2011 has finally arrived and with it you can expect to see some changes coming to OneGarden, including more articles, a broader range of topics, and possibly even a new and larger garden to work with. But while all of that is percolating in the background, now is the perfect time to start dreaming toward spring. What do you hope to do with your garden this year? I know I have big plans for mine. Whatever you do, be sure to plan for dealing with pests like these little guys, brought to our attention by Utah State University.
Destructive, toxic industrial farming techniques not only poison our water and food, they destroy the finely balanced network of organisms in the soil that help keep our land fertile and productive. After a high-pressure career in plant pathology, Masanobu Fukuoka returned to his rice farming roots to figure out how doing less could yield so much more. His book The One Straw Revolution details his work which has greater implications not only for farming but for health, education, and so much more. I’ve written before just how deeply inspiring I found that book, and wanted to share this wonderful video that passed through my inbox this morning.
And while we’re on the topic of what to do with all that extra produce, if you find yourself in a giving mood (especially with Thanksgiving right around the corner), check out AmpleHarvest.org. Launched in May 2009, this non-profit connects gardeners with local food pantries in need of fresh produce donations.
Have you found yourself stuck with a mountain of late-season zucchini or tomatoes? Don’t work your fingers to the bone baking loaves and loaves of zucchini bread or let the fruit languish on the vine. VeggieTrader.com enables you to connect with other local gardeners. You can trace your zukes for someone else’s cukes, sell your excess to neighbors without gardens, and even search for replacement crops for the rhubarb plant your dog dug up while you were on vacation (all for free). Their site is intuitive and fun to read and they even have a supporting blog.
So check it out. And pass it on. The only way to keep great ideas like this growing is to participate.
There has been a rash of gardening innovation lately–chairs with built-in planters, modular apartment buildings with spaces for parks at each level, and my favorite of the bunch: rooftop gardens on wheels. Yes, you guessed it, people have started putting gardens on top of buses. The theory is that all those plants will help absorb at least some of the exhaust that each bus creates. Just imagine if the buses ran on clean energy how much more those little succulents would do. Of course they wouldn’t be great for food gardening (at least not with the buses running on diesel), but who knows what the future might hold… we could give a whole new meaning to “fast food.”
Now I will admit, I have tried on many occasions to do just that, but I’ve had very little luck. Turns out I left out one very important step — drying the pit before putting it in the water. But now that I know, I will definitely give it another try (and post the pictures here)
And do share your adventures in indoor avocado propagation as your projects progress.
Looking at my pictures you may be wondering why I plant everything in containers when I have that nice big piece of dirt just past the concrete patio. After all, planting in the ground conserves and retains water, gives plants more root-growing room, and in general leads to healthier, stronger plants. My reasons are three-fold:
I rent, and when it comes time to move, it’s much easier to take my plants with me if I don’t have to dig them out of the ground
I am not the first to rent, which means I have absolutely no idea what may or may not have been poured into the ground by previous tenants
My apartment is built on landfill and no matter how good the topsoil is that they imported, there’s no way to know what lies beneath, and with food crops, I’d just rather not risk it
My apartment complex has a stray — an adorable little black cat who I often see out on my patio. A few weeks ago I figured out why. He has been using my planters as a litter box.
Now they sell all kinds of crazy things to keep the strays at bay, but I’m not really interested in anything that requires huge warning labels about how to handle it. I want the kitty to find a new potty, not be traumatized or blinded or harmed in any way. So I left those at the store and instead bought two six-packs of annual flowers (lobelia, to be specific). I cleaned out the deposited cat-goodies, replaced the top level of soil, planted, mulched and voila! Not a single cat-scratch since then, plus the plants that lived there are already looking much healthier.
Of course the kitty moved on to two other planters that I missed, but at least now I know how to handle the problem.
It’s finally spring and time for a new start, in the garden and in this blog, both of which have been fallow for too long.
When I started this blog almost a year ago, I had all kind of dreams of what I wanted it to become. I wanted to use it as a place to share my love of gardening with my family, friends and other gardeners. I wanted to help people like me who want to garden, and especially grow their own food, but don’t always have the space, time, energy or knowledge to make that happen. We lead busy lives. We have other commitments. Life often gets in the way of dreams. But just as often it can bring you right back to them, too. So, on to our new beginning:
Hello, my name is Lauren (aka gardenlore).
Gardening is my passion. It brings me joy and peace, a meditative practice, challenges and heartaches, and a tangible way to help make a difference in the world. But since you can’t really change the world all at once, I am going to start with my own backyard.
I’ll post my journey along the way and with any luck, my journey will help inspire you to do the same.