Book Review of "Farewell, My Subaru"

My husband loves gardening and has fantasies about owning a large plot of land and being a farmer. He drives me nuts, asking if he can keep worms on our second floor apartment balcony in La Jolla. My answer is no!

For now, he gets his little square box in the church community garden. I’m not a nature girl but did find a book title that caught my eye in the library. It was “Farewell, My Subaru”, written by Doug Fine. It caught my attention because that’s the brand of car I drive. The cover photo was cute, with a garden growing under the hood of the car.

Doug was previously a journalist who bought a piece of land as a bachelor with the intention of settling down and going green all the way.

This book was an entertaining, light-hearted read. His adventures began with car trouble, a flash flood, purchasing two goats and some chicks. The goats got into mischief but he grew attached to them. He had to convince the inspector that his property was a farm. He moved on to trying vegetable oil fuel, installing solar panels and a well, hunting and gardening.

As with many small town stories, there were local characters, including his hippie neighbor. Of course, they saw him as the character. He scared off the FedEx delivery man by wearing home-made body armor to fight off a rattlesnake. The locals got a few chuckles from this newcomer as they watched him adjust to his new life. He had to ask for help and learned by trial and error. He eventually figured things out and even found love along the way.

Doug loves his new life and wrote this charming book about his adventures. He included interesting facts along the way with some statistics. I still have no interest in farming but I’m sure if we moved to a small town, I’d find myself adjusting over time. At first, I’d probably look like the lady from “Green Acres”.

Somehow, in centuries past, people survived without cell phones, computers and telephones. They lived off the land and were productive with their hands. They actually spoke to each other verbally and wrote letters.

For garden enthusiasts, this is a fun read. There were a few swear words and adult themes in it so I wouldn’t give it to children but it could be an amusing gift to give.

All New Square Foot Gardening Review

This all new revision of a classic gardening book has been a gardening and horticulture best seller on Amazon for quite some time. It’s got a 4.5 out of 5 stars rating and currently sells for just about $12 on Amazon, which isn’t too terribly bad.

However, although the reviews of Mr. Bartholomew’s square foot gardening plan are typically very positive, there are still a fair number of critical reviews, making the overall consensus a bit scattered. So, since many of my website visitors are very interested in gardening in the most efficient way possible, it seemed only reasonable to review the “All New Square Foot Gardening” book for those who might be considering purchasing it.

Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew

In his YouTube video promoting the book Mr. Bartholomew introduces his new book and intros some of the changes between the old version and this new edition. Quite frankly, although the “square foot gardening” method is a useful one, Mr. Bartholomew is not really the “inventor” of the method as he suggests in the video, since many people were using similar methods of gardening long before his first book came along.

So, What Do I Think of the Book?

Well, this book appears to be an attempt at “simplifying” the square foot gardening approach for less experienced gardeners. The previous book was more detailed and gave more background info. This newest book is less detailed and tries to simplify the explanation of the method for “newbies”.

Either way, both books are useful and will definitely help you grow a lot of produce from a very small space compared to more traditional methods. However, before buying, there are probably a few things you should keep in mind:

New Square Foot Gardening Soil Mix

Since the square foot gardening method relies on “raised beds”, you have to fill those beds will some sort of growing medium. In the previous book, the recommended square foot gardening soil mix was more complex than what Mr. Bartholomew currently recommends in the new book, but I’m not sure if I’m a firm believer that either soil mix was entirely what you should be looking for.

The current recommendation creates a soil that can easily become “too hot” for good plant growth, which is not a good thing. In addition, one of the three components that is recommended to blend this new growing medium can be pretty tough to find. Lastly, many readers have been frustrated by how costly it can be to create this “perfect soil” for their new square foot gardening beds.

In contrast, the previous soil mix recommendations were a somewhat better option but did not hold moisture very well. On the one hand, that “feature” helped to avoid over-watering of your plants. But, it also meant that you had to water very frequently to make sure plants did not become dehydrated. I’ll let you decide how big of a plus or minus that is.

Large Plants May Not Work Well

If you’re going to be growing smaller plants and/or plants that don’t typically “spread out” a lot (like Watermelon), the square foot gardening layout is great. However, for larger plants, you’ll really want to “spread things out” a bit more to allow a little breathing room between plants.

Moreover, for “spreading” plants, using the square foot gardening plan can be a bit tedious, since you have to grow UP rather than OUT. In other words, trellises and such would likely be necessary for the plants/vines to “climb” and plants that grow larger produce (like watermelons) may have trouble with such a scenario, unless you choose hybrids that grow smaller fruit/veggies.

Despite Drawbacks Sq. Ft. Gardening Gets 4/5

I think the method is great, and Mel Bartholomew has put a lot of time and effort into helping people implement the method in a way that is efficient and productive. That being said, I can’t give either book 5 stars simply because I don’t believe that the recommended soil mixes are going to be your best or your most economical bet.

Learn More About a Better Soil Medium

This square foot gardening review can also be found on my blog, along with a short but VERY useful section related to how you can create the absolute best soil possible to put in your square foot gardening raised bed layout. Using this “mystery growing medium” is the absolute best way to get the most out of ANY garden, raised, square foot or otherwise.

Home Made Power Plant – A Real Review

Why I Decided to Buy Home Made Power Plant

I had financial problems because of a failed stock investment, and I was searching for a way to save on everything, starting with electrical energy. In fact, I have many home appliances including the dishwasher, the washing machine and a personal computer that cost me nearly $350 every month.

So I went online, surfing the web for any information on saving on electricity bills and I found this manual ( Home Made Power Plant ) explaining how to save up to 80% on electricity bills utilizing solar panels.

I decided to gave a look at it and I bought the manual.

What is it about

Home Made Power Plant is an eBook written to help home owners to significantly decrease their electricity cost. It’s a 115 pages ebook, and when I ordered it, I received also 3 bonus:

Bonus #1- “Biodiesel- An alternative solution for your car and home”

Bonus #2 – “Best Tricks & Tips To Save Energy”

Bonus #3 – “Free Updates For The Next 10 Years”

Frank Patrick, the creator of Home Made Power Plant, said that those bonus were available just the day of my order, but they are still now available, so no need to worry about that: I think they will be available for many months.

I took one and a half day to build the solar panel following the Home Made Solar Plant’s plan. It wasn’t such easy to build, but it wasn’t difficult. Well, think that I’m an alternative energy researcher, a scientist, not an engineer! However, after less than 2 days, I was able to make my solar panel work.

My personal opinion

Now, at the time of writing, my solar panel has been working for more than one month and it saved me about 135 dollars in electricity this month. To be really honest, I did not save 80% this month, as the Home Made Power Plant’s website says, but something more like 55%.

I think that the product is worth its cost, because with the little investment of less than 50 dollars, I was able to save more than 130 $ just the first month. 130 dollars a month aren’t big bucks, but you must remember that you will save more or less these figures not just the first month after the installation, but for all the following years to come.