Things are starting to green up around this part of the Rim Country, so more than a few folks are itching that gardening bug bite.
The people out at Plant Fair Nursery have been helping that little gardening bug along in the last few weeks. They recently had a rose workshop and another on vegetable gardening for yourself and the farmers’ market. This week, at 10 a.m., Saturday, March 13, there will be a program on Square Foot Gardening and at the end of the month, at 10 a.m., Saturday, March 27 a presentation on Color in Your Garden is planned.
More than two years ago I started reading about Square Foot Gardening, so I was so excited there was going to be a program on it here, I went out to Plant Fair (and sent our staff photographer Andy Towle as well) a whole week ahead of time. I wasn’t too embarrassed; this way I can share information from the presenters Rod and Brenda Ross and perhaps entice some Rim Review readers to attend the program.
According to that wonderful Web site wikipedia.org:
Square Foot Gardening is the practice of planning small, but intensively planted gardens. Mel Bartholomew popularized it in a 1981 Rodale Press book and subsequent PBS television series.
Bartholomew now has The Square Foot Gardening Foundation, which sponsored the Square Foot University three-day symposium the Rosses attended last fall and earned formal certification to be trainers in the practice.
That practice combines concepts from other organic gardening methods, including a strong focus on compost, closely planted raised beds and attention to a small, clearly defined area.
The Square Foot Gardening method uses an open-bottomed box, with a weed barrier on the ground and then filled with a finite amount of gardening soil, which was divided with a grid into sections. To encourage variety of different crops over time, each square would be planted with a different kind of plant, the number of plants per square depending on an individual plant’s size. A single tomato plant might take a full square, as might herbs such as oregano, basil or mint, while most strawberry plants could be planted four per square, with up to 16 radishes per square. Tall or climbing plants such as maize or pole beans might be planted in a northern row (south in the southern hemisphere) so as not to shade other plants, and supported with lattice or netting.
Rod and Brenda have only used the Square Foot Gardening method for one season, but were impressed enough with it to take the certification training in Eden, Utah last fall, Brenda said.
There were about three dozen people in their symposium. “It was wonderful,” Brenda said – Rod was out plotting another Square Foot Gardening spot when I called to do this interview. Brenda said Rod is thinking about having up to four plots for the coming season.
They have gardened using traditional methods in the past, but do not consider themselves master gardeners.
She said the Square Foot Gardening system lives up to its promise of using less water, having fewer weeds, being more accessible and less work. Brenda said Bartholomew’s belief is that by using less space to garden, you get all the other benefits.
The program at 10 a.m., Saturday, March 13 at Plant Fair in Star Valley will be a basic introduction to Square Foot Gardening and last about an hour. The Rosses hope to have some of Bartholomew’s Square Foot Gardening available for purchase at the time.
The Color in Your Garden program at 10 a.m., Saturday, March 27 will cover color bowls, perennials and annuals, plus bulbs.
Plant Fair Nursery is at 3497 E. Hwy. 260 in Star Valley, it is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturdays and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays. There are lots of free handouts and wonderful, friendly staff available to help answer your gardening questions.