No Need to Weed
May 17, 2011You can have your veggies and eat them too - without pulling up handfuls of weeds. Square-foot gardening, a concept first made popular by Mel Bartholomew in the '80s, is back in style. The method uses 3-by-3 foot raised beds to get a high yield of produce in a small space.
The benefits of square-foot gardening are numerous, says biology instructor Janet Thompson. By planting strategically, Thompson's square-foot garden takes care of itself. She uses a lot of vertical space. For example, her cucumbers and pumpkins grow vertically, which seems out of the ordinary.
"It's really weird to see pumpkins in the air," she says.
The vertically grown plants shade shorter plants, successfully eliminating weeds. Another benefit is the small space - no need for a farm. Rooftops, decks and other nontraditional spaces easily accommodate the raised beds.
If you are ready to start your own square-foot garden, she has a few tips:
* Start small. Start with one raised bed and go from there.
* Prepare your soil well. Thompson's secret ingredient is compost. She has her own compost pile, but many cities offer free compost for the taking. "When in doubt, add compost," Thompson says.
* Plant what you like. For flowers, plant what you like to look at. For fruits and vegetables, plant what you will eat. "Don't plant cucumbers if you won't eat them," she says.
Come learn about square-foot gardening from Thompson. Bring your bag lunch and come at noon, Thursday, May 19, in Jones 220. RSVP to Sue Ellingson at firstname.lastname@example.org.