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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Reviving monastery’s city farm, started a century before urban agriculture was cool

Members of religious orders have always had a need to garden, inspired no doubt by one of the Christian faith’s noted cultivators, Saint Fiacre, a green-fingered holy man who became the patron saint of gardeners.

When monks, friars and nuns established their enclaves, they turned to gardens of herbs, wildflowers and vegetables to feed and heal themselves. Other essential elements: a dairy and a fruit orchard. Apiaries also played a key role, providing honey, mead and beeswax for candles.

The garden, as Westerners know it, survived the Dark Ages because of monasteries. Given these traditions, it was natural for the founders of the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America to count on a small farm when in 1897 they purchased 100 acres of open land in Northeast Washington.

READ THE ARTICLE: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/home/a-city-farm-is-revived-faithfully/2018/07/10/713f1f40-7e23-11e8-b0ef-fffcabeff946_story.html?utm_term=.eaa91050eb78

Urban Gardening 101: How to Deal with Contaminated Soil

Urban soils are particularly prone to contamination. 50 years ago, your yard could have belonged to a farmer, who, perhaps not knowing any better, disposed of old bottles of anti-freeze or contaminated diesel in a hole out behind the tractor garage. Or perhaps the remains of a fallen down outbuilding, long ago coated in lead-based paint, was buried on your property buy a lazy contractor when your subdivision was built.

For those wanting to garden on non-residential urban property – school yards, church grounds, parks, commercial areas, vacant lots – the likelihood of contamination is even higher. There is no telling what sort of past activities took place there, all visible signs of which have disappeared. Prior the 1970s, environmental rules were very lax, and it was not uncommon for all sorts of hazardous chemicals to be dumped at any location where they were used. Many such chemicals persist in the soil for decades, if not longer.

The good news is that if the property was redeveloped (any significant new construction, demolition, or change of use) since environmental laws tightened, it would have had to go through a strict assessment to determine if contamination was present. If anything unacceptable was found, the owner would have been forced to remediate the soil before starting construction. However, if the property has remained more or less as-is since the 1970s (or earlier), it is unlikely that anyone has ever investigated what might be lurking in the soil.

READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE: https://modernfarmer.com/2018/06/urban-gardening-101-how-to-deal-with-contaminated-soil/

Long Beach Gears Up For Martin Luther King Jr. Day Of Service

More than 400 Long Beach-area volunteers are expected to give back to the community to mark the national MLK Day of Service in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Monday, Jan. 21.

The civil rights leader who fought against racism is honored with a federal holiday every January, around the time of his birthday. Some people get the day off from work, but others take part in the National Day of Service — where people are encouraged to participate in community work.

For the ninth year, Long Beach’s MLK Day of Service will connect volunteers to 16 local service projects for “Day On, not a Day Off.” The event is hosted by Leadership Long Beach, the Port of Long Beach and Mayor Robert Garcia, in addition to council offices and some neighborhood groups.

READ THE FULL STORY: http://www.gazettes.com/entertainment/nonprofits/long-beach-gears-up-for-martin-luther-king-jr-day/article_12781f62-1508-11e9-9ecc-772ea4330ed2.html

Buying Time: Extend your garden’s growing season with a cold frame

Part incubator, part greenhouse and part time machine, a cold frame is anything but cold. It’s an empty, bottomless box that protects plants from winter weather. With its hinged lid of glass or rigid plastic, a cold frame captures solar energy and converts it to radiant heat, creating a warm microclimate where plants thrive. Like the windshield of your car on a cloudless day, sunlight passing through the glass is absorbed by interior surfaces and re-radiated as heat. It makes for a snug, safe space for plants to grow when the weather is inhospitable.

Sara Barton is a big fan of a cold frame. Barton got her master’s degree in public health from the School of Public Health at City University of New York, but she likes to say she got her work experience “in the field,” on an organic farm. Since 2017, Barton has been the Learning Garden Coordinator with the VCU Office of Sustainability, where she manages three urban campus green spaces.

All three are “small-scale gardens where a cold frame is a very useful tool,” to extend the season and expand the harvest, she says. “Just like in a home garden.”

READ THE REST OF THE STORY: https://richmondmagazine.com/home/experts/buying-time/

Urban Gardening Activist Works To Connect People To Their Food Sources

Activist Duron Chavis realized early on he needed to get his hands dirty, and that his work begins in the soil.

The 38-year-old is a proponent of urban gardening, an effort he says can address the disconnect African-Americans feel toward growing and accessing food, along with promoting self-sustainability. It’s not just about eating healthy; it’s about being able to provide for yourself.

“The urban gardening stuff has been an exercise in building community in its truest sense, and it changes the conversation,” Chavis says. “It’s one thing to talk about community issues and another to advocate about them.”

Growing up in the city’s South Side, Chavis, with friends, frequented convenience stores. Honey buns, soda, chips, ramen noodles and processed foods were all part of their diets. Nearby, the golden arches of McDonald’s, the smiling Hardee’s star, and the pink and purple hues of the Taco Bell sign shone brightly. The closest grocery store was miles away. The place he called home was smack dab in a food desert, an urban area with limited access to healthy and affordable food.

READ THE REST OF THE STORY: https://richmondmagazine.com/news/features/growing-activist/

Edible Landscapes Are Un-Lawning America

Lawns are ubiquitous in the United States and according to a 2015 NASA study, they take up three times as much space as the next largest irrigated crop, corn. These familiar patches of green require 9 billion gallons of water per day, around 90 million pounds of fertilizers and 75 million pounds of pesticides per year. Plus, the lawnmowers that maintain them largely use gas and emit pollutants. All for a crop we can’t eat.

A growing group of people and businesses are trying to change that. For over a decade, “unlawning,” or the act of turning sterile lawns into fertile, edible landscapes, has been gaining popularity in the United States. These edible yards aren’t just backyard garden plots with a few squash and tomato plants, rather they are landscapes that incorporate edible native plants, like paw paw trees or bush cherries, along with fruit trees, pollinator habitats, medicinal herbs and water features.

One well-known proponent of edible landscapes is Fritz Haeg, an artist who in 2005 began a years-long project called “Edible Estates,” during which time he traveled the country and turned ordinary yards into edible masterpieces. In the years since Haeg’s project, there has been a steady growth in awareness of edible landscapes in the U.S.

READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE: https://civileats.com/2019/01/14/edible-landscapes-are-un-lawning-america/

Santa Fe garden created to aid shooting survivors seeking donations

SANTA FE, Texas (KTRK) — Painted on Santa Fe City Hall, a mural serves as a reminder of the May 18 attack, but directly behind the building, there’s a place that could one day help survivors cope with the trauma.

Mandy Jordan leads the nonprofit Keep Santa Fe Beautiful. Jordan’s working to turn the greenspace behind City Hall into a therapeutic garden, and as the mother of a Santa Fe student, she knows how useful it could be to the entire community.

“During the holidays I wanted to lock myself away and that’s not good,” said Jordan. “Getting outside, feeling the sunshine, being around others, and having that group therapy is actually very beneficial to our emotional health.”

READ THE STORY: https://abc13.com/therapeutic-santa-fe-garden-seeking-donations/5063589/

Women who farm: The changing face of Indiana ag

INDIANAPOLIS — There is a burgeoning group of generationally and ethnically diverse women growing food in central Indiana.

The face of agriculture is changing, and there is great momentum behind the trend of more women involved in agricultural enterprises, said Eliana Blaine, soil health outreach coordinator at Marion County Soil and Water Conservation District.

“Women run and work with a wide range of organizations that grow food as part of their mission and activities,” Blaine said. “These include market farms, community gardens, youth education and non-profit organizations, and school and university gardens.

READ THE STORY: http://www.agrinews-pubs.com/news/women-who-farm-the-changing-face-of-indiana-ag/article_1c58637d-d052-5e55-8916-0aa936fd4ea0.html

Bottle Tower Gardens Provide Exceptionally Efficient Small Space Growing

Dr. Willem Van Cotthem experimented with this vertical gardening system using recycled plastic bottles stacked and attached to a fence.  He began with the 2011 growing season and continued through 2012 with great success.  This type of garden is cheap to start and is extremely effective for those who do not have a lot of growing space.  A system like this could be built along a fence, wall, or on a balcony.


Florida Senate bill that could usher more beds of beets revives home rule debate

More mushrooms?

A proposed bill in the Florida Senate could usher in more beds of beets at homes statewide by barring local governments from regulating vegetable gardens.

It would create a Catch-22 for cities such as Orlando, where city officials bristle at preemptive moves from Tallahassee and are looking to expand urban agriculture.

City officials said this week they plan to oppose the legislation (SB 82) because it flies in the face of home rule, which allows local governments to chart their own course. Orlando may argue for the city’s existing ordinance to be grandfathered into the proposed bill.

“We believe these decisions are best made locally,” assistant city attorney Kyle Shepherd said.

State Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Orange Park, first introduced the bill in January in reaction to a dispute in the Village of Miami Shores. A couple dug up a 17-year-old vegetable garden to avoid $50-per-day fines by the village, which passed an ordinance banning front-yard vegetable gardens.

The 3rd District Court of Appeal upheld the ordinance was constitutional after an appellate court ruled in favor of the Village.

READ THE STORY: https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/orange/os-ne-vegetable-garden-bill-20181224-story.html