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Apr 262009
 

As we continue to look at simple ways to be kinder to the Earth in our every day lives, I become acutely aware of our climactic Caleb_Tree_Farm_250 changes and challenges.  Here in the Cascade foothills in Snohomish county, WA, we are noticing a trend of colder winters and more often several feet of snow when we used to rarely get inches if any at all.  Early Spring is wetter and floods now happen earlier in the year and longer in duration and intensity.  Wind storms are more prevalent and there are more downed trees to deal with.  And, it’s hotter in the summer months, making it imperative to pay closer attention to the garden plants to insure they are well watered, mulched/composted and sometimes shaded from the sun’s intensity.   We continue the discussion with more ideas to create the optimum circumstances for success in the garden.

A COMMUNITY GARDEN is a wonderful way for urbanites to grow a flower and vegetable garden when you don’t have the space or want to interact with others in the community to create a more green urban environment.  This is also a fabulous way to introduce young people to the joys of growing their own food.  Here’s a few resources in larger cities.
Houston TX:  http://www.urbanharvest.org/
Buffalo NY: http://www.urbanroots.org/
Denver CO: http://www.dug.org/home.asp
Rutgers University has a community garden self help guide: http://tinyurl.com/c83fvu
If you start a community garden, make sure that the soil is tested to insure there are no contaminants like lead or other hazardous chemicals that might permeate the crops grown.  Some communities are starting gardens for the poor to help supplement the diminishing budgets of our older citizens and those who make do with less.   All of these endeavors are rewarding, and again, a good place to introduce children to a sense of ‘community’ while connecting them with Nature.

PLANTING SIMILAR SPECIES of vegetables, like broccoli with cabbage or Brussels sprouts should be avoided as they will compete for nutrients.  Companion planting is aesthetically delightful and helps improve soil while keeping pests at bay.  Here’s a great companion planting guide: http://www.ghorganics.com/page2.html

DIG DEEP when preparing soil for planting.  Digging adds air pockets which help repel root-dwelling insects and oxygenate the soil.  This helps plants put down healthy roots.  This is perhaps the single most important thing you can do to condition the soil.  All organic gardeners I know using the similar approach: first of all, they choose easy slider sheds, and another thing – they prefer to turn soil by hand after using a garden tiller.

Special this week only (through Sunday, May 3) take 10% additional in addition to your 5% web discount off all aroma jewelry and natural perfumes.  Enter “Earth Day#3” (no quotes) in promotional code on checkout page.
http://www.wingedseed.com

 Posted by at 6:46 pm
Apr 202009
 

Last week, we talked about ways to be more gentle with the Earth Garden planted 2003_300 in our everyday lives.  It’s warm and sunny here in the Cascade foothills, so I thought I’d continue with ideas for your lawn and garden, thinking this might be where your attention is joyfully focused at this time.

GROW HERBS IN YOUR GARDEN; they are easy to grow and help encourage birds and butterflies, as well as other useful insects.  They are a great choice for planting between other flowers and vegetables to increase diversity.  Planting basil, oregano, cilantro, sage and tarragon alongside vegetables will remind you to use them together.  Having herbs in your garden is one more thing you can take off your shopping list.

LARGE PLASTIC BOTTLES can be used as mini-greenhouses, an excellent protective covering for seedlings.  Cut off the ends and there you go.

RAIN BARRELS are probably going to be a necessity in the future to help conserve water resources.  They now come in a range of sizes, shapes and colors.  Try a decorative one on the deck with a rain chain for melodic ambience and drain it under the deck into the deck-side plantings.   You’ll be surprised at the savings on your water bill and your plants will love you. This website will offer more tips on proper care.

SOAKER HOSES AND DRIP IRRIGATION can reduce water waste by as much as 70 percent because their delivery system sends water directly to the roots, unlike sprinklers, which waste water through evaporation.

TRADITIONAL HEIRLOOM SEEDS are a better choice than hybridized newer varieties.  ORGANIC NATURAL FERTILIZERS like fish emulsion, bone meal and seaweed-based products are far better than synthetic alternatives.

Special this week only (through Sunday, April 26) take 10% additional in addition to your 5% web discount off all hydrosols.  Enter “Earth Day#1” (no quotes) in promotional code on website
http://www.wingedseed.com

 Posted by at 7:43 pm
Apr 142009
 

The time has come to take our responsibility for stewardship of our bountiful planet more seriously.  Focusing our attention only one day a year to img 050_250honor the Earth isn’t going to solve the myriad problems we are creating.   These problems will grow to overwhelm our children and grandchildren as we continue to ignore the realities of global warming and chemical pollution.  The signs of collapsing ecosystems,  endangered and disappearing species are all around.  In our busy lives, we sometimes procrastinate necessary changes.  We need to learn better ecological habits to reverse a destructive trend before it is too late.   This is the beginning of a series of short articles that will contain simple, yet effective ways to replace harsh chemicals that pollute the environment with safe, gentle natural alternatives and make our lives more in tune with the natural world.  We hope you join us in making these sensible choices.

HOUSEPLANTS act as natural air filters, through photosynthesis, using carbon dioxide and water and releasing oxygen as a waste material.  How symbiotic is that!  You can find delightful houseplants that require little care for every room of the house and never have to purchase synthetic chemical air fresheners again.  These commercial products only mask smells and coat nasal passages with chemicals that diminish your sense of smell.  Samara Botane has a lovely variety of natural environmental aromatic products to keep your home environment, car or camper fresh and clean.  Made with antiseptic and antiviral essential oils, they also limit germs and exposure to viral pathogens.  These come in synergies to use in a diffuser and aromatic room misters.  You can also make your own antiseptic spray by simply adding a few drops of essential oil to a spritzer bottle filled with water.  Try tea tree and lavender, sweet orange and cedarwood, rose geranium and lemon.

HOMEMADE WASHER SOAP can be made by mixing 1 cup baking soda with 10 drops each of lavender and grapefruit essential oils, adding drop by drop and mixing thoroughly.  Add 1 cup of borax and 1 cup of powdered castile soap.  Mix well and store in an airtight container.  Add 1/2 cup to each load of wash.   For really tough stains, dissolve 1/2 cup borax, allow to cool completely.  Add 1 cup distilled white vinegar and 6 drops eucalyptus essential oil.  Soak soiled clothes in this blend for 2 hours before laundering.

Special this week only (through Sunday, April 19) take 20% off all essential oils.  Enter “Earth Day#1” (no quotes) in promotional code on website
http://www.wingedseed.com

 Posted by at 5:23 pm