Saturday, July 21, 2007

STOGROW Farm Open House... and Square Foot Gardening

I stopped by the STOGROW farm open house this afternoon. STOGROW is St. Olaf College's student-run garden research and organic works farm. The farm uses organic and sustainable methods to produce fresh produce that it sells to the Bon Appetit kitchens on campus. Bon Appetit then uses the produce in daily meals for St. Olaf students and for the various organizations that visit St. Olaf during the summer.

Not only does the farm feature enough tomato and squash plants to feed an army, it is an educational garden, demonstrating a variety of techniques such as raised beds, French intensive double-dug beds, and square-foot gardening (read on for more about that).

Mel Bartholomew's book Square Foot Gardening, and now a companion website, advocates planting modest amounts in neatly divided square-foot plots, making them easy to take care of and allowing people to grow some of their own food in a small space. I highly recommend it for people who would like to do just that. His website shows permanently constructed divided beds, but you can approach the technique more simply; I've often just laid twigs on the ground to mark my squares.

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