As anyone who has ever put a shovel in the soil knows, gardening is hard work. I recently attended a Fall Gardening class at the Cleveland County Extension on 601 E. Robinson and the info that they provided motivated me to take advantage of the window of opportunity to get some more gardening in. Everyone knows that the spring time is an ideal time to start a garden, but I had no prior knowledge that it was possible to continue growing beans, kale, spinach, beets, lettuce, and dozens of other varieties after the waning of the summer heat. Many vegetables can endure cold weather and often thrive in it. In my experience, some, like snow peas and sugar snaps, have always done well up until the about the early-mid summer, but then, like a car running out of gas, they stop flowering. This doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy them; we just have to wait out the heat and replant.
How did I begin? I started out by trying to examine the space that was available and then ruminated about how the garden could fit into the context of the existing landscape. The garden is based on a 10′ x 10′ box with the corners shaved off. I knew I wanted to add two pathways that criss-crossed the garden to make 4 equally sized quadrants. This would allow for my nieces to play and also make it easier to tend the garden from all sides. It required a fair amount of calculations to determine the correct positioning, however having discussed it with my dad, and having concluded that it was in the appropriate place, I began the process of digging it out.
Why do a fall garden? There are many reasons: the most obvious is to grow more food, however energy conservation and the act of making a statement about the un-sustainability of the suburban lifestyle, which is heavily dependent upon fossil fuels, is also part of the my reasoning. Oil is an amazing resource. It’s versatile, energy-dense, easily transportable, and like gold, holds its value. However, we are all aware that its combustion results in the emission of carbon dioxide and other particulates. The idea behind front yard gardens is to increase the capacity that we have to produce more food and use less fuel. Some research has suggested that, in the industrial system of food production, as much as 10 calories of fossil fuels are devoted to the production of a single calorie of food. That figure is calculated based on the fossil fuels used to run the tractors, the fertilizers (most of which come from the refinement of natural gas), the harvesting, the refrigeration, the transportation, and finally the food preparation. This is an incredibly energy intensive operation and it makes one question: how sustainable it is? In my opinion, it
The author: Evan Dunn
isn’t sustainable. Although I don’t think we can all feed ourselves with two small gardens in our front and back yards, we can all work towards maximizing the amount of food we can produce with what little space we do have, and still have a beautiful outdoor space that we enjoy. I’ll try and continue updating everyone about the progress of the project throughout the fall. If you have any questions, comments, or points of discord, please feel free to express yourself. You can also email me directly at email@example.com.
Thanks for reading,