I am really excited to plan the garden and get started this year! Last year was really difficult for me – our new house doesn’t open out on the back yard since it is on a hill so I couldn’t see the garden like I could at the old house and we were in the middle of a serious drought.
I finished reading the book called “Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature Deficit Disorder”, in early February. It was so inspiring to me! As you know I am adamant that we allow our children lots of time in nature, but this book talked about and provided details and “professional” knowledge to prove what I have already seen in my children! You can read about it here.
Anyway, one night after reading that book, I laid awake for a couple of hours planning how to include everything that I want in our yard – a place for a few chickens, several fruit trees, a very productive garden that allows me to can food, a place to include some bird and small animal inviting habitats – while reserving a place for my kiddos to run around to play and act out their imaginary story lines. We don’t have a lot of space, but I figured it out by deciding that the garden could move to the front yard. We don’t spend much time out front – but I can see it from the living room which means that I can easily take care of it in small snatches of time. 😉
When my parents moved, I requested that I get to read their book called “Square Foot Gardening” – a huge tome of information that would take me a long time to read. I wanted to use that because it taught companion planting and how to get more in the garden for a bountiful harvest. One day, though, I was looking for something on Amazon and saw the “All-New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space” by the same author, Mel Bartholomew. It was colorful, it was smaller, and the book was only about $12 or so. I admit that I bought it because I figured I would actually be able to read it.
What I didn’t anticipate was how much I enjoyed it and how much I didn’t want to put it down. It became my reading for a week – everything else went on the back-burner. In the new method developed after 30 years of experience with the first SFG, Mr. Bartholomew developed a method that ANYONE can do – children, older people, disabled persons, and anyone who desires to have a chance to garden. He shares how to make the beds, the grids, how to plan, plant, and harvest. He shares plant information, their preferences and problems, and even a couple of recipes. It is ORGANIC gardening, no chemicals required – and teaches how to make your own compost. He teaches how to have a SFG in an apartment, in town, on a balcony, a step or set of steps. It truly is for EVERYONE. What I loved is the explanation of how to INEXPENSIVELY increase the space of your garden by building up a support instead of taking all the ground. He even raises pumpkins and watermelons on support trellis’.
Here is a YouTube video of Mel explaining Square Foot Gardening.
Here’s a link to his SFG website.
You can get the book from Walmart or Amazon. It’s worth the read.
By using this method, I can increase my garden productivity by 50% with significantly less work. I can place the garden in the front and create my nature retreat in my back yard.
It’s the best of both worlds.