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You can garden in a small space

May 25, 2011

The Morning News — Bob Hudson Lamar and Barbara Robertson of Blackfoot show off some of the vegetables they have growing in one of their four square-foot gardens.

BLACKFOOT — When their children were at home, Lamar and Barbara Robertson of Blackfoot planted a large garden on their two-plus acres of ground.
But when the children left and their tiller broke, they lost interest in gardening for a time.
Today the Robertsons are among a growing group of people who participate in what is known as four-square gardening. They have four raised beds in the area behind their house.
"I heard some ladies talking about it at the temple one day last year," Barbara recalled. "So I bought the book (Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew).
"We were both raised on farms so it's not so much eating it but I like seeing it come up," she said of the vegetables and flowers they have planted last year and this.
"It was a little pricey to get started, but it's not bad now," Lamar said. He noted that he had much of the lumber already available but needed to buy the various parts of the soil recommended for success.
"We put a weed barrier underneath," he said. "We went with the cheapest first, but it didn't work so we bought the more expensive stuff."
A four-square garden is just what the name implies. Various retailers sell all the pieces, including the lumber and the soil. Do-it-yourselfers can build the same thing on their own. The garden spot is four feet by four feet and is raised four inches off the ground. The area can be separated into smaller squares if the gardener chooses to do so.
"It's nice to see it grow and we get some benefits out of it when it's mature," Barbara said. "You have some fresh stuff to eat and enjoy."
Barbara said that, like any other garden spot, some plants work better than others. She has had success with tomatoes, peas, carrots and several kinds of flowers. She said climbing plants such as beans and spreading plants like cucumbers and squash are supposed to do well. But, she added, that hasn't been her personal experience.

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