Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Gardening by the square

I know that I've waxed poetic on enjoying the season, savoring what is happening now and not rushing on to the next thing, but in my heart, I'm wishing for Spring. Winter in the Northwest is dreary, bonechillingly dreary. It's wet, it's gray, it's cold but not snowy (not here on the west side of the mountains). I'd like Spring to spring forth soon. I'm keeping vigil by planning a new garden.

I'm not a gardening type by nature. I hate weeding, digging, basically anything but smelling the flowers or eating the veggies. With that in mind, I've read about a method of gardening that supposedly reduces the need for a lot of the hard work that frankly I don't dig (get it, dig?). Square Foot Gardening is the name, authored by Mel Bartholomew. I'll be purchasing his book shortly but from what I've gleaned online, Mr. Bartholomew recommends preparing raised beds (4 feet by 4 feet) divided into one square foot sections. He recommends this to avoid digging and overplanting, which results in puny plants or thinning (more work). Weeding supposedly is minimal and depending on the height of the boxes you build, you can avoid stooping and killing your back. This gardening method is touted as offering more produce for less work, which is always what people want - more bang for less buck.

For those without gardening inclinations or limited space, you might want to consider whether a table top size garden would be a benefit to you. Fresh herbs, flowers, whatever rings your bell, are mighty nice. Mr. Bartholomew even recommends a soil mix that contains no dirt, so "clean" gardening is at hand apparently.

Anywho, I pass this on to those who might be curious about coaxing a little Spring into their lives early this year. Let's hope the groundhog does his thing this year and the daffodils make an early return.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have used square foot gardening for 3 years now, and highly recommend it! We even installed some boxes for the neighbors! Enjoy your gardening!!

rosemary said...

We have a huge space devoted to gardening....pretty much full of weeds in the spring and they become monsters throughout the summer. We finally put in one raised bed last year and nothing grew. Soil problems, weeds who knows why. I am totally with you on the digging pulling dirt stuff. The joke is if we had to live on what we grow we'd starve. I will try again this year because to not garden in Idaho is a major sin....and proof that I am from L.A.

paris parfait said...

We have a big garden box like this on our balcony, but the soil needs replacing. And to do so (on the second floor) would involve hiring a crane to bring soil in and take the old out - not worth the trouble for our rental apartment! But I've heard about the success of Bartholomew's methods and hope to put them in practice someday! Good luck when you try it.

Auld Hat said...

I think a raised bed garden would be the only kind I could manage. OOOH I can.not wait to have a house. Apartment living makes for poor gardening. What will you plant?

Judy said...

I bought this book when it was newly published, and have been gardening this way ever since. It's a common- sense approach. Check out lasagna gardening, too, when you have a chance. We're having a Northwest kind of day here today -- sure do love the rain!

Professor said...

It's funny because I've heard of this, sort of! Here in eastern MT people build these in the house so they can start their gardens then transplant it all outside since our growing season here is so short. I never thought of keeping it in the box the entire time! (Cowboy grew over 100 types of plants and started more than half this way!) Good luck with the garden- you should be able to move it to the new house easily!