Square Foot Gardening Creator Dies at 84

May 2, 2016

“Build a box. Fill it with Mel’s Mix. Add a grid… and start planting.”

Mel Bartholomew, creator of Square Foot Gardening, has passed away at the age of 84 in La Jolla, California. His easy, innovative method of growing vegetables revolutionized the way millions grow their own food.

Since his first book, Square Foot Gardening, was published in 1981, Bartholomew has sold more than 2.5 million books on the subject, making him the bestselling gardening author in North America for more than a generation. From the proceeds of his book sales he created the Square Foot Gardening Foundation, which has spread his method throughout the world in an effort to help end world hunger.

As a newly retired engineer, Bartholomew applied his drive for finding creative solutions to his love of gardening. The result was a brand-new approach to home vegetable gardening. Through his books, a PBS television show, innumerable personal appearances, and a wide network of certified instructors, Bartholomew encouraged gardeners everywhere to abandon the tradition of row gardening and grow their vegetables in densely planted, gridded boxes.

Bartholomew’s death was announced by the Square Foot Gardening Foundation, which has vowed to carry on his mission of combatting world hunger.  “The Square Foot Gardening Foundation, along with the Bartholomew family, look forward to continuing with Mel’s mission and securing the future of Square Foot Gardening for generations to come.”