Wed, April 01

Planting the seeds for community garden in VOC

Vicki Beckner's Square Foot Gardening in a VegTrug 8-18 (Medium).

Vicki Beckner's Square Foot Gardening in a VegTrug 8-18 (Medium).

Homegrown produce. Is there anything better? We can’t get enough of it, especially tomatoes, but growing them in our yard has been a hit and miss venture. This year we happened upon two friends who always have booming crops, no matter what the weather. Their advice has been free.

Martine Pigeon has invested in vertical gardening. Over that past few years, she has customized a hobby greenhouse, installing Verti-Gro vertical towers and grow boxes within. With the density of the system, she has been able to grow all sorts of produce year-round, enough for her needs as well as those of many friends. The Verti-Gro system and her greenhouse maximize space and the usage of water, protect from the sun, lessen the need for weeding and prevent ground pests. A nutrient watering system is hooked up to each tower. There is little need for photosynthesis. On fruiting plants, leaves are removed once the plants are set. It’s amazing to see the bounty. We calculate a one-time investment in a tower that can support a variety of 20 plants might be worth it for this fall or for sure, next spring. Check out

Vicki Beckner uses waist-high Veg-Trugs alongside her driveway. What bounty in the middle of a hot summer. She shared a book with us called Square Foot Gardening (SFG) by Mel Bartholomew. Any readers remember the PBS series, “A Minute in Mel’s Kitchen”? This is the very same Mel. Vicki is using the 50-year proven SFG method in her assembled Veg-Trugs. No wasted space, no wasted seeds, no fertilizer and no wasted water. Along with the Trugs, Vicki has purchased some custom items for planting and screening through We like Vicki’s ideas too.

Readers, do you think a community garden would work in the VOC? At The Collective? At Big Park School? Several years ago, Gardens of Humanity started grow boxes at Sedona Winds, so the residents could putter. What about the rest of us? Could we establish a community garden using some of Martine or Vicki’s planters? Maybe add some shaded sitting areas for friends to gather? Vicki has inspired us. Master Gardeners and “putterers” take notice! We could do this, and everyone could benefit.

Bites and Sips: Watch for our reviews as we are able to investigate: Rotten Johnny’s and Torta del Fuego in the VOC, Steakhouse 89 in Sedona, LaCrema and Colt 45 in Cottonwood and others too numerous to mention.

Many thanks to Martine and Vicki. We made multiple visits to each for information, photos and a taste or two right from the vine.

To your health and happiness, Jeff and Suzie at The Dunnery.

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