And you pick red tomatoes and pop cherries into your mouth. You gather baby zucchini from the garden while crunching on crispy green beans. You bring in fresh broccoli and snap peas and lettuce. You pinch thyme and sage and basil. You grill just to the point of carmelization and the sweetness of the garden lunch makes all the work heretofore quite worth it.
The reward of my labors? Today I picked ripe tomatoes. Can you comprehend the profundity of that? Dare you?
Good, and I mean really good, times.
NOTE TO MY LONGSUFFERIG READERS: Last year at just about the exact same time? Read here!
I have determined my gardening style to be “experimental.”
I don’t like doing the same thing twice. I like to grow things in unexpected places. I like French intensive gardeing, square foot gardening and am really in to this straw bale gardening right now. I’d even like to try hydroponic gardening sometime, despite the fact that I have grave doubts about the quality and flavor of things grown in water (I believe in soil).
I have to admit, I rolled my eyes a lot when I first started seeing these upside-down gardens on TV. I checked out their website and good grief: people are really doing this thing!
Therefore, I am going to have make my very own topsy-turvy-upside-down tomato grower. Why? Because that is the experiment part. I don’t want to buy “their” cheap-looking plastic aparatus. I want to make my own ghetto version…from a big, plastic paint can. Yes, I do.
I’ll post pictures. I think it is going to be pretty cool! It’ll be like tomatoes raining down on me from heaven above!
When I first started gardening (1997), I checked out the BEST book EVER from the library, Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew. See a 3-minute introduction in this youtube video:
The book has been updated and is better, all-new and improved they say. The early SFGs were not that great looking and are now much more attractive. But I still have the actual copy I first read – not because I stole it from the library! No, they sold it a few months later because some one had apparently watered it along with their garden. Silly person…Great sentimental value to me!
Mel, the Square Foot Gardener guru, says if you have never gardened, he can teach you all the principles of successful gardening in an hour. But if you have done “traditional” farm-style (rows and hoeing, for instance) gardening, it takes waaaaaaaay longer to teach you (can you say: hard-headed?). Luckily, I was a total novice, so I LOVE Mel! And I love all the produce I have been able to grow in very small spaces!
Mel taught me:
to plant seeds in vermiculite which acts as a sponge to hold the moisture around the seed so it will germinate quickly. Gavin and I planted lettuce, radishes and spinach that way exactly one week ago and it has already germinated! Tiny little sprouts are smiling up at me!
not to plant handfuls of seed and then go back and get rid of 2/3 of it (called “thinning”…there’s no thinning in SFG!). With Square Foot Gardening, you plant the right amount of seeds in a 1-foot space and enjoy every single thing that grows!
to plant smartly: 16 radishes at a time. I have 16 growing right now. In a few days I will plant 16 more, and so on. Why would I plant an entire package of seeds at once when I cannot eat them all at once?
weeding doesn’t have to take over your life because in a SFG, there is hardly any weeding!
and he taught me how to get the BEST tomato harvest ever! And that alone makes Mel one of my all-time favorite people.
This year I have discovered the Square Foot Gardening website along with instructions on how to grow potatoes. Mel’s current website: http://www.squarefootgardening.com/ …F U L L of incredible gardening knowledge! Good times!
Benefits of Square Foot Gardening:
Uses 80% less space per harvest.
Uses 90% less water.
Uses 95% less seeds!
You get 5 times the harvest
And? It makes me feel so green!
This is the method I am passing on to the grand-bebes!…Jeanie
NOTE TO SELF: Never go another year without gardening!
pictured: my ragged copy of the first Square Foot Gardening book….still much used and greatly loved…