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Marigolds, basil and chard.
Richland Library's community garden is growing well.

How does our garden grow?

With peppers, basil and marigolds. And squash, squash and squash.

Update: June 27, 2013. The squash plants are really taking off. They obviously love the sun and heat of an SC summer. The basil, peppers and climbing cucumbers are also very happily thriving. While the chard is still looking good, it will probably not care for the dog days as we get even hotter weather. We will see. Check out the Flickr slides below to see the garden progress from May to June.

In late April as part of One Columbia CityServe, volunteers planted a community garden at the Richland Library downtown location. There are five little beds chock full of thriving plants. Already, the strawberry plant in the hanging basket and the tomato plant in the bed right next to Hampton Street have fruit that will be ripening before too long. Just seeing the herbs and little squash plants makes me hungry for fresh veggies right now!

As it happens, I live right downtown and, of course, the best place for a home garden happens to be in my small front yard. Obviously I'm not going to be planting long rows of beans, corn and tomatos like my grandfather did when I was a child (he even let me drive his red Farm-All tractor). A few little square beds would fit nicely in the yard and be attractive enough with a combination of green leafy plants, flowers and herbs to please the neighbors. Such a garden would probably also produce enough for our small family to enjoy at the dinner table all summer.

Luckily, the library has a nice collection of material to explain everything an inexperienced gardener needs to know to establish a small garden in the middle of the city. Time to get my shovel and plant some dinner!


Melissa T. Says: Get started with a garden in just a few square feet.
Amazon Says: Rapidly increasing in popularity, square foot gardening is the most practical, foolproof way to grow a home garden. That explains why author and gardening innovator Mel Bartho more...
Amazon Says: Rapidly increasing in popularity, square foot gardening is the most practical, foolproof way to grow a home garden. That explains why author and gardening innovator Mel Bartholomew has sold more than two million books describing how to become a successful DIY square foot gardener. Now, with the publication of All New Square Foot Gardening, Second Edition, the essential guide to his unique step-by-step method has become even better. Mel developed his techniques back in the early 1980s and has been teaching them throughout the world ever since. In the process, he has made improvements and refinements and continually adapted his practices to keep pace with modern times. In this new volume, Bartholomew furthers his discussion on one of the most popular gardening trends today: vertical gardening. He also explains how you can make gardening fun for kids by teaching them the square foot method. Finally, an expanded section on pest control helps you protect your precious produce. Rich with new full-color images and updated tips for selecting materials, this beautiful new edition is perfect for brand-new gardeners as well as the millions of square foot gardeners who are already dedicated to Mel’s industry-changing insights. less...
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Amazon Says:  Square Foot Gardening Answer Book is for all of the world's square foot gardeners. The book shows you ways to get more from your gardening efforts. Using proven techniques more...
Amazon Says:  Square Foot Gardening Answer Book is for all of the world's square foot gardeners. The book shows you ways to get more from your gardening efforts. Using proven techniques, appliances and approaches, this book will put more harvest on your table, with no additional garden beds. For more than 30 years Mel Bartholomew has been answering questions from Square Foot Gardeners, and this book presents the very best of that information. Real solutions to real problems, from the inventor of the Square Foot Gardening method.  less...
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Melissa T. Says: Everything you need to know to start a little garden. This is also available in eBook format.
Amazon Says: Vine-ripened tomatoes. Succulent squash. Plump cucumbers. Growing vegetables is a rewarding--and cost-effective--way to eat better for less. However, you might think you lack more...
Amazon Says: Vine-ripened tomatoes. Succulent squash. Plump cucumbers. Growing vegetables is a rewarding--and cost-effective--way to eat better for less. However, you might think you lack the space necessary to grow a functioning garden. With this guide, however, you'll learn how to maximize your space and grow delicious vegetables and herbs cheaply and efficiently, whether you have a small backyard or just a windowsill! The book includes expert information on:How to align plants for maximum compatibility and organic pest deterrenceBuilding small-space necessities, including self-watering containers and vertical plantersA variety of plans designed to maximize the amount of food generated at several specific price pointsProductive gardening can and should be a reality for you, regardless of the amount of land you own. This book has everything you need to grow fresh produce in any size space, at any time of year! less...
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Amazon Says: One of the bestselling garden books ever is fresher than ever! Ready to inspire a whole new generation of gardeners. When he created the "square foot gardening" method, Mel B more...
Amazon Says: One of the bestselling garden books ever is fresher than ever! Ready to inspire a whole new generation of gardeners. When he created the "square foot gardening" method, Mel Bartholomew, a retired engineer and efficiency expert, found the solution to the frustrations of most gardeners. His revolutionary system is simple: it's an ingenious planting method based on using square foot blocks of garden space instead of rows. Gardeners build up, not down, so there's no digging and no tilling after the first year. And the method requires less thinning, less weeding, and less watering. "I found a better way to garden, one that's more efficient, more manageable, and requires less work," Bartholomew explains. Not surprisingly, his method quickly received worldwide recognition and has been written up in every major newspaper and gardening magazine. His book, which served as the companion to the nationally acclaimed television series, has sold over 800,000 copies. Now freshened with new illustrations, the book Ingram calls "the largest selling garden book in America" is reissued for the delight of a whole new generation of gardeners. less...
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Urban Gardening For Dummies by The National Gardening Association
Melissa T. Says: For new gardeners, this book will take you through the steps to get growing.
Amazon Says: The easy way to succeed at urban gardeningA townhouse yard, a balcony, a fire escape, a south-facing window—even a basement apartment can all be suitable locations to more...
Amazon Says: The easy way to succeed at urban gardeningA townhouse yard, a balcony, a fire escape, a south-facing window—even a basement apartment can all be suitable locations to grow enough food to save a considerable amount of money and enjoy the freshest, healthiest produce possible.Urban Gardening For Dummies helps you make the most of limited space through the use of proven small-space gardening techniques that allow gardeners to maximize yield while minimizing space.Covers square-foot gardening and vertical and layered gardeningIncludes guidance on working with container gardening, succession gardening, and companion gardeningOffers guidance on pest management, irrigation and rain barrels, and small-space compostingIf you're interested in starting an urban garden that makes maximum use of minimal space, Urban Gardening For Dummies has you covered. less...
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Melissa T. Says: Wonderful things can happen when you create a garden in the city.
Amazon Says: When Eric Toensmeier and Jonathan Bates moved into a duplex in a run-down part of Holyoke, Massachusetts, the tenth-of-an-acre lot was barren ground and bad soil, peppered wit more...
Amazon Says: When Eric Toensmeier and Jonathan Bates moved into a duplex in a run-down part of Holyoke, Massachusetts, the tenth-of-an-acre lot was barren ground and bad soil, peppered with broken pieces of concrete, asphalt, and brick. The two friends got to work designing what would become not just another urban farm, but a "permaculture paradise" replete with perennial broccoli, paw paws, bananas, and moringa—all told, more than two hundred low-maintenance edible plants in an innovative food forest on a small city lot. The garden—intended to function like a natural ecosystem with the plants themselves providing most of the garden's needs for fertility, pest control, and weed suppression—also features an edible water garden, a year-round unheated greenhouse, tropical crops, urban poultry, and even silkworms. In telling the story of Paradise Lot, Toensmeier explains the principles and practices of permaculture, the choice of exotic and unusual food plants, the techniques of design and cultivation, and, of course, the adventures, mistakes, and do-overs in the process. Packed full of detailed, useful information about designing a highly productive permaculture garden, Paradise Lot is also a funny and charming story of two single guys, both plant nerds, with a wild plan: to realize the garden of their dreams and meet women to share it with. Amazingly, on both counts, they succeed. less...
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Melissa T. Says: Share your garden with your children. They will love getting dirty and learning about where their food comes from.
Amazon Says: All around the world, people are farming in the concrete jungle! The urban farming movement is rapidly gaining widespread acceptance. Now it's time for kids to be more...
Amazon Says: All around the world, people are farming in the concrete jungle! The urban farming movement is rapidly gaining widespread acceptance. Now it's time for kids to be a part of it, too! With a minimum of equipment and whether alone or with friends, kids can start growing fruit and vegetables at home, in a community garden, or at school. Combining practical tips and well-researched facts, Potatoes on Rooftops is a brisk and informative overview of the how and why of the movement toward small-scale urban farming. There are many ways to farm in the city: a Detroit high school program teaches students to grow food and raise chickens; in Tokyo, a bank vault was converted into an underground greenhouse; in Nairobi, local youth transformed part of a slum into a garden that helps feed their families; First Lady Michelle Obama established an organic garden at the White House; and more in other countries. Short, kid-friendly descriptions and vibrant photos and illustrations keep the pace moving and the tone light. Toronto Public Health and FoodShare, two respected agencies, both have contributed to the book. A perfect book to get kids thinking about alternative ways of growing and getting food. less...
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Melissa T. Says: If your goal is putting food on the table, this book will help you maximize your yield.
Amazon Says: Books on container gardening have been wildly popular with urban and suburban readers, but until now, there has been no comprehensive "how-to" guide for growing fresh food in more...
Amazon Says: Books on container gardening have been wildly popular with urban and suburban readers, but until now, there has been no comprehensive "how-to" guide for growing fresh food in the absence of open land. Fresh Food from Small Spaces fills the gap as a practical, comprehensive, and downright fun guide to growing food in small spaces. It provides readers with the knowledge and skills necessary to produce their own fresh vegetables, mushrooms, sprouts, and fermented foods as well as to raise bees and chickens—all without reliance on energy-intensive systems like indoor lighting and hydroponics. Readers will learn how to transform their balconies and windowsills into productive vegetable gardens, their countertops and storage lockers into commercial-quality sprout and mushroom farms, and their outside nooks and crannies into whatever they can imagine, including sustainable nurseries for honeybees and chickens. Free space for the city gardener might be no more than a cramped patio, balcony, rooftop, windowsill, hanging rafter, dark cabinet, garage, or storage area, but no space is too small or too dark to raise food. With this book as a guide, people living in apartments, condominiums, townhouses, and single-family homes will be able to grow up to 20 percent of their own fresh food using a combination of traditional gardening methods and space-saving techniques such as reflected lighting and container "terracing." Those with access to yards can produce even more. Author R. J. Ruppenthal worked on an organic vegetable farm in his youth, but his expertise in urban and indoor gardening has been hard-won through years of trial-and-error experience. In the small city homes where he has lived, often with no more than a balcony, windowsill, and countertop for gardening, Ruppenthal and his family have been able to eat at least some homegrown food 365 days per year. In an era of declining resources and environmental disruption, Ruppenthal shows that even urban dwellers can contribute to a rebirth of local, fresh foods. less...
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Melissa T. Says: You've harvested your crops, now what? Time to cook!
Amazon Says: The best-selling gardening book author, Mel Bartholomew, offers more than 135 recipes to enjoy the harvest from your square foot garden. The featured fresh fruits and vegetabl more...
Amazon Says: The best-selling gardening book author, Mel Bartholomew, offers more than 135 recipes to enjoy the harvest from your square foot garden. The featured fresh fruits and vegetables offer healthy, cost effective and chemical free addititions to every meal. Mel adds harvesting techniques and yield information for each of the seventeen vegetables, fruits, and herbs and adds penny pinching tips, square foot advice, and even a kid's gardening corner throughout the book. Full color photographs illustrate the fruits, vegetables and healthy meals throughout the book. less...
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Melissa T. Says: Live in an apartment? Start a garden inside, on your porch or patio.
Amazon Says: Forget the 100-mile eat-local diet; try the 300-square-foot-diet — grow squash on the windowsill, flowers in the planter box, or corn in a parking strip. Apartment Garde more...
Amazon Says: Forget the 100-mile eat-local diet; try the 300-square-foot-diet — grow squash on the windowsill, flowers in the planter box, or corn in a parking strip. Apartment Gardening details how to start a garden in the heart of the city. From building a window box to planting seeds in jars on the counter, every space is plantable, and this book reveals that the DIY future is now by providing hands-on, accessible advice. Amy Pennington's friendly voice paired with Kate Bingham-Burt's crafty illustrations make greener living an accessible reality, even if readers have only a few hundred square feet and two windowsills. Save money by planting the same things available at the grocery store, and create an eccentric garden right in the heart of any living space. less...
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Melissa T. Says: Richland Library's community garden beds are thriving. Photos were taken on June 27th and May 22nd showing the growth of our garden beds. Check back for more updates and photos.
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