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The Law of Diminishing Workload (Sunday's Content Post)

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Post  BackyardBirdGardner on 12/18/2011, 10:50 pm

WARNING: THESE ARE GOING TO BE FAIRLY LONG...

We'll see if this idea sticks. It likely won't unless it really sparks discussion or feedback. But, I felt like typing something off the cuff today and felt I would title it such that I could continue weekly.....no guarantees, though.

I was thinking this week about the concept of SFG. And, I'd seen posts of people asking about and/or hesitating putting in the workload up front (not recent posts, just digging through archives). Those of us that have committed to the process know the initial work up front can be extensive. Planning, designing, sizing, buying wood and materials, adding hoops and trellises if that's your thing, planting, mixing Mel's Mix, researching where you can even buy components of MM, bucket measuring, misting/wetting, building and laying the grid, starting a compost pile.....my God the list just goes on....

A lot of those are optional, but you get the point.

I also remembered a "law" from my Economics classes in college. The Law of Diminishing Returns. It simply states that if we load up on one element of our process, we dilute our results. An example relating to SFG, we decide to cram a bunch more seeds than recommended into a square and still water the same, sunlight stays the same, etc. What happens? We get a lower, less satisfactory yield. There is an "inflection point" where we maxx our yield for the minimal amount of work we put in. That's SFG....by the book. Mel did the work for us! We get too technical and question the very methods sometimes.....to our detriment....creating our own Law of Diminishing Returns.

Common gardening also creates the L of DR. However, following the All New Square Foot Gardening book actually creates a whole new law....one that isn't taught in your fancy, 2nd mortgage book-lurnin higher edumacation facilities. I call it the Law of Diminishing Workload.

Sure, the effort is front-loaded. Sure, we are popping Advil like it's going out of style by the end. But, if we commit to the process, we are virtually done. Let me say that again. IF WE COMMIT TO THE PROCESS, WE ARE VIRTUALLY DONE.

Let me explain quickly....

I no longer need to run to the store for fertilizer. I no longer need to apply fertilizer. I no longer need to buy seeds every spring. I no longer need to pick weeds like I used to. I no longer need to go outside everyday to check things. I no longer need to amend my soil. I no longer need to monitor my rain gauge to see if my garden needs water (because it holds moisture). I no longer need to trim back plants that grow outside the garden. I no longer need to till soil in spring. I no longer need to weed rows. I no longer need to manage a football field to get a salad. Again, I could go on.

My point is the work upfront is SO worth it. Just trust Mel. Just trust the work he did for you....the testing he performed years ago. Just trust that his method cuts your workload by 90%. If you dig in and trust the process, you will notice the work up front almost vanishes as time goes on. Just trust....
BackyardBirdGardner
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Post  ashort on 12/18/2011, 11:22 pm

well said BBG
ashort
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Post  martha on 12/19/2011, 12:11 pm

Excellent post. It is so easy to drift in life. In our restaurant, the cooks start out following the established recipe. But you don't have to read the recipe the 27th time you are making the wild mushroom ravioli. So little by little, the recipe drifts - or the ravioli start to get underfilled or overfilled. No one notices at first....

In discussions about SFG, I sometimes notice the same drift. "Hey, how did we get so off-center?" And, certainly, in my approach to SFG, the same can happen.

Two years ago, I had someone mix the composts etc for me. A lot of topsoil got mixed in. That year, my back was hurt, so I couldn't do it myself. But why didn't I change it this past year to be actual MM instead of MM-wannabe? Because I had drifted. And guess what - maybe it's a coincidence*, but those beds are the ones that have verticulum wilt.

Which results in.....lower yields.


* I believe there are very few coincidences in life.

Thank you, BBG.
martha
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