Monday, March 24, 2014

The Sharing Garden Shows the Way to a Moneyless Food System

This is such a wonderful article from Shareable and a great example of what we are doing, volunteers coming together and sharing the bounty with those in need  <3
Here is a link to the original post on Shareable

 The Sharing Garden Shows the Way to a Moneyless Food System

In Monroe, Oregon, the Sharing Garden started and managed by Chris Burns and Llyn Peabody is the gift that keeps on giving. Over the past few years, the garden's bounty has tripled thanks to the support and hard work of "Sharegivers" (aka volunteers) who donate various materials and actual labor three mornings a week.
And, in true Sharing Garden fashion, the harvest is distributed not only to the volunteers, but also to the food bank next door, as well as churches and other community members in need... all for free, as part of what Burns calls "nature's economy." He points out that, "None of the other lifeforms on the planet use money or currency of any kind. There's a symbiotic relationship, an interdepency. So we're trying to model that in the garden so that people understand they can give freely without having to account for their giving, and knowing they will receive what they need."
With the Sharing Garden, Burns and Peabody have established a circle of sharing in their community. As a result, the couple now enjoys free housing in a 1930s farmhouse owned by a volunteer. The garden, itself, also enjoys rent-free status on its two-thirds of an acre site. The total experience lands them smack-dab in the middle of the sharing economy, and they excitedly encourage others to join them by taking some baby steps.
Burns explains, "You can look for opportunities to give anonymously. And they happen every day. Just going by somebody in the shopping mall and giving them a nice smile... And you don't have to get credit for that. It's this whole idea of giving to get -- getting credit for your giving, getting recognized for your giving. You start there. The garden is way down the road." Check out the video below about The Sharing Garden courtesy of Peak Moment TV:

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

It's Almost Planting Time!

Like everyone else planning on gardening this year, I am drooling over the many seed catalogs I've received the past couple of months.  I made my list of the seeds I need and checked it twice :)
While waiting for those to come in, I have plenty of seed to get me started on this seasons plants.

We tried hydroponics for the first time last year and it worked out great for us.
We also do a lot of container gardening and a little traditional gardening in raised beds.
One thing I would really like to try this year is a planting style called "Square Foot Gardening".
If you have not heard of Square Foot Gardening (SFG) before then a good place to start for info would be Mel  Bartholomew, the creator, website at .
This is such a wonderful concept!  With SFG you can grow 100% harvest with 50% of the costs, 20% of the space, use 10% of the water and 5% of the seeds and it takes only 2% of the work over traditional row gardening methods!
This is such a simple method that anyone can learn to do it and it will greatly help the food shortage situation we are facing.

In a nutshell, to get started with SFG all you have to do is build a box (3'x3' or 4'x4') with weedcloth on the bottom, fill it with soil and add a grid.  Here is some info from Mel Bartholowmews site:

The 10 Basics of SFG

Click each of these points to learn more.  Thanks to Cassie Aula, one of our best certified instructors in Ohio,  for the descriptions of the basics.
Square Foot Gardening LayoutNo more gardening in rows! What a waste of space! Always think in squares: lay out 4 foot by 4 foot planting areas with 3′ wide aisles for easy walkways between them.
Square Foot Gardening BoxesBuild garden box frames no wider than 4 feet x any length, and 6 to 8 inches deep.  Boxes can be built from wood, vinyl or even cinder blocks.
Square Foot Gardening AislesIf you plan to have more than one garden box, separate them 3 feet to form walkways. Aisles can be made from grass, brick, stone, mulch or any other material that enhances your garden plan.
Square Foot Gardening SoilDon’t dig up or use your native soils!  Line the bottom of your box with a good weed fabric and fill boxes with Mel’s special soil mix: 1/3 blended compost, 1/3 peat moss, and 1/3 coarse vermiculite.
Square Foot Gardening GridOn top of each frame place a permanent grid that divides the box into one foot squares. The grid is the unique feature that makes the whole system work so well.
Square Foot Gardening CareSince you will NEVER walk on or depress the growing soil, don’t make the frames any wider than 4 feet (2 feet, if only one side is accessible). Any wider makes it too difficult to reach in to tend the plants. Tend to plants regularly and trim dead leaves and branches with a pair of scissors. Harvest with scissors, too, to protect the plant from damage.
Square Foot Gardening Plant SelectionDepending on the mature size of the plant, grow 1, 4, 9, or 16 equally spaced plants per square foot. Choose fruits and veggies that make sense for your family and for the intensive planting style of the Square Foot Garden.
Square Foot Gardening SpacingPlant two or three seeds in each spot by making a shallow hole with your finger. Cover, but do not pack the soil. After sprouting, save the best one and snip off the others - thinning is eliminated.  Seeds are not wasted. Extra seeds can be stored cool and dry in your refrigerator. Don’t over-plant. Plant only as much of any one crop as you will use.
Square Foot Gardening WaterWater the root area only using a cup from a sun-warmed bucket of water.  Water often, especially at first, and on very hot dry days. Warm water helps the soil warm up in early and late season.
Square Foot Gardening HarvestHarvest continually and when a crop in one square is gone, add a handful of homemade compost and plant a new different crop in that square.
That’s how simple the whole system is!  Remember, you don’t need any tools or fertilizer.  Once your garden is built, there’s no work…and best of all, no weeds!  If you’re just getting started with Square Foot Gardening,  leave a comment below and let me know if this crash course helped you understand the method better!

Here is a link to the SFG store for books, dvd's, tools and more 
and this is a quick overview video about Square Foot Gardening.  

My challenge to everyone is to start a garden this year, if you live in an apartment or don't have a yard then plant things in containers and set them on your deck or balcony.  If you have the space, grow extra food for someone in need.  As well as utilizing extra hydroponics plants this year, I plan on doing a couple of extra square foot boxes for veggies to give away to people in need.
We can wipe out hunger!  Along with providing much needed fresh produce we will also be helping people towards a healthier eating habits and life style.

So lets grow those seeds of love everyone <3