A: The answer is “Nope!”  I’ll show you how to grow your plants in only four inches.  These are some of my first experiments with SFG. I started with pure, homemade compost made from a zillion different sources.  I searched far and ride, starting with horse manure and going to the grocery stores to get all of their green waste.  I found different industries that were processing different types of foods, including chicken eggs.  I got plants from the ocean, went to an animal park to retrieve 8 different types of animal manures, got four different non-meat-eating animals manure, gathered all of my neighbors kitchen scraps, and retrieved the residue from a canning factory. Let me tell you, that compost was super great.  I then built shallow boxes out of 1×4 lumber.  How can you grow plants in only 31/2 inches of soil?  All I can do is show you the pictures.

The photos on this post were taken at my home in Long Island, New York.  In the photo above, my mother in law is delighted and holding new transplants that’re ready to go in. She can’t believe all of this will grow in 4 inches of homemade, blended compost!  In fact, as mother-in-laws will, we had many arguments over “That’s not deep enough, when I used to garden we dug down 12 inches deep to improve our backyard soil.”  I would answer, “Peg, this is a whole new system and a whole new idea.  You have to forget everything you know and have learned about backyard gardening.”  “Her answer, as she she stroked her cheek, “Well I just don’t know and I don’t know if it’ll work.”  I answered, “You’re holding it in your hand.”  The other photo is a more receptive person of whatever Mel says. It’s his mother.  Now-she’s a farmer from a real farm.  Look at the delight on her face as she’s showing one of my granddaughters the lush growth in only 4 inches of compost!  She exclaimed to her great granddaughter, “Daddy made this himself out behind the garage!  He adds all kinds of stuff to the pile, but I wish we could’ve had growth like this on our farm because my father used to work Charlie the horse back and forth, back and forth, trying to improve our unproductive soil up near Buffalo, NY.” (Yes people–that is lush growth in these photos using absolutely no fertilizer. Growing in nothing but 4 inches of a very much blended homemade compost.)  This was the beginning formulation for the ultimate Mel’s Mix.  These are my first experiments to determine if compost alone without fertilizer  could support the growth of plants. Let the photos speak for themselves.

Six Inches of Soil???


I rest my case.

P.S. A blended compost is the secret to Square Foot Gardening.  Don’t try anything different, and you’ll be as successful as these pictures.