This is a simple post.  Nothing about leadership or achievement.  This is one of the newer posts about taking things apart.  I wanted to dismantle something that was core to survival.  I decided to dismantle the art of growing vegetables.  The idea seemed so foreign to me and so difficult to achieve, yet so simple and elegant.  I knew that my grandmother could grow tomatoes, so I figured I could too.

I set out to create a garden and grow my own food for many reasons.  The least of those was to prove I could do it.  One of the most important reasons was so that I knew where my food was coming from and didn’t have to depend on the local HEB to provide my family sustenance.  I also wanted to understand the process and systems that had to be used in order to grow food.  In my new found athletic training, I found so much rides on what goes in our bodies.  I needed to know how my food was grown and where my food came from.

My brother in law showed me a very elegant and simple design for a robust but space efficient garden.  It’s calles a Square Foot Garden (SFG).  These are very popular due to the amount of food you can yield with a very small space.  The idea is to create a 4′ x 4′ square in your backyard using untreated 2 ‘ x 4’s.It is very simple. I purchased mine from Home Depot and had them pre-cut them.  I have a saw- I was just being lazy.  I used 3″ Deck screws on each side to join them together; 3 per side.  Once you have your square – remove your grass and put down a barrier to keep new grass from getting in.  Make sure you level the square.  You don’t want a lopsided box.  Then fill it with soil you are about to make.

The soil is the interesting part.  For the entire previous year I was creating my own compost.  I had no real use for it until I created the SFG, but I knew that at some point I wanted to stop throwing away my leftover veggies and wanted to find a good use for them. I had a good 40 lbs of pure black compost to use.  I mixed this with 1/3 peat moss, and 1/3 vermiculite and rounded out my compost with another bag of manure to make a perfect mixture for the soil.  I tossed it all on a tarp and mixed it careful not to puncture the tarp- which I did accidentally. I recommend using a tarp you can afford to lose for top shelter.

My son helped me get the soil in the garden and then I used screws and good twine to section off the garden in 1′ sections.  I had 4 on each side of the garden.  This gave me 16 sections.  By this time it was late February in Houston.  It was already warm enough for shorts outside.  From start to finish the entire process too me all of 4 hours.  This included the removal of the grass which took the longest.  It was now time to get my plants ready.

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