Saturday, February 11, 2012

Do the Weather Hokey-Pokey!

Wait! I thought Spring had sprung!
Old Man Winter has finally decided to pay us a visit this year. As I told you before, it's been a very warm winter... Until today! It is 29°F as I write this at around 10:30pm, with a very cold, biting wind out there. According to the Weather Channel, it feels like 21° with the wind chill.

It is supposed to get down to 22° tonight, and the high is supposed to be only up to 43° tomorrow. Then, we'll be bouncing back up to highs in the upper 60's by the middle of next week. We've had trees budding, ants coming out of hibernation, frogs croaking, birds singing, insects in the house, you name it. As I promised, here are a couple pictures I took a few days ago. I must admit, however, that I have no idea what types of trees these are. The first one is in my front yard, and the second in the back yard.

I mentioned in my last post that with all the warm weather we've had, I was feeling as if I was getting a late start on my planting. Today, I don't feel so bad. We still have time.

And the learning continues...
I have been discussing starting a square foot garden this year. As my reference, I have been using two things: the SFG website, and a copy of Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew checked out from the local library. During this past week, I took a glance at the copyright on it and realized it was the old version of the book. So I broke down and purchased my own copy of the book on my Kindle Fire. Mel Bartholomew wrote a second edition (in 2006, I believe), entitled All New Square Foot Gardening, taking advantage of all he had learned since the first edition was published in 1981. That's 25 years of experience, not to mention the five-or-so years he spent developing the original method prior to publishing the first book!

In Chapter 1, Introduction, Mel lays out the history of SFG from 1975 through 2005. I found it to be  a very inspiring story, not only from a gardening point of view, but also from a business point of view. I am an entrepreneur, so I like to hear and read stories of other entrepreneurs' successes. He mentions how he went into retirement on more than one occasion, and came out again for one reason or another. He relates travelling all over, teaching his method to many people, and later starting a non-profit organization specifically for this purpose. The organization teaches people in "developing" nations how to adapty the method to their area, thus helping them to become more self-reliant. This is a favorite subject of mine. I am a strong advocate of giving a man a fish now, when he is in immediate need, and then teaching him how to fish so he can take care of his own future needs.

As I have been reading through the book, I have found where I had a few minor misconceptions about the method that needed correcting. I also learned some things I hadn't known before. For example, in Chapter 3, Plan Your Garden, he has a section entitled, "How Much Is Enough?" In that section, he says that a single "4 x 4 Square Foot Garden box ... will supply enough produce to make a salad for one person every day of the growing season." He further says that a second box of the same size "will supply the daily supper vegetables for that person." So, a third box will allow that person to have extra on hand "for preserving, showing off, or giving away."
The one thing I keep in mind when reading his book, is that Mel is not giving us theory here. This isn't some "well, it works on paper" explanation. He has been using this method for well over 30 years now, and has taught it to many people throughout the world. The evidence of the effectiveness of the method is overwhelming. Now, I just need to follow the program and not try to reinvent the wheel!
The waiting continues, too!
For now, I have done most of what I can, except maybe to purchase supplies and materials, until it comes time to start my seeds. So, I'll just keep waiting for the calendar to march along, and wandering through the garden centers and nurseries. Thanks for reading. Talk to you again, next week!

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