We have just finished compiling all of the frequently asked questions for the past 40 years. The new book is titled Square Foot Gardening Answer Book.

It’s amazing to see how many similar questions people ask and usually I can tell whether they’ve read the book yet, or not. Of course, we all tend to jump right into it and ask questions first. I’m not sure why. Perhaps we think maybe the book won’t contain all the questions we have and all the information we think we will need.

I found from the past that if you think ahead a little bit, quite often you can answer your own question, and then all you need is confirmation. For example, on page 48 of the new ANSWER book, someone has asked, “I have several SFG boxes and I’d rather not pay for landscape fabric if I don’t have to. Can’t I just use a layer of newspaper or even cardboard under my SFG box?” What would you tell that person?

What’s the purpose of the landscape fabric? Well, it’s to keep weeds from sprouting from the existing ground up into your very healthy Mel’s Mix and into your garden. Do you think a layer of newspaper is going to stop that weed? What’s going to happen to that newspaper when you water your garden? And what’s even going to happen to cardboard after about one month of watering? Obviously they are both going to disintegrate and then there is no barrier to the weeds from crowding into your garden. Yet despite this obvious thinking, I’ve read other garden writers who recommended laying down cardboard to kill your grass and stop your weeds. We even suggest you put newspaper and cardboard in your compost pile. It won’t take long to disintegrate and join everything else that is decomposing.

Now it’s very possible that this person had read the very original book, written in 1981, when I was a mere lad, and had just invented the Square Foot Gardening system. In fact, I may have read that book that said you could use cardboard, but it didn’t take too many years after that first book to learn that even if you laid down the New York Times, the weeds will find their way through it as it disintegrates. So, we turned to a much better product called landscape fabric. We don’t use plastic. But this fabric is made specifically to stop weeds. And they usually guarantee that it won’t disintegrate and you’ll have no weeds for at least 10-15 years. Besides that, I would say to this person: why would you take a chance because you don’t want to pay for fabric if you don’t have to? My goodness, it’s the cheapest thing you’re going to put in your garden. If you go to our website, we sell our guaranteed landscape fabric that comes 4 ft wide and you can order any number of fabric you want, so to cover the entire bottom of a 4 x 4 box, it will cost you $4. It’s $.99 for a running foot, and just think, if it lasts 10 years, that’s 40 cents a year: http://www.squarefootgardening.com/garden-accessories/weed-mat-per-foot/

Heres a case where you don’t want to economize. Now you know that I’m very frugal, but sometimes it doesn’t pay to be frugal: it’s foolish.

I hope you’ll enjoy this new ANSWER book: it’s not only all about FAQ’s, but we’ve included many other thoughts and ideas in the book. For example, it tells you what kind of flowers to plant for attracting birds to your garden, and the 10 commandments of Square Foot Gardening, which starts out with #1: Thou shalt not waste space with a large row garden. We’ve also included an SFG timeline, showing you what’s happened through the years since 1975 when I organized my first community garden and introduced Square Foot Gardening to the public.

Here is where you can order the book: http://www.squarefootgardening.com/books/square-foot-gardening-answer-book-brand-new-for-2013/

Don’t forget all of our proceeds go toward local humanitarian and educational projects.