gardening


Carol Kneedler, who runs CES’ website, forwarded this to me and I thought it was a good way to plug her business. Thanks Carol for all you do.

  • O3 Internet Consulting

    Owner · Jul 2007 to present
    I create websites that are beautiful, practical and functional. In short, they work.

http://ksmu.org/article/small-ozarks-farm-provides-innovative-example-sustainable-living-50451#.UNoqJWCh7_Y.facebook

Small Ozarks Farm Provides Innovative Example For Sustainable Living

 Article | | By Shane Franklin

One farm in the Ozarks is the location of a series of unique experiments in sustainable living.  If these experiments prove successful, it would greatly affect the future of sustainable technologies and how people think about building their homes. KSMU’s Shane Franklin had the opportunity to tour the farm, and has this story.

Rockspan Farm, the home of Dan and Margy Chiles, is unique in so many ways. They wanted to build a farm that could be an example to others, and a test lab for experimental technologies they’ve been personally developing over the years.

“We are trying a number of new technologies here to make houses more efficient and to make a livable space without having to burn a lot of coal.

 

http://www.danchiles.macmate.me/rockspan/RockSpan/Home.html

RockSpan maps and overview

RockSpan is the name for our 12 acre farm and house in western Greene County, Missouri.

 

The project is the West end of Division street, 11 miles from Springfield, Missouri.   The colorful plan below shows the family farm: approximately 227 acres outlined in red with a possible land use plan.  Our 12 acres are inside the larger farm.

 

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Go there, read and see all the pretty pictures. More tomorrow.

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Getting “laid to rest” is a two part process. There is preparing you and there is the ground you go into. Yesterday I covered the ground you go into part with Roselawn Cemetery which is a dated term I suppose but it is what I know. Today we take a look at the services that get you there. Jenn Bormann is with Butler Funeral Home and she was at Earth Awareness Fest with Clada Parker. They had with them a woven willow casket complete with a basket style top and an optional silk liner. Wow is all I can say. A casket you could leak out of, that is a very winning concept! Sorry I probably wasn’t supposed to say that but I am a loud mouth sometimes. Anyway I found this story about them in the SJR and I will put up their website as well. I did not want to just copy text from their website, because that is way to commercial for this nonprofit.

http://www.kirlin-egan-butler.com/

http://www.sj-r.com/top-stories/x155906923/Tim-Landis-Butler-Funeral-Home-gets-green-certification

Tim Landis: Butler Funeral Home gets ‘green’ certification

Posted Sep 25, 2010 @ 11:30 PM

Not only is it possible to go green. Among the newer trends in the funeral home business is going out green.

BUTLER FUNERAL HOMES and ROSELAWN MEMORIAL PARK of Springfield have obtained certification from the national Green Burial Council for sustainable funeral and cemetery practices, eco-friendly products and even organic snacks at the wake.

Butler is getting in early on the green-certification trend as far as central Illinois goes, but president Chris Butler said he expects others to follow.

“Some of this includes elements people are already asking for. They just don’t call it ‘green,’” Butler said of practices that include non-toxic embalming fluids or no embalming at all, using only natural stone, limiting loss of natural habitat, biodegradable caskets, burial shrouds instead of caskets and use of renewable products.

Butler Funeral Homes Inc. is among the city’s older businesses. Forerunner funeral homes date to 1893.

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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I mean really, a whole organization dedicated to the safe cultivation of lawns? But it is true.

http://www.safelawns.org/blog/

PBS Program to Showcase Glenstone’s Organic Lawn

The natural lawn care movement in the United States will get a major boost in August when Growing A Greener World, hosted by Joe Lamp’l, showcases the organic lawn renovation at Glenstone, the modern art museum in Potomac, Md. The episode, estimated to be watched by nearly a million people nationwide in its first run, is scheduled to be aired in late August.

SafeLawns was on-hand, both to observe and to participate in the segment. We have been the lead consultants on the project since its inception in July of 2010 and the Growing a Greener World team is the first film crew to be allowed on the 160-acre Glenstone property, which has not had any synthetic chemicals used on its grounds since our arrival.

The two-day shooting session began in dreary, cold and wet conditions on Monday that ultimately led the crew indoors to the College Park laboratory of Dr. Mark Carroll and Dr. Thomas Turner, the two University of Maryland scientists who are working on an organic lawn research project with SafeLawns and Glenstone. The following day in Potomac, however, temperatures were in the 60s under brilliant blue skies.

“When you look at this place, the only thing you can say is ‘Wow,’” said Lamp’l, who is in his third season with this show.

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Good there and read. More tomorrow.

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Technically they are called Reel Lawn Mowers. They are not easy to use. They push tough and you have to cut your grass alot because they do not handle high grass at all. For example our mower deck is set at 4 inches, so we cut grass at 6 inches. No way you can do that with a push mower. If you like short grass and you have a small yard, they are perfect. This article takes its own sweet time getting to the point.

http://environment.about.com/od/pollution/a/lawnmowers.htm

Mowing the Grass is Greener When You Don’t Use a Gas-Powered Mower

Lawn Mowers May Account for Five Percent of U.S. Air Pollution, EPA Says

From

Dear EarthTalk: I’ve heard that gas-powered lawn mowers, despite their small engine size, actually pollute as much as cars. If this is true, is there a greener way to cut my grass?
Jon Haufe, Seattle, WA

Reports about those noxious fumes emitted from gasoline lawn mowers are indeed true. A Swedish study conducted in 2001 concluded, “Air pollution from cutting grass for an hour with a gasoline powered lawn mower is about the same as that from a 100-mile automobile ride.” Meanwhile, the 54 million Americans mowing their lawns each weekend with gas-powered mowers may be contributing as much as five percent of the nation’s air pollution, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Small Engines Lead to Big Pollution Problems
The problem is that small engines emit disproportionately large amounts of carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides that contribute to smog. The human health effects of smog-laden air are well known, and include inflammation and damage to lungs, increased risk of asthma attacks, and lowered levels of oxygen in the bloodstream, which can aggravate heart conditions.

New Standards Expected to Reduce Mower Emissions
Fortunately, the EPA is now phasing in new emissions standards for gas mower engines that will result in a 32 percent smog reduction for all models made starting in 2007. And with even more stringent standards slated to go into effect soon in California, environmental leaders are hoping that the old adage for automobile trends (“as goes California, so goes the nation”) will soon apply to lawn mowers too.

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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I know lawn mowing seems trivial in some respects, but for this blog it is purposeful behavior. Behavior that can be modified. Mowers do not start themselves nor do they drive around by themselves. So for millions of us every time you start a mower think about it. Do you really need to do this and is this mower the right one for the job?

http://www.peoplepoweredmachines.com/faq-environment.htm

Cleaner Air : Gas Mower Pollution Facts

Push Mower Comparison Chart

EPA Statistics: Gas Mowers represent 5% of U.S. Air Pollution

Each weekend, about 54 million Americans mow their lawns, using 800 million gallons of gas per year and producing tons of air pollutants. Garden equipment engines, which have had unregulated emissions until the late 1990′s, emit high levels of carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides, producing up to 5% of the nation’s air pollution and a good deal more in metropolitan areas.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a new gas powered lawn mower produces volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides emissions air pollution in in in one hour of operation as 11 new cars each being driven for one hour.

Gardeners Spill More than the Exxon Valdez

And speaking of gas, the EPA estimates that over 17 million gallons of fuel, mostly gasoline, are spilled each year while refueling lawn equipment. That’s more than all the oil spilled by the Exxon Valdez, in the Gulf of Alaska. In addition to groundwater contamination, spilled fuel that evaporates into the air and volatile organic compounds spit out by small engines make smog-forming ozone when cooked by heat and sunlight.

Calculate Your Gas Mower’s Emissions

Until 1995, lawnmower emissions were unregulated. Older more powerful, less efficient two-cycle engines release 25-30% of their oil and gas unburned into the air. Gas mowers emit hydrocarbons and oxides of nitrogen (the principle ingredients of smog), particulate matter (damaging to the respiratory system), carbon monoxide (a poisonous gas) and carbon dioxide (contributing to global warming). The health toll includes cancer as well as damage to lungs, heart, and both the immune and detoxification systems. Plus smog inhibits plant growth. Lawnmowers are currently subject to EPA’s Phase 2 regulations. These requirements have reduced volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides emissions by over 70 percent from unregulated levels. EPA’s Phase 3 regulations take effect in 2012 for lawnmowers and will result in additional reductions in these pollutants.

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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We have over the past 3 or 4 years talked about getting animals to trim our grass. We live in the city, it is true but we have only talked about getting 2 animals. We think the village will be OK with it. So far we have talked about alpacas, goats and sheep. Now being small town kids, we assumed that they would roam the yard eating the grass and we would have a level and fertilized yard for free. But that is massively wrong. They require special feeds as supplements, they all require hoof care and must have a vet, and they can not tolerate the Illinois winters, so they have to be sheltered. The long and the short of it is that if you sell their hair to people who use it to make things (you do have to shear them for summer) then you can get close to break even but with only 2 animals it would be tough. So mow we shall for now.

Natural Lawn Care

Lawns do more than make your yard look good.

Lawns absorb water, which helps reduce storm runoff and improve water quality. Lawns also have a significant cooling effect, provide oxygen, trap dust and dirt, promote healthful micro-organisms, prevent erosion and filter rainwater contaminants.

Lawn care, however, has come at a high cost to the environment. According to the U.S. National Wildlife Federation:
  • 30% of water used on the East Coast goes to watering lawns; 60% on the West Coast.
  • 18% of municipal solid waste is composed of yard waste.
  • The average suburban lawn received 10 times as much chemical pesticide per acre as farmland.
  • Over 70 million tons of fertilizers and pesticides are applied to residential lawns and gardens annually. (Read Healthy lawns, healthy lungs)
  • Per hour of operation, a gas lawn mower emits 10-12 times as much hydrocarbon as a typical auto. A weedeater emits 21 times more and a leaf blower 34 times more.

Where pesticides are used, 60 – 90% of earthworms are killed. Earthworms are important for soil health.

Much of the environmental cost associated with lawn care can be avoided.
Healthy Lawn Basics   

The only way to reduce a dependence on chemical fertilizers is to develop a healthy lawn, which is naturally resistant to weeds, insects and diseases. If you need to fertilize your lawn more than once a year, consider these ways of improving the natural health of your lawn:

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Go there and read more then I frankly could. More tomorrow.

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Might as well end the week with a kick off for the next. Earth Day is Sunday, but Springfield can’t seem to get its act together on the actual day. But at least people celebrate it. Happy weekend everyone.

http://digg.com/newsbar/topnews/10_things_we_ve_learned_about_the_earth_since_last_earth_day

April 19, 2012

10 Things We’ve Learned About the Earth Since Last Earth Day

Sunday is the 42nd celebration of Earth Day, which was started in 1970 by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson to help educate people about environmental issues and demonstrate public support for a conservationist agenda. With that in mind, we decided it was the right time to recap the most surprising, awe-inspiring and alarming things that we have learned about the Earth and the environment since last year’s holiday:

1. Undiscovered species are still out there: Countless discoveries over the past year reminded us that, despite centuries of research, the planet still has plenty of surprise species in store. Among the many finds include seven new forest mice species in the Philippines, a “psychedelic” gecko in Vietnam and a new type of dolphin in AustraliaA new analysis released last August, billed as the most accurate ever, estimated that a total of 8.7 million different species of life exist on earth.

2. Global warming is already driving up food prices: While many fear that climate change will someday reduce crop yields and cause food prices to rise, a study published last May in Science indicates that this troubling trend has already gotten started. The models used suggest that reduced global yields of wheat and corn are related to global warming. Although the effects are relatively small so far, they may cause severe problems in the future, as climate patterns continue to change and food demand increases.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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We were having a great weird spring with temperatures consistently above 60 degrees. Then last night we got 4 hours of freezing and tonight we get 5 more. Coral Bells, Pawpaws and some bushes took a hit. Still, here are more Spring tips.

As a couple, my husband and I were naturals to become part of the green movement: We already used mass transportation, spent considerable time camping in national parks and recycled obsessively (rinsing foil and all). But it was the birth of our daughter that deepened our commitment to making easy household changes — the idea of leaving the world better for her and her generation.

Here’s how we created a greener home:

1. To Market, to Market
Our vast collection of reusable market bags started with two cute canvas totes I’d purchased at a thrift store. Now we have about 14 totes, which we grab as readily as we grab our keys on our way out the door for groceries. We’re keeping plastic bags out of landfills, and as a bonus, the totes’ sturdy shoulder straps make schlepping goods up the stairs to our front door less back-breaking.

2. What Good Things Grow
Through my husband’s involvement with the local community garden, we learned about a massive composting initiative, which takes neighborhood compostable waste and transforms it into dark, nutrient-rich dirt. Now, after dinner, we take a bowl of our unwanted onionskins, carrot peels and eggshells and leave them in the bin at the garden gate. Less waste in our kitchen means that our garbage bags go further too.

 

3. Seeing the Light
When compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFL) first became available (and the U.S. government announced that if every home replaced one regular bulb with a CFL bulb, we could prevent 9 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year), it was a no-brainer. We made the switch, socket by socket. But we were concerned when we learned that the mercury in these bulbs made proper disposal an imperative. Fortunately, Home Depot has signed on as a nationwide recycler, so all we have to do is to bring our used bulbs there and look for the big orange bin just for CFLs.

4. Second Lives
Living on a tight budget through college is probably what ratcheted up my resourcefulness. As a result, I’m always looking for the next use of an item before throwing it away. The pink sheets that are now too scratchy for sleeping? With a little time and effort, they became a doll, with eyes made from old buttons and hair from my abandoned knitting-project yarn. The old album covers collecting dust on the shelves? A couple of ready-made frames transformed them into instant wall art.

5. Off With It!
Hot out? Line dry your clothes instead of using the dryer. Not actively on the computer? Power down and unplug it. Bored? Reach for that huge pile of been-meaning-to-read books instead of grabbing the remote. There are hundreds of alternatives to the old electronic habits. And once you’re committed to changing your habits, it’s easy not to look bac

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More tomorrow.

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I find gardening to be very spiritual in a way. Nothing like getting back to mother nature where there are no media devices and the birds are singing. The sun is warm and there is a breeze. It feels like life can go on forever.

http://www.planetnatural.com/site/vegetable-gardening.html

Growing Organic Vegetables

By Eric Vinje, Planet Natural

If the thought of a ripe, juicy tomato makes your mouth water, or imagining snapping a crisp pea makes your fingers itch, then growing organic vegetables is for you. Everyone knows that home grown veggies and fruits taste a million times better than the varieties purchased at the grocery store. So, go ahead, grow your own — it’s easy to do.

Planning Your Garden
Whether you are starting a new garden or improving an existing one, it’s best to start with a plan. A well-planned garden will not only be more successful, it will be better organized and easier to manage. Consider the following:

Face South
Make sure your garden site gets plenty of sun by situating it facing south. 6 hours of sunlight is the minimum your garden will need. Also, be sure there aren’t any trees, hedges or other obstacles (like your house) shading your potential plot.

Avoid Weeds
If the area you’d like to garden is full of weeds, be sure to get rid of them before you start preparing your garden site.

Start small — or don’t
Most experts recommend starting small so that you don’t become overwhelmed. On the other hand who wants to do more prep work each year enlarging their garden? If you feel pretty certain you’ll want a lot of beds one day, go ahead and go big right from the start.

Water
Of course, you’ll need access to water.

Slope
Try to find a spot with 1.5% or less slope. Otherwise, plan to terrace your garden to prevent the soil from washing away with the rain.

Garden Design
There are countless ways to design your garden — from the practical to the fanciful. Consider the following to determine your design.

Row Gardens
Row gardens are what most people picture when they think of a garden. Crops are planted in parallel lines, with space between each row. Easily organized, row gardens can have lower yield than bed gardens and can sprout more weeds.

Raised Bed Gardens
Raised beds are just what they sound like — plots that are higher than the surrounding land. In these gardens, all plants are grown together without rows. The bed must be small enough that you can reach into it to pull weeds and harvest your veggies.

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This is a huge site. Go there and read and read and read. More next week.

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I love their use of compost. I hate their use of fertilizer. I can not attest to this approach because I have never tried it, but it seemed interesting.

http://www.no-dig-vegetablegarden.com/build-a-garden.html

Building a Vegetable Garden
Your Complete Instructions for Natural Gardening Success

The No Dig Garden is built on top of the ground, so you can start building a vegetable garden anywhere. This is natural organic gardening at its simplest and best.

Preparing a vegetable garden of this sort is extremely attractive for those sites that have poor soil or invasive weeds.

It’s also a great way to build a garden for those that can’t, or don’t want to, dig a good size vegetable garden!

Follow the natural gardening no dig diagram below, but first thing of course is to choose the site. Make sure it is roughly level and ideally most of the area gets at least 5 hours of sun a day.

If it’s not as level as you’d like it, roughly smooth out the humps and bumps, then fill the gaps and any lower edges with soil, sand or whatever organic material is at hand, such as bark, leaves, twigs, washed seaweed, paper, jute, wool carpet or similar. As this rots down, you will need to add more compost to these low areas and gradually build them up.

If the ground is on too much of a slope, build some terraces for easy maintenance. Get your creative juices flowing… you can make a grand affair with formal retaining walls or just shore levels up with branches, bricks, rocks, planks, corrugated iron or other obtainable materials.

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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