Square Foot Garden

Find a space that is four square feet or more
In your back yard, outside the kitchen window
So you can watch the earth work.

Grab a pencil, a tape measure, and a saw
Measure, mark, and cut two x fours
In four foot lengths.

Rummage in the garage till you find
That old 10 Lb. hammer and the kind
Of nails you need, steel –
Eight inches long, used, and slightly rusty
Still straight and true
Suitable for framing, not finishing.

Bang together a box of yellow pine
Drive the nails through one board into the next
Join the two x fours till they meet at neat corners.

Settle this frame in the dirt
Outside the kitchen window
A fine pine box where seeds can start.

Return to the garage to find a knife.
Rip the bags, all flush with peat moss,
Recently rendered compost,
And deeply dark black soil.

Empty the bags, and fork this mixture
Loosely, in a new garden bed ready
For your shaking hand to press seeds down

In hope of greens and reds
And sweet tomatoes and peppers
And savory oregano and rosemary

—T. A. Cullen, Madison, WI