June 9, 2010

My Square Inch Garden

Although apartment-dwelling has the benefit of sharing heat and land, garden space is a rarity at most buildings. Certainly it is where I live. I have tried to promote gardening on site, but to no avail. So armed with what I had on hand, and a desire not to buy anything, I started my 144 square inch space-reduced gardens. (Or 1 square foot, or .1 square meter)

My patio is shaded for most of the day, and is exposed to relentless winds coming off the ocean. It is not the best situation for growing copious amounts of food. That is not to say, though, that nothing can be grown. Witness above our efforts at providing a bit of fresh food.

My project started with two shrinking potatoes sprouting eyes. Previously I had rescued several garden containers from the recycling area, and now with my spuds in mind I took a walk down the beach. I accessed a spot where topsoil had fallen from the eroding land above. I carried a few buckets of rich, free soil home and plunked the potatoes into the 1 square foot container. Much to my surprise the potatoes came up.

Feeling bolstered by my potato experiment I transplanted another square foot of edibles. It is amazing the things that people throw out - herbs for example. We rescued several herbs from certain death due to neglect and wound up with oregano, mint, chives, and parsley. These were replanted in their new home. All of the herbs survived through the mild winter last year, and are again providing fresh highlights to many meals.

The potatoes did amazingly well, and we harvested and enjoyed four meals of fresh potatoes in the fall. The two potatoes destined for the garbage were converted into fresh food using free plants, containers and soil. The bounty of nature is inspiring. It gives and it gives, even in my square inch garden.

The other day Linda pointed out that the space-reduced garden matches our calorie-reduced diet. Fewer calories - smaller garden. Maybe small can be beautiful once again. We will let you know how our sprouted kidney beans make out this year.

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