Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Container Garden in Hell and its Impact on Social Networking

You may ignore this post if you are interested in the larger topics of this blog. This post is in the "trivial issues of my pathetic so-called life" topic. It does have a social networking spin though, that I at least find interesting.

I maintain a garden here in Hell. I live in Escondido, Ca, which was originally known as Rancho Rincon del Diablo (or the Devil's Place, e.g. Hell). No one knows how it got that name but I suspect that they do know, they are just not saying. I am here for a variety of reasons, but the most important one is that it saves money. Its nice but inconvenient for anything I need to do other than sit and type, and I am very lonely down here.

I have a patio, so I started a container garden because I thought it would get me outside more, be economical, possibly improve the quality of my life (e.g. fresh herbs) and because I thought it would be fun. Well it is fun, it is also expensive, and educational.

The bottom line is this. If you have to leave your garden in August and there is no one to water it (and no money to set up an automatic watering system), then in fact putting the movable part of the garden in the shade will allow it to survive for a week. Anything in the sun doesn't have a chance.  I had to leave my garden to attend SIGGRAPH 2012 and thus this experiment was performed.   

Container gardening has an interesting social networking story to tell, I think. There are a lot of gardening forums out there and there is a lot of useful information. There is also a tremendous amount of crap. Anything you read about gardening on the Internet, you can find an authority spouting advice saying the exact opposite. Frankly, its a little pathetic. Why do people say these things, when they have not tested them, or do not know whether they work or not ? Why shouldn't they ? Its really all about their ego and the size of their virtual, umm, well, you know, "member", virtually speaking that is. I think. Maybe. But what I am describing is very real, its not at all subtle. You can read an answer to any topic, and quickly find the opposite answer somewhere, equally authoritative, without any trouble. It is probably a decent topic for a masters or PhD thesis to gather some numbers on the phenomenon. This might mean picking N topics at random. Pick M answers to the N topics. See what percentage of the answers contradict each other in either subtle or overt ways.

One more thing, if you do think about a garden, I can save you a lot of time and money. Just do a fresh herb garden, it is inexpensive, it works, it is not much trouble. Plant it serially (e.g. replant it regularly, say every 4 months) and you will have a continuous supply. We are mostly talking about fresh basil here. You might also look at some leaf lettuce, a little harder than herbs, but not much harder. Once you try to scale up from there, e.g. tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, beans, then the space, time and work required goes up significantly. And if you are like me, you will be amazed at the number, variety, camouflage and cleverness of the biological enemies of your garden, just waiting, lurking, ready to pounce.

So keep it simple and move on.

Too bad about those forums, though.

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