Rotarians learn about square-foot gardening

Glassmaking isn’t the only hobby of Ron Hinkle of Buckhannon, the owner of Hinkle’s Dying Art Glassworks, who spoke to the Buckhannon Rotary Club recently about square-foot gardening.

Hinkle said that square-foot gardening is a simple, easy way to garden. It requires 80 percent less work and produces 85 percent more product than row gardening, he said.

Some Rotarians said their least favorite aspects of gardening were weeding and pest control. Hinkle said square-foot gardening allows individuals to overcome some of those gardening woes while producing better quality crops in larger quantities in the same amount of space. He said one of the best aspects of this type of gardening is that “you know what you’re eating.”

Hinkle said he was inspired to start a square-foot garden after attending a class and reading a book called “Square-foot Gardening” by Mel Bartholomew. He said his late uncle had told him that “working the ground calms the soul.”

Hinkle said anyone could start a square-foot garden in as little as a day. It is not a high-cost form of gardening, and it doesn’t require frequent weeding. Square-foot gardening also reduces the amount of pests that get into the produce because most pests come up through the ground, Hinkle said.

“You can grow anything in this,” Hinkle said. “It’s so doggone simple that you can do it and get started within a day.”

Square-foot gardening doesn’t require tilling because the soil involved already is loose. With a square-foot garden, produce that is grown is not planted in dirt. He said that if dirt is added, the gardener will have weeds forever. Hinkle said square-foot gardening is similar to a raised-bed garden in that the garden is located in a box, usually made of wood.

The soil where the produce grows is composed of three elements: vermiculite, peat moss and compost. The soil composite does not need to be replaced each year. Hinkle said gardeners need only to add more compost annually. He recommends using a mixed variety of compost types.

Hinkle said it was possible to create one’s own compost, a process that takes about three weeks. The box the produce grows in also can be homemade. Hinkle said it can be done for $30 and constructed in 30 minutes.

“Do not use treated lumber because you never know what’s in it,” Hinkle said.

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