Spring has arrived! Our days grow longer from the Vernal Equinox (March 20) until the Summer Solstice on June 21. This season inspires gardeners to focus anew on their gardens.
To be sure, avid gardeners have diligently pursued dormant-period priorities and planted before the rainy season, and their landscapes are now in good condition. But many have taken a break during recent months.
This is the time when gardeners aspire to planting vegetables mostly for the pleasure of seeing edibles develop in their gardens. A vegetable patch might or might not save money, depending on how it is planned and implemented, but it reliably satisfies gardeners of any age and is particularly gratifying for kids.
For novice gardeners, however, creating a vegetable garden can be a daunting prospect. It often seems like a lot of work and mysterious requirements, and the impulse evolves quickly to “maybe next year.”
Fortunately, we have great new resource for just this situation: the 2nd edition of Mel Bartholomew’s classic garden book, “All New Square Foot Gardening.” Earlier versions were published in 1981 and 2007, and this new edition expands upon those bestsellers.
The result is an exceptionally clear and complete explanation for an efficient, cost-effective method for growing vegetables in the home garden.
The insight for square-foot gardening is while growing vegetable in rows works well for commercial farmers, home gardeners could use their space better and meet their food needs more accurately and efficiently with modular “square-foot” gardening.
The basic plan is a raised bed, four-feet square, with sixteen planting beds. Each one-foot square can be planted with one large vegetable, such as broccoli or cabbage, or up to sixteen smaller vegetables, e.g., onions or carrots.
The book includes multiple variations: repeating the basic plan as needed for a large family, adding a trellis for vining plants, planting on a patio or balcony, etc.
Bartholomew describes each step of garden development in detail, with lucid photographs. The process is easily applied by most gardeners, and the author’s website www.squarefootgardening.org/ offers more information and a range of useful products.
If you have postponed your desire to grow vegetables, this book will help you to discover a satisfying and successful adventure with edible gardening. If you are already gardening in rows, square-foot gardening will help you to create a more efficient, more manageable approach.
Enjoy your garden!