Dating back to the early days of living on my own I had a desire to grow things. Being a cocky twenty-one year old, with naivety in abundance, I thought it would be the easiest thing to do. I mean, how difficult could it be to grow plants indoors and flowers in the garden ? Well, I quickly learned that I wasn’t one of the lucky few for whom plants thrived on neglect. Time, or rather the lack of it, appeared to be a major consideration in determining my level of success with horticulture (or pretty much anything).
Did I mention I was 21…and of course time (and money) were the most precious of commodities. Needless to say, my brief endeavors, although well-intentioned, ultimately culminated in the demise of the plants in my ‘care’. After several failed attempts, I at least possessed sufficient common-sense to realize that perhaps these weren’t the ideal circumstances in which to flourish and I quickly abandoned the project. Nonetheless, despite the lack of green fingers a seed had been sown in the depths of my brain which would resurface at regular intervals until I gave it the attention it craved.
Fast forward fifteen years and after relocating to Connecticut, the urge was manifested in a desire to grow citrus plants. Now obviously citrus plants are typically grown in warmer climates than Connecticut, however compared to Scotland this should be a breeze. Or not !! Once again, my initial enthusiasm overcame practicality and I purchased a Meyer Lemon and a Key Lime in late Spring. After a few months of sitting on my deck, they flowered and started to bear fruit. Wow, my gardening abilities really had progressed, although I wasn’t sure how – maybe by osmosis or something. I was overjoyed to harvest several lemons and limes and with renewed vigor I tended my babies. That is, until Winter duly arrived. I at least knew enough to bring them indoors, but the dry, warm air had a detrimental effect and they never flowered again, eventually succumbing a short time later.
During the Winter of 2012/2013 my attention was repeatedly drawn to the seeds in the sweet red and green peppers that I would regularly prepare to eat and the urge burst forth once again that I should plant some and see what happened. During a routine trip to Ocean State Joblot (a discount chain) I was captivated by the allure of the Burpee seed display and impulse purchased several packets of vegetables. Living in a condo doesn’t really provide for mass plantings, but I decided to utilize numerous pots and planters that were idling on the back patio.
To cut a long story short (as if), the yield was significantly more than I had anticipated and I was inspired to try again in 2013. This time I would research my options and maximize the return. After much reading, my thoughts were suitably distilled and a plan emerged using a technique that was completely new to me, Square Foot Gardening. I devoured Mel Bartholomew’s quintessential book and corroborated the teachings with all the online sources I could find. SFG seemed like the right path forward for me, but now the real work would start.
Coming next…Planning the square foot garden’s location.