Cleaning Your Water Garden and Preparing for Winter

Cleaning Your Water Garden and Preparing for Winter

Organic Gardening, Sustainable Landscaping
Like any outdoor water source, a water garden collects organic matter that needs to be cleaned out. The best time to do this is when the water temperature is cooler, such as in the fall. This helps minimize any stress to fish that may live in your water garden. A few basic steps to cleaning your water garden and preparing it for winter include: Get a holding container for the plants or fish, being sure it is large enough to hold the amount of water needed to sustain the plants and fish for several hours while you are emptying and cleaning the water garden. It is best to keep the holding container in the shade during this time, also. Fill the holding container with water from the water garden, then…
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The ideal emergency preparedness food: Sprouts

The ideal emergency preparedness food: Sprouts

Emergency Preparedness, Food Storage, Healthy Eating, Self Sufficiency
Sprouts are THE ideal emergency preparedness food! Given the rapidity with which critical global events are unfolding, preparedness just makes good sense. The question isn't whether or not to be prepared - it is what to be prepared for? Earthquakes, nuclear accidents, tsunamis, power outages and gasoline shortages have been on this week's menu. Each, of course, has its own specific type of preparedness protocols. But, no matter what kind of unexpected event looms large, there is always a need for food. Food shortages could result from any of the aforementioned potential scenarios, as well as from any number of scenarios that I haven't mentioned. There are any number of ways to approach food shortage preparedness, but my preferred method is sprouts! Sprouts are, in my mind, the number one,…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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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…
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Five Must Have Supplies for Your Disaster Preparedness

Five Must Have Supplies for Your Disaster Preparedness

Emergency Preparedness, Food Storage, Self Sufficiency
It doesn't matter where you live, what your personal situation is, or what type of disasters you may potentially face, there are some basic supplies everyone should have on hand "just in case". Not being prepared for an emergency is bad planning for life, in general; "failing to plan is planning to fail" and all that. Here are five things that you should stock and store at all times to make sure you can make it no matter what live throws at you. More people are, at the least, more unnecessarily uncomfortable, and worse, placed in unnecessarily life threatening situations for lack of bad planning. Know the five "must have supplies that should be part of your disaster preparedness. [caption id="attachment_3762" align="alignright" width="300"] water is #1 on the disaster preparedness…
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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.
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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…
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