I was reading that book by Mel with regards to gardening by your oddly-shaped feet (wink).
I had four tomato plants in a 3-foot x 4 foot area of the planting bed. We had some rain but mostly wind this weekend, and they're all bent over. I had tomato cages set up as a trellis (stretched out like a ladder versus enclosed like an actual cage. I had zig-zagged a 'cage' between two plants on each side.
I made sure that there was ample air circulation in between, but the wind pretty much brought up the cages. And because I had woven the branches between the cage form, I couldn't really un-stick it and get everything just right again.
Ended up yanking the whole things up and replacing them with pepper plants.
Here's my question:
if the 'square foot gardening' is supposed to work so well, wouldn't all these veggies get really crowded and not have air circulation, or worse, have the possibility of fungus and disease spreading because the plants are all right up on each other?
I planted my plants close together last year, and came to the conclusion that it works better in not so warm climates(even the winter garden had problems with air flow.
This past summer I decide to rather plant them in rows in my raised beds, and it worked much better. My winter garden is a real treat - I find it difficult to harvest the mustard greens, radishes etc, because they look soooo good. LOL!
SoFlaCommercial - I purchased Mel's book on Square Foot Gardening. Tried his method one season. Went back to row planting in raised beds.
This year I've changed from 48" to 36" raised beds and prefer them. They are 24ft long.
I'm trying a mix of veggies in one of these beds. So far I've planted a row of peas down the middle, with beets and a few broccoli on each side. As the beets/broccoli are removed, I'm replacing them with peppers and Charentais melons. Once the peas are done, the trellis should help support the melons and peppers.
Semi-unrelated, but I have changed from 48" beds to 36" beds also. I am short and not very coordinated, and I really could not reach into the middle of the beds to either harvest or weed. This was especially true of garlic, where some of the ones in the middle matured before ones on the edges. I really like 36" wide beds better. My rows are 6 and 8 feet long - but my garden is smaller than HoneyBee's setup and I don't grow on a commercial scale ;-)
Dawn - We use a cage made out of fencing material. We make the cage double height high and tie wrap the cage to 6 ft metal fencing posts that are driven into the ground. We get a lot of wind in Kansas and so feel like we need to have something that stays put. We also put two or three plants in a cage depending on the planting configuration that we are using.
We also have 48 in wide beds and I also find them too wide to reach the middle.
We mulch the bed. I can also stick my hands through the fencing grid for most of the tomatoes weeding. The larger tomatoes have been a little more of an issue. I have been thinking about cutting a couple of access holes on the fencing around the plants with the large tomatoes. There also is fencing or concete mesh with a 6"x6" grid. We have woodchucks so any large holes are an issue esp in the spring when the babies are around.
SoFlo - We got an issue with the photo download on the camera. So here is a url for something similar to what we do. They have used the 6x6 fencing grid and put a smaller diameter cage that contains only one tomato plant. http://www.cowlickcottagefarm.com/serious-tomato-cages/
The difference is we use a larger diameter cage, smaller grid fencing, and three-six foot tall posts for each cage. The home stores sell fence post drivers if you are putting up a lot of these. The three tomato plants are planted in a triangle configuration as opposed to in a straight line.
I've seen some variations on this theme including a rectangle that incudes a row of tomatoes but don't know how well they work.