Holistic, Organic and Natural Lawn Care

Most people out there are now aware of the meaning of holistic lawn care and holistic weed control, nonetheless, for the few ones who may still find it a bit difficult to understand, holistic weed control is the control of weed organically, naturally or without the use of any harmful chemicals. Organic weed control comes with a number of benefits which include the safety of the household and the environment as a whole.

Holistic lawn care is quickly growing into a trend for big companies and home owners who are beginning to understand the repercussions of using chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Tests have continued to show that chemicals have dire consequences. These chemicals are harmful to our children, our pets and the environment as a whole especially when used for long periods of time. Continue reading Holistic, Organic and Natural Lawn Care

by by by

How Arlington’s Only Commercial Urban Farm Shifted To ‘Community Supported Agriculture’

Thanks to changes brought about by the pandemic, Arlingtonians can now get farm-to-table produce delivered right to their door.

Tucked into an unassuming strip mall on Lee Highway, Fresh Impact — which we profiled in October — is the county’s only commercial urban farm. With no signage or disclosed address, Fresh Impact has been growing specialty ingredients such as edible flowers and microgreens for chefs in the local restaurant industry for over three years.

This past February, according to founder Ryan Pierce, the farm had its most profitable month yet. But a few weeks later as COVID-19 began to spread in the D.C. area, ultimately shutting down all dine-in restaurant service, Pierce said Fresh Impact lost every single customer.

“We were faced with a choice: do we shut it down and try to ride it out, which would have meant laying off our staff, or do we try to pivot to the consumer market?” said Pierce.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE: https://www.arlnow.com/2020/06/08/how-arlingtons-only-commercial-urban-farm-shifted-to-community-supported-agriculture/

Insecticides the Pesticide Industry Said Were “Safer for Bees” Found to Stress and Kill Honey Bees

sebastien rosset  | @metanephros

The study indicates that, “With the recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approval for use of both flupyradifurone and sulfoxaflor, and with the growing concern regarding pollinator health, it is important to better understand any potential negative impacts (especially sub-lethal) of these pesticides on bees.” However, this statement begs the question ‘why these two new bee-toxic pesticide were approved by EPA in the first place.’

This process is familiar and frustrating to those who continue to fight against the decline of pollinators: the chemical industry introduces and EPA approves new toxic pesticides marketed as “safer” to the specific problem caused by its older products, only to find out through independent and academic research that the problem is not solved in the least.

READ THE FULL STORY: https://beyondpesticides.org/dailynewsblog/2020/06/insecticides

Gardening: Even urban lots can be made to attract wildlife

@zmachacek

What wildlife do you naturally attract into your garden? Are there any species you would like to see more of? Are there any that have proven to be pests to your crops?

These past two weeks have been wonderful for wildlife watching in our neighborhood. Driving home the other evening, I saw my first mama deer with her fawn in tow. Usually, we have at least one doe who has her fawn in our field. Mama will then leave them there hidden in the grass while she goes off to eat. We’ve surprised several hidden fawns over the years.

My husband has been filling the bird feeder with sunflower seeds about every day and a half which means the birds are feeding nestlings. Pretty soon the baby finches will be lining the porch rail expecting to be fed. It gets a bit noisy when that happens because my office window is right there, I might have to close the window for the next Zoom meeting.

The hummingbirds are around and draining the one-pint feeder every week. They have nests in our maple tree, and I hear their tiny high-pitched voices when I’m sitting in my chair.

READ THE WHOLE COLUMN AT: https://www.spokesman.com/stories/2020/jul/02/gardening-native-plants-will-attract-areas-wildlif/

Urban gardens sprout in Point Loma during quarantine Read more: San Diego Community News Group – Urban gardens sprout in Point Loma during quarantine

Urban gardening has become a trend that an increasing number of San Diego residents are pursuing, especially during the pandemic. And the City is helping out, having just debuted a new website, sandiego.gov/urban-farming, that provides information and assistance for those wishing to become successful urban farmers.

As more people are spending time at home due to Covid-19 public health orders, urban farming has seen an uptick in popularity. And the City is making resources available to support San Diegans in turning their sod into seed.

Dr. Julie Cramer, who lives near Sunset Cliffs and has been home gardening for years, finds her front-yard garden to be not only filling but fulfilling.

“It’s become a conversation opener with neighbors in addition to growing good food for ourselves and contributing food to others,” said Cramer, who is involved with her son, Avery, in a venture known as Co-Harvest Foundation, a nonprofit working to help end food-insecurity in San Diego.

Read more: San Diego Community News Group – Urban gardens sprout in Point Loma during quarantine

Tough Times, Green Times: Harrisburg Urban Growers helps people discover their inner farmer

If you’ve driven around Harrisburg recently, you may have noticed that, in some places, things appear a bit greener.

Urban gardens have begun blooming all over the city thanks to a local group whose mission is to offer gardening kits to encourage a source of healthy and sustainable food.

Harrisburg Urban Growers, made up of a handful of volunteers, hosts an annual “Seed and Plant Giveaway” each year, offering gardening kits for residents. This year, the organization put social distancing procedures in place, and volunteers safely delivered the kits directly to residents over several weekends.

READ THE FULL AND ORIGINAL ARTICLE AT: https://theburgnews.com/food/tough-times-green-times-harrisburg-urban-growers-helps-people-discover-their-inner-farmer

Peas and Quiet: Urban Gardening in the Time of Covid-19

Access to community gardens has been limited during the pandemic, but people have been reaching out to gardeners and gardening organizations far and wide to learn how to grow their own food… Photo courtesy of King County Parks, Washington.

Urban gardening has taken on a renewed relevance as the coronavirus has declared war on us from Los Angeles to New Orleans; Seattle to Saint Louis. People are reaching out to organizations far and wide about how to grow their own food for a wide array of reasons: concern about food supply chain vulnerabilities, frightened of going to the grocery store for lettuce they could potentially grow themselves, eager to be more self-sufficient or looking to help their neighborhood by donating food to local food banks.

“We need to open our hearts and connect with the struggles of those most vulnerable.” That connection, Fredie believes, can involve carrots, corn, kale, and more. It’s a refrain heard from gardeners across the country. “I think we’ll come out of this,” notes Margee Green, the executive director of Sprout NOLA, a farmer and gardener training program based in New Orleans, “with a lot more people understanding the sacrifices that farm workers make every day and the importance of supporting agriculture that is in harmony with nature, and closer to them.”

READ THE FULL STORY AT: https://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/articles/entry/peas-and-quiet-urban-gardening-in-the-time-of-covid-19/

How to Grow Competition-Sized Pumpkins!

Do you want to grow MASSIVE pumpkins? Are you interested in making this a new hobby or perhaps you’re wanting to take it to the “next level” and start entering competitions? Either way, we’ve gathered some of the best tips and tricks to help you start growing MASSIVELY large, competition-size pumpkins right in your own backyard!

First, you want to make sure you’re starting with the correct type of pumpkin. Sure, you can always bend genetics, slightly, but you’ll have better success if you choose an heirloom pumpkin that organically grows larger than most varieties. We highly recommend if you’re just getting started to try the BIG MAX or ATLANTIC GIANT variety.

Atlantic Giant Pumpkin – The Atlantic Giant pumpkin has been known to grow over 1,500 pounds!  Without special treatment, the Atlantic Giant Pumpkin can grow up to 200 to 300 pounds – easily.

Big Max Pumpkin – The Big Max pumpkin produces an extremely large (60″+ diameter and weighs 100+ lbs.) bright orange pumpkin.

Once you have chosen your variety of pumpkin, you’ll need ideal growing conditions. Depending on your location, garden type, and grow zone many factors will come into play but let’s start off with the basics:

Temperature:

  • In order to germinate properly, pumpkin seeds generally need temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees F.
  • Ideal soil temperatures should fall into the 70-90 degrees F. range.

Sunlight: 

  • Pumpkins need A LOT of sunlight to grow and develop. Pick a location with FULL SUN, and stay away from anything that gets partial shade.

Soil Quality:

  • Not only is the type of pumpkin you choose to grow, and the location important, but let’s not skip over one of the MOST important factors to growing a successfully LARGE pumpkin…the soil! Your pumpkins will do best if you choose a location that has either a slightly acidic or neutral soil. Make sure the ground is loose and drains well. Loam soil is best.

Spacing:

  • If you’re planning on growing a LARGE pumpkin, keep in mind that you’ll need up to 1200 sq. feet for just ONE pumpkin! Spacing is everything, so don’t crowd them together. The larger you want to grow, the further apart the spacing should be.

Watering

  • The larger the pumpkin gets, the more water it will need! It’s not uncommon for competition-sized pumpkins to use up to 500 gallons of water per week! After watering, the ground should be evenly moist, but never soggy. Like many fruits, try to keep the water off the foliage of the plants. This will discourage disease.

Feeding / Fertilizing:

  • Early in spring, you’ll want to add something like aged manure or compost into your soil. In the fall, lime can help bring the soil back to neutral if it’s more on the acidic side. During your growing season, apply aged compost or manure to fertilize.
  • Fertilize with fish emulsion early on, and then as the pumpkin starts to develop, switch to phosphorus or bone meal. Near the end of the growing season move onto potassium or greensand.

Growing/ Harvesting:

  • Pinch off all flowers in the beginning to encourage growth. Until your plant reaches about 10 feet long, there should be no flowers left on the plant. Pinch. Pinch. Pinch.
  • Once your vine is 10 feet long, allow it to start setting fruit. Remove ALL but the largest pumpkins for the next few weeks.
  • Try placing your “strongest/largest” pumpkin on a piece of cardboard to help repel any insects that live in the soil.
  • Stake down any large vines or bury them to help keep them from rolling.
  • Keep the area you’re growing in “weed-free” so your pumpkin plant won’t have to compete for nutrients in the soil.
  • As the pumpkin matures, keep it shaded to help prevent it from overheating or being scalded by the sun. This also will help prevent splitting or cracking.
  • Harvest your pumpkin RIGHT before your first frost, and if you’re planning on entering any competitions be careful to harvest before any cracks appear as this might disqualify you and your pumpkin.

Ready to start growing MASSIVE PUMPKINS? SHOP the BEST SEEDS HERE!

Pandemic affects volunteering at Greener Garden Urban Farm

By: Kelly Broderick

For Warren and Lavette Blue, they’ve always had volunteers and trainees at their farm.

They’re the owners and operators of Greener Garden Urban Farm

In previous years they would get an abundant amount of help with anything they needed. The volunteers would come any time they needed literally anything done.

But when the pandemic hit, everything changed.

“We couldn’t get the help because of the virus, that’s the gist of it. Some people still wanted to volunteer. But we had to think of it in terms of safety.”

They said it took an emotional toll on them, but they do have a rebound plan.

READ THE FULL STORY AT: https://www.wmar2news.com/reboundmaryland/pandemic-affects-volunteering-at-greener-garden-urban-farm

How to grow tomatoes: Gardening tips and tools

Capelle.r / Getty Images stock

While building a sandwich, have you ever thought to yourself, “Wouldn’t it be nice if I could just pluck my own tomatoes off the vine to slice up and pile on this, Ina Garten-style?”

There’s no better time than now to get started with seedlings or small plants — which you can pick up at your local farmers market or plant store — and enjoy the fruits, so to speak, of your labor. When planting, wait until after the last frost of the season. If cooler weather is looming, cover pots with burlap sacks or frost cloth for protection, or bring them indoors. The best times to plant tomatoes are early in the morning or late in the day so the plants aren’t exposed to the hot sun right away.

WATCH THE VIDEO & READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT: https://www.today.com/food/how-grow-tomatoes-gardening-tips-tools-t184555

City Launches Website to Help Prospective Urban Farmers Get Started

With more people spending time at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, the city of San Diego launched a website Tuesday that provides information and assistance on how to become a successful “urban farmer.”

Urban farming can come in many forms and sizes. It can be vegetables grown in containers on a home patio, a community garden that covers one or more city blocks, or raising certain animals such as chickens or bees.

The city’s new urban farming website includes:

  • Resources for both home and community gardens
  • Information on raising bees, chickens and goats
  • Access to additional data from various local and national sources
  • Details about city programs for assistance with permits, composting, seed libraries and more

“Just because we live in a big city doesn’t mean we cannot become small-scale farmers,” said Erik Caldwell, the city’s deputy chief operating officer for Smart & Sustainable Communities. “The urban farming website is a one-stop shop with a lot of great information to help San Diegans produce their own food.”

READ THE FULL ARTICLE: https://timesofsandiego.com/politics/2020/06/16/san-diego-debuts-website-to-help-prospective-urban-farmers-get-started/