Tuesday, February 10, 2009
|From the Sustainable Home Front|
Xmas is over (thank God) and the New Year is upon us. For many of us, it has been a difficult year and for me, filled with lots of ups and downs. But now that 2009 is here, I am hopeful that it will be a new chapter for me and anyone else that needs to turn the page as well. This year I'll be working on my book and editing 20 new hours of programming to bring to you information on all things sustainable.
This month I have NEW VIDEOS for you to see. Check out my automated indoor hydroponic seed starting video:
Please watch the videos, rate them, bookmark and write a comment. I am so sick of mindless content featured on youtube that I want to ask you to help in boosting this content to the top of the page! If you enjoy the free videos I make, show your support by leaving lots comments.
And don't forget to watch, January Square foot gardening tips from Mel Bartholomew with his lovely sidekick me =):
Not that I needed another project, but I started a blog for all the best green living video I find on the web You can find it at
Feel free to write me HERE if you would like to contribute to the new blog or this Ezine and forward this email around to everyone you know and share a little green living inspiration with others.
I am super pleased to bring you this issue of Urban Sustainable Living. It is jam packed with helpful and sometimes even funny articles this month. Cynthia McKenna tackles the world of resolutions and Annie Spiegleman contributes a hilarious article on compost(yes compost can be funny).
In this month's contest. I am giving away FREE SEEDS from my heirloom seed collection, so be sure to check that out below as well. HAVE A HAPPY HEALTHY NEW YEAR and come and share your thoughts with all of us at www.gardengirltv.com/messageboard.
Patti Moreno, the Garden Girl
P.S. Check out my Home Page's new look! Click here. GardenGirlTV.com
Square Foot Gardening
By Sinfonian Barelytone
Everyone I know that's read Mel Bartholomew's Square Foot Gardening loves it. We all use it. However, contrary to what Mel would like, nobody I know follows it to the letter. I believe that is because there are 100 ways to grow a tomato, probably more. So everyone gardens ever so slightly different, yet everyone's tomatoes taste far better than store-bought anyway. That's the long way of saying I don't follow SFG to the letter (90% I'd guess), and I think you'll find neither does Patti the Garden Girl. That doesn't mean that Mel wasn't way ahead of his time, nor that his method isn't amazing. Reading the first half of his book will tell you that it is, and I agree.
SFG took a guy who killed houseplants and allowed him to grow roughly 50% of his family's produce needs his first year. It's phenomenal! My first year I grew three varieties of leaf lettuce (multiple successions), spinach, tons of radishes and carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, three varieties of peas, bush and pole beans, two varieties of tomatoes, three varieties of cucumbers, green onions, and two varieties of corn. All that in 130 measly square feet of raised beds.
The beauty of SFG is you plant very intensively. The onions, carrots and radishes are planted 16 per SF. Spinach is 9 per SF. See how you can get a ton of food in a small space? Heck, I believe Mel when he says you can feed a salad a day for a season for a family from a 4x4 box.
The other secret is succession planting. You plant some, then later you plant more so you have constant supply. And when you rip something out, sprinkle some more compost on the square and replant something else. I could have been better at this, but I had trouble ripping out perfectly good plants to plant something else.
I really should touch on Mel's Mix. There is a ton of debate about it. Essentially it's 1/3 diverse compost from many sources, 1/3 peat moss (buy Canadian so it's renewable), and 1/3 vermiculite. The amazing thing about Mel's Mix is that it drains like a sink and retains water like a sponge. The downside is that it is fairly expensive and work intensive. I spent close to $500 for 6 cubic yards to fill my beds 16 inches deep. Now, while I highly recommend it if you can't afford it, I'm big on gardening on the cheap (but that's another article). Mel himself teaches in third-world countries that straight compost can be used quite effectively in SFG. Again, there's 100 ways to grow a tomato...
What I like to say when debating SFG compared to traditional row planting, is that row gardening is great if you have acreage and want to use it all for your garden, but if you're an urban or suburban gardener with limited space (like my 260 SF), then raised beds and SFG in some fashion, may be right for you too! So pick up a copy of his book from the store or your local library, and above all, enjoy your garden!
By Sinfonian Barelytone
Check out his blog: ft2garden.powweb.com/sinfonian/
Free Heirloom Seeds for your garden?
That's right, free seeds for everyone that has a website or a blog and installs one of Urban Sustainable Living Ezine's RSS widgets on their site. To get your free seeds simply cut and paste one of these codes below into your site or blog:
Then send me an EMAIL by replying to this email with the URL link where the widget appears and your mailing address. Three weeks or so later you will get a free packet of one of the following Heirloom Seeds from my collection: Giant of Italy Parsley, Genovese Basil, Yellow Pear Tomatoes, Rainbow selection of Carrots, and many more. Share our great sustainable living content with the world, install your widget today!
A Fresh Start for the New Year
By Cynthia McKenna LPC, NCC
It seems natural to use the turning of the year to take stock of life - to consider what could be different in the coming year. Many of us make resolutions that focus on something that is "wrong" with us. This resolution-making is also loaded with guilt, because if you don't achieve what you set out to do, you can feel a sense of failure. As we sit at this transitional point, I want to offer you a different approach to making your resolutions.
Instead of simply focusing on one "problem" you want to fix, what would happen if you could look at your life in a holistic manner? What changes would seem most important if you evaluated with an eye toward increasing balance and clarity. What successes would you celebrate? Would you find areas of your life that you are neglecting? Rather than simply focusing on getting up early to exercise or losing those 15 pounds, take this opportunity to think about the life you would like to have and take steps to begin to live into that life.
Start by looking at your life in terms of broad aspects or categories. Here are some examples: Physical Environment, Career, Money, Health, Relationships, Personal Growth, Fun and Recreation, Emotional Balance. These are aspects that contribute to your overall sense of well-being and also can influence your health both emotionally and physically. Feel free to add categories that seem most relevant to you.
Next, ask yourself, "What am I doing in each area that helps me live the life I want to live? You list might look like this:
Notice if some of your categories have only a few items while others have many things listed. This gives you some feedback on parts of yourself that you may be neglecting.
I save 10 % of my income
I contribute regularly to my retirement plan
I pay my bills on time
I tell my partner "I love you" everyday
I don't gosip
I return letters, emails and phone calls promptly.
Now, look at these categories and ask, "What could I be doing to make my life the way I want it to be? What qualities of a full and meaningful life do you want to include in your list? These are things you aren't doing yet, but that you value and want to work toward. For example:
I recycle regularly
I keep my garden weeded and watered
My closet is tidy and inviting
I have enough in savings to live for 6 months
I have a budget for my expenses and I stick to it
I contribute time or money to charity on a regular basis
I call my parents weekly
I can ask for what I want and/or need
I spend some down-time with friends regularly
Try to add small changes as well as large ones, it will help you see success sooner and keep you motivated.
In starting with the big picture, you gain a vision of where you want your life to be and what steps you can take in order to make that happen. You now have some concrete feedback on what you can do to improve your life. As you begin to make changes, you will know that you are working toward your goal.
What if you really do want to lose 15 pounds or start a regular exercise program? Go back to your categories and add the steps needed to make those changes happen. For example:
I keep healthful foods in the house
I allow myself an occasional treat
I subscribe to a health magazine
My weight is within a healthy range
My blood pressure is lower
I drink plenty of water to keep my body healthy
Fun & Recreation
I have a CD player or I-Pod to help with my workouts
I invite friends to go walking with me
I play outside with my kids
You have just taken your goal of losing 15 lbs and made it concrete. You have actions that you can see and measure. And, you are working on your goal from a variety of perspectives, rather than just focusing on the number on the scale. By making small changes in a variety of areas, you will be more likely to achieve your goals. You will have the opportunity to celebrate your successes more often, and, know that you are working toward living the life you want to live.
Cynthia McKenna, LPC, NCC, is a gardener and writer who lives in South Texas. Cynthia is also a therapist who helps women reduce anxiety and depression and find ways to live their fullest lives. You can visit her on the web at http://www.counselingblog.com/
Last spring my compost pile was a total bust. The decaying vegetable and plant matter was either too dry and clumpy or too damp and lumpy. The residing worms, fungi and other microbial tenants collectively and bitterly revolted, calling their agents and complaining about the atrocious working conditions. They wanted out and they snitched on me. Being a diva and an experienced Master Gardener, I knew this "situation" was unacceptable. I was paranoid the president of our local Master Gardener chapter, if she found out, would rip my MG trowel-shaped nametag from my organic cotton t-shirt and accuse me of impersonating a 'real' gardener. To preserve my dignity while advancing my own legacy, I decided to sign up for the San Francisco Botanical Garden's latest 'dirt' class, taught by Zen Gardening Master and author, Wendy Johnson. I was determined and convinced Wendy's scientific and sagely advice would assure me the perfect, mother-of-all compost piles by the end of 2008.
The soil class was taught at Green Gulch Farm, an organic farm and Buddhist Zen Center located in Mill Valley, CA. While us attendees were busy getting our hands dirty in the fields of greens, there were also Buddhist monks in saffron robes passing nearby. Some were fulfilling their vows of silence while others happily praised the new rooftop garden planted on top of the adobe tool shed. "At Green Gulch, we don't proselytize about Zen, but we certainly do preach the gospel of hot compost," says Wendy. At the farm, there are a number of large, steamy compost piles spread around the property. The compost mantra is simple yet precise: 'Farm girls must sing." F is for food', G is for greens, M is for manure and S is for straw. Remember that and you've taken your first steps towards garden nirvana. Mix and match, turn and moisten, and you shall succeed, our teacher promised. After 3hours of working in the garden and taking notes on bat turds, worm poop, horse manure and friendly fungi and bacteria, Wendy reminded us of the importance of taking time to sit quietly in our gardens and do absolutely nothing. Nada. She was staring right at me when she said this. She must have sensed I'm from New York City. I'll show her, I thought to myself! I know how to go deep inside and relax. So, on my way out of the class, I sat on a garden bench and soaked in the sun while meditating on the gratitude and connection I felt for compost queens the world over. My heart goes out to you if your inner dialogue sounds anything like mine . . . " This place is too WEIRD. Oh, look, Crabapple trees. How fancy! Wait, I'm supposed to be observing my breath. Breathe in, breathe out. And just why is it my best friends sometimes get on my nerves? Is it them or me? Them, I'm quite sure. Yikes, here comes a Zen monk right towards me. Are these voices in my head bothering him? Okay, breathe and STOP thinking already. Focus, focus. Why do they shave their head, anyways? Do they use hair samples to test for drugs?. Quiet, quiet. Non-judgment and compassion I beckon you NOW! Jesus, hurry UP! With all that mercury in tuna, I don't know what to eat for lunch. Wouldn't it be hilarious to have a Starbucks here? There's definitely a conspiracy of silence spying on me right this minute. When does Oprah sleep? Did she ever marry what's his name?"
And with that, I picked up my few belongings and hit the road running. I went home and immediately started two new compost piles. One in a Smith and Hawken plastic bin and one out in the open air. I had a successful worm box already which was doing fine, so I left that one alone and focused on the two new piles. I went to the neighbor down the road, with the horses. She hugged me for enthusiastically asking her if I could take a load of her horse manure. I think she felt sorry for me.I went to my local Peet's coffee and asked them to bag up their coffee grounds every Sunday for me. They wore the face of pity, as well. I watered, turned and pampered my two new piles and by September I had created the most fabulous homemade compost I had ever crafted. I almost had tears in my eyes when I saw the dark crumbly soil-like material at the bottom of the pile. It was as if those microorganisms were hiding in the dark with their party-hats on, waiting for me to come home from work so they could all yell "SURPRISE!" I quickly became the stage-mother of one big, glitzy family and decided to take the show on the road, "Fungi, Bacteria and Earthworms-The Musical!" I traveled around the Bay Area giving out buckets loaded with decaying leftovers, wrapped in Christmas ribbons, as holiday gifts. The relatives were a bit surprised and grateful yet wore that face of pity and concern. That's okay, I reminded them. We're all in this together. Recycling. Reusing. Re-gifting. This is the season of sharing. Feel free to toss in the fruitcake. Add manure, straw and water. Stab with pitchfork.
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| What does local food look like?|
By Luci Fernandez
One topic that has been making the news on a regular basis is local food. The term localvore (or locavore) is defined as someone who eats regularly from their local foodshed (usually defined as within a 100 to 250 mile radius). But for those just starting their locavore journey, the question is 'how does one start'?
Look out your window. What do you see? Do you see an endless expanse of lawn? This is your first potential source of local food. Start small; for example, plant an herb garden with hardy herbs to withstand the learning curve you will undergo. Just being able to add fresh herbs to your home cooking makes it special. You can impress your friends by saying, "Oh, I just picked the parsley from the garden today!" You say you don't have a lawn to rehab, well then start with container herbs on a sunny kitchen windowsill. I didn't know much about growing vegetables when I started tearing up my front lawn, but if I had waited until I knew everything, I would have never started! Making mistakes has been my best teacher!
Meet a farmer. When is the last time you shook the hand of someone who grew something you ate (and said thank-you)? Think about how much we depend on these folks who grow the stuff we love to eat. Find a local farmer's market and talk to these folks. Ask them how they grow their crops, how they treat their animals, why they do what they do. And they buy from them!! Buying directly from the farmer puts more money back in their pocket than when you buy products from the grocery store. If you don't have a local farmer's market, talk to your local government officials to help sponsor a location for one. We started one last year after many years of dormancy.
Just because, it didn't work before, doesn't mean you can't try again.
Challenge your grocery store produce manager. We recently found out that our local chain grocery store was placing 'locally grown' signs on produce willy-nilly. When asked what his definition of locally grown was - he said 'anything grown in the US'. I guess he hasn't read the definition of 'locally grown.' Don't be shy about questioning your local produce manager and asking them to support locally grown produce.
Start a food co-operative grocery store. Ok, this one might be a little harder to accomplish. We are in the early stages of developing a grocery co-operative grocery store in our town to support locally grown and raised products and to support the local economy. Locally grown and local economies go hand-in-hand in supporting each other. This effort will involve more than just yourself. Find out if there is a locally buying club. Talk to them about joining efforts. Are there any community groups working on local food issues? Partner with them to get the word out to the community. We are partnering with the local sustainability not-for-profit organization and we will be using films about food issues to stir up interest in the community.
As you can see, there are many facets to locally grown food. You are only limited by your imagination and ability to challenge to status-quo of where our food comes from. If we are what we eat, then I want to make sure that what I eat is the best I can get! Bon appétit!!
Luci is a native of New York City, Luci has lived from the east coast to the west coast. Luci currently works as a Sustainability Planner for Ft. Bragg. She previously served as an Army Officer for 5 years and worked as a registered nurse for 10 years. She has been active in local sustainability issues since returning to Fayetteville NC. She volunteers with Sustainable Sandhills, a local sustainability focused organization and served on the City of Fayetteville Recycling Task Force.
| Garden Girl's New DVD is available at garden centers NOW! |
4 hours of video on 2 DVDs features how to build your own 500sqft garden and join the sustainable living revolution. Purchase a copy at North Haven Garden Center in Dallas, Texas, and Gardener's Supply in Burlington, VT, Thayer Nurseries in Milton, Mass, and Van Atta's Flower Shop in Haslett, MI
Retail Price: $19.99
|Growing Mint by Dana Wright alotgreener.blogspot.com|
Mint, a member of the Lamiaceae or Labiatae family, is as easy to grow as it is to incorporate into all sorts of recipes. This cold hardy perennial is great for beginners and can be grown in a window or even under cover to extend the growing season. It's fragrant scent and beautiful leaves are an attractive addition to any garden. Make sure to give mint a wide berth when planting in early spring as it can easily choke off other plants. It can grow in all sorts of conditions but usually prefers slightly moist soil with some shade. An easy way to keep mint under control is to surround it with metal or plastic about a foot into the ground. This will not completely stop the spread of mint, but it will help to keep it under control.
Used in teas to aid in digestion and ailments of the digestive track, facial sprays to sooth, calm and refresh, and of course in the kitchen in all manner of foods and drinks such as Mint Julep, an additive to plain iced tea for a cool summer treat and as a flavor enhancer to herbal teas. And while it is sometimes shied away from due to the fact that it can very easily take over one's garden, once it is there, what else can you do with it?
Well, make pesto, of course!
Pesto is an easy and refreshing way to add big flavor and that ever loved garden freshness to all manner of dishes ranging from pasta to poultry. A simple sauce to concoct, basil has long been the pesto herb of choice. But like the tired dishes that pesto is used to step up, sometimes the pesto itself needs to step up. While our beloved basil can never be replaced as a favorite in either garden or kitchen, there is something to be said about the revitalizing change that a mintalicious pesto can bring to the table.
It is amazing the difference mint can make in dishes that use pesto. Use it on plain pasta, or as a dip for garden fresh vegetables, a cool spread on warm bread right out of the oven or as a garnish for a baked or broiled chicken, quail or duck. Replace mayonnaise with a mint pesto on sandwiches for a mouth watering change of pace or even to replace herbal dipping oil for breads.
Long has mint and lamb been paired together, too. A nice change of pace for plain ole burgers is to work a fresh mint pesto into ground lamb for a flavor upgrade to this all American favorite. Make into patties and grill like a regular burger for a change of pace worthy of a casual dinner party. Add garden fresh vegetables to the grill and brush with this sauce for an unusual kick. Use the pesto as a garnish for roasted lamb and even for grilled favorites like chicken, lamb chops, sea food, pork and fish. Just brush it on right after your main course of choice comes off the grill.
The next time you are staring at your dinner menu wondering what you can do to have a pleasant change, consider the humble mint sprig for a wondrous change of events!
To Watch Patti's Video on Sun brewed Mint Iced Tea click the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59m0iC9vgJI
A Goat Farm under 2 Acres
By Jacquie Jenkins
I'm a wife and stay at home mom of three. I've always wanted my own land but I grew up in south Florida where open land was few and expensive.But in 2004 we moved to central Florida and bought a house with 1.73 acres. I was going to landscape the whole thing because as a city girl I thought you had to have a lot of land to have a farm.
Then I found the Urban Sustainable Living website and everything changed. I saw that it could be done on a smaller scale and I started researching how to make our property productive.
Chickens and eggs were the first and most obvious option. A milk cow needs more land then I had. Then I found milk goats. Further research produced Kinder goats, a cross of nubian and pygmy goats, which are excellent for milk and meat. But I had no money for goats.
On a whim I posted on a goat forum asking if I could trade work for the use of a nubian doe. I had never worked on a farm before but figured it would be a great opportunity to learn. I got a response from a lady about a half an hour from me. She and her husband owned a goat farm.
I started working there and they offered me a mixed breed doe to use as a milker. Then they offered me two nubian does to start my kinder herd. They also bred all three does to a couple of very handsome spotted nubian bucks I'd admired while there. That way I could have babies to keep or sell and I could milk all three does sooner then if I waited to get a pygmy buck.
When I worked off my does, they kept me on a couple more weeks and paid me so I could buy supplies for fencing. They even gave me some posts to help cut down my costs and let me use some of their fencing tools. I will always appreciate their generosity.
After a couple more weeks of hard work, I am finally done with the goat shelter and fencing. I won't be bringing my girls home until after Thanksgiving but except for a couple minor details everything is ready and waiting.
This was a story about how I got into goats. But I was asked WHY I got into goats. The benefits of raising my own milk and meat animals is the main one, of course. But there's also the fact that goats can be such loving, funny, and endearing animals. The entertainment value alone is worth it. I mean, what's cuter than a baby goat bouncing around? Add to that the educational value for my kids of how to care for animals, knowledge of where food comes from, and the experience of witnessing birth. Also the personal satisfaction of being able to use my property in such a productive way. And lastly, just because I love animals. =)
Click the link to see Patti Shearing her Pygora goats: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ez02uZnU1UQ
Check out Jaquie's Blog:
|Urban Sustainable Living|
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The Chicken and the Egg it Produces
By Frederick J. Dunn
Though without a doubt, the chicken is the most universally eaten of all meats, I will focus here, upon the egg it produces. A rooster may be dispensed with, with very little deliberation or ceremony and then made a meal of. However, when one considers the little hen, no matter her disposition, one stops and considers weather or not she still produces eggs. Her value, lies mostly, in the number, size and shape of the eggs she produces.
When a female chick hatches, the number of eggs she is capable of laying in her life time, is already known, or at least within her. Samuel Butler once remarked "the hen is only an eggs way of making another egg?", this gives me pause. My point is, that the egg or the chicken/hen, are merely points in a life cycle, an endless loop.
Why do I mention all of this about the hen and the egg? Well, it leads nicely into the quality of the egg produced and when exactly this quality aspect becomes important. A chick may hatch, already deficient, if its parents (hen or rooster) were not in premium health at the point of fertilization. So, quality of life, physical accommodations and quality of feed, all contribute to what we ourselves may one day eat.
It's very simple really, what the chicken eats and is exposed to, we eventually eat and are exposed to as well. Those of you who are reading this article, probably are already on a quest to improve your immediate environment and obtain the very best in nutrition for yourself and those you care for.
Some quick Facts about chickens and eggs:
The color of an egg shell has nothing to do with the hens diet at all, rather it is dictated by the specific breed of chicken laying the egg. People often think I'm pulling their leg when I state that you can often tell the color of the egg your hen will produce by looking at her ear lobes. A red eared chicken will lay a brown egg, a white ear lobed chicken will lay a white egg. There are some exceptions to this general guide, but for the most part it is the case. Easter egg chickens are of course exceptions to this rule (Ameraucanas and Araucanas respectively), as they lay various shades of green, pink, blue and anything in-between.
It takes a hen approximately 25 hours to produce an egg and she lays her egg during day light, or when a coop light remains on.
Brown shelled eggs are most popular in England, while white shelled eggs are most preferred in the United States. Some people seem to think a brown egg shell means more organic, or healthier than a white shelled egg, however this simply not supported by science.
Hens lay with greatest frequency, when they have at least 14 hours of light (artificial or natural).
A hen will lay eggs, even in the absence of a rooster. Eggs from the grocery store, will not hatch if you put them in an incubator, as they are not fertile.
Ok, now let's get on with the current nutritional findings, regarding battery hens and the eggs they produce, as compared with free ranging hens and the nutritional values found in their eggs. I will not deal, in this article, with the value of eggs to humans as a food, though nutritionists celebrate the chicken egg broadly, as one of the most complete and high quality animal proteins one can obtain.
Watch for "spin" in how eggs are presented to the consumer. I will simply present my observations here and will protect myself by not taking a side. The egg lobby is powerful and well connected and they seem not to want anyone else rearing chickens and selling eggs, other than the huge corporate enterprises.
First, I take you to the Incredible Egg Site, you've certainly seen their adds on TV.
This is the industry voice. If one looks at their nutrition page, the message is interesting, you see what appears to be whole grain bread, dark shelled spotted eggs, wheat grasses and a nice cup with milk in it, all surrounded with organic feeling natural colors.
This image here is of one of the farms that support the egg industry. On the site it lists its nutritional value, one particular percentage which jumps out at me, is the 70 calorie per egg, 40 calories are from fat. Another startling percentage, is that each egg is 71% Cholesterol. They make no egg to egg comparison with free range eggs.
As it turns out, all those choices of eggs at your supermarket aren't providing you much of a choice at all. Recent tests conducted by Mother Earth News magazine have shown once again that eggs from chickens that range freely on pasture provide clear nutritional benefits over eggs from confinement operations. Mother Earth News collected samples from 14 pastured flocks across the country and had them tested at an accredited laboratory. The results were compared to official US Department of Agriculture data for commercial eggs. Results showed the pastured eggs contained an amazing: · 1/3 less cholesterol than commercial eggs · 1/4 less saturated fat · 2/3 more vitamin A · 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids · 7 times more beta carotene Full results of the tests are available in the October/November 2007 issue of Mother Earth News.
So far, pastured egg producers are kicking the commercial industry's butt! Woo hoo, go free range! I hope this information has been useful to you and that you will consider rearing a small flock of hens to work your gardens, provide nutritious eggs, add animation to your urban plot and of course, recycle all those fruits and veggies that would otherwise go to waste, or take months to break down in your compost bin.
Until next time, giving chickens and their eggs a voice.
Frederick Dunn Author of Regarding Chickens www.FredsFineFowl.com
The Last Word: Easy Plantin', Plantin' it Easy
by Mark Highland
I love plant sales. I love plant swaps. I just love finding little treasures picked up at spring plant sales, friends homes, or my favorite local garden center. I am usually so excited to plant that I set everything out in the beds as soon as I get home. After a warm up of tea or coffee and grabbing my gloves I'm ready to plant. I get out there, carefully move mulch aside, and plant. Remembering to move the mulch aside allows you to plant at the appropriate height, so you don't bury your root ball or tree trunk root flare.
After about the 5th-6th plant I usually realize, "Great! I forgot to mix compost in the planting hole." It is about this time when I used to despair, knowing my plants would either have to be re-planted, or struggle a little bit in the non-amended soil. Now, I have a trick to make sure there is always compost in the planting hole, and I don't even have to think about it.
I use compost as mulch in the garden. That's right. Compost as mulch. A two to three inch layer of compost holds moisture and cools plant roots, but also releases nutrients slowly into the ground through a process called nutrient cycling. Nutrient cycling happens as a result of the soil biological activity, which is essentially critters eating other critters. Although small, microscopic in-fact, these little soil organisms can add a lot of fertility to a garden.
But I digress. My point...using compost as mulch allows me to move aside my mulch before planting, but as I dig the planting hole, I mix the compost layer with the native soil. No extra work required since the compost is already in place right where I need it. Plus, using compost as mulch starts a process of creating healthy soil. After 8 months the soil under a three-inch compost layer is more crumbly and soft then areas with only a half-inch compost layer.
Please continue to share my videos and website with everyone. Click here to go to my YouTube Channel where you can see over 90 videos from Garden Girl TV. Don't forget to rate the videos, comment on the videos, and subscribe to my YouTube Channel so you'll know right away when a new video is available for viewing. Thank you all again, from the sustainable home front. And don't forget it all started in a garden...
|Urban Sustainable Living|