Sunday, June 13, 2010

We grow things...

Swedish Ivy.
Wandering Jew.
Spider plant.
Bell peppers.
Green beans.

Last year Matt and I were members of Victory Acres in Upland - our local Community Supported Agriculture farm. We LOVED it!
Actually, I signed up, and sent the deposit in before we got married, because according to my rational, it was still MY money, and I didn't need to consult with Matt. On the first distribution weekend (late May), I picked up our small bag of produce, and then tried to explain to Matt why we owed MORE money, and why CSA was such a GREAT idea! It took several more weekend pickups - all of which continually grew in size, before he was convinced and then tried to recruit his parents for this year!

This winter the reality of not having fresh, organic, locally grown produce available to me was devastating (okay, maybe I'm being a little dramatic). However, I was frustrated with myself for not taking advantage of the "you pick" extras at the farm, and canning/freezing/drying tomatoes, green beans, and herbs - to name a few. Around November, as I opened another can of store-bought tomatoes, I knew I had to take advantage of our membership this summer, and maybe try my hand at a garden. I've been pretty successful at keeping other plants alive - swedish ivy, wandering jew, and a spider plant (I grew all the live plant center pieces at our wedding reception - knowing it would save a TON of money!).

Somewhere in the rush of holiday shopping, Julie needed another idea for me, and Matt mentioned I wanted to start a garden this summer. Out of all the gardening books on the market, they happened to pick up a copy of "Square Foot Gardening" (SFG). I read it in 1 day over Christmas break, and was convinced that Mel Bartholomew is a GENIUS, and that I could grow things successfully in a garden.

One weekend in April, after we thought we would be sticking around for at least another year, Matt and I having acquired everything we needed for our SFG, started the process.

There's a few things I've learned in the process:
SFG is really SIMPLE!
When you start out, keep your SFG book handy - so you can make informed decisions about what and how many to plant!
Zucchini, broccoli, and potato plants are FAR TALLER than I imagined.
You should probably only plant ONE zucchini plant in ONE square.
It's far less overwhelming for potential house buyers (who probably aren't gardeners) to take on a 4x4 ft square of plants.
Broccoli heads turn to flowers if you don't harvest them fast enough.
When we finally made the cognitive decision to establish roots, EVERYTHING changed.
Moving companies don't move Square Foot Gardens.

Does anyone happen to know what zone NW Arkansas is in?
The good news is; based on my limited research, if I cover my SFG in Arkansas, it should keep enough heat in to actually continue to produce over the winter!

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