Review: 4 Foot Farm Blueprint Ebook 2014 Edition

4ft-farm-blueprint-smaller

(written by Jackie)

Full Disclosure: After my original review of the 4 Foot Farm Blueprint by Crisis Education, I was contacted by someone from the company. I fully expected them to ask me to soften my review or to take it down, but surprisingly, they did not. They asked me to preview their 2014 version of the 4 Foot Farm eBook before it went live to the public. I agreed. Once I gave them my pre-market notes, they sent me the final product for review. So we did not pay for the 2014 edition of the 4 Foot Farm Blueprint by Crisis Education. We were not compensated for our review and our opinions remain our own, as always.

Crisis Education and I emailed back and forth a bit. I spotted a few simple grammar and spelling issues, but knowing that wasn’t the point of me previewing the product, I tried to focus my attention on the content of the eBook itself. If you recall, the 2013 edition focused on vertical gardening using either garden towers or a wall of recycled plastic bottles used for vertical container gardening. This would work most easily outside, but they suggested you could also bring it indoors if you were able to provide artificial lighting and so forth.

The 2014 version is two-fold, with both an indoor and outdoor system.  The indoor system focuses on a hydroponic wall for growing greens and herbs year-round. The outdoor system focuses on square foot gardening, companion planting, and succession planting for everything else you may want to grow.

The Outdoor Plan

IMG_1185I use square foot gardening in my own garden. I love it. I also use some companion planting techniques. I can spend a month planning and re-planning my spring garden layout. However, here in the upper Midwest, succession planting is a little harder to pull off, since our growing season only spans from about mid-May to the end of September. But in general, these techniques are wonderful for space saving in the home garden. Vertical gardening is another great technique when well-placed. From allowing vines to grow up instead of out to strawberry towers to hanging plants, vertical gardening is another way to save space when your growing area is small.

My biggest concern with the 4 Foot Farm Outdoor Plan is that it assumes you live in growing zone 7 or warmer and can plant seeds outside from April 1 until September 1 and still have time to harvest that last planting. The author offers both a garden layout for your 4’x4’ bed and a calendar, but neither takes into account plant hardiness zones. So if you live anywhere in the Midwest or Northeast, or even in more moderate areas like Missouri or Virginia, you’ll need to research and plan your own calendar and planting chart. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with doing your own research, I’m merely pointing out that it’s not as plug-and-play as the author seems to suggest and oversimplifies the process.

The author similarly oversimplifies gardening as a whole, glossing over light and soil quality and barely mentioning pests or weeds, the biggest problems I’ve had in my own personal garden. Grasshoppers and Creeping Jenny have taken out entire crops for us. Gardening has a steep learning curve. It can take years to learn the ins and outs of your particular location. Even avid gardeners that move to a new state will tell you that it’s a whole new learning curve in the new area. Gardening is hard. There’s always something new to learn and always new problems arising. It’s also wholly rewarding and the yields are delicious. I don’t say any of this to dissuade readers from gardening, only to point out that any book that claims to give you step by step foolproof plans in 50 pages or less is oversimplifying the process. (This particular eBook is 26 pages plus you get access to 4 appendixes. The step by step outdoor square foot garden plan appendix is a single page.)

IMG_0924To further claim that you can grow everything a family of 4 needs in a 4’x4’ space is also glossing over any learning curve or yearly issues like drought or heat waves or early frosts. You’ll have some years when none of your tomatoes ripen and other years when you get a bumper crop. You’ll have years that something nibbles on all of your beautiful seedlings overnight and you have to replant. That same year you’ll have one single plant that gives you so much eggplant that you’ll be scouring the internet looking for new recipes and begging people to take some off your hands.

The Indoor Plan

I should start off by saying that I’ve never tried hydroponics myself. I’ve dabbled in aquaponics, making a very simple a small desktop system with my kids, but hydroponics has always seemed expensive and complicated to me when compared with more traditional indoor container gardening.

So when I previewed the 4 Foot Farm Blueprint, I could only express my concerns and speculate about how the system would work based on what I’ve read about hydroponics.

In a nutshell, this a freestanding frame that you build yourself with your growing medium hanging down like a tapestry. A water reservoir sits below and a pump on a timer runs water up to the top of your “wall” and allows it to drip down the growing medium.

Upon initial review, my concerns were:

  1. The cost of this wall and yearly maintenance costs, which I will delve into further later.
  2. The author doesn’t explain very well how to fertilize or maintain this system. The directions seem to cut off shortly after the “getting started” phase.
  3. The author directs you to harvest plants every 4 months and then plant a new crop right next to the old space. My concern is that pulling the roots from the base growing medium will damage it, weakening the wall, and requiring your base growing medium to be replaced yearly, which would require disassembling the wall.
  4. The wall itself doesn’t seem terribly sturdy. There are no braces to keep the wall from tilting forward as plants add weight to one side of the wall, or to prevent the plants from being jostled right off the wall if the system is knocked by a dog, child, or clumsy gardener. The author writes that you can expect to harvest 44 pounds of greens and herbs from this wall every 4 months. The weight of this would surely tax one side of the wall, especially when the extra growing medium to that side is wet.
  5. If this yields 44 pounds of greens and herbs every 4 months, will the average family consume all of that? The author even suggests that you’ll likely get more yield than your family can consume and suggests selling or bartering the excess. So then this begs the question: if you do not sell the excess, is the cost of this system and the time you’ll need to devote to it worth the yields you will consume?

That was my initial take. But again, I’m not a hydroponics expert, nor an expert in construction. So I talked to my friend, Carrie, who has degrees in horticulture and landscape design. She’s taken some college level classes in hydroponics, so I felt she was a good resource in our Colony. We talked over coffee about hydroponics in general and this setup in particular. She voiced similar concerns, but added new ones as well that I wouldn’t have considered.

Carrie’s concerns:

  1. Fertilization is rather touchy in a hydroponic system. Too much fertilizer can kill your entire system very quickly. And the author’s assertion that you can just add fertilizer to the water you add to your system is dangerous to your plants as well. Your system should be flushed weekly with plain water and your reservoir water changed out since plants leach out toxins as they absorb nutrients. This is confirmed by the author’s recommended fertilizer’s website here.
  2. Plants in a hydroponic system are very sensitive to pH. When she began talking about this and I admitted that the author hadn’t even mentioned pH, she was very concerned.
  3. Starting seeds on the actual wall will be difficult at best. There is a reason that all seed starting trays come with a clear lid. Seeds need humidity and warmth to get started. The author does say that you can start your seeds separate from the wall and add them later. So Carrie definitely recommends this method over trying to grow them directly on your wall.
  4. That said, humidity is another issue to consider, especially in winter. Do you have a way to keep the humidity up in the area where your plants will be?
  5. Lighting and the timing of the lighting is also important and is glossed over in the instructions. Carrie recommends trying to mimic summer daylight hours as best as possible using a timer. She’s also concerned that even with 2 sets of lights and space blankets to reflect light back on your wall, some plants will inevitably get more light than others. Those further away from the light will get leggy and won’t produce as well. This is probably something that will just require some trial and error.
  6. Also the book does not touch on pest prevention or how to deal with pests. In fact the author claims you won’t have to deal with pests, but Carrie reminded me that fruit flies and other flying pests can still wreak havoc on your plants, even indoors.

Overall, Carrie was not impressed and we went on to spend the next hour talking about hydroponics and aquaponics and the pros and cons of those over traditional gardening. It was a wonderful conversation and I learned a lot!

Later, I showed the system to Dennis (my husband and co-founded of SurvivalColony.com), who has some experience in construction and is constantly building things out in our garage. His first comment was, “Where are the plants?” There’s not a single picture in the entire eBook or accompanying appendices of the hydroponic system with plants growing on it. It’s rare to see a gardening book without numerous pictures of the suggested systems teeming with plant life. (The photos in this post are from my own garden.) Then he proceeded to look at the plans, furrow his brow, look at the plan some more, scowl a bit, and then turned the paper over (I’d printed it out for him) and started to redesign the whole thing. I reminded him that our job was to review the plan as-is, not to re-design it. He just looked at me like I had three heads and said, “But this plan makes no sense. I can do it better.”

Then I said something all men want to hear. “Let’s go to the hardware store.”

We priced out the components of this system. This is where I should point out again that the way the system is engineered, you will need to disassemble even the wood frame yearly. My guess is that this will at the very least (best guess) require replacing the top of the frame and the top cross-supports yearly as well. They are made of 1x4s and 1x2s that would likely not hold up well to disassembly and reassembly.

We were able to find lumber, snow fencing, gutter, lighting fixtures and bulbs, screws, etc. at the hardware store. However, the snow fencing had too fine a grid for what the author calls for, so that price came from Amazon.com. I also sourced the hydroponic supplies from Amazon. I could not find the polyester quilt batting called for as a base medium without using a double thickness that may or may not hold up as well as a single sheet of the called-for thickness, so I priced that out with Sure to Grow growing mats, intended for hydroponics usage. This only cost $6 more than the double thickness of the quilt batting anyway. (By the way, the instructions call for 2 yards of this batting, but the project will require 4 based on the dimensions of the project. I mentioned this to Crisis Education, but at the time of this writing, the error remains.)

And now we’re getting into the math section of this review. As you might recall from my last review, I like math.

Overall, this system will cost you roughly $385 to build if you buy everything new from either Home Depot or Amazon.com. This will last you about 10-11 weeks before you need more fertilizer (unless you don’t do a full flush weekly as Carrie suggests – as the author suggests the fertilizer will last longer, but I’m going with the company’s suggested usage here). In 4 months you’ll also need to purchase more growing medium for your second planting (around $56 on Amazon). Your first year will cost you roughly $600 to build and maintain this system. Admittedly, some of this cost is wasted because you need to buy 50’ rolls of this or that and only need 10’, but without a way to buy shorter lengths, it’ll still end up being a startup cost. My projected costs also do not include any tools you might need like a saw, drill, tin snips, etc. We’re going to assume that you either have these or know someone who does.

After that, yearly, this system will run you approximately $370 to maintain. This includes replacing the 1x4s and 1x2s mentioned earlier (unless you, like Dennis, redesign this portion…which I made him stop doing). Also the fluorescent bulbs recommended should last you around 2 years, so I added in half their cost per year. You’ll need new starter plugs (growing medium) every 4 months and a new growing mat yearly.  And again, this is assuming you flush your water weekly per the fertilizer company’s suggestion and buy new fertilizer every 10.5 weeks. (You could also buy larger bottles which will likely save you a few dollars over time.) This also ignores any chemicals you may need to maintain your water’s pH levels, since that isn’t called for in the plans. And we’re going to further assume that you can get your seeds free or cheap.

Let’s then go back to the claim that this will produce 44 pounds of greens and herbs every 4 months. That’s 132 pounds a year.

Year One: $600 startup costs / 132 pounds of greens and herbs = $4.54/lb

Years Two – ?: $370 per year / 132 pounds of greens and herbs = 2.80/lb

I don’t know how long you can expect this system to last. My guess is 5-10 years if you take care of it, thus the “?” above.

That’s actually not a horrible price for organic lettuce or herbs, assuming you were already planning to consume that much (though not quite “pennies on the dollar” as the company claims in their promo material). Our family of 4 would not consume this much. We certainly don’t spent $300+ on greens a year. Nor would anything beyond lightweight greens and herbs be able to be supported on a wall like this. And honestly, I question if the design of this wall would support even that. But without building the system myself and testing it, I can’t know for sure. Frankly, I don’t have $385 lying around to find out. Again, the lack of photos of plants on this system just adds to my doubt.

You really need to consider your family’s needs, current diet, and so forth to see if this plan would be advantageous to you. It’s not a cheap undertaking. Can you afford to burn this kind of cash if it doesn’t work for you for whatever reason? Do you have the time to monitor this system and to troubleshoot any problems that arise? Will your family truly consume enough to make it worthwhile? Will you realistically harvest and sell or barter any surplus crop?

Anyway, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out places were you could save money if you did want to replicate the 4 Foot Farm hydroponic system. You can get creative here and likely shave the startup costs in half. Most people probably don’t have a pump or hydroponic tubing laying around, but a pond pump might work. And PEX line or even PVC leftover from a plumbing project might also work, especially since you need only a few feet. Maybe a thrift store quilt will provide you with a decent base growing medium. You probably also already have a storage tub sitting around you can use as your water reservoir. Be creative and think critically before running out and purchasing all of the necessary supplies. I’ve seen Dennis do some amazing things with scraps of lumber.

The Bottom Line

After reviewing this COMPLETELY different eBook than the 2013 rendition, I was dismayed to see that their online infomercial ad is nearly identical to the last, despite the drastic changes to the text. And as you probably already know, I don’t like online infomercials to sell eBooks anyway. At least on Amazon or Barnes and Noble, when you look at eBooks, you can read a description of the product and read reviews by customers before making any purchasing decisions. These online infomercials (not just by Crisis Education, but others as well) often use fear tactics and arbitrary time restraints that claim that a price or a product won’t be available later. And they rarely actually explain what it is you’re buying. Where in the Crisis Education infomercial does it say you’re getting directions for a $385 hydroponics wall? So many of our readers from our prior review admitted that they live on very little and don’t have $7 to spare, but were hoping this was the answer to their food budget woes. Can they afford to spend their last $7 only to find out that they’ll need to shell out an additional $385 to actually implement the plan?

That’s why I’m writing this review. Not as some sort of internet police. But because we’re a Colony here. We have to look out for each other. Prepping can be expensive. None of us can afford to waste money on gear, services, or products that aren’t worth their salt.

Have you seen a product you’d like us to review before you buy it yourself? Please send me your suggestions.

If you are interested in hydroponics or aquaponics (using fish to fertilize your hydroponic system), Carrie highly recommends The Aquaponic Source website for information. She says you’ll learn all you could ever want to know from their forums if you have the time to search it out. If not, she recommends this book, written by the owner of the website:

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50 comments

  1. Chris

    Thank you for the candid review of our 4 Foot Farm Blueprint (2014 Edition).

    This review will help us continue our improvement of the product (we’ll release an update by Q2 2014 considering all comments above).

    We will be adding a 30 day step-by-step journal here soon (just to touch on your comment about photos of the process).

    As always, for those of you who read this. If you purchase(d) the guide and you didn’t find value in it, we stand by our money back guarantee.

  2. Grace

    Wait… didn’t Crisis Education already have a copy of your preliminary notes to make any necessary changes? Not so confident that any real changes will be made. I mean, what’s the point of getting someone to beta-test the product if you aren’t going to follow the recommendations before releasing it to the market?

    Thanks for saving my $.

  3. Jeanne

    Thank you for taking so much time and being so very detailed in your review. You saved my money, too.
    Kudos to Crisis Education for being interested in having you review their eBook/product.

    I live on the ground floor of a two-story condo building and have been growing some of my own food in a 4×3 raised bed garden, herb pots and buckets on my south-west facing back patio.

    Two other times, while surfing around on the internet, I’ve come across the Infomercial for the “Four Foot Garden Blueprint” and since I clicked on it again today; obviously I’ve had interest in purchasing the eBook. However, reluctance kept me from taking action.

  4. Connie

    Wow! I am so impressed at your honest unbiased review of this product. I just happened to find your article seconds before filling out the credit card info to purchase this e book. I’m so glad I did! Thank you for taking the time to research your critique and then share with the rest of us. I also appreciate the creditibility of Crisis for having you do this review for them.

    • Dona

      I couldn’t have said it better myself. Thanks for the review. Time to go delete my info. It sounds like a good side project. But not a lifeline for me or my fam.

  5. Chris

    Again, we’d like to thank SurvivalColony.com for their candid review. For readers, please keep in mind that for each review like this we have 20x the positive customer feedback from those who have purchased and gone through the material. Here is just a small sample of customer feedbacks we’ve received within the last couple days:

    I thought the guide was easy to read. It was full of information that a beginner needs to know. I wouldn’t have known I could place several plants in the same place and they would compliment each other. I am used to gardening in rows, one vegetable at a time. This idea is awesome!
    - Diane D. Chanute, KS

    Excellent illustrations and instructions! Great education for just $7!
    - Michael S. Alvin, TX

    Awesome information, thanks for taking the time to:
    a) do all the research about our market bought foods.
    b) taking the time to teach us about what crops assist other crops when grown together
    c) providing blueprints for several variations for growing indoor and outdoor gardens
    d) planting the seeds of thought to provide options like bartering (which I never thought of) and selling extra grown crops for income.
    - Debi R. Arroyo Grande, VA

    Just thought you might enjoy my little garden of pepper plants.The 2 Habanero, 3 Serrano, 1 Anaheim Chili, & 8 Tabasco pepper plants. I brought them inside… I have harvested all the peppers on the plants except the Anaheim Chili 1 lonely pepper. They are putting on blooms.
    - Sally D. Two Rivers, AK

    The wealth of information,diagrams,photos and detailed instructions in this guide are amazing, to say the least. My father-in -law has been gardening his entire life, but I’ve got a few ideas now that are going to blow his mind. The two tower ideas alone are worth ten times the price of the book. Information is power and your can’t put a price on self-reliance! Thank you!
    - Nicholas T. Fort Worth, TX

    You certainly have “covered all of the bases” in helping green horns become green thumbs.Your instructions are simple yet comprehensive…
    - Charles F. Las Vegas, NV

    • Tom

      It’s easy to see that these “positive customer feedbacks” about the “4 Foot Farm Blueprint” are a sham/scam too.

      As SurvivalColony.com indicates, there are no actual directions, plans, or photos showing an actual application of their ‘hints’ or ‘suggestions’. There is nothing to suggest that they themselves have even tried their so-called expert methods.

      A scam in their response to the Survival Colony’s review.

      Sad reflection on the character of the flim-flam artists.

      • Rimrock

        Tom, it is not only a scam in response to Survival Colony’s review but considering the fact that they took the time to make up those responses shows that the company has more time to spend on being on the defense than the offense.

  6. Debra

    Thank you so much for your in depth review of this e-book. I also do not like these online infomercials. For me, the infomercial itself is a real deal killer because they are all the same. Scams. The only reason I watched it is because a friend posted a link to it. You just saved me $7.00 and a real anger issue, so thank you!

  7. man-WELL

    Again, thanks Jackie. After reading and commenting on your 2013 e-book review, I decided, due to the suspense factor, to read this review of the 2014 edition. Well written, Dennis’ insights too. [saddened to read about the separation, too.] Tom & Chris: consider SNL, Colbert, or a YouTube Joint, for the LULZ. Finally, the aquaponicsource.com is next up for this Saturday’s Surfing Session. ~CIAO, Manny~

  8. Tiffany T. Rendon

    Thank you for your review. I won’t say that it is a scam but it is very nice to know that in addition to the $7.00 i would need a $400.00 more to get going indoors since my garden area is under 2′ of snow and minus 0 temperatures.

  9. Carlo

    Having plenty of hydroponics experience, I can attest for high yields, but at a cost. Electricity to run Metal Halide and High Pressure Sodium ballasts is costly. Factor in the pumps, and other equipment like nutrients, pH sticks etc, etc.. this is a misleading infomercial. -long time grower.

    • Phil

      I tried indoor hydroponic gardening last year and can testify to the higher cost and unexpected worries that come with using a watering system indoors. High yields – higher than we could use actually for various lettuces and spinach plants. It takes up quite a bit of space and as some of the plants roots started filling up the growing media I had a problem with flooding that had to be taken care of eventually by just dismantling and giving away the system. I used grow lights which aren’t the high yield/high cost metal halide but still not cheap for good quality lights and bulbs.

  10. Susan

    The infomercial touts that you can do this if you can barely carry a grocery bag. After reading your review, I don’t think I have the physical strength to construct the WALL even if I had all the necessary tools. Where do you put something like this in your house? Wouldn’t cats have a hay day with it? And when you break the cost down per pound – for one person there would be lots of extra and I’m not a bartering/selling person – I’d be trying to give it away to help others. Therefore, the cost for my pound of consumption would really be high, high, high. Thanks for the review. I think I could go to McDonald’s with the saved 7 dollars. I’ll save my opinions of McDonald’s, too! Many thanks.

  11. Andrew

    Thank you, saved me 7 bucks and a waste of time. I don’t like the presentation, but did have an interest in how one could get that much food from so little space.

  12. Win

    Thank you so very much. I, too, was ready to hand over my credit card info when the finger of fate poked me in the back hard enough to nudge me toward your review. I didn’t relish the idea of having to eat their book after spending money I didn’t have to build that wall instead of on food. Again, many, many thanks.

  13. Demoman

    well the book sounds like a good deal for a lot of people, but mostly city dwellers that know nothing about gardening, and i say that thinking that if you only learn a few things, it has to be worth 7 bucks. would i buy it? no, because i like doing gardening outdoors and i can protect my crops from thiefs, at least the 2 legged kind, and i share with the 4 legged kind. Im still temped to buy the book out of couriosity, but likely wont take the time. the advertisement is truly a scare tactic and thumbs down for that, it sounds like something monsanto would do, and i dont like that .

  14. David

    i will start off by saying i have not personally read this book, but……being an avid hydroponic gardener with over 11 years of hands on experience, i will tell you that growing in a hydroponic system is potentially the most difficult gardening process there is. Proper pH, Nutrient levels (ppm/tds), water temperature and dissolved oxygen levels are all key to a thriving hydroponic garden. Not to mention they require and exponential amount of attention and interaction than an outdoor soil garden. Too often have I come across plans and theories for “simple” homemade indoor food gardens that are not tested and true. sure, some may be able to construct a system that will deliver water to a bunch of plant sites, but they always gloss over the actual plant mechanics and science behind a hydrogarden.

    One thing that’s needs to be mentioned is the different nutrient needs of different plants. what a tomato plant needs to thrive is vastly different than what a head of lettuce needs to survive. Nutrient levels and pH is going to vary, and depending on the plants, it could vary wildly. this is something you cannot get around. if the plants share the same water, there is no way to manipulate that water to change it’s chemistry in order to facilitate different needs. i will admit that there are some plants that can be grown together in the same system, but this will not lead you to being able to grow a wide variety of foods, so be prepared to be eating lots of tomatoes and cucumbers.

    besides this first obvious over site by many, the simple act of maintaining your garden is a task to not be taken lightly. in any kind of free running, recirculating, bare root hydro system (NFT, Ebb&Flow, Top Feed Drip, Aeroponics, Bubbleponics, DWC…the list goes on) as the plants’ roots interact with the nutrient solution, they change the chemistry. nutrients are pulled out, waste is put back in and all of those things effect pH, PPM/TDS and more. the reality is, you will be adjusting your water on a daily (more than likely several times a day) basis (read: no vacations from your garden). and, unless you have some real world experience with hydroponic nutrients and water maintenance, the learning curve will be drastic. it’s easy to over feed one part and under feed another, make the entire nutrient solution too strong, or be running the wrong pH. i won’t go into specifics as to what those things can do to your plant as it would take an entire article just to discuss pH alone, but let me say that you can kill an entire garden in a day if run incorrectly.

    Lighting is another very important factor. you can’t just go to home depot and pick up a simple “grow light” and have it give you success. you’re trying to mimic the sun, and a couple T5 fluorescents aren’t going to cut the mustard. be prepared to spend a few hundred just on your lighting array and then deal with the bills for the added electric consumption that will come alone with that.

    Environment is another key factor that is not easily surmountable. Temperature & humidity are key factors, but also air movement. if you don’t or can’t keep your living space at a desirable temperature to support the life of the plants, then you’re going to have a hard time getting them to thrive. and once again, different plants need different things in regards to environment. this is why specific plants grow best in specific regions.

    and lastly, pest control. if you’ve ever grown outdoors and had a pest problem, you know how hard it is to combat. on the indoor scale, pests are magnified tenfold. and whats worse, is the indoor garden is plagued by the harder to find, diagnose and treat pests. Spider Mites, Thrips, Whiteflies, Aphids Fungus Gnats and more all rage in an indoor garden. lack of predatory pests, environmental stressors (wind, rain, etc) and optimal temperatures and nearly limitless food supply make for the perfect breeding ground for pests. and the notion that it’s indoors so therefore pests are easily avoidable is just absolutely wrong.

    i’m not saying that growing your own food indoors isn’t possible, but considering the way its presented in what information i have heard about this book, it’s not what you’d expect. unfortunately, this seems like another hokey info guide that is trying to capitalize on the current notion of “effortless self sustainability”. the reality is, there’s no such thing.

  15. Jon

    Well, unfortunately, I found this AFTER I purchased the $7 4 X 4 Farm. I have been duped before and I feel like I was duped again with this, even though I had the sense that this MIGHT NOT be as good as it sounded. I was ESPECIALLY disappointed that as soon as my credit card info was given, the video immediately tried to hurry me into making a decision based on the farm book I had not even read yet. Then, when I opted out at the bottom, it still kept trying to sell me more: their SPECIAL seeds, etc… Annnnnnnnnnd, when my wife realized I “fell” for this, she gave me a LOT of info I would have had to reconsider. But, the catchy $7 was effective in suckering me in. WHEN I receive my miracle farm book and I do NOT think it was worth the $7, AS STATED VERY CLEARLY IN THE VIDEO, I am going to email them for the return of my $7. I have always had an interest in starting a raised garden as I have seen it done quite effectively but not without much hard work and money. Soooooooooo, this book better be what the video claims.
    SMH!! (shaking my head)

  16. Dina

    Thank you so much for taking the time to think out and research this book. I had doubts while listening to the online pitch, and so looked for reviews. Thank you!

  17. Harry Goodale

    I paid $7 for the book but it never came. After two weeks I e-mailed them for a status report but they did not reply. After almost three weeks I e-mailed them for my money back. They did not reply. Then I tried the phone but no one was available to talk. Finally I called my credit card company and they removed the $7 charge and as a safetly precaution they assigned me a new creit card number to prevent any further charges.

  18. Katie Payne

    I can’t help but be a bit confused at the suggestion of a hydroponics system that relies on electricity as an option for food production during a “crisis”. Unless someone is energy self-sufficient and off the grid the whole thing is pointless without lighting and the water pump if the grid is shut down.

  19. Geoff Richardson

    Yeah, the video was way over the top using total brainwashing repetitive suggestive psychological trickery. But Jedi’s can’t use mind tricks on each other. Anywho, enjoyed the late night reading from the video to my skeptical search to find this page, all the comments and one of THE most awesome fairest reviews I have EVER read and I read a ton of reviews on Amazon – obsessively I might add. The best part was all I had to do was see what the cost of organic fruit would be for me to “farm” it myself so as to compare it with what I know that same bounty would cost me per pound to just go to a local farmer and buy from them. At least I can appreciate the value or pay for it with awareness.

  20. Linda

    Thanks to both Survival Colony and Crises Education for allowing consumers to make an informed decision on this topic.

  21. Cassie B

    I’d like to also thank you for this very clear and detailed review. I have become very involved in the gardening and sustainability movement, and I’m always on the lookout for new ideas for how to improve my yield and avoid pitfalls. This ebook sounds like it doesn’t have anything important to add to the vast array of (free) resources that I already have at my disposal. For someone just starting out, it’s nice to think of gardening as simple and doable, but there would not be so many tomes on the subject (with more every year) if there was not more to it than that. Not that it takes much to start a garden, but success comes gradually over a number of years of learning how to do good things and avoid bad things, and even then there are factors which are sometimes beyond your control.

  22. Allen J

    Thanks for the complete review of this product, and after reading your reviews, I’m glad I didn’t jump in with both feet & my hard-earned $7, thinking that I had to have been missing something.

    I feel like I’ve already done much more research on the topic than the video claimed the author has done, and my research (& many of my funds) have also included Aquaponics, so it was a relief to find out that I’m probably a bit further along than the author of this book is/was.

    I suspect that the book may be a good eye-opener for an urban dweller who has never thought that they might be able to grow food, but from the description, it has to be a short ‘teaser’ that really can’t tell the whole story (which probably comes across as being plain deceptive to many). The silver lining that I can see is that it may get some to start thinking about food security & independence who might not otherwise do so.

    For me, I’m just glad that I already know how many solar panels & batteries are required to keep my Aquaponics systems going (in my area), and this is confirmation that I probably didn’t miss anything really important in my research :)

  23. Brenda Updike

    Thank you for your research and review of the “4 Foot Farm Blueprint.” $7.00 would be a small price to pay if the system were only half as good as promised, and I was on the verge of ordering. What stopped me was the resistance I always experience when I watch one of these internet infomercials. They seem to rely strongly on a fear factor, which I think is an illness infecting our lives. Also, two old adages come to mind. “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”, and, “A sucker is born every minute”. Not only did I not place my order, I think I’ve been cured of watching infomercials.

  24. Kory

    Thank you. I had my info. filled in on the website and before I “Pushed The Button”, which I was repeatedly encouraged to do, through their use of scare tactics by use of their internet infomercial. I decided to look around the internet to see what I could find out about the Crisis Education Company. The BBB gave it an A, if it was referring to the same company, I’m not sure. I still didn’t feel right (and the timer on their infomercial was getting closer and closer to 0:00). So, I “Trusted My Gut”, like Oprah used to always say on her show (I miss her show), and I found your page. I quickly found out that I didn’t have the money, physical ability or technical and botany know how to grow my own successful indoor garden :-(

    However, I’m so glad I found your review, because I wouldn’t care too much about losing $7.00, but knowing that a scam company had my credit card information, would have driven me crazy and I would have cancelled my card and would have had to go through all the stress of that.

    Thank you Sooooooooooooo Much,

    Kory
    :-D

    • admin

      Kory, you absolutely can grow a successful indoor garden! Just start small and use traditional methods. Start with lettuce or radishes or herbs and a sunny window. Grow from there! There’s no need to get fancy or expensive with it. Good luck!

  25. Randy

    1. Thanks for the review. You clearly are good people but you were too kind.
    2. Once I saw the hard sell tactics, the countdown clock, the extensive use of NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) and the complete absence of any real information on what you’re buying I was “out’. It’s a complete and utter scam, ok?
    3. The only thing I have to add to the conversation is that this kind of business model is promoted extensively in other “$7 web books” that promise you the means of gaining complete financial independence by becoming a web publisher. In these $7 books (some are much more expensive … seems if you throw the words “foolproof system” in the price triples ) you’re intructed to select a topic, comb the web for content in the public domain and then write/compile a book about it, irrespective of quality or value, and then create this enormous marketing machine to “sell books and print money”. You need not stock any inventory… all you’re doing is selling relatively small digital files or if your prefer the techy label, eBooks. You’ve no overhead and you can run the business from your beater truck and camper parked on swamp land! One fundamental assertion of these get rich quick schemes is that by keeping the price low you’ll get a lot of impulse buyers and most will not take the time to request a refund.

    BTW this book is just the tip of the iceberg for wwww.crisis education.com. He/they/it has about 20 other books to sell you after you’ve gained total food independence. All of them present content that is in the public domain and easy to find. But if for example you want to learn how to survive after North Korea bombs us (I’m not making this up – go check the site wwww.crisis education.com yourself) you want to become completely self-reliant by learning how to start a fire with a gum wrapper and a AA battery go ahead and enter your credit card number. Or take 5 seconds and Google it to find this: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=XakBWM4hp94.

    My bottom-line is this: if you talk around what you are selling and invest all your money into creating a massive, churning, fear-mongering web presence instead of doing the work necessary to publish a book that creates real value then you are parasite. I was invited to visit the site to “claim” my copy through a very expensive video ad that preceded my selected video on YouTube. This book … all of their books are just a 21st century analog of snake oil.

    This said, I’ve been gardening on the cheap for 45 years and here’s the truth: there are no $7 or $348 shortcuts to growing good food in small spaces. You gotta work at it. More truth… it’s vitally important and enjoyable work and there is no shortage of free wisdom out there that can help you. My advice is to find some old-timey gardener in your neighborhood and use that $7 to buy you both a cup of coffee and you will have made the best investment possible because almost every one of them wants to help you learn what they’ve learned … only faster and better. And remember, if you have to buy zucchini you don’t have any gardener friends.

    Happy growing.

    • Violet Phoenix

      Best advice in this entire thread (aside from the review) ” Spend your $7 buying a cup of coffee for you and an old timey gardener in your neighborhood…”

  26. Katherine Maki

    Thank you so MUCH for your full review of the book. I had been tempted by the commercial, but thankfully,,resisted long enough to do a little research and came across this review. I see the system would not work for me … (heavens, we still have snow on the ground here {April 26}, with our most recent snowfall having been yesterday).
    Further, September is definitely too late to set any seed.
    Thank you for saving me $7(+) :)

  27. Jax

    Thank you for posting this candid review. I think I will keep my vertical gardening to the vermiculture 50 gal barrel gardens and continue with my usual companion planting and successive gardening techniques. You can grow 50 plants in a small space, but not in the way described.

  28. Lou

    I usually don’t fall for scams but I did for this one. I spent the $7.00, then wised up too late. There is no way to contact this guy I will see if the mailing address is also bogus.

  29. linda

    I too, am looking for a way to save money. Organic food is what we scrimp to buy now. Cant afford 385$ for a “maybe” result.. could the tower method work without the aquaponic pump system? Just watering daily as if i would do in a regular garden? Im 59 and cant do backbreaking work like i used to so vertical gardening is super appealing to me! Thanks

    • admin

      Honestly, I question if the entire thing would hold up, and I don’t think the cost is worth it. If you are limited on space and money, I’d opt for a shelving unit in front of a great window and just do traditional potted plants. You can grow everything this system recommends and more, because you don’t have to worry about the weight of the plant. And don’t forget that sprouts are an excellent source of nutrition and only require the space of a mason jar and about a week to grow them.

  30. c hill

    I have a couple of questions…. I don’t understand the outdoor planting calendar can you explain the numbering 3/1:, 4/15:, 7/15: ect ???? I understand the placement.. also under ( 7\15: cucumber) I don’t see it on the calendar ?>>

  31. Jim Bentz

    Awsome, good useful information that saved me from feeling like a consumer idiot…. again.

    I am grateful for finding your site and your review.

  32. Tom

    Good review.
    I would like to suggest that whatever it takes for people to start getting in the dirt and growing for their own independence is great. But we have to ask ourselves “does the benefit outweigh the cost?”
    There is so much information on the web in forums and how to videos, I’m not sure it behooves anyone to spend a chunk of cash unless the information provides some profound knowledge not readily available.
    So bottom line, is the information new or state of the art? If not, my suggestion is to tread lightly, but Get Growing!
    ~Tom

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