Why we have so little pest problems with a SFG

Several weeks ago at a local library introductory class I had a question. It was a question that I couldn’t answer. This was the question:”How do you stop spider mites?” It was a little embarrassing to admit “I don’t know.” But it was the truth. I haven’t had spider mites or hornworms-another pest that I just learned about in the past couple of days. Why have I never had any of these? I think the answer is in the simpleness of the SFG system. By not planting any one thing in mass quantities in close proximity to one another we’re able to control or not have any spider mites. I try to remember where I’ve planted my big items in the garden from the previous year. I’ll rotate the location for squash, potatoes, pole beans, tomatoes, etc. It’s an easy task. I don’t know all the scientific answers to why we have so little pest/bug problems in a square foot garden. I’m guessing that it has something to do with rotation, and I’m also guessing that it might have something to do with the fact that I plant a different thing in each of my 16 squares of a 4X4′ garden box. There won’t be many who understand this one because you had to be there to experience it. I just returned from the SFG 3-day symposium in San Diego. Besides meeting 10 unbelievably great folks who are so passionate about the cause, I got to hear from Mel himself. He had the class stand up and spread their hands in front of them-palms facing each other. He then told them to raise their hands so that their hands were above their heads, and had them close their eyes. Then he asked them to slowly bring their hands together-with their eyes closed until they felt their hands touch each other. Then he asked them to interlock all their fingers-eyes closed. Then he says “raise your trigger finger of there right hand,” which represented “build a box.” Then he asked them to raise their other trigger finger, which represented filling a box with Mel’s mix. He’d have them raise one pinkie and that might represent “a different crop in each square.” The other pinkie might represent “build a grid.” He did this for 10 different things, then asked the class to close their their hands again in the original interlocking grasp. He then asked them to try to separate their hands, which they couldn’t. He finally asked them to lower their hands in front of them and to open their eyes. He explained to the whole class that square foot gardening is exactly like their interlocking fingers. Everything meshes together perfectly in a square foot garden. He said “I don’t even know why it works, but it does.” And he’s right. Having a square foot garden is so simple that any person desiring to garden can have one-and a very successful one without any experience. The concepts are perfectly aligned with one another so well that is just seems to work. To all the folks that just left San Diego, you know what I mean. It was great meeting everyone and I wish you all the best of luck. If you don’t have a square foot garden yet, come on over and join us.

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