Sunday, June 5, 2022

My Pandemic Garden and the Wisdom of Thinking Small

Does anybody else have a pandemic garden that looks like this... empty... nothing growing in it because now we are all out traveling and having grand adventures? I got so deeply into gardening during the pandemic that we tore out all the grass that was previously growing here. I even invested in a composter. See it in the corner in the picture below? I think the same gunk is in it from a year ago. I'm a little afraid to open it, to be honest. Thank goodness my husband knows me well enough to have suggested (rather strongly) that I start my agricultural project on the side of the house that no one can see. Right now it's just empty space. In a few weeks, there will be weeds to deal with. That's what happens when you take out the grass and leave nothing but dirt and bark mulch.

Gardening is one of the topics in my summer series on Tips for Connecting Books with Summer Fun. Getting kids involved in gardening is a good way to expand their background knowledge in science. Even my grown kids got involved in this garden. My son helped me tear out the grass and my daughter watered and weeded. Now they are both off to new adventures in graduate school, which is part of the reason my garden looks so empty.

Recently, I came across Grow All You Can Eat in 3 Square Feet: Inventive Ideas for Growing Food in a Small Space by DK Publishing. Many people live in apartments or may rent a house and don't have permission to dig up the grass to plant vegetables. Even if you have a large yard, there can be good reasons for starting a garden in a small space. During the pandemic, many people in my neighborhood started planting gardens. I wasn't the only one, but now many of their gardens look like mine. I forgot about the wisdom of thinking small and starting with something not only manageable in the short term but sustainable for the long term. I wish I had come across this book then.

Grow All You Can Eat provides colorful photographs and step-by-step directions for things you would expect like container gardens and window boxes, but there are also tips on planting vegetables in a reusable shopping bag and building a fence trellis out of old bicycle wheels. There are many tips that are useful even if you have more space such as how to extend the growing season, making use of the space between plants with intercropping, and planting slow crops with fast-growing crops.

If you would rather try a community garden, check out the post earlier in May about Books on Community Gardening and Pollination.

To be honest, I will most likely spend this summer enjoying the fruits of other gardeners' labor at my local farmer's market.

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