Square Foot Gardening / Trump

You could be thinking that nothing might be more distant from Donald Trump’s mind than Organic Farming.  He might be the king of fast food right now as in Kentucky Fried Chicken.


Just picture in your mind the Obama and Trump news clip when they first met at the White House after the election.  It is obvious from the photograph that Barack is eating vegetables out of Michelle’s White House Garden while Donald is opening up the fried chicken and fries.

Your bottom line as well as mine is that during the Trump administration, big business and industrial farming will have an economic edge over the local organic farmer.  If you want to buy organic it will be expensive.  Get ready to pay high prices.  I might add that I read the magazine Farming.  The articles are full of information about GMO’s, pesticides and herbicides.  Big farmers are tied into the chemical companies for added productivity and improved profitability.

Square Foot Gardening and growing vegetables can be a challenge.  There are seven necessary steps to be successful: composting, germination, planting, watering, weeding, timely harvesting and preparing the food nutritiously.  It is really not easy to complete all the steps and there is some science involved.  There are many helpful sources for information.  Googling topics can provide necessary assistance.

Along the way we can all look better as we bend and lift while watching our vegetables grow.   We can all do this, One Square Foot at a Time.



My neighbor is a construction manager working on mall outside of Boston, Massachusetts.  The mall is being built on a former apple orchard.  The project has had some obstacles.  The amount of arsenic in the soil exceeds acceptable levels by the EPA.  The contaminated soil cannot be removed from the parcel of land which means the construction company must bury the soil under payment or mix it with uncontaminated soil to reduce the percentage of arsenic in the end product.


When farmers spray pesticides, the unblemished apples, big red peppers or perfect melons all look so good.  Beware the perfect fruits and vegetables because they may not be as perfect as you think.  When the arsenic in the pesticide was sprayed, there was enough to kill small insects.  As the rain fell, contaminates soaked into the soil.  The apple tree’s roots absorb the chemicals.   The accumulative effect has caused big problems for the developer.  What has been the effect of the arsenic on you and especially on young children?

It might be worth considering Square Foot Gardening.  BEWARE: being an organic gardener may take some time to learn.  Mel Bartholomew’s book Square Foot Gardening might be a good place to start.  Warning, don’t just skim the book, read it.

Zika – Mosquito Control

In Yoro, Honduras as well as a home we are trying to control mosquitoes using plants that are natural repellents.



The url above shares with us the plants that can make a difference in our lives as well as in the lives of others in countries where the zika virus is a real threat to especially unborn children.

Students at the Honduras Hope sponsored dormitory are propagating plants which will be shared with people whose homes are one room buildings without screens.  Our goal is to turn the land adjacent to the dormitory buildings into a place to propagate these plants.  The students are already growing food there.  With their skills they will be able to  grow useful  mosquito repellent plants to distribute to people in other under served communities.  The target homes will be those of expectant mothers.

Food Sources

Genetically modified organisms, chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides.  They are probably all used to grow tomatoes in Honduras.


This little boy will probably eat whatever he is fed.  The dilemma comes down to something that is very simple: hunger.  What would you tell that little boy about  eating that tomato?


Weak Plants Need Poison


The kale in the photo grew continuously for two years.  (This photo was taken when I first planted this kale.)  I haven’t added any compost or worm castings to the Mel’s Mix since the kale was first planted.  I noticed in September that aphids were beginning to multiple on the leaves.  Yesterday I ripped up and composted the kale; aphids were everywhere.

I also planted a new crop of kale in a different location.  There are no aphids on those plants.  Disease attacks weak plants.  The freshly planted kale plants are growing in compost, worm castings, vermiculite and peat moss.  In a raised bed the soil mixture needs to be added to each time there are new plantings.  With SFGs we are not using chemicals to fertilize the crops.

When you pay more at the grocery store for organic crops there is a reason. We could have sprayed the infested kale, killed the aphids and then what remains are weak plants.  In that case we would have been eating two things; plants lacking nutritional value and and the poison from the pesticides.


Are they GMOs?


These lettuce plants have made it through two nights of freezing weather. The past two mornings there has been an inch of ice around the house and yet look at the plants in the picture.

Who knows what is in a seed?  Labeling seed packages should be the right of consumers.

Shifting Water Cycles

It is sad to see all of the damage in the Carolina’s from the flooding.  I am not sure how any community deals with two feet of rainfall.  However around the world we are just starting to think about water conservation.  A friend sent me an interesting article on water conservation in Israel.   https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?tab=wm#inbox/14fdc5d9921c324b


Take a look in the mirror and ask yourself what you are currently doing.  In most Massachusetts cities and town there are groups that sell and encourage the use of rain barrels.   In South Carolina the drinking water is contaminated and people are desperate to find potable water.  One rain barrel, and a Brita type water filter can provide a clean source of water from your roof.  Just as extra safety, the water can be boiled as well.

We currently use rainwater for our gardens.  In case of emergency we have an amble supply of water from eight rain barrels around the house.  You and I can ask government to find an expensive solution to water conservation or we might consider becoming proactive and a advocate for collecting water, reducing runoff and providing ourselves with an insurance policy if and when we experience a freak act of nature.

The Enemy

My wife and I were at a language conference in L.A. and we were winding down at the bar.  We met a very personable lawyer who was in town representing Monsanto Chemical Company.  He was from the Philadelphia and had been working there for seventy six days and counting.


Monsanto was fighting a law suit.  The Company was being sued for making and distributing a chemical that had been proven to be a carcinogen.  The Company’s defense is that at the time that they sold this particular item, they did not know that it was a health hazard and therefore should not have to take responsibility for the dangerous content and the liability.

Recently the World Health Organization declared Roundup a probable carcinogen.  The herbicide glyphosate is the active probable harmful ingredient found in Roundup.

You can read the entire blog that speaks to this issue by copying and pasting the following link.


Double Cropping

Double-cropping may be used now that global warming has become a reality in parts of the United States.  I learned this from an editorial in this month’s Successful Farming.

What does this mean?  Land that is already depleted of minerals will be more vulnerable.  Nutrient poor soil makes plants more susceptible to pests.  Farmers will need to use more chemicals on their crops.  With double-cropping the buildup of the chemicals in the soil will become more concentrated in the soil.  The end result is that your food supply will contain more contaminates.

Where does your food come from?  Kids and some adults will tell you that they come from the grocery store.

Square foot gardening is not an all or nothing opportunity.  It allows us understand what is going into the food that we harvest.  It also makes us more curious about the products that we buy at the market.  The SFG can be done in most urban areas or on a small space.  It will become an educational experience that tastes good.