ASK DR. SCHUND

Dr. Schund, how may the urban dweller grow his own vegetables and flowers within the negligible square footage of his holdings without compromising the elegant architectural fiats of his condo association?

Traditional horticulture requires, fortify yourself, open dirt. Farmers often mixed animal feces and well-rotted vegetable matter with whole fields of exposed dirt, lavishing obscene volumes of odiously odorous and visually deficient substances across the entirety of their holdings. Is it any wonder that the value of farmland has plummeted? Imagine replacing the pantiles of your condominium roof with cow chips. How would you explain THAT to the county tax assessor?

Hydroponics, flowing volumes of water laced with a panoply of nutrient chemicals bathing the roots of your crops, requires the culturally unacceptable exercise of arithmetic and even the discriminatory possession of technical knowledge. Anyone amassing the engineering infrastructure and diversity of chemicals intrinsic to the practice of hydroponics is immediately liable to arrest as a marijuana grower, a drug laboratory operator, and an anti-Enviro-whiner guerrilla with dead dolphins in his closet. How dare you violate EPA standards for drinking water by adding the nitrates of farm runoff, the phosphates of dishwasher detergents, potassium from prescription diuretic medication, transition metal trace elements... to the Federal Government-blessed effluent from your tap! Subversive! Communist! Democrat! Eco-Terrorist!

Dr. Schund, in a spasm of sanctified compassion, introduces the next step in horticultural evolution: Square inch gardening.

The problem is not dirt. The problem is gravity. Plants have for millions of years abused the privilege of growing in Earth's paltry gravitational field. Wasteful branches extend their messes without limit. Tall trunks extend, long leaves hang, stems unfold, and all matter of things blow in the breeze. It is these biological atavisms that cannot, will not be tolerated in the purely functional urban square inch garden. Place these hedonistic gravity orgiasts in an honest 10G field! Why must a mature apple tree be more than a foot tall? Reclaim the sky for all mankind and get your garden under control!

We will need a ten foot diameter turntable, a bearing to support the weight of the revolving disk and its contents, a small electric motor, some minor woodworking tools and wood, pots, soil and the will to succeed. We have about 30 linear feet of garden at our disposal for each ring of the turntable we plant. Given one gravity pointed straight down and requiring ten gravities net acceleration, we complete the force triangle to find that we must angle our pots about 5.73° above horizontal and supply 9.95 gees of centrifugal acceleration. Remembering that centripetal acceleration equals the square of the angular velocity (in radians/sec) times the radius, a very reasonable 4.01 Hz gives us our square inch garden. Of course, we could dial in higher rotation rates and use a smaller disk, or goose the original disk to 40 Hz to get applesauce directly.

But why occupy an almost 80 square foot circle for our garden? If we accept a 10% sinusoidal gravitational variance, we can place the disk on edge, in the sun. We can place a sheaf of stacked disks across our patio, enjoying hundreds of linear feet of productive plantings occupying only a few square feet of land! Add sequins, bugle beads, small mirrors, and some soft calliope music. Soon everybody will be required to have a rotating square inch garden or suffer Condo Association fines.

Soon each condo community exercise room will have mechanical generators wired to its exercise equipment. As biceps strain and latissimus dorsi bulge, electrical energy will propagate along copper and aluminum arteries to rotate our floral pride free of charge. Imagine red and fragrant tomatoes there for the picking. Visualize an entire fruit orchard next to your hot tub, within arm's reach. Is this not the good life?

With the universal acceptance of square inch gardening, the national forests can be transplanted to a more space-intensive environment and the freed land put to more profitable use. The ridiculous waste of farm acreage can be mounted horizontally and compressed to a tenth its current expanse, freeing thousands of square miles for condominium development, revitalizing the American economy. A new and brighter day awaits!

In the meantime, Dr.Schund is going out back to see how his gravitationally compressed acre of marijuana is turning out.


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