In the Garden

Square Foot Gardening

Mel Bartholomew

Originator of Square Foot Gardening.

(click picture to visit Square Foot Gardening)

I have been thinking about selling my condo on the beach and moving to the boonies.  So for the last few months I have been slowly getting all the repairs, painting, upgrades, etc. done so if I decide to sell, the place will be ready to go on the market.   This week I had  new carpeting installed and some plumbing done, so just a little cleanup and painting to do.  Mentioned this to my neighbor, who is a renter, and she said “I’ll Buy It”.

So now What’ll I Do?

I’m free to go anywhere – nothing tying me to any particular place.  But I have to decide quickly because I have to move out by end of September.  I could always buy an RV and travel the country for a while. Seriously considered this, but  don’t think traveling by myself would be much fun.  I could rent an apartment for a while until I figure out what to do and where to go.  This seems like a giant step backwards.  I’m sitting here now looking out my window at sailboats on the Chesapeake Bay and people sunbathing on the beach.  I need to find something that will top that!

When I was a little kid, we had 3 H-U-G-E  gardens – and I had to weed a row a day all summer long.  I hated it.  Too young to appreciate fresh fruits and vegetables,  just knew that pulling weeds is one of the most boring and unpleasant tasks known to kids everywhere.  So now I am thinking of moving to the boonies and starting a market farm – growing produce to sell at farmer’s markets and restaurants.  I must be nuts.

The Beatles

But I recently came across a reference to Square Foot Gardening – a method of gardening that increases yields and almost eliminates weeds.  And the beds can be raised so that I can do most of the gardening standing up.  I have been looking for a new business idea for the last 4 years and this is the first idea I have been excited about.  I think its the almost total control I would have from planting the seeds, to caring for the plants, to harvesting, to selling.  If it works its because I did a good job.  And if it fails, no one to blame but me.

Van Morrison

So maybe it is the hope – the beauty – the peace – of the garden that calls to me.  A backyard that is a beautiful tapestry of plants of different textures and colors.   The satisfaction of eating what I have grown with my own labor.  Eating fresh foods that are not polluted with chemicals that simply make the food look like its still good – after being  shipped halfway around the world.

So I have been studying maps and looking up real estate prices.  Where can I move that has basic services like a YMCA, a Lowes or Home Depot, a farmer’s market, some nice restaurants, and good recreational opportunities like boating, fishing, and hiking?  And since I currently live in Virginia, staying in Virginia is my first choice – not a requirement – just my first choice.

So I came up with Danville, Virginia (last capital of the Confederate States of America) which is right on the North Carolina border about half way across the state.  Within an hours drive are 3 large lakes, the Blue Ridge Mountains, many historic sites, and a couple larger cities.  And real estate is CHEAP!

Danville is a city in transition.  Its history is of tobacco warehouses and textile manufacturing (Dan River, Inc) – but both are gone.  Danville appears to be in a state of revival – and has an excellent business climate recently attracting several new businesses.

Danville Promotional Video

So I have several ideas for businesses – market farming, fresh baked bread and other goodies (in a cob oven) , and selling used books.  Just make a little off each and I will be fine.  Also might look for a fixer-upper to fix up, after I fix my own up.  Then its time for

Garden Party

So if anyone knows about the Danville area, please share.  I need to decide within the next week or 2.  Oh well, if it doesn’t work out, I can just try somewhere else.



4 responses to “In the Garden

  1. I used to work for Averett College and can tell you that this is a very conservative little town. Beautiful and nice houses but not a whole lot going on. Have you thought about the Shenandoah Valley? Edinburg, Woodstock areas? A bit closer to DC life if you get bored, plenty of space, farmers markets and Harrisonburg and Winchester have the big stores if you need them. I had 3 acres in Mt Jackson area with great garden. Wish I hadn’t sold it to be back in DC area.

  2. Hi Cindy,

    I lived in N VA for about 20 years and hated it. Lived in Richmond for several years and enjoyed it, but after I sold my business I decided to move to Hampton.

    Now I think I’d like to try living in the country – but close to a small city (like Danville). I thought about going a little farther west (Independence, Wytheville, Galax), but I get the impression these communities are not as welcoming to newcomers as a larger area like Danville. Plus I’d like to get a boat and Danville is ideally situated for boating and fishing.

    One of my favorite things to do is take the convertible out on the open road. There’s a lot of country roads around Danville to explore.


  3. Danville seems nice on the surface, but read the papers. There is a huge drug and crime problem there. Lotsa shootings, murders and assaults – at least a murder a week. Better to move to someplace like Gretna – which is close to Smith Mountain lake if you like boats. You’re still within an hour’s drive of Danville and real estate is still cheap but you don’t have the crime. South Boston – east of Danville, is seeing more gang activity, so it’s not much better. Chatham, Gretna, Hurt are all agriculture towns and have much to offer if you want to pursue farming etc. Otherwise, Danville really is sewer when it comes to health care, jobs, services etc. Don’t live IN Danville, but look around outside Danville. Palmyra – outside Charlottesville, is a great place too…small, near services – but real estate taxes will kill you. Good luck!

  4. Hi Amy,

    When I lived in Richmond, I was actually in Goochland County – about 1/3 of the way between Richmond and Charlottesville. One of my rides used to be to take Rt 6 up to Fork Union and then 16 over to 250. its pretty in that area, but it still is pretty congested.

    I appreciate the info on Danville. I had checked out the crime rate – which was low – but if there has been a recent increase in gang activity and murders I wasn’t aware of it. I was thinking that since Danville was not on an Interstate, the gang problem wouldn’t be too bad.

    I’m actually looking for a house in Pittsylvania County, not in Danville itself. I’ve only made 1 trip so far, so need to go again. Probably this week. I go to the YMCA 5 days a week now, so part of the reason I wanted to be close to Danville was because it has a Y.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s