Gardening guru Mel Bartholomew reaps global harvest


Mel Bartholomew is the author of “Square Foot Gardening,” from Rodale Press (1981 and updated in 2006) that sold two-million copies thus far, making it one of the bestselling garden books in America. Its success led Bartholomew to create the nonprofit Square Foot Gardening Foundation with humanitarian projects all over the globe. Its mission: Solve world hunger by using the “teach a man to fish” theory. Participants actually teach mothers and children how to feed themselves using the SFG method.

Bartholomew has been included in Who’s Who twice — once for his engineering career and recently for his horticultural and humanitarian accomplishments. A civil engineer and graduate of Georgia Tech, he built a consulting engineering firm specializing in site and utility design. When he retired at age 42, he took up gardening as a hobby. As the saying goes, the rest is history …

What inspires you?

The vast, abundant and never-ending opportunities we have here in America.

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

I’ll serve so there’s room for Presidents Reagan, Lincoln and Jefferson. General Patton, Julius Caesar, Thomas Edison, one of the Wright Brothers, Michelangelo, and set an extra plate for Leonardo da Vinci.

What are you currently reading?

The biographies of Rudy Giuliani, Lee Iacocca, Johnny Cash and “Killing Lincoln,” by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard.

What is your most-prized possession?

That would be my three children and memories of a wonderful 80 years of life so far.

What is your most-marked characteristic?

My dogged determination to bring a better more efficient life to all. (Also, I can be difficult to get along with.)

What is your motto or philosophy of life?

Think ahead and be ready to grab every opportunity that flies by the window. Get the job done and stop looking for reasons or excuses why it can’t be done.