I really love this article, because it records my first real step in becoming a consciously sustainable person. I don’t mean going green or environmentally conscious or any other nebulous phrase that suggests some effort in environmental awareness without actually being concrete enough to define a measurable standard.
I’ve taken tentative steps before, but now that I’ve done my research, I know what true sustainability is, I know it’s our highest goal, and I know how to achieve it. I decided to start this journey towards total sustainability by starting to become a producer. Yes, of course I will continue to consume, and for now there are a lot of holes in my game, but I am also becoming a producer, and it feels great.
I buy Brand New Square Foot Landscaping because I had heard good things about it and wanted to start growing my own fruits and vegetables with the least amount of hassle. I know hydroponics is the most efficient way to grow anything, but it’s a pretty tricky starting point. Square Foot Gardening seemed to be a good simple solution from the outside to the inside. But would it work?
After reading it and purchasing the materials to start my own square foot garden, I must say that it really does provide a very easy way to start growing your own food. Among the many great things about this method is that it can be done in any living environment, even on an apartment balcony. I highly recommend this book to people like me who don’t want to deal with the hassles of gardening. Author Mel Bartholomew provides a step-by-step process for building your pot, mixing the perfect soil, planting, growing, and harvesting. Without fertilizers. Without pesticides. It’s something good.
It took me less than a week to read the book, buy the supplies, assemble the box, mix the soil, and plant my vegetables. Costs are not mentioned by the author, so I’m going to list my material costs right here, for your benefit:
- Heirloom Seeds (more on Heirloom in my next blog): 8 Packs – $ 23.25
- Lumber: (1) plywood sheet + (2) 2×6 redwood – $ 28.59
- Soil mix: vermiculite + peat + compost – $ 80.93
- Grid: 5/8 “x 1/4” trim board – $ 14.98
- Total cost: $ 147.75
- Working time: about 8 man hours
This was more than I expected, but most of the costs are one-time. The only ongoing costs are fertilizer and seed. If you compost yourself, that item is removed. With Mel’s technique, seed use and waste is significantly reduced compared to traditional row gardening, so seed packets can last up to five years.
So what is the payoff?
I’ll have to wait and find out for myself, but according to the book, here’s a vintage example of a 4×4 box:
- 1 cabbage
- 1 broccoli
- 1 cauliflower
- 4 heads of romaine lettuce
- 4 heads of red lettuce
- 4 lettuce leaves
- 4 heads of lettuce for salad
- 16 chives
- 5 pounds. sugar peas
- 8 chard
- 9 bunches of spinach
- 32 carrots
- 32 radishes
- 16 beets
I calculated this theoretical harvest at my local grocery store, and it came to over $ 115.00. If you have two growing seasons per year (this is typical), you will be in the bonus after the second harvest.
You’ve probably heard a million times about “getting back in touch with nature” so I’m not going to bore you with that. What I mean is that the project is a lot of fun, it’s a fantastic way to beautify your garden, it has endless possibilities for adaptation and creativity, and it’s one of the greenest things you can do. Sometimes I think green can be summed up in one phrase: DIY or buy local. That’s the long and the short.
The book is much more detailed and comprehensive than this little summary suggests, so I highly recommend that you buy it, read it, and bring it to life in your garden.
There are a few other items that I would like to mention before signing and that I will expand on in future blogs.
As I mentioned before, my research has determined that hydroponic farming is the most efficient, and I love the idea, but it requires more money up front than a square foot garden. However, I will go ahead with this in the future, so stay tuned.
One technique that I will try on future crops is living water. I’m not going to do it in this first season, so this first performance can be considered as a control in my little experiment. For those of you unfamiliar with the work of Victor Shauberger or Masaru Emoto, water can have amazing regenerative and vitalizing properties with the correct energy charge. As with hydroponics, I will clarify in the near future.
Well, one last note from the near future. One method that is out of the square foot gardening book that I experimented with is the seed planting process mentioned in Anastasia, the first book in the Ringing Cedars series. I’m late for this party, I just finished the first book, but all I can say is wow! That book has already contributed enormously to the paradigm shift, and the material is excellent, but I’m not going to take it at word. I will review that book in the near future and let you know how effective the practical tips in that book are based on the outcome of my harvest.
That’s all I have for now. Happy Easter and love to all,
Finally, a one-stop vena for a lifespan of craft plans!