2.1 The Square Metre Garden

What is it? How Can it Work in your Backyard?

R: Hello folks and welcome to the first episode of season 2 of RegenEarth! I’m Rich Bowden — freelance eco writer, podcaster and organic gardener. In these podcasts, my co-host; regen farmer, author and podcaster Jon Moore and I will be asking, and finding out the answer for one simple regen question. Speaking of Jon, I hear my co-presenter just settling himself into his Highclere studio in sunny North-Western Tassie. Hello Jon and welcome to the show!

J: Hello one and all.

R: Just a quick bit of housekeeping. This is the first episode of season two. Our seasons will run for eight weeks and then we’ll have a five-week break to prepare for the next season. 

J: So this means our seasons will be in sync with the seasons of the year. 

R: This episode on the One Square Metre Garden is by way of a follow up to the session at the last conference, Living Soils Backyard Regen, that Jon presented.

J: Indeed Rich, indeed. The one square metre garden is as much an idea as an actual thing. The idea is to show how much food can be produced in such a small area and that area will grow different things at different times of the year in different parts of the world.

R: So…it’s a meta idea in one sense Jon?

J: Yeah. If we think of the one square metre on the ground as the hardware, then the plants we grow are the software. Now we could fill the square metre with compost over cardboard or we could cover the cardboard with straw/hay. In some senses this is like the Apple/PC dichotomy to push the analogy to its limit.

R: So I would point out that these gardens are no-dig or no-till as they are referred to in North America.

J: That’s correct.

R: But so much more than just “don’t dig. I can sense the influence of legendary Japanese regen farmer and author Masanobu Fukuoka lurking in the background Jon.

J: Guilty as charged, your honour. There are in fact four principles to the Fukuoka working with nature gardening.

R: If I remember correctly:

  1. No digging
  2. No weeding
  3. No artificial fertilisers
  4. No herb/pesticides

J: Exactly and I would add another: 5. Open-pollinated seeds but we’ll come back to that.

R: And the square metre garden you presented at the conference was at the start up stage. Newly planted seedlings and so on. You’ve been posting updates each week or so on the RegenEarth Facebook page. 

J: And the change has been remarkable. I’ll put all the photos so far into the show notes our listeners can access over at RegenEarth.net

R: Thanks Jon, that’s a fine answer to what a square metre garden is. Can people who live in apartment blocks, with a small balcony do an abridged version of the garden? Grow their herbs perhaps?

J: A small balcony works. A structure, compost and seedlings would definitely grow plenty of food but you’d have to make sure the sun was in the right place, you could grow indoors with LED lights if you wanted. That will produce food but not the same as out in the open. 

Part Two

R: OK, the second part of our show is dedicated to the second part of the question we posed at the top of the show. “How Can a Square Metre Garden Work in a Regen Backyard.” As Jon mentioned earlier in the show, the square metre garden has a long history for being the backbone of small yards and as he has demonstrated, is easy to set up and implement. However, as with all sowing, it’s important to grow what thrives in your local climate. Neighbours, do the research, nurseries.

J: Thanks Rich Now if we’ve convinced you that a square metre garden is the way to go you can download my No-Dig Garden eBook for free at WorldOrganicNews.com

Part Three

R: And now a regular segment on the podcast, we talk about one podcast episode, news item or blog post each on the topics of regen or organics that has moved or inspired us. Jon, what’s caught your eye?

J: A podcast I listened to a while back that I’ve recently replayed because the material has been on my mind. I’m talking about the 12 November episode of “Down to Earth” podcast with Dianna Rodgers, a nutritionist, real food dietician and author of Sacred Cow.

  • Meat isn’t evil
  • Regenerative grazing
  • Protein in Developing world diets
  • The evils that are CAFOs
  • It’s not the cow, it’s the how

R: And that’s it for this our first episode of RegenEarth for the second season. We’ll be back next week with a forensic examination of [next week’s episode]. Hope you’ll join us.

J: Bye for now.

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