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

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Of course this gardener is ‘getting ready for spring.’ He never stopped.

Spring is the short, simple title we give to the complex and drawn-out awakening of the natural world after winter dormancy.

We declare the season underway next week, but the natural stirring has been going on for some time, although probably unnoticed unless you grow camellias or witch hazels or keep honeybees. The process of rebirth lasts well into May, when most trees have finished unfurling their solar panels.

The most evident aspects of the season — the warming temperatures, the longer days, the arrival of the cherry blossoms — have a way of exciting those among us who are least connected to the cycle of life forces at play.

Why should these phenomena even register, you ask? Phenologically, we may be the one species on the planet that is the farthest removed from the spring. We don’t have babies just during lambing season or grow hair only after the vernal equinox or mark spring by growing a new pair of antlers.

READ THE FULL STORY at WashingtonPost.com

Do’s and don’ts for early spring gardening

“A warm day in March can inspire a kind of madness in gardeners. It can cause them to burst out the door, desperate after months cooped up by cold and snow, and start work way too soon.

“Be careful what you do right now,” said Sharon Yiesla, plant knowledge specialist at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle. “There are things it’s just too early for.”

Here are some do’s and don’ts for early spring gardening:

Do get rid of tree wrap. If you wrapped the trunk of a young tree to protect it from animals over the winter, unwrap it now. “Leaving tree wrap on too long can trap moisture and encourage disease,” Yiesla said.

Don’t walk on or dig in wet soil. “That can compact the soil, which smothers plant roots,” Yiesla said. “Compacted soil is a very difficult condition to correct.” Even as the soil thaws at the surface, a hidden layer of impermeable ice often remains below, trapping water like a soup bowl. Wait until the soil has thawed all the way down and water is draining freely through it before you start digging or even walking on any part of the yard, including the lawn.

Do force branches of flowering shrubs. Cut branches of forsythia, flowering quince or other spring bloomers and stand them in a vase of warm water to encourage them to bloom indoors. “Just make sure you prune carefully and leave the overall shape of the shrub looking good,” Yiesla said.”

READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE at ChicagoTribune.com

Best apps for gardening and yard work for spring 2019

“Not everyone has a green thumb or an eye for landscaping. Some people don’t even get to try because they’re so busy. Others watch HGTV over and over again and still never achieve the yard of their dreams because it’s easy to forget most of what you learned by the time you get outside.

But since you can take your phone with you when you walk out into the yard, there are now some digital tools that can make you a more effective gardener. We’ve gathered together some gardening and landscaping apps that can walk you through how to take care of your plants and keep your yard looking fabulous.”

See the BEST APPS NOW, at CNET.com

Stackable pottery that helps you turn your household food waste into fresh produce. [KICKSTARTER]

Compottery is a simple solution for reducing household food waste while growing fresh produce.  This happens through a process called Vermicomposting.

What is Vermicomposting?

Vermicomposting is the process of transforming organic waste into fertilizers with the help of nature’s gardeners- composting worms!

Spring Gardening Checklist

  • Spring will officially be here on March 20th and whether there’s still snow out where you are, or it’s already feeling like summer… Spring is a great time of year to start working on a few things in the gardening department.

    In March, in addition to starting seeds indoors, gardeners with cold frames (see season extension techniques) may use them either to start an early crop of greens (especially spinach) or to start plants like broccoli that will later get transplanted outside the cold frame.

    Each grow zone will be a little bit different when Spring finally does roll around, so we encourage you to do what you can and what the weather is permitting in your unique location.

    Below is a list of chores that we’ve compiled to help give you some things to start thinking about this time of year.

    • Plant summer bulbs.
    • Read up on applying organic fertilizers.
    • Remove winter weeds and edge plant beds.
    • Cut flowers of spring blooming bulbs and place them in water & a clean vase to enjoy indoors.
    • Feed acid-loving plants such as azalea & rhododendron.
    • Plant cold-hardy vegetables and herbs, such as onions, potatoes, peas, lettuce, rosemary, oregano and thyme. (View more cold-hardy vegetables and herbs, here!) 
    • Feed your lawn with a high nitrogen fertilizer. (Or think about digging up your lawn to grow more fruits, veggies and herbs!)
    • Remove weeds before they flower, to keep them from multiplying

  • Start seeds indoors. (Read our tips on how to start seeds indoors!) 
  • Amend soil by adding organic fertilizers and compost.
  • Water fall-planted trees and shrubs once new growth appears.
  • Sharpen hand tool blades, replace worn equipment, and re-string edgers and trimmers.
  • Fertilize citrus and feed it monthly thereafter.

  • Prepare vegetable beds for when the soil is warm enough to sow seeds or transplant tender plants. For tomatoes, that temperature is 55 degrees.
  • Deadhead spent spring bulb blooms leaving the leaves to continue to produce food that will be stored in the bulb for next year’s blooms.
  • Plant bare root trees and plants just as they are about to break dormancy.
  • Apply mulch around the base of trees. This will help with water retention and prevent weed growth.
  • Rid the yard of snails and slugs, using a natural or organic method that is pet/child safe.
  • Take cuttings of roses, azaleas & geraniums to start new plants.

How urban agriculture could improve food security in U.S. cities

During the partial federal shutdown in December and January, news reports showed furloughed government workers standing in line for donated meals. These images were reminders that for an estimated one out of eight Americans, food insecurity is a near-term risk.

In California, where I teach, 80 percent of the population lives in cities. Feeding the cities of the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area, with a total population of some 7 million, involves importing 2.5 to 3 million tons of food per day over an average distance of 500 to 1,000 miles (PDF).

This system requires enormous amounts of energy and generates significant greenhouse gas emissions. It also is extremely vulnerable to large-scale disruptions, such as major earthquakes.

And the food it delivers fails to reach one out of every eight people in the region who live under the poverty line — mostly senior citizens, children and minorities. Access to quality food is limited both by poverty and the fact that on average, California’s low-income communities have 32.7 percent fewer supermarkets than high-income areas (PDF) within the same cities.

READ THE STORY https://www.greenbiz.com/article/how-urban-agriculture-could-improve-food-security-us-cities

How urban agriculture could improve food security in U.S. cities

During the partial federal shutdown in December and January, news reports showed furloughed government workers standing in line for donated meals. These images were reminders that for an estimated one out of eight Americans, food insecurity is a near-term risk.

In California, where I teach, 80 percent of the population lives in cities. Feeding the cities of the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area, with a total population of some 7 million, involves importing 2.5 to 3 million tons of food per day over an average distance of 500 to 1,000 miles (PDF).

This system requires enormous amounts of energy and generates significant greenhouse gas emissions. It also is extremely vulnerable to large-scale disruptions, such as major earthquakes.

And the food it delivers fails to reach one out of every eight people in the region who live under the poverty line — mostly senior citizens, children and minorities. Access to quality food is limited both by poverty and the fact that on average, California’s low-income communities have 32.7 percent fewer supermarkets than high-income areas (PDF) within the same cities.

READ THE STORY https://www.greenbiz.com/article/how-urban-agriculture-could-improve-food-security-us-cities

Urban agriculture may uproot traditional farms in world of food ethics

Family-owned farms are decreasing as community gardens and urban agriculture find their footing in a world of food ethics.

In Arizona, it is not atypical to see farmland sold for urban development. Arcadia, a neighborhood located 10 miles from ASU’s downtown Phoenix campus, was originally known for its citrus groves before the land was sold for development.

Similarly, the ASU Polytechnic campus hosts the Morrison School of Agribusiness, which was given its name to honor ASU alumni Marvin and June Morrison, who donated farmland to the school in 1998.

David King, an assistant professor in the School of Geographical Science and Urban Planning, said larger farms may be suffering from a shifting economy that relies less on citrus and more on housing.

READ THE STORY http://www.statepress.com/article/2019/02/spcommunity-urban-agriculture-may-uproot-traditional-farms-in-world-of-food-ethics

Urban agriculture may uproot traditional farms in world of food ethics

Family-owned farms are decreasing as community gardens and urban agriculture find their footing in a world of food ethics.

In Arizona, it is not atypical to see farmland sold for urban development. Arcadia, a neighborhood located 10 miles from ASU’s downtown Phoenix campus, was originally known for its citrus groves before the land was sold for development.

Similarly, the ASU Polytechnic campus hosts the Morrison School of Agribusiness, which was given its name to honor ASU alumni Marvin and June Morrison, who donated farmland to the school in 1998.

David King, an assistant professor in the School of Geographical Science and Urban Planning, said larger farms may be suffering from a shifting economy that relies less on citrus and more on housing.

READ THE STORY http://www.statepress.com/article/2019/02/spcommunity-urban-agriculture-may-uproot-traditional-farms-in-world-of-food-ethics

Urban gardens: Healthy or harmful?

Home-grown vegetables are only as good as their soil and environment. For urban gardeners, that can be a challenge.

“In food deserts and other areas where people don’t have access to food, they take matters into their own hands through urban gardening,” said Ahkinyala Cobb-Abdullah, an associate professor of environmental science and ecology at Virginia Union University.

“We encourage people to get out and get into the soil to grow their own food, but there can possibly be metal toxicity in plants grown in urban gardens,” said Cobb-Abdullah, whose doctorate is in environmental science.

Duron Chavis, the manager of community engagement at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, echoed Cobb-Abdullah’s concerns.

“Many Richmond homes that were built in the 1920s and ’30s were torn down,” Chavis said. “They were hauled away, but they may have already leached asbestos and lead into the soil.”

READ THE STORY https://www.richmond.com/life/home-garden/urban-gardens-healthy-or-harmful/article_134cba9d-31fa-514f-ba53-843baf864c9c.html