Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Wheel Able Garden

For so many years, at least those when I've been around a radio on a Saturday morning at 11AM, I've listened religiously to "You Bet Your Garden" on NPR.
Mike McGrath, formally Editor at Organic Gardening,
is the show's host and chief proponent of home gardening, especially, if you use large quantities of homemade compost. When fallen leaves are crumbled, chewed up, and aged on a pile then, anyone doing this is making compost, often referred to as black gold. 

These days Mike is championing raised gardens. These gardens are raised six to twelve inches above present ground level by means of some edge retention of diverse composition : wood, stone, brick, cement, etc. One dimension seems imperative, that's of width, which optimally should be four foot. Four foot wide allows you to not ever walk or stand on the soil placed in the beds where plants are to grow. Length is arbitrary only to be judged by what seems comfortable for your working of the beds. 

A recent listener called in to discuss the lack of sunlight hitting an area were he could place a raised bed garden. Mike replied that sunlight is one of the mandatory elements needed for good plant production, so if it's going to be lacking, all other elements must be optimized if acceptable results are expected. Mike further urged that finding a spot with good sunshine is an imperative.

Thinking about Mike's comment on the sunshine's availability, especially eatable vegetable production, I thought : if the sunshine won't come to the vegetables, can the vegetables go to the sunshine ? 

Since there's a construction element in making raised beds, why not make some of these beds mobile by building them as carts on wheels ? Then an avid gardener with limited sunshine on his property could maximize the sun's effectiveness by moving the planted cart in the path of the sun's rays as it moves during the day. Certainly this wouldn't be universally   useful but could be desirable to those would be gardeners with sunshine limitations. 

Raised gardens have replaced the old truck patch mentality by improving yields and reducing work. The emphasis on the vitality of compost, the relative ease of producing it, and the nature of compost being quite lite in weight makes its use ideal for both raised beds and for my proposed wheel able carts.

I bet somewhere today someone is nailing a cart together. How the plants react to moving will be the real test. I grant you the concept is simplistic, there for, it will probably work well. When I see one at work in town I'll get that "Ah, Ha" moment and get a smile on my face. 

Ronald C. Downie

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