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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Aquaponic Square Foot Gardening?

Mel Bartholomew's Square Foot Gardening Logo

In 1981 Mel Bartholomew published his book "Square Foot Gardening," followed by a PBS show highlighting Mel's technique for growing lots of plants in small raised-bed gardens. You can buy "Mel's Mix" at national hardware stores, and I've seen raised beds for sale everywhere from local nurseries to Walmart.

The Square Foot Gardening community has a huge number of blogs dedicated to techniques useful to anyone engaged in intensive home gardening. If you're doing aquaponics, you can skip the soil-related part. But the "when" and "where" of planting is still valid.

Since I'm frankly a neophyte when it comes to gardening, I was thrilled to come across "My Square Foot Garden," a super cute website put together by a lady named Emily, who lives in my former home town, Lehi, Utah.

Emily's "My Square Foot Garden" website

Emily's got a lot of nice information on planting at her site, and she's developed a "Planting by Color" system that explains when to plant seeds, set seed into the garden, etc., based on you spring and fall "colors." [Since she lives north of the equator, her system is currently geared towards summers that occur around July.] If you sign up for Emily's free newsletter, she'll send you e-mails that prompt you when to start different types of seeds and when it's safe to plant them outside.

Emily's "Colors"

I'm a smart person. I know my USDA Growing Zone (7a) and I can read the fine print on my seed packets. But why figure it out for myself when other gardeners have already done all the leg work, particularly if they're offering it for free! If e-mails and/or websites aren't enough for your needs, you can buy Mel Bartholomew's "New Square Foot Gardening" at Emily's Planting by Color and Gardening for Beginners are available as eBooks

Now all I have to do is figure out how best to adapt their excellent advice to my aquaponic system...

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