The garden that sprouted legs and walked away
A rolling stone grows no moss, but what about a garden on wheels?
Brad Hart drives a 1984 red Land Cruiser, and where he goes his garden follows. Basil, heirloom tomatoes, beets, kale, and a choir of mild, medium and hot peppers jangle behind his truck on an 8-by-10 square foot greenhouse built on a snowmobile trailer.
Hart lives on Park Avenue in Old Town and has been one of the regular vendors at the Park Silly Sunday Market this season. "I was trying to figure out a spot on my lawn that’s not all shaded," he said. "It really worked out best to have a raised garden."
Hart jokes that he will drive his garden down to Mexico for a surfing vacation. So far, he has carted the trailer to neighbors willing to tend the plants while he travels. He plans to move the garden into his garage when the first frost hits, unless the greenhouse-like structure made of a translucent plastic tarp is too tall.
"I wasn’t able to plant stuff until mid-June," he said. "It turned out really good."
Harts says he’s not sure how long he can keep his portable greens rolling, but they should last until November.
The hanging garden is Hart’s first attempt at cultivating plants. He based his experiment on a book called "Square Foot Gardening: A New Way to Garden in Less Space with Less Work" by Mel Bartholomew.
The tomatoes he grows are considerably smaller than typical grocery store fare, he admits, but that’s the point. "It’s pretty cool when you can make your own salad and not be so dependent on the grocery store," he said of his modest moveable feast. "It’s not a huge harvest but it’s not nothing."
People who visit Hart’s booth, Local Vore, at the Park Silly Sunday Market have been impressed with his miniature Garden of Babylon. He sells locals breads and vegetables and, so far, nothing from his garden. "Some people haven’t heard or seen something like this before," he said. "Some people walk by and they don’t know what a tomato plant looks like."
Hart, watering his plants Thursday morning, spoke like a proud parent amazed at how much his tomato plants have grown in the three months since they were seedlings. "I remember when they were this big," he said, as if pinching together his thumb and forefinger.
He also frets like a parent. "We got a lot more sun in the summer," he said, adding that he is looking for a location near his house that gets more south-facing sun to help nourish the plants he has raised.
Park Silly Market Goes Green
Park Silly organizers are trying to attract more local farmers to the festival that is now in its second year.
"We’re using the market as a forum to educate people about what we can do to be greener," she said.
After July 6 market, attended by around 4,000 people, 36 bags of trash were recycled, seven bags were composted at Potter’s Pig Farm, and only a half a bag of trash was shipped to a traditional landfill.
Organizers encourage market visitors to ride their bikes or take the bus. They offer a free bike valet and a lecture series on sustainability that has covered topics such as water reclamation and recycling.
Kimberly Kuehn and associate Jewels Harrison will be presenting at the Utah Nonprofit Association’s annual Utah Nonprofits Conference on Sept. 17 on how to put on a green event.
For help building a moveable garden, or to volunteer a good spot for the garden to sun, contact Brad Hart at 729-0523 or write to email@example.com . Hart plans to attend the Park Silly Sunday Market on Lower Main Street for the remainder of the season. The market runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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