Saturday, April 16, 2005

Grow Your Own

here are two very interesting websites.


the first is square foot gardening, a concept developed by mel bartholomew. someone gave me his first book many years ago. i admit that i have never been as rigorous as he advises in spacing and organization, but his book was an immense help to me in starting to grow flowers and food. the basic unit is a four foot square growing-bed, either raised, boxed, rock-bordered, or otherwise bounded. come on. you have a 4' by 4' space outside somewhere. ok. maybe you can manage a 2' by 4', or 3' by 5', whatever. mel divides his basic space into square feet, enforcing the structure by actual physical markers. he provides a spacing for everything you might want to grow in terms of a square foot: how many in a square foot at what spacing. bigger plants? no problem; use 2 or more square feet. climbing plants? put a trellis on the north side. the value i see in this approach is that it provides boundaries. there is no worry about the fringes. here is your basic 4' by 4' plot, subdivided into 1 foot squares. put 9 carrots or 9 zinnias in the first square and move on to the next square. you can weed this--really.

check out his website. i recommend the book for the diagrams alone, but he provides lots of useful ideas about soil and water. plus inspiring pictures of gardens.

michael Posted by Hello

the other is metrofarm by our friend from santa cruz, michael olson. he has a truly grand vision of growing food for profit as a business on small plots in or near cities. he also provides a wealth of information for us as citizens and consumers of food.

this is from his homepage:

"Abraham Lincoln said, "The greatest fine art of the future will be the making of a comfortable living from a small parcel of land." That future is today with metropolitan agriculture. Consider the numbers: Where the average acre of farmland in Iowa earns $322, the average acre within the city limits of San Francisco earns $123,000 (Census of Agriculture)."

his weekly radio program is available live on many stations and on the internet. the website also offers streamed or downloadable recordings of recent programs. how about show #437 :
Guest: University of Texas Biochemist Dr. Donald Davis

Subject: Technology has made it possible to grow more crops in less space. Science, however, proves that we are getting fewer nutrients from those foods. And so we pause to ask, "Where have all the nutrients gone?"

Topics include how the nutrient content of five-decades of food were measured and compared; how today's foods have up to 53% fewer nutrients than foods of 50 years past; and what impact, if any, nutrient-light crops might have on the people who eat them.
other shows cover topics like "fairness in fair trade," "food as medicine," earthworms, olive oil, bees in agriculture, and fluoride. the current weekly highlight is a fascinating list of the relative pesticide residue on a long list of fruits and vegetables available at your supermarket.

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