One of this year’s projects (my AODA Candidate Ovate exploration, in fact) is to work on my gardening. More specifically, utilizing Mel Bartholomew’s Square Foot Gardening method and supporting it with some sustainable technologies (like rain barrels and vermicomposting).
I actually had a good (if slightly meta) chuckle at the first chapter of Bartholomew’s book, mainly because I started reading it on Cicero’s birthdate. It’s an excellent explanation of how Square Foot Gardening came to be, and why a new edition was called for, but Bartholomew also spends a great deal of time building ethos — specifically phronesis, or laying out his expertise — by talking about his journey to writing the first book, his long experience as a gardening guru on various television stations and as part of several projects, and how this and that changed and developed until a second book seemed like the thing to do.
For me, the chapter was a little bit unnecessary, seeing as I’ve already got a copy of his book and don’t really need quite as much advertising for the thing already in hand as the intro offers. I’m also detecting a wee bias against canning (which, he’s right, is labor intensive), and row-style cultivation (which appears to be the mark of a gardening fool). On the other hand, the idea of a garden that needs less upkeep than a traditional row is certainly appealing, and I should theoretically have room enough in the front for two boxes.
I’m deviating from the 4×4 just a tad; my box from last year is 6×6, and this year’s will probably be the same. That’s supposedly not ideal, but I was able to reach the center last year with minimal difficulty, so I’m not too worried. That of course leaves me in a position of trying to sort out which things to try and grow. Meaning I have to think about what I like to eat.
So far, potatoes and beets are high on the list. Carrots, celery, and onions also sound good. Green beans of some kind, maybe — mom had success with those in the back last year — and tomatoes. Peas. I have illicit fantasies of rhubarb (which takes two years to get started, or so I’ve read). Various greens are probably a good choice, too. I’ve got friends who walk out, pick their dinner salad, and then eat it. I want to do that. I’m nervous of squash/pumpkins after last year’s encounter with borers, but I hear acorn squash is pretty resistant, and I like the taste. Plus, I’m still hoping to replace the rose of sharon with blackberries, and put some garlic in around the pear tree. Oh, and a container strawberry tower. Because I’m insane.
This list is longer than I expected. That’s excellent. If even half of this works out it’ll be awesome.
So yeah, this month is dedicated to trying on ideas and planning things out, as well as possibly starting the worm box. Next month will be gathering materials, digging the second box, and any early planting I think I can do safely if the frosts taper off. After that it’s all planty-planty, hopefully followed by some yummy-yummy according to my inner Eddie Izzard.
Somewhere in all of this I also need to plant a tree. I wonder if the Grand Grove would let me do a bonsai on the grounds that a full-sized tree would block out the light to my garden?