Trying Out Square Foot Gardening

I've decided to give gardening another try even after last year's abysmal results (about 4 small zucchini, a couple of beans, and 3-4 tiny tomatoes).  The soil at the house sucks and the previous owners did very little to care for the overgrown yard.

This year, I'm going with a square foot garden. The concept is that, rather than rows of the same plant, you plant in raised beds, divided by a grid into 1-foot squares.  Each square is planted seperately with different plants.  It's all described in this book:


The other big shift is that you don't try to fix your soil.  Instead, you fill the 6-inch deep beds with a 1:1:1 ratio of vermiculite, compost, and peat moss.

It's a bit of work to build the beds and mix all the soil ingredients together.  Also, the soil is expensive (Vermiculite is $21 for a 2 cu/ft bag here), but those should be one-time outlays.

I got the beds placed today and planted some of the early start seeds like peas, beets, spinach, etc.

Here's what it looks like so far:

Hopefully all the investment in soil and building the beds will pay off.  Now if I can just get the lawn to grow.


The perils of not using your credit cards

  A credit card company just sent me a letter informing me that:
We have closed your AT&T Universal Rewards Card due to the length of time that has passed since it was last used.  Please destroy all cards and convenience checks in your possession.
I guess it's cool that I have my life together enough that I can avoid using a particular credit card for years, but it's still kind of sad that they closed my account.


Why the Redskins Shouldn't Change the Name

The Washington Post is once again on a quixotic crusade to make the Washington Redskins change their name.  Leading the charge is columnist Mike Wise, but the paper has been devoting tons of space to the topic.  The core of the argument is that the term "redskin" is a slur against Native Americans.  We would be offended by a team named after any other racial slur, so we should be equally offended by a team called

But the difference is that "redskin" has virtually no currency as a slur.  It's an anachronism that is unused except in the context of the Washington NFL team.  It's more like having a team named the Washington Blackamoors or the New York Mooks. Yes, you can go back in time to find a point where the name was used as a racial slur, but it's so far in the past that it has no relation to the modern age.

There is a very small, but vocal, group of people offended by the name Redskins.  According to a 2004 poll of Native Americans, 91% of respondents were not offended by the use of the name.  The charge to change the name is driven by vocal activists and liberal guilt.  And the Washington Post.

Hail to the Redskins!

Update (3/12/13): A friend who used to live in the upper Midwest informed me that she has heard people in Minnesota and Wisconsin use the term "redskin" as a racial slur. 

Also, I found a very good article on the Language Log on the Origin of Redskin.  It's worth reading if you want to know the actual linguistic history of the word.