With Spring comes the opportunity to try new things, pick up a new hobby, break a bad habit, learn a new skill and maybe do something you never thought you’d do.
I’ve always had interests in various things. My background is in creative marketing and design, developing brands, producing printed materials like brochures, logos and corporate stationery or pieces like this magazine that you’re reading. I grew up drawing and doing art in the small farming community I’m from and was trained in that area in college before getting to work for myself in 1998. In those early days, nearly 20 years ago, I began teaching myself web design. There was no YouTube in those days or videos to show you how to set up a web page, so you had to rely on printed books or proprietary software to build websites, but this for me became a new area of interest which eventually evolved into another business offering. The web has changed since then, but my business continues to create online experiences for local and regional clients of varying sizes.
Personally, I’ve found interests from hobbyist woodworking, to cooking, to coaching my daughter’s youth softball team–I never thought softball would be my favorite sport, but I would have never known if I hadn’t tried it.
A few Springs ago, I stumbled upon a gardening concept that was gaining traction among city folk and heard a radio interview with Mel Bartholomew, a pioneer of something called “Square Foot Gardening”, and decided to try it out myself. My wife and I had always enjoyed some light gardening as a hobby–we probably spent more money on the water and seedlings than it would have cost to just drive up to the local HyVee for a few tomatoes, or a bunch of cilantro, but the kids and neighborhood critters always enjoyed picking the few fruits that bloomed off the vine. The idea revolves around a raised-bed garden, typically constructed of 1×12, or 2×12 lumber to make a “box” for your soil. Each square foot is then sectioned off, sometime with wood lathe, or strings of twine run from side to side to create a grid of one-square-foot “gardens”, each for a specific number of seedlings or seeds, depending on the species of plant. They overall garden can be any size, but you can start with something manageable like a 4×4-foot box, which would give you 16 mini-gardens. The gardens have many benefits over the type that you or I may have grown up with, including lots of varieties in a concentrated area, easier management, fewer weeds and the ability to plant pest-repelling plants such as marigolds amongst the vegetables, to deter bugs. You’ll also be able to easily cover or cage in the garden, if weather or rabbits get word of your new hobby.