How To Build a Compost Bin

How To Build a Compost Bin

Soil & Compost, Sustainable Landscaping
Learn how to build a compost bin for your garden suited to your needs. Wire Mesh Compost Bin Wire mesh compost bins are versatile, inexpensive and easy to construct. They may be used as holding bins for composting moderate amounts of yard wastes or as turning systems for quick composting of larger volumes. Holding compost bins are a convenient way of composting yard wastes with little effort: Simply add wastes as they are cleaned up from the yard. With no effort besides occasional moistening compost will be ready in 6 months to 2 years. Attention to chopping materials, maintaining moisture by watering and covering piles with plastic, and occasional turning will produce compost in less time. The compost bin can be easily moved to turn piles or to harvest finished…
Read More
How to Build a Rain Garden

How to Build a Rain Garden

Sustainable Landscaping, Sustainable Living
There's a new garden in town. It is (mostly) easy to install, looks good year-round, requires almost no maintenance and has a terrifically upbeat impact on the environment. No wonder a rain garden is such a great new gardening trend! Storm water runoff can be a big problem in summer during heavy thunderstorms. As the water rushes across roofs and driveways, it picks up oil and other pollutants. Municipal storm water treatment plants often can’t handle the deluge of water, and in many locations the untreated water ends up in natural waterways. The EPA estimates as much as 70 percent of the pollution in our streams, rivers, and lakes is carried there by storm water! By taking responsibility for the rainwater that falls on your own roof and driveway, you…
Read More
US First and Last Frost Dates

US First and Last Frost Dates

Growing Food, Soil & Compost, Starting Seeds, Weather, Year Round Gardening
USDA Hardiness Zone This information is useful for at least two reasons, to calculate when to plant seeds or plant seedlings outside in the garden to figure out how late in the growing season you can plant certain perennials, trees, and shrubs Dates on this chart are approximations, no one can KNOW the weather, every season is different. Most years, the first and last frost will fall within two weeks of the date on the chart, but some years, we get a very early frost or a late snow storm that throws the dates off. Please use discretion (and your local weather forecast!) along with this chart to plan your seed starting and planting. First, click on the map if you need to enlarge it and find your zone if…
Read More
Keep Plants Green with Gray Water

Keep Plants Green with Gray Water

Self Sufficiency, Sustainable Landscaping, Sustainable Living
In times of drought, most organic home gardeners must ration their water usage, watering vegetables and favorite flowers while watching their lawns and other plants wither. But across the country some intrepid gardeners are foregoing the tap and turning to another source: gray water. Gray water is commonly defined as any household waste-water except for toilet water. (That's called black water.) In arid communities with annual water problems, such as California, Florida and the Southwest, gray water systems have been in use since the 1980s. But in many other parts of the country, using gray water is actually illegal. [caption id="attachment_1562" align="alignleft" width="300"] There are many benefits to using gray water in the garden[/caption] The main concern about gray water is the potential for adverse health effects. Gray water can…
Read More

Not at Home on the Range

Community, Food Supply, Soil & Compost
Subsidized Fracking Hits Colorado This is an interesting article documenting the connections between tax subsidies, oil and gas fracking, and harms to the public health. And this article indicates that this kind of extreme oil production is NOT a free market activity, but is possible/profitable only because of subsidies. Repeat: this kind of extreme energy exploration is NOT a free market activity. Yes, this affects soil fertility. Yes, this is a gardening issue. Yes, this is a food issue.
Read More
Right to Farm Equals No Right to Grow Food

Right to Farm Equals No Right to Grow Food

Food Supply, Small Scale Farming
Yesterday, Missouri passed by a .03% margin an undemocratic constitutional amendment cynically called "right to farm." Big Ag is pushing this in Oklahoma. This is for the benefit of multinational meat companies (Tyson) and chemical companies (Monsanto). They want it to be impossible for local citizens to exercise any control over these global corporations. Practices and products of these companies have been destructive and dangerous for farming and ranching and for our food supply. Now they are attacking our democracy. In the past 50 years these companies' monopolistic practices have: (1) driven nearly all U.S. farmers and ranchers out of business; (2) eliminated nearly all but the largest 3 meat packers; (3) eliminate nearly all but the largest seed/chemical company - Monsanto; (4) crippled rural farm economies; and (5) made…
Read More

40 maps that explain food in America

Food Supply
The future of the nations will depend on the manner of how they feed themselves, wrote the French epicurean Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin in 1826. Almost 200 years later, how nations feed themselves has gotten a lot more complicated. That’s particularly true in the US, where food insecurity coexists with an obesity crisis, where fast food is everywhere and farmer’s markets are spreading, where foodies have never had more power and McDonald’s has never had more locations, and where the possibility of a barbecue-based civil war is always near. So here are 40 maps, charts, and graphs that show where our food comes from and how we eat it, with some drinking thrown in for good measure. There's a map for every interest. Check it out. 40 maps that explain food…
Read More
Summer Heat and Organic Gardening

Summer Heat and Organic Gardening

Organic Gardening, Soil & Compost, Weather, Year Round Gardening
It was nice while it lasted. The spring, I mean. If I had been one step ahead, I would have had everything planted sooner. Who could have known that it was actually May in March? I mean... really. I really didn't want to tell you all the drivel you can find on a zillion other websites about how to "Beat the Heat" of summer in your organic garden. We all know, mulch is our friend. Period. Water deeply and less often. "Easy." Water in the morning. "We know." I hear you all chime. My friend Theresa Roman had an interesting twist this year... umbrellas for shade. If it is wilted, water? There are two schools of thought. During high heat watering must be thorough and deep. If you can't water…
Read More
Organic Garden Yards – Oh the Controversy

Organic Garden Yards – Oh the Controversy

Community, Healthy Eating, Sustainable Landscaping
If you are not allowed to grow and eat your own food, then the legality of any other basic right is up for grabs. While it seems to be a new concept in the United States, it is not a new concept; who controls the food supply, controls the people. I have sat on my hands regarding this topic for some time now... but this heartbreaking story, explains a situation that is becoming disturbingly common in America today. Will they be coming for your lemon verbena and catnip next? Where will they draw the line, you can't grow squash because the squash bugs will become a neighborhood nuisance? In case you are not aware of Karl Tricamo, from Ferguson, Missouri, USA, he was involved in a Front Yard Garden Controversy…
Read More