In my Dad’s words, “don’t plant your garden before Memorial Day”.  Most farmers in New England are afraid of frost in the spring.  He was planting summer crops.

         Square Foot Gardening provides many exciting possibilities.  The traditional gardener plants in rows.  You can cover the long rows with plastic in early spring.  This technique is difficult to do with such big pieces of plastic.  The Square Foot Garden accommodates a frame that gives the plastic structure.  You now have a mini greenhouse or several greenhouses.

         On February 21st gardens get almost the same sun exposure as on August 21st.  On a recent bicycle trip to the Netherlands, it became obvious to me that sun is much more important to plants than air temperature.  It was cold in May.  They control the temperature with greenhouses and provide many parts of Europe with vegetables.  They get lots of sun after March 21st

         We also need to consider that winter crops don’t like hot weather.  If we are going to successfully grow local in small areas, we need to utilize the land to our full advantage.

         Please think about finding a balance.  Too many environmental purists often see things in black or white.  If you would like a green salad in April you will need to buy tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers.  The salad greens will be perfect at that time of the year however the other three listed ingredients may need to come from the South or from a heated industrial greenhouse using grow lights.  Or, we may want to adapt just a little and find a few creative receipts.  Please, let’s not get into the all or nothing mode. 

         The Square Foot Gardener should start now to plan for late winter / early spring.  Tasks are fairly simple: build the frame, and make the mix.  As soon as the ground thaws you can level the raised bed and dump your Mel’s mix.  With the structure preplanned for the greenhouse portion you are about an hour away from the planting process.

         Please contact me if you would like some help with any part of your project.  We all need to take responsibility for our carbon foot print.  We can all contribute One Square Foot at a Time.  Let’s have some fun! 


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