairs and friends!
    Meet Mel, Get his story, Get your questions answered!

    Get more details here:  
    On Saturday July 20 The MoonWalk New York City is coming to town! Thousands of strong, athletic, courageous women and men will Power Walk a marathon through the streets of New York City, in the middle of the night, wearing decorated bras, in support of breast cancer initiatives.
    This mega event, known around the world as The MoonWalk, is the signature fundraising platform of the globally recognized charity Walk the Walk.
    Since the first MoonWalk 15 years ago, over 300,000 people have participated in annual MoonWalks in London, Edinburgh and Iceland. Raising over $126mm for breast cancer causes.

    Learn more about how it all started!

    Victoria Boudman and representatives of GRO-WELL Brands® Inc. will be at The MoonWalk New York City on July 20, 2013.

    Victoria will be handing out 500 free copies of All New Square Foot Gardening, 2nd Edition, along with discount coupons for Mel's Mix - all donated by GRO-WELL. Square Foot Gardening Soil is exclusively formulated by GRO-WELL. 

No comments:

Post a Comment