Pretty sure you can’t even say the word pot in any state other than Colorado without immediately being arrested. In fact I am sure you all assume everyone in Colorado is just a pot smoking hippie. That is apparently almost true.
Whilst we were staying with Andy’s BFF in Texas, I noticed they had a little seed grower in the kitchen and started asking about it. The BFF explained that they were growing a square foot garden, took me out back to show me their box, and then let me flip through their book. I had planned to start a garden this year and was actually just planning to dedicate the entire front yard to it, since we haven’t landscaped the front and the garden would be safe from our dogs.
The book in case you are curious is Mel Bartholomew’s “All New Square Foot Gardening”. Apparently the original square foot gardening book came out a couple decades ago. So what is different about this one? um……it is newer obviously. No I have no idea what is different.
So the basic premise of square foot gardening is that it is far superior to traditional row gardening. Requires less soil prep, is less susceptable to weed infiltration (those fucking weeds always infiltrating the garden), and one 4 foot by 4 foot box can grow the same amount of vegetables as like 200 square foot of a traditional row garden….I don’t remember the exact number. Read the book if you want the exact number you nerd.
Anyway, the day we returned from Texas I started our seeds and then Wednesday we started gathering our supplies to build our box. The one thing the book will tell you, and I will confirm, is that the coarse vermiculite (one of the 3 magic soil ingredients) is hard to find. Everything else you need can be found at Lowe’s, Home Depot, or your friendly gardening center (do I sound like a sales rep, or is it just me?).
I have been checking on my seedlings and those fuckers have been growing super fast….well at least the lettuce, squash, and beans have been growing super fast. The others take a few more days. So when I saw my sprouts on Wednesday I panicked. We needed our garden up PRONTO! Yesterday I left work a scosh early to find this magic vermiculite. I called several big nursery/garden centers – nope. They only carry medium grade. If there is one thing the book warns you about it is don’t try to skimp on supplies. Don’t substitute perlite for vermiculite, don’t try to cut corners by only using 3 types of compost instead of 5, etc. Pretty sure if you cut corners your vegetables will morph into one of those people-eating plants from Little Shop of Horror’s.
Side Bar: So I LOVED watching Little Shop of Horror’s when I was like 7ish. In fact, I loved it so much that I sang the song everyday for about a month after seeing the movie. The issue was, I never saw the actual title of the movie and it wasn’t until like a week later that my mom was like ‘wait what are you singing?’. I was singing “Little Shop, Little Shop of Whores!”. Yeah….I am pretty sure I sang that shit in public as well. Eh whatevs.
Alright back to the point. My coarse vermiculite mission was looking like a failure. I started considering just using the medium grade when it dawned on me! There’s a hydroponics store….oh I mean an “organic gardening and hydroponics” store not far from the house. Eh what did I have to lose? So I googled it and gave them a call.
I sort of stumbled on the phone introduction:
Me – “ummm…I was wondering…errr….wait let me start over…hi! I am looking for coarse vermiculite, any chance you carry it?”
Pot-Smoking Hippie – “We sure do!”
Me – “Awesome, I will be right in”
Obviously then I had to make like 5 phone calls to tell everyone that I was about to venture into a pot growing store.
And yes I snapped a picture from my car before going in. Afterward I realized that was a dumb idea, they might have thought I was a Fed and tried to tie me up with some organic hemp rope or something and interrogate me…..or at least smoke me out….which hey, would that have been so bad?
The inside is what you would predict: grow lamps, “organic air filters”….uh huh, lots of bottles of ingredients. I had half a mind to check out each aisle, but since it was my first time and the counter was right by the door, I just told them what I was there for. A chick in business clothes doesn’t blend with this crowd.
Julio grabbed a ladder and handed me down a giant, yet light, bag of coarse vermiculite. I decided to grab some of their organic compost, since I still needed 3 more kinds and then I hit the check out. They did ask if I had a membership card….hmmm. Don’t think it didn’t cross my mind that growing pot would have WAY better returns than my little 4 by 4 veggie garden….but I didn’t. I figured I need to lay low for a while because now I am probably on someone’s list to come by and check out our house.
Now I am thinking it was an excellent idea to put our box in the front yard where the Feds can walk right up and take a soil sample. Whew! Good thinking me.
And there it is! I haven’t cleaned it all up yet, still have to trim back the weed fabric and put up our trellises for the beans, tomatoes and cucumbers, but it is basically up. And we actually have enough soil to do another one. So even though I wanted to test this out and see how one box goes, considering the 2x6s to build the box are the cheapest part, we will probably make one more.
This is going to be our test year. See how things grow in the front yard, see which crops flourish here, etc. If all goes well I have grand plans to turn our entire front yard into raised garden beds with gravel walkways between. I will keep you all posted on how this goes…but I probably won’t let you know if we decide to really become pot growers. You know because that would be dumb.