March 2012


I suppose if she has a vegetable garden her “people” do it for her. Michael Pollan says some interesting things but besides becoming a vegetarian he does not have many answers. Who knows how good a gardener he is. But you can find more here.

http://www.oprah.com/world/Michael-Pollan-Omnivores-Dilemma-Environment-and-Food/6

Eating Green
Healthy Vegetable Garden
The Oprah Winfrey Show | April 22, 2009

Michael says eating vegetables you grow yourself is the “single greenest thing you can do” and can save money as well. “An investment of $60 can save you $200 in fresh produce,” he says.

Gardening can break your kids’ love of junk food too. “You will find your kids eating vegetables from your garden that they would not eat any other way,” Michael says. “How my son discovered vegetables was from growing them in the garden.”

Looking to develop a green thumb? Join our

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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My wife is a big believer in the idea that some things grow well together and some things actually inhibit each others growth. Her example is onions and potatoes. She believes that from growing to storing onions and potatoes should never be together. Here is a site that agrees with her.

http://www.ghorganics.com/page2.html

COMPANION PLANTING

Many plants have natural substances in their roots, flowers, leaves etc. that can alternately repel (anti-feedants) and/or attract insects depending on your needs. In some situations they can also help enhance the growth rate and flavor of other varieties. Experience shows us that using companion planting through out the landscape is an important part of integrated pest management. In essence companion planting helps bring a balanced eco-system to your landscape, allowing nature to do its’ job. Nature integrates a diversity of plants, insects, animals, and other organisms into every ecosystem so there is no waste. The death of one organism can create food for another, meaning symbiotic relationships all around. We consider companion planting  to be a holistic concept due to the many intricate levels in which it works with the ecology.

By using companion planting, many gardeners find that they can discourage harmful pests without losing the beneficial allies. There are many varieties of herbs, flowers, etc. that can be used for companion plants. Be open to experimenting and find what works for you. Some possibilities would be using certain plants as a border, backdrop or interplanting in your flower or vegetable beds where you have specific needs. Use plants that are native to your area so the insects you want to attract already know what to look for! Plants with open cup shaped flowers are the most popular with beneficial insects.

Companion planting can combine beauty and purpose to give you an enjoyable, healthy environment. Have fun, let your imagination soar. There are many ways you can find to incorporate these useful plants in your garden, orchard, flower beds etc.

 

Following is a our plant guide (with some tips) to help you “work in harmony with nature.” Yes- we do practice companion planting at Golden Harvest Organics LLC. We always have.

Note: This guide is not intended to solve garden problems as the suggestions may work differently in various situations or perhaps not at all. Don’t let that discourage you from giving the ideas a try! What works for some may not work for others and vice versa. Experimenting is the only way we can gain new insight for our own individual gardens.

This page is Copyright © Golden Harvest Organics LLC and the information may not be physically or electronically copied, printed or otherwise distributed without specific permission from our company.

PLANT GUIDE

ALFALFA: Perennial that roots deeply. Fixes the soil with nitrogen, accumulates iron, magnesium, phosphorous and potassium. Withstands droughts with it’s long taproot and can improve just about any soil! Alfalfa has the ability to break up hard clay soil and can even send its’ roots through rocks! Now that is a tenacious plant! Alfalfa is practically pest and disease free. It

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The plant guide is huge. Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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I loved it when Jimmy Carter put up solar panels and I love it for the same reason when Michelle Obama put in a vegetable garden. It is telling of course that Ronald Regan tore the solar panels off the White House and destroyed them. The division in our culture is so clear. The White House had a vegetable garden all the way up to the 60s or so when it “fell out of favor”. Now it is back and it will be interesting to see what the next occupant does with it when he is elected.

http://environment.about.com/od/greenlivingdesign/a/obama_garden.htm

First Lady Michele Obama Plants Organic Vegetable Garden at White House

Obamas Hope White House Organic Garden Will Cause Healthy Lifestyles to Blossom

From , former About.com Guide

On March 20, 2009, First Lady Michele Obama celebrated the first day of spring by using her famously well-toned biceps to pick up a shovel and break ground for an organic vegetable garden at the White House. (See the official layout [pdf] of the new White House garden.)

Educating Children a Primary Goal of White House Garden
In talking with reporters about the new garden, the first lady got down and dirty about the benefits of good nutrition and the need to educate children, families and whole communities about the importance of a healthful diet, especially at a time when obesity and diabetes have become national health crises.

Twenty-three fifth graders from Bancroft Elementary School in Washington, DC, helped the first lady dig up the 1,100-square-foot garden plot on the south lawn of the White House, which is near the tennis courts and the swing set the Obamas installed for their daughters and can be seen by people passing by on E Street. The plan is to have the students stay involved in planting, tending, harvesting and cooking the presidential produce.

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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This is a great site for all kinds of gardening ideas. I like the idea of combining a naturescape and a garden.

http://www.globalstewards.org/garden-ecotips.htm

 

Environmental Tips for Individuals: Your Garden

Your Garden

Create a Backyard Wildlife Habitat

As people take over more and more of the land, we need to provide food, water, and shelter to the animals that are now relying on us for their survival.

  • Backyard Wildlife Habitat: A backyard wildlife habitat or “naturescape” can be created in your own backyard. A miniature version can even be created on your patio or deck. Basic elements include fresh water (i.e., a bird bath and, if in a yard, water low to the ground); plants and feeders that provide nourishment for birds, insects, etc.; and rocks, trees, bushes and/or bird houses for shelter and nesting. Purchase plants that are native to your area. The National Wildlife Federation has an excellent program: The Backyard Wildlife Habitat Program which provides some helpful, detailed examples.
  • Attracting Animals: Learn how to attract:
  • Protecting Birds: The greatest danger to birds in your yard is window collisions. Audubon provides tips for minimizing collisions.
  • Resources: How to Naturescape provides inspiration and information on switching to native plants.

 

Gardening Tips

  • Organic Gardening: Go organic!! – here are some basics.

 

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Go there and read. More tomorrow.

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Most people do not see gardening your own food as saving energy. They see it as healthy and even self reliant. It does save a huge amount of energy. First and foremost there are no transportation costs to your vegetables. If you use a lot of fertilizer then that changes some but the cost of an avocado  from Mexico is huge. Second, you are not driving heavy equipment like at a large vegetable farm. You should see the fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides they use.

http://gardenofeaden.blogspot.com/

ROSEMARY

Rosemary is one of those plants that not only smells good, it tastes good and looks good too. When I say taste, I mean as a flavoursome herb so don’t start chomping on a random stem and expect it to fill you with culinary delights – because it won’t!

Be that as it may, rosemary plants are fantastically popular and are often found in gardens as a specimen shrub or informal hedging.  Evergreen – and tolerant of most soils so long as the drainage is good, they will even put up with most of the weather that Britain can throw at it despite is warmer origins of the Mediterranean and Asia

Its Latin name, Rosmarinus officinalis, means “dew of the sea” and while rosemary is most closely associated with Mediterranean cooking you don’t need perfect sunshine, or a sea mist to grow it successfully. All you need to provide is a free draining, sunny spot. Poor soils are no obstacle and it will even survive periods of drought.If you are growing it as a formal hedge then it can be clipped throughout the growing season, but be aware that if you do this you will be removing the flower buds and so it won’t produce flowers for you.

If you are using it as a specimen plant then you can prune after flowering. Otherwise, August to September will be the best months.

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Go there and read tons of stuff. More tomorrow.
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I still have some trepidation about how this Spring plays out. I think April and May should be watched carefully. These folks seem to know what they are doing. You might ask them.

http://www.gardenillinois.com/


Native Plants are Naturally Nifty!

Have you heard the buzz about native plants? Native plants are the topic of many magazine & newspaper articles, garden shows, seminars… etc. So why is everyone talking about natives?

Natives make sense! Native plants “grew up” in Illinois. From our soils to our weather, plants that are native to Illinois do more than tolerate our conditions…. they seem to enjoy it!

Since they enjoy our climate and soils they can grow vigorously and fight off most disease organisms and fungal pathogens. This means that you, the gardeners, don’t have to spray them with fertilizers, insecticides or fungicides.

Another benefit to their Illinois heritage is that our native critters, butterflies, birds, bees, etc recognize them as a food source! You might say… ahhh….I don’t want critters eating my new plants…. well, yes you do! Allow me to explain.. once a native plant is established, it can tolerate feeding from our native critters with no problem. For example: a Swamp Milkweek (Asclepias incarnata) can be nearly defoliated by monarch caterpillars- and it’s ok! The plant is no worse for the wear!

Healthy insect populations = healthier food chain. Insects are kind of like the bottom of the natural food pyramid. Many animals, birds and reptiles depend on insect protein for food. When insect populations are not healthy, neither are the populations of certain birds, amphibians, reptiles and mammals.

Healthy plant and animal populations = healthy food chain = cleaner water = cleaner air= healthier humans.

You might be thinking… what does any of this have to do with me and my yard….well- you’re yard is or should be an ecosystem! We have modified 95-97% of the land in the lower 48 states… 42% (approximately) of that land in in agriculture, and approximately 54% of that land is in suburbia. This is where we come in… the gardener. Our backyard gardens have never been more powerful than, more needed, than they are today.

Our “natural” areas are over-run with invasive plant materials like Russian Olive, Japanese Honeysuckle, Garlic Mustard, Tree of Heaven, multiflora rose, crown vetch, tall fescue, and the list goes on. If you would like to see a complete listing of INVASIVE PLANTS check out the Missouri Botanic Garden website.

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Go there and read. More next week.

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Seriously, since we are talking spring gardens, though I am still counting on cold in April or May, here is one of the best in the biz. Shawna Coronado is a real hard worker.

http://www.chicagonow.com/gardening-nude#

How To Make a Strawberry or Vegetable Planter From A Recycled Light Fixture – Sustainable!

It is time to think about Spring!! Here is a super-easy trick for recycling something old into a brand new vegetable planter. Learn how a light fixture can be transformed into something wonderful and useful!

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Go there and read and listen. More tomorrow.

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Gardening is kind of hard to define. Some people would call this landscaping but not if you did it yourself.

http://www.ecogardens.com/about.html
Sustainability

At the core of Ecogardens mission is a dual responsibility, to the earth and to our clients, to provide quality landscaping services that minimize environmental impact. Sustainability begins when a client chooses from among our diverse services to satisfy their unique artistic and functional needs.

For each step – Design, Build, and Maintain – we research and utilize the latest industry technologies and techniques to promote energy-efficiency, resource conservation and biodiversity.

We emphasize our green roof and rooftop garden services for their potential to expand outdoor living spaces and improve the quality of our environment. The results are landscapes as safe as they are attractive, to be enjoyed with a clear conscience and easy mind.

As a member of the Chicago Sustainable Business Alliance and a partner of the GreenScapes Alliance, we encourage industry-wide sustainability. We also realize that we are but one member in a larger team effort toward responsible coexistence with urban communities and the environment. As such, our greenBacks program allows us to assist not-for-profit organizations in their own work toward a shared, sustainable future.

At Ecogardens, everyone experiences the height of green

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Sorry for the small print. Go there and read large. More tomorrow.

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I put off starting the annual gardening meditation because I could not believe that on March 20th Winter was really done. Actually we planted some spinach and peas at the beginning of March but we half expected them to die eventually from frost, an ice storm or snow. But now it is pretty clear that global warming is here so what better way to celibrate then to plant potatoes and onion sets. Here is a nifty new wheel barrow.

http://www.wagle.com/gardening/containerscarts/flexi-yard-cart-economy-wheel-barrow

One of the drawbacks associated with traditional wheelbarrows is time consuming lifting, shoveling and scooping that takes its toll on your back. Designed to reduce stress on the upper body and make the arduous chore of moving yard debris a snap, the innovative Flexi Yard Carts put the main bucket area on the ground where the load is! Used just like a dustpan, you can roll, push, or rake all manner of material quickly and easily while also being able to haul heavy items more efficiently. Nimble and highly maneuverable, both models feature a lightweight, collapsible design for compact storage after each use. Features and Benefits

Features and Benefits

  • Minimizes back breaking work with an ergonomic design that allows you to rake, roll and slide debris directly into the cart.
  • Multi-use, the cart is perfect for gardening, yard clean up and a variety of hauling and transport tasks.
  • Tear proof, extra durable blue Duralite fabric forms the main body.
  • High quality, powder coated steel framework ensures strength.
  • 13 diameter by 3wide front tire makes for easy handling, even over rough terrain.
  • Low center of gravity (50% lower than most wheelbarrows) and self-leveling design allows the Wheel Easy to cradle and stabilize awkward or large loads.
  • Drops flat to the ground allowing loads to be rolled, dragged, pushed or raked directly onto the body of the cart.
  • Rapid release mechanism unclips the cart for simple hose or wipe down cleaning.
  • Cart can be folded flat for compact storage .
  • Holds up to 3 cubic feet of material.
  • Only 21 lbs. but capable of hauling loads over 350 lbs.

Specifications

  • Size Dimensions: 46 L
  • Capacity: 3 cu.ft. and 150 lbs
  • Weight: 12 lbs
  • Composition: Tear proof, extra durable blue Duralite fabric surrounding a high quality, powder coated steel framework to ensure strength.
  • Usage: multi-purpose transport of goods, surpassing the
  • limited functionality of traditional wheelbarrows.
  • Key Features: ground-level loading; light weight; ergonomic design; compact storage
  • Warranty: Manufacturer warranties item for 2 years against defects in materials or workmanship.

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Gotta go mow. Go there and find many more tools. More tomorrow.

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I am addressing SAGE today and want to keep focused on that.  I promise I will make up for it tomorrow. But I will leave you with a song.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yERTIErjTE4&feature=g-vrec&context=G2532f8dRVAAAAAAAACA

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Much more tomorrow.

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