Square Foot Vegetable Gardening: Smallest Footprint For The Biggest Reward

It’s nice to know that all of your backyard gardening efforts are going to pay off, but it’s doubly great when you are practicing square foot vegetable gardening techniques that minimize your impact on the planet. I’ve written before on the subject of square foot gardening, and vegetable gardening practices that incorporate these methods have the least negative impact on the environment while at the same time producing the greatest yields of vegetables and produce for the amount of soil used. I’m of the opinion that, just like fresh water, nutrient rich topsoil is a dwindling resource and must also be conserved and used wisely. Here is a very short article (with recipes – that’s always a bonus) written by Mel Bartholomew for the Sioux City Journal.com about square foot gardening and why we should be planting in that direction.

Square Foot Vegetable Gardening: Smallest Footprint For The Biggest Reward

There’s a spark in the eyes of square-foot gardeners when they explain how much food they

square foot vegetable gardening

Square foot vegetable gardening maximizes yields from soil and minimizes carbon footprint. Photo by Ablestock c/o Photos.Com.

harvest, how easy it is to start, and what they plan to grow next year. The chief zealot is Mel

Bartholomew, whose passion for the idea he developed 30 years ago is inspiring a new generation of backyard gardeners.

“With my engineer and efficiency training, I started making a list,” he recalls. “Why do we plant in single rows? Why is the next row 3 feet away? Why do we plant a whole pack of seeds? We will never eat that much. And if you plant everything at once, it comes to harvest all at once.”

A failed community garden experiment inspired Bartholomew to solve the tilling, spacing, harvest and weeding issues in traditional gardening. He built his first square-foot garden (still intact) on his Long Island property with squares instead of rows to minimize weed-prone areas; 48-inch square plots so anyone can reach across to work the interior squares; and a different plant in each 1-foot square for beauty and diversity.

That was 1981. Two books and a PBS television series later, square-foot gardening is being taken up by a new type of gardener, one concerned with food miles, carbon footprint, sustainability and food safety.

See the original post here at siouxcityjournal.com:

Try your own hand next season at square foot vegetable gardening to see how much produce you can realize from a tiny patch of soil. Just think of yourself as being a good steward of the valuable resources that have been placed under your care.

Please share your thoughts and opinions by leaving a comment below. Click the like button to share this with someone you care about.

Pray for peace and grace and spiritual food, for wisdom and guidance, for all these are good, but don’t forget the potatoes.

                                                                                                                                                   —  John Tyler Pettee

Best Organic Vegetable Gardening Techniques For Conserving Water

The use of organic vegetable gardening techniques operates under the presumption that resources are precious and they should be used as effectively and efficiently as possible. After all, this is what nature does every day. One of our most precious resources is water. With the extremely dry conditions experienced by much of the United States this summer, it’s an issue that is of foremost importance. Here are two articles that appeared in the Rockford Register Star recently that I believe brought the issue home. Though I live north of Illinois, it’s been a brutal summer in my vegetable garden as well. It got me to thinking about next year and what I can do to make the best use of all the water my garden needs without using any more than absolutely necessary. Writer Meghan Bowe highlights some basic techniques for water conservation.

Best Organic Vegetable Gardening Techniques For Conserving Water

Using techniques like deep mulch, vertical gardening, sheet composting and no till improves soil tilth while also expending fewer

organic vegetable gardening techniques

The best organic vegetable gardening techniques naturally conserve precious resources such as water. Photo by Chris Bence c/o Photos.Com.

resources to have an abundantly producing vegetable garden. Though some watering has been necessary this very hot, dry season our garden is looking beautiful due to the sustainable techniques used.

The conditions this growing season have been challenging due to the lack of rainfall. It is very important that home gardeners start integrating water and energy saving methods into their gardening practices, as well as making smart plant selection choices that will weather drought conditions.

Read the original article here at blogs.e-rockford.com:

Writer Margaret Larson has added a few very useful and important tips for using water that conserves it but still puts it to best use in her own organic vegetable garden.

Vegetables cannot go dormant in times of drought like your typical lawn does, says Extension Horticulture Educator, Candice Miller. Therefore additional watering is necessary to sustain a productive vegetable garden in these times of drought.

In the vegetable garden, there are certain periods of growth in particular where having moisture is especially important. As a rule of thumb, water is most critical during the first few weeks of development, immediately after transplanting, and during flowering and fruit production.

Anytime there are fruits (squash, cucumber, eggplant, tomatoes for example) or pods being filled (peas, snap beans), water needs to be uniformly available. In addition, sweet corn requires even moisture from the time flowers (silks) are pollenated through kernel fill. Therefore, gardeners should be monitoring their garden right now to see what is producing fruit at all times in order to properly water.

Make sure you read about all of Margaret’s watering recommendations here:

The best organic vegetable gardening techniques always seek to maximize the use of scarce resources. This is in keeping with what nature does, and is always sustainable over the long run. As our climate shifts due to natural or man made causes, we’ll all have to become more conscious of the resources we do have stewardship over and how we all need to make the best use of them.

Let me know what you think and whether you are doing anything to conserve water in  your area. Please feel free to click on the like button to share this with a like-minded friend.

Weather means more when you have a garden. There’s nothing like listening to a shower and thinking how it is soaking in around your green beans.   —  Marcelene Cox