September 10, 2020
Square Foot Gardening
Well, friends, this isn’t the CTG fall season I envisioned a few months ago. I bet you feel the same way about how fall “is falling” in your sphere!
At least September’s annual cool weather tease deflected the 4th hottest summer on record. Hard-baked soil, moistened by long awaited rains, brought forth Oxblood lilies. Dubbed “schoolhouse lilies,” this year they trumpet a new take on “back to school” for many parents.
Covid-19 hasn’t changed one thing: It’s time to prep our cool weather gardens. This week, we get you back to growing with square foot gardens.
Steve Bartholomew from the Square Foot Gardening Foundation meets with host John Hart Asher to explain what they are, how to create them, and why they’re so productive for home gardeners.
When Steve joined us in February on a swing through Texas, he told us that his dad, Mel Bartholomew, pioneered the concept in the 1970s in response to discouraged gardeners trying to plant like farmers.
Mel, a retired engineer, devised raised square foot beds that require no fertilizer, avoid soil compaction and weeds, and use less water.
In the 80s, when he hosted Square Foot Gardening on PBS, the idea deeply rooted with gardeners who responded to the ever-growing commitment for organic food.
Square foot gardens are even more popular today for gardeners with bad or little soil who want organically grown, abundant harvests in even small spaces. In large yards, make as many as you like!
In inner city urban neighborhoods, these raised beds make it possible for families to grow and eat fresh, organic food. Here’s the annual Great Zucchini Race in New Jersey with the tastiest hot rods I’ve ever seen!
The past months of sheltering at home (and now working/schooling from home) rocketed family gardening to engage busy hands and minds in a time-honored fave: getting dirty! Kids can really get into these gardens sized for them. Here’s a book to get your youngsters growing from the Square Foot Gardening Foundation.
To illustrate a Central Texas square foot garden, I pulled Ellen and Rick Bickling’s Leander square foot garden from the archives. Since March, Rick’s been partnering with the Square Foot Gardening Foundation on a new series of videos.
Plus, see how Ellen and Rick (The How Do Gardener) handled seasonal flooding with a dry creek bed. Note the fun picture frame garden art that Rick crafted to dress up the privacy fence.
There were some twists and turns to get this one out to you. On March 6, we recorded Daphne’s segment and Backyard Basics for an April broadcast. Before I could edit the whole program, Austin PBS responded to “stay at home” recommendations. Those timely segments didn’t fit into September’s “right here, right now” engagement.
Viewers came to the rescue! Over late spring and summer, they emailed pictures, videos, and stories to document how our neighbors from across the state are growing beauty, discovery, and habitat.
I compiled the stories (more to come) and Daphne recorded her script from home on her phone, supervised by Augie, of course!
Since we’re heading (safely) back to nurseries for fall planting, I slotted in John Dromgoole’s previously recorded segment that shows how to inspect roots for healthy plants.
I signed on for high speed fiber internet to handle large upload and download video files. Once my office edit computer and all of CTG’s video and graphics were installed at home, I was able to complete the program and send to final editor Paul Sweeney, who polished it off and uploaded for distribution to PBS stations and PBS online.
As I turned off the computer that night, I sat back and said right out loud, “Who would have thunk?”
Thanks for stopping by! See you next week, Linda