Square Foot Gardening

My dad was a fan of The Square Foot Gardener.  For those of you who may have not lived through the 1970’s, Mel Bartholomew was the guru of gardening in small spaces.  His book “The Square Foot Gardener” was all about growing vegetables, herbs, fruits and flowers in small spaces.  Dad, of course, took the square foot garden concept to the extreme … and he had a big chunk of yard segmented off into a vegetable garden … and grew lots of stuff.

But the whole idea behind square foot gardening is small scale.  Growing enough for your family in a small space, and not having a ton or so of zucchini to give away to your neighbors.  They eventually start hiding the kids and turning off the lights when they see you coming.  Small scale is what it’s all about.

Well, the vintage Square Foot Gardner book came to Florida with mom.  She gave it to Andie … because mom’s not going to square foot garden.  Andie loves to dig in the dirt, but with relapsing-remitting MS … bending and stooping to weed and tend in the Florida sun is probably not the best idea.  So today, I built a square foot garden box.

It’s 4 feet long, a foot wide and a foot deep.  So, we have 4 square feet with which to work.

Building the box took about 20 minutes, after we had all the lumber pre-cut at Lowes.  I had to modify the plywood bottom, and we had to buy the entire sheet even though we only needed one foot off the end.  Oh well.  We got inexpensive plywood.

Rather than build a stand for the box, we simply got a couple of plastic sawhorses, which puts the entire thing at waist high.  Perfect for easy weeding.

Well see how the gardening goes.  I’d like to have some herbs, but I’m not sure there’ll be room for that.  Growing some red bell peppers will save a little money, as they’re frightfully expensive.  But we’ve got some of our favorites to grow, including Brussels sprouts.  But the sprouts aren’t right for this time of the year, so they’ll be for another season.

And Mel Bartholomew?  He’s still square foot gardening.  Grown it into quite a little cottage industry, and of course, he’s online.  His site on the interwebs is pretty much what I expected from someone who’s claim to fame is organic gardening (read aging hippie) … with *GASP* FRAMES!!! … which pretty much fell out of favor 10 or so years ago.

But that’s OK.  In some ways, we’re all aging hippies at heart.  Or I am, anyway.  I hope Mr. Bartholomew has been able to leverage organic gardening into big piles of money.




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