ONE SQUARE FOOT AT A TIME - Square Foot Gardening

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ONESQUARE FOOT AT A TIMENewsletter of the Square Foot Gardening FoundationSpring 2021LET TER FROM THE FOUNDATIONGreetings!There’s a saying that goes,When life gives you lemons,make lemonade. While we inno way are trying to minimizethe seriousness of the ongoingCOVID pandemic, we also know that the rhythms of life go on. Springfollows winter and another season of growth—of opportunity—awaits each of us. As gardeners, this can mean trying a new vegetable(cucamelons, anyone?), adding a SFG bed (maybe use a top hat forthose deep-rooted crops), or even teaching someone the Square FootGardening method. But, what if you replace the word or with the wordand? Imagine the power in that. A person can only do what a person canLEARN HOW TO SFG—OR BECOME ACERTIFIED INSTRUCTOR!Clearly, you are someone who wants to learn how to grow your ownfood. Well, there’s no time like the present to take advantage of this greatopportunity to learn the SFG method from the source and/or to become aCertified Instructor (CI).Our 6-part introductory course teaches you all you need to know to growlots of produce—no gardening experience needed. You will receive terrificdownloadable charts and planning worksheets, plus access to our tutorialvideos. The worksheets cover helpful details such as compost recipes,planting reference charts, and bed building charts. You will earn yourcertificate of completion and be up and growing in no time.Level 2 is our Certified Instructor course that trains you to teach the SFGmethod. We cover what it means to be a CI, how to create and give greatSFG presentations, how to “think on your feet” if there are any presentationissues, following up, and how to market your events. And just like Level1, Level 2 comes complete with many handouts, templates, tutorials, andhow-tos—including a basic PowerPoint to adapt for your, but we often sell ourselves short.People can accomplish more than theyrealize.What more can you accomplish in thisseason of growth? We’d like to know—drop us a line and send in your photos.We’re all rooting for you (yes . . . punintended).Happy Gardening!Laura & Steve BartholomewMEL’S MIXERSZoom withFellow CIsWe’re zooming and we’re Zooming!Are you a Certified Instructor? Want tomeet up with your fellow CIs to exchangesome ideas? Check your email to registerfor upcoming meet & greet events!During our virtual meet & greets, you’llbe able to share (and learn new) bestpractices, ask questions, and meet theBartholomews. It’s sure to be fun and wepromise you do not have to be a technowiz to participate in our Zoom calls.Now you can bundle both for 119! And remember—you must completeLevel 1 in order to advance to Level 2. Don’t wait—sign up today!For more info, please visit #squarefootgardening1

FEATURED CERTIFIED INSTRUCTORFeaturedCI: RobertD’AlimonteRobert greatly admired hisgrandfather, but it wasn’t until hisgrandfather’s death in 2003 that he,himself, began to be more curiousabout his Native American (and FirstNations) culture. He began to learnthe art of woodworking while hewas employed in healthcare IT, andthen eventually became interestedin gardening. “My grandfather wasa great gardener,” Robert says, “andmy mother enjoyed gardening, too,but was more interested in flowersthan in growing vegetables.”To understand Robert D’Alimonte’spassion for Square Foot Gardening,you also have to understand hispassion and commitment to hisNative American and First Nationsheritage and culture. Robert is amember of the Beaver Clan of theTuscarora Nation, a 10-square-milesovereign territory landlocked bythe state of New York northeast ofNiagara Falls.While at his IT job in 2010, he hadRobert makes SFG flags, featured in oura conversation with the CIO (ChiefCI April Giveaway.Information Officer) of his companythat would change the course of hisgardening. “What are you up to these days, Robert?” he was asked, to whichRobert responded, “I’m learning how to garden.”“You need to read this book, then,” the CIO said, later handing him a copy ofSquare Foot Gardening.Robert didn’t always live on theterritory; in fact, neither did hismother. His grandfather, Stan Hill,actually grew up on the Six NationsReserve in Ontario, Canada, thenmoved to Tuscarora, where he metRobert’s grandmother, a member ofthe Beaver Clan, and finally movedto Buffalo, NY, where Robert’smother was born. It wasn’t untilthe death of one of his sons thathis grandfather took stock of hisown life and began to embrace hisMohawk heritage.At age 55, Stan became an artistand learned the skill of bonecarving, inspiring many other familymembers to become artists as #squarefootgardeningSolar lights are installed on all SFG beds.2

Now, Robert and his partner, Murisa(of the Tuscarora Turtle Clan), live onher clan’s land and run TuscaroraWoodWorks while Robert useshis new SFG certification to teachothers how to grow food. “I lovespeaking to people and teaching—whatever it takes to get peopleto grow food, be healthy, andconserve resources!” he says.“My people follow the SeventhGeneration Principle,” Robertconcludes. “When we makedecisions, we consider the impactupon the seventh generationto follow us. It helps us to makesustainable choices about ourresources, and Square FootGardening is a part of that.”Robert’s multiple SFG beds and container plantings are growing strong!“I couldn’t believe how simple this method made growing vegetables,”Robert says, “and I got so interested in it that in my first year, I made six boxesand was amazed at how well those gardens grew!”Then in 2013, the course of Robert’s life changed when he moved to theTuscarora Nation. He’d wanted to learn more and more about his heritage,and as this quest led him to relocate, his passions for SFGing and for hisculture intersected.We’re thrilled that Robert has joinedour CI family—and in the wordsof the Tuscarora language, we sayNyà:wę (“thank you”) for everythinghe is doing not only for hiscommunity, but to make the worldaround him a better and healthierplace!“Native people have the highest rates of diabetes in the United States, higherthan any other racial or ethnic group,” says Robert. “We were an agriculturalculture and then, when our diets changed years ago, our health followedsuit.” Robert realized that SFGing could be a valuable bridge to their Nation’straditional ways of growing food, thereby healing their community throughtheir work and gardening.“Square Foot Gardening makes growing food so easy,” Robert explains, “but italso supports my culture’s values of being healthy and conserving resources,so it was a very natural thing for me to become passionate about.”Robert, whose Tuscarora name is Rayekwiratkyehná:we:k (“he shapes thewood”), decided to become a SFG Certified Instructor and just recentlyreceived his certification. “When I moved to the Tuscarora Nation in 2013,I read all the SFG books and then dove into the new curriculum. I blewthrough Level 1 and patiently waited for the Level 2 course to come out soI could finally get certified,” he laughs, “and although I knew a lot about theSFG Method, a couple of the certification quizzes really made me work for it!” #squarefootgardening3

IN THE KITCHEN WITH SFGSpringtimeLemony Peaand AsparagusPasta SaladIngredients 1 pound (16 ounces) uncookedpasta 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 pound asparagus, trimmed andcut into 1-inch pieces 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder dash black pepper 1 1/2 cups shelled peas 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 2 tablespoons chopped parsleyLemon Vinaigrette 1/2 cup olive oil 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice 2 tablespoon red wine vinegar zest of 1 lemon 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt 1/4 teaspoon fresh-cracked pepperDirections1. Cook the pasta in salted water according to the package directions. Drainand rinse under cold water; set aside.2. While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil (1 tbsp.) in a large skillet. Addthe asparagus, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Cook on medium-high for3 to 4 minutes until the asparagus is crisp-tender. Remove from the panand set aside. Rinse the peas in strainer with cool water; set aside to drain.3. Vinaigrette: In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, redwine vinegar, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Set aside.4. In a large serving bowl, combine the pasta, asparagus, and peas. Drizzlethe lemon vinaigrette over it all; toss to mix all ingredients. Sprinkle theParmesan cheese and parsley over the top. Gently toss again to mix.Garnish with additional Parmesan cheese and parsley if desired. Serveand enjoy!Easy-PeasySpring Peaswith MintPairing fresh peas with mint is atraditional favorite, and for goodreason.Ingredients 1 spring onion, sliced 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 cups shelled English peas 6 mint leaves, torn SaltDirectionsSauté the spring onion in the oliveoil over medium-high heat. Add thepeas, a pinch of salt, and enoughwater to barely cover. Cook overhigh heat for 2 minutes; then addthe torn mint leaves. Continuecooking until the peas are tender,about a few more minutes. Tasteand add more salt if #squarefootgardening4

FEATURED SQUARE FOOT GARDENBonjour from Switzerland!!Square Foot Gardening is universal and international as you can see inthis issue’s featured Square Foot Garden. Actually, Certified InstructorEmely Steegstra-Hendrix, living in Baar, Switzerland, has constructedseveral elevated beds that have a home on her balcony. Emely’s gorgeous,productive gardens show how much food you can raise even in constrictedspaces when you garden the SFG way. Merci, Emely!Fun with ArtThere are so many opportunities for creativityin Square Foot Gardening, and more pop up allthe time. I like to give kids the chance to reallydress up their Square Foot Garden box by addingplant markers for each square. The plant markers canbe attached to a stick that is stuck right into the square(being careful not to damage any plant roots!). PreschoolGrowers (2-5) will probably need to limit themselves todrawings, but Early Learners (6-9) , Terrific Tweens(10-13) , and Cultivating Teens (14 ) can all decide ifthey want to make pictures, use letters, include a combination, or do something totally unique (like a drawing ofBugs Bunny for the carrot square). The trick is to use amaterial that will stand up to the weather and sun exposure. You could use the plastic lid from a large containerof sour cream. Would that work? Why or why not? Howabout having Mom or Dad cut a pointed end on an extrapiece of lath or a paint stir stick (that you can get free fromthe home center or paint store)? You could paint, print, ordraw on that. You can even write or draw on a smoothrock. Maybe you could draw a face saying something like,“Mmmm, carrots?” That would be funny wouldn’t it! Let’shave our little gardeners open the vault of their imaginations and come up with their own ideas for plant markers.Then let’s think about all the artistic ways they can decorate the markers:KIDS’ CORNERDraw with colored or regular pencils. Or with “pastels” ormarkers.Paint, using watercolors or non-toxic paints of any type.Can you use nail polish? Well, maybe if it doesn’t comeanywhere near the Mel’s Mix! Here’s a hint: older kidsmight want to research homemade paints, like milk paint.Trace. Is there a way to trace a design onto your plantmarker? How would you do that, and what type of designscould you use?Scan and use computer programs. Maybe the TerrificTweens (10-13) and Cultivating Teens (14 ) want touse their computers to come up with a wild design. Theycan scan and play with pictures in a program, and thenprint them out.Let’s ask kids to come up with unusual designs, andmaybe even create a different plant marker for every different square in the box! There’s no reason they have tobe the same, is there? Imagine all the possibilities!Directions/Tips:If you’re looking for a fun, familyfriendly, and creative SFG project,here you go!Free paintThissticks fromfreeformthe hardware store or projectpaint store are fun toisdecorateas plant markersSFG. age rangealso easy andtouseadapttoin yourany— just get them started!961. Paint, color, and decoratethe sticks.S qua re Foot Ga rdeninG w i t h K idSPlant Markers from Paint Sticks001-192 40329.indd 96001-192 40329.indd 9612/3/13 5:24 PM12/3/13 4:52 PMJob: 11-40329 Title: Rp-Square Foot Gardening for Kids#175 DTP: 216 Page: 96TEXTMaterials Options Plant Markers to decorate: Paint sticks (which should be “free for the taking” from hardware,home-improvement, and paint stores) Popsicle sticks Pieces of lathe-cut wood, cut to about 6-10 inches long Paint, colored markers, colored pencils—any coloring or markingsupplies (but nothing toxic, such as fingernail polish, near food, please) Plant ID tags that come with container seedlings and/or seed packages2. Color-code the sticks to theproduce they will mark (greenfor lettuce, orange forpumpkins, etc.).3. Label the sticks by staplingseed packets or plant tags to thesticks, or by writing the names ofthe plants on the sticks.4. Trim the bottom ends of thesticks to pointed shapes tomore easily push the sticksdown into the Mel’s Mix #squarefootgardening5

SFG FOR PETSNow here’s a great idea! If you have a pet, you can create their very ownSquare Foot Garden, planted with food that they love. It’s a great way tovary their diet or add in treats with delicious, fresh produce, and you canpaint or decorate the SFG so everyone knows it belongs to Fido or Fluffy.or purchasing an affordable SquareInch Garden from Square FootGardening for the Red RiverValley.These SFGs for pets can produce food suitable for dogs, cats, guinea pigs,rabbits, chickens, and pot belly pigs, and they can be as large or as smallas you like — it all depends upon the size of your animals, how many youhave, and the type of food you want to grow. You don’t, however, wantyour pets meandering in your SFG, so consider using a chickenwire cage toprotect your beds if your pets are free-range.Those small beds are perfect forone little pet or to grow food thatdoesn’t take up a lot of space —and remember to always use theplant spacing recommended forSFGs!You can build a 4 x 4 bed (or larger!) to grow lots of pet food or food thatneeds more space (hello, tomatoes), or keep it simple by building a 1 x 1 bedFood Ideasfor PetsThese plants are favorites for manypets, and they’re easy to grow inyour SFG. RadishesLettuces and all other greensHerbsCarrotsBroccoliPumpkinSweet PotatoesBeetsTurnipsZucchiniGreen BeansSpinachBrussels SproutsTip: Always check to seewhat fresh foods/produceis suitable and safe for thepets that you have.Garlic and onions, forexample, are toxic to dogs,while tomato/pepper/eggplant leaves arepoisonous for chickensand pigs should avoid kale,parsley, and celery #squarefootgardening6

WORLD SFG DAY IS COMING UP!You won’t want to miss this! Markyour calendars for Sunday, July18, 2021—World Square FootGardening Day. WSFGD is ourannual virtual event held on ourFacebook page. (If you haven’t“Liked” us yet, do that now so you’llbe up-to-date on all the lastestnews.) We’re really excited aboutthis year and have lined up lots of: Interviews Videos Quick tips Inspirational photos And more!Teacher Grants!Drop us a line at to askfor your grant paperwork.We’ll be giving away four 2,000grants!*Contest for the 4- x 4-foot beds, elevated beds,and books are open to entrants in the UnitedStates only. The course giveaway is open to globalentrants.To sustain the excitement, we’ll be posting every hour for 24 hours on theSquare Foot Gardening Foundation Facebook page Here’s what you can expect:Photo Contest!Share your love of SFG by sharing your photos and you could win one ofour great prizes.Here are the deets:The deadline for submitting photos is July 12, 2021 (and remember to showthe grid in your photos!)Prizes include: (2) 4x4 Garden Grid watering beds with irrigation built right in featuringa dual-purpose plant spacing grid and garden irrigation system. Thesetool-free raised beds set up in minutes and are from our friends at Gardenin Minutes. (2) 3x3 Elevated Beds from Square Foot Gardening for the Red River Valley.These wheelchair-accessible beds are constructed out of pine with asteel bottom layer to ensure a long product lifespan. A light water sealantprotects it from the elements; you can paint, stain, or leave it to weathernaturally. Plus—a Square Foot Garden grid is included.Elevated SFG Beds made by Certified InstructorBrian Fuder are one of this year’s contest prizes! Click Here to EnterRandom Drawings! We’ll be giving away (4) Learn to Square Foot Garden courses and(4) copies of All New Square Foot Gardening 3rd Edition. The deadline for entering is July 14, 2021.Garden Grid watering bed fromGarden in Minutes. Click Here to #squarefootgardening7

2020 World SFG DayPhoto Contest WinnersHere’s some SFG inspiration for your 2021 photo contest entries!Paula S.’s SFG would make Mel proud with all ofthe recycled materials.Derek A.’s impressive side yard Square Foot Garden.Sharonda’s raised SFG bed is looking great!3X 4 QUICK TIPS!Regular readers will know that we usually offer 3 Quick Tips, but this timewe’re adding 1 more! Each of these helpful tips will come in handy if you’replanning to build new boxes this spring or even if you’ll be using yourexisting SFGs.Wood for Building SFG BoxesWant to use wood to build your SFG boxes? Use pine, fir, cedar, or cypress.Avoid pressure-treated woods, which may contain toxic chemicals—notgood in edible gardens! There is some debate about this, but we prefer to beextra-careful.5-gallon Buckets to the RescueWe love 5-gallon buckets andrecommend you use themto measure your Mel’s Mix ingredients in equal portions. Ifyou’re not sure how much you’llneed of each ingredient, use ourSquare Foot Soil Calculator—andremember to wet down the peatmoss as you’re incorporating it intothe mix! #squarefootgardening8

Materials for GridsGrids are vital to organizing your SFG beds and ensuring proper plantspacing. SFGers are creative and resourceful folks who have come up with allsorts of interesting materials to use for their grids. We love bamboo, Venetianblinds, wood molding, rebar, old decking boards cut into thin strips, woodlathe, and PVC tubing—bonus points for recycling or repurposing materialsyou already have on hand!Spacing PlantsTake a look at CI Kim Roman’s nifty prop she uses for her SFG presentations,reminding us of how to space different veggies for planting. You can createsomething similar to help you quickly space out your plants! And hey! Didyou know that Mel created his spacing recommendations based upon the“thin to” spacing information found on seed packets? The big difference isthere’s no thinning of seedlings in SFG so there’s no waste!SPRING GARDENING IS HERE!SquirrelDeterrents . . .in a Nutshell!Squirrels—AKA, rats with better PR—can be the bane of a gardener’sexistence. They dig, they take bites out ofyour harvest, they bury things, and theyare destructive. But even though theyare devious, you’d be nuts not to fightback! Although nothing is 100 percentfoolproof when it comes to combatingsquirrels, here are some ideas: Mel’s recommendation is to mix 1/3cup flour, 2 tablespoons cayennepepper, and 2 tablespoons garlicpowder. Now spread that around yourSFG boxes. Reapply as necessary! Install motion-detecting sprinklers—let ‘em dance. Sprinkle dog hair around your plants. Tie organza wedding favor bagsaround each developing fruit. Sprinkling shavings of Irish Springsoap (aye, ye lads and lassies, it has tobe Irish Spring). Leave out opened jars of Vick’s Vapo-Rub. Squirrel Spinner and Flipper Squirrel(Google them; they’re funny).Are PestsPestering You?Even in the healthiest gardens,some pests will appear and do somedamage. Because pests are highlylocalized, each gardener has theirown “worse” pest, but check out this chart to learn more about the four mostcommon and Mel’s tips on how to manage #squarefootgardening9

COMPOSTING 101Remember to always check theingredients list of any baggedcompost you purchase. If it lists peatmoss as an ingredient, be sure toadjust the amount of peat moss youadd to your Mel’s Mix or simplyavoid buying the compost with peatin the first place.Contrary to popular belief, compost does not just happen. But you can brushup on your knowledge of compost—one of the vital ingredients in Mel’s Mix—and composting. Rick Bickling has done a great series of videos about compostfor us. Subscribe to our YouTube channel so you won’t miss a single episodeof content. We have lots of resources for you, including: Blog post: Bagged vs. Homemade Compost. In the war of thecomposts, which one is better? YouTube Videos: SFG Essentials: How to Make Compost , TheImportance of Compost in Your Own Mel’s Mix , The 4 M’sCompost RecommendationsWe know some of you have a hardertime than others finding the type ofblended compost Mel recommendsin the SFG method, so we did alittle digging around to find someinformation that will help you.Bagged CompostMost bagged compost is from asingle source. Try to find 3-5 differentsources of compost to blendtogether for your Mel’s Mix .Common Places to Buy CompostTry these places to locate bulkcompost in your area: a citycomposting program, landscapesupply yards, independentgarden centers, parks andrecreation departments, andhome-improvement stores.You can also contact your localCooperative Extension office forlocal recommendations. And it neverhurts to see if you can get a discountby buying in bulk—ask your friendsand fellow gardeners if they wouldlike to share a delivery. It may meanDIY bagging for some, but thecost savings and opportunity for ahigher-quality compost can offsetthat.LET’S STAY IN TOUCHFor example: Mushroom Bat guano Botton burr Sea kelp or byproducts Worm castings Forest products (Screen out any wood chunks.) Composted manure (Manure should make up no more than 20% of the totalcomposts, so cow, llama, chicken, goat count as one source of compost.)“Like” Square FootGardening on FacebookFollow on Instagram@SquareFootGardeningSubscribe on YouTubeCOPYRIGHT 2021 SQUARE FOOT GARDENING FOUNDATION PO BOX 2205, HALESITE, NY 11743 .org #squarefootgardeningThe Square Foot Gardening Foundation is a Non-Profit, Tax-Exempt Organization under Section 501(C)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.10

The worksheets cover helpful details such as compost recipes, planting reference charts, and bed building charts. You will earn your . “Square Foot Gardening makes growing food so easy,” Robert explains, “but it also supports my culture’s values of being healthy and conserving resources,

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