Monday, March 30, 2015

A New Season for SFG

What's New at SFG.COM Wholesale
We realize how valuable our certified instructors are to Mel’s mission to end world hunger one square foot at a time. We are planning more and better resources for you to teach and share your passion in your community and around the world. Among other items, we now have made available a set of heavy duty planting cards for display and teaching as well as an official SFG name tag! You may now order All New Square Foot Gardening 2nd Edition for only $15.50 with free shipping(min. of 3). Cases quantities may soon become available. A case of 18 is $252 with free shipping ($14.00 per book) Click here to check out what we have for you in the wholesale section. If you haven’t set up a wholesale account yet, simply create an account at (top left) then email and she will connect you to wholesale!

New Name tag with magnetic back

Opportunity Knocks!  

Mel's Mix is commercially produced by the Growell Company out of Arizona. Mel endorses this product and came up with this idea for you to earn extra income. This company is seeking your help as one of our knowledgeable certified instructors to get Mel's Mix into the Home Depots around the country as well as your local nurseries. They are offering a commission to you on a truckload order that you have been able to sell to Home Depot or other entities. 

o   SFG Potting Soil Mix 1.5 CF

·         Pricing:
o   $7.00 per bag based on TL quantity of 1,080 bags
o   Must ship to one location
o   Must have capability to unload with forklift equipment
·         Terms:
o   Net 30 days
·         Customers to Sell To:
o   Garden Supply
o   Nurseries
o   Independent hardware
·         Commissions
o   CI’s receive 5% commission
o   Commissions paid 30 days following payment by the customer
·         Home Depot
o   We cannot pay a full commission on any orders going to Home Depot due to the pricing structure we currently have
o   We would pay a 2% commission versus the 5% 

·         Customer Credit Applications
o   CI’s will be given our normal Credit application to complete on any new customer
o   The credit app must be processed and approved before the order is shipped

Please use this information when contacting Home Depot --Please mention the corporate buyer’s name for Soils which is Jeb Buffington.  He is at the Home Depot headquarters in Atlanta GA.  The product description and part number is Nature’s Way Square Foot Garden Potting Soil Mix 1.5 CF and the item number that is in Home Depot’s system is #375404.  The GRO-WELL vendor number with Home Depot is 414069.
 This should give you enough info to have the department manager be able to request that this sku be turned on for a given store or geography.

Instructor Reports
Hughs R. said he recently presented SFG to a Master Gardener Volunteer Class of about 15 people at the Coop Extension Service in Waynesville, NC. He also has two more presentations scheduled for the Haywood County NC library for March and April. He helped  install a  4x4 and a 3x3 children's Square Foot Gardens at the Canton NC Library Branch for teaching gardening.

Joyce S. in SD has scheduled her popular SFG workshops held at her home with publicity and supply help from her local nursery. Did you know you can have your events featured on our Class calendar? Email with all the details to get yours listed today!

By Kim Roman

Now that you’re a Square Foot Gardening Certified Instructor (CI) you MUST project a professional image of Square Foot Gardening, Mel Bartholomew and the SFG Foundation. Don’t you agree? This is not a responsibility to be taken lightly, so when things go wrong, and they certainly will, you need to face adversity with decorum and grace.

You should:

1. Take a deep breath
2. Put your hands on your hips
3. Dramatically roll your eyeballs
4. Let out a good belly laugh.

Wait? What?

You heard me. You can be 100% prepared and circumstances out of your control can pop up in an instant. The two best “tools” to keep handy in your Square Foot Gardening Certified Instructor bag don’t take up very much room. They are . . . a sense of humor and flexibility! I know this will be hard for some of you with perfectionistic tendencies, but like any other “skill” it must be practiced, learned and honed to a fine edge.

Here are just a few of the odd things that have happened to me during some of my talks, classes and seminars:

Once I taught a class at a large local garden center. They have two locations and I was to give a seminar at both places – one in the morning and one in the afternoon. My “contact” told me that all I needed to bring was my Power Point presentation on a USB drive and there would be a laptop available for me to use. I arrived at the first location and everything went smoothly.

When I arrived at the second location they scurried to set up a table, laptop and projection screen. I plugged in the USB drive and . . . absolutely nothing! The laptop at the second store didn’t have Power Point on it! The poor staff member didn’t know what to do – she was quite embarrassed and almost in tears. I gave her a quick hug and said, “Don’t worry, we’ll just do this the old fashioned way.”

Because I knew both of the venues would be fairly tight, and that I’d have the Power Point slides, I didn’t bring any of my other my visual aids with me. What did I do? I channeled my inner Marcel Marceau and pantomimed my way through the presentation. This skill has also come in handy when I play charades.

THANKFULLY I keep a written list of the 10 Basics in several places – in the front cover of my All New Square Foot Gardening book, in my cash box, in my admin box, and even in my wallet. I’ve taught the All New Square Foot Gardening method for years, but I still can’t recite the 10 Basics in the correct order when I’m giving a seminar.

In general when you’re teaching before a good-sized crowd you’ll need to be expressive and animated anyway so the people in the back can see some motion – that’s how you’ll keep their interest, but in this case it was critical.

The people gathered for the class witnessed the whole thing and were really sympathetic. Remember, your audience is filled with gardeners – the most wonderful people in the world. Afterward I received the nicest compliments and the warmth and understanding they expressed were heartfelt.

After the program, the staff member again apologized. It wasn’t her fault, and even if it had been, you never want to embarrass your host. I gave her another hug and told her that it was a great success and she could see that the audience loved it.

One thing I learned from this . . . I have printed out a few of the Power Point slides and now keep them in clear document protectors inside a 3-ring binder. This is always in my car when I go to teach and is great if the electricity goes in the middle of a class or in this case, when their laptop doesn’t have Power Point. I’ve done this for a few of my regular classes.

So what else can go wrong?

At the 2015 Baltimore Remodeling Expo the stage was set up . . . between the mens and ladies rooms! Of course they didn’t have doors and we’d hear flushing, occasional hand washing (yuck!) and the not so gentle whirrrrrrr of the hand dryers.

Inside I was annoyed, but you just can’t let your frustration show. Instead why not play it up? When we heard the first FLUSH! I shrugged my shoulders and sheepishly grinned at the audience. Chuckles. When the hand dryer rattled to life I put my hands on my hips, rolled my eyeballs and said, “Well, at least we know he washed his hands.” Laughter. The audience was mine.

At the 2015 Maryland Home & Garden Show, they never turned off the automatic announcements – which ran every 15 minutes. That meant it came on THREE TIMES during my 45-minute seminar.

There was just no way around it, I had to pause my presentation each time it started. “Welcome to the Maryland Home & Garden Show . . . Don’t forget to have your hand stamped . . . “ That’s when I decided to mimic an airline flight attendant and dramatically opened my arms wide in welcome, then pointed to the back of my hand to indicate where the stamp would go. Through the rest of the announcement I took the flight attendant schtick even further and pointed to the fake emergency exits, showed how to buckle and unbuckle seat belts and even don oxygen masks.

What if I am the cause of the mistake?

Sometimes the mistake will be your fault. Just live with it. A sincere apology and a little self-deprecating humor go a long way in these situations. I once forgot to bring an extension cord and we all had to gather into one corner of a church basement where I was teaching. I quipped, “It’s a good thing we’re in church because I KNOW you will all forgive me.”

You can’t control everything so you might as well make the best of a bad situation. Don’t be angry. Don’t be embarrassed. And . . . if it IS your fault . . . forgive yourself. You’re only human. I’m sure through the decades, Mel has had things like this go wrong and I know he has a wonderful sense of humor and is unflappable and forgiving. THAT’S how best to represent Mel and the Foundation.

Mel says as always, "Happy Gardening!"

A BIG Thank you to these wonderful supporters and volunteers
Amie Hall
Kim Roman
Sigrid Anderson,Forum
Colin Clegg,Forum

Please send in your photos, articles and news to share in this newsletter! Email them to


  1. From Mel, "Kim, those were some of the funniest happenings I have ever heard. I particularly like the “At least we know he washed his hands”
    I would like to hear some of your or any CIs reaction to what I call the “Yea But” guy in the back who loudly says ”you can’t grow plants in only 6 inches of soil” The crowd grows silent as you are challenged. How can you keep them on your side and still interested? Of course you would like to tell the guy “sit down and shut up till I finish”

    I've tried a couple of answers including “ With Mel’s Mix you really can and that’s what I’m going to tell you about”
    Or “You just wait and see and by the end of my talk, you’ll go home telling everyone
    “Did you know you can grow a great garden in only 6 inches of Mel’s Mix?”

    Best wishes to you all and thank you Belinda for getting the newsletter going again. I'm glad to be back, Mel

  2. Aaawww thank you Mel, and thank you Belinda for passing it on. I'll have to think about the "Yea Buts". One of my upcoming articles is similar . . . my answer to the "Can I's" where people try to change the method.

    Tonight I booked my EIGHT class for the month of April. People are hungry for Square Foot Gardening.