Gardening goes off the grid

  • Article by: KIM PALMER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 30, 2011 - 5:47 PM

A new community garden reshapes the plot according to an old model - the keyhole-shaped mandala garden.

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openeye11Aug. 30, 11 9:48 PM

Interesting idea and great article. I never thought about it before, but gardening in straight lines is a bit unnatural for small scale growing. Nice to also see Natural Foods use their property in this way. We need more of that in our cities.

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MoojaAug. 31, 1110:38 AM

I'm not following the article. It states this type of gardening is more efficient because a standard garden has lots of paths. Looking at the picture in the article I see that most of his garden is paths as well with very little area actually devoted to growing food. What am I missing?

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fuhrmannAug. 31, 1111:12 AM

Talk about the esthetics of the keyhole shape or the idea of getting back to decorative gardens but once you got to the BS about rectangular and straight lines being unnatural or wasting space, you have lost all credibility. Maybe the "expert's hatred of commercial growers is his reason to be dishonest? ................................................................................................................................................................................... Look at any culture that used gardening for utility and you will find linear rows of crops because it is MORE efficient. Aristocrats like George Washington had the money, land, and help to use inneficient methods that were more decorative. .................................................................................................................................................................... It is much easier to hoe or weed linear rows once your garden even gets to the point of subsistance. ........................................................................................................................................................................ The garden with the least amount of paths needed to reach individual plots will have rectangular plots with paths along the short end of every other plot. I challenge the so called expert to come up with a design that uses less area with the same width of paths. I do like his use of grass between the plots (as shown in the picture, but filling in the wood chip sections between the circles (making the plots rectangular would still let the crops be tended with fewer paths than he has.

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fuhrmannAug. 31, 1111:13 AM

Mooja: You aren't missing anything other than hypocracy.

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ecochickAug. 31, 11 4:08 PM

im sorry but Mooja, and especially fuhrmann that you dont understand the concept. the picture is misleading because the grass path doesnt need to be there, they chose to have it there for looks. yes straight lines do work for massive scale but for smaller scale (and i dont mean that small at all) circular pattern is way more efficient. this website may help you understand- http://www.google.com/imgres?q=mandala+garden+layout&hl=en&sa=X&biw=894&bih=394&tbm=isch&tbnid=vWv0IxNwQCsbEM:&imgrefurl=http://mandalagardens.blogspot.com/2011/06/layout.html&docid=MDfuaPgdGyg8aM&w=1161&h=1600&ei=MKFeTo_uI8qpsALh5d0T&zoom=1&iact=rc&dur=359&page=5&tbnh=107&tbnw=78&start=40&ndsp=10&ved=1t:429,r:5,s:40&tx=35&ty=56 it really and truely is more space efficient, and naturally works better if done right. by the by, the coop got the idea (not that its new) from the School of Environmenl Studies who decided to do a community garden and did this format because of its all around eco friendlyness.

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mannyminotAug. 31, 11 8:57 PM

Wonderful that it is attributed to George Washington . . . my understanding is that using mounds and circles is American Indian in nature . . .

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sarahdanceSep. 2, 11 3:26 AM

I'm always glad to see less lawn. -----------------------------------------------Other than the Red River Valley, Mr. Halsey, please tell me where is all that good MN soil? Mine is heavy clay. -----------------------------------------------I agree with other comments, this and any other mandala design is never more efficient than a grid. As for George Washington, he designed Mt. Vernon in the style of the ferme ornee'(ornamented farm). That style was never intended for high production i.e. cash crops. That's what true plantations were for.

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