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No-till Gardening

No-till Gardening
Gardeners traditionally dig, or turn over the top layer of soil before planting to get rid of weeds, and make it easier to use fertilizers and to plant crops. This also speeds up the decomposition of crop residue, weeds and other organic matter. Tilling the soil is often the most strenuous of a gardener’s tasks. A complex, symbiotic relationship exists between the soil surface and the underlying micro-organisms, however, which contributes to a natural, healthy soil structure. With ‘no-till’ gardening, once the bed is established the surface is never disturbed. Benefits of no-till gardening Promotes natural aeration and drainage. Worms and other soil life are important to healthy soil structure, their tunnels providing aeration and drainage, and their excretions bind together soil crumbs. Saves water. Thick layers of mulch allow water to pass through easily while shading the soil. Reduces or eliminates the need to weed. Saves time and energy. No-till gardening helps soil retain carbon. Related:  Homesteading Garden

5 Secrets To A ‘No-Work’ Garden It took over 20 years of gardening to realize that I didn’t have to work so hard to achieve a fruitful harvest. As the limitless energy of my youth gradually gave way to the physical realities of mid-life, the slow accretion of experience eventually led to an awareness that less work can result in greater crop yields. Inspired in part by Masanobu Fukuoka’s book, One Straw Revolution, my family experimented with gardening methods which could increase yields with less effort. Here are the strategies we used which enabled us to greatly increase our garden yield, while requiring less time and less work. 1. ‘No-till’ gardening is a series of methods in which the soil is never disturbed, thereby protecting the complex subsoil environment for the benefit of growing plants. With ‘no-till’ gardening, weeding is largely eliminated. By switching to ‘no-till’ methods, you won’t have to do the heavy tilling or shovel work which so many gardeners suffer through each spring. 2. 3. Displaces weeds. 4.

Vermicompost Right in Your Garden - Make a Worm Bucket Photo Credit: lessismorebalanced, Flickr Creative Commons Attribution License. I am a big fan of vermicomposting. It can be done indoors or out, and it's still fun, even after all the time I've been composting with worms, to watch my apple cores and coffee grounds turn into amazing, nutrient-rich vermicompost. If you're looking for an even easier way to compost with worms, consider installing a worm bucket right in your garden bed.One of the more work-intensive parts of keeping a worm bin (depending on the style of bin you have) is harvesting the vermicompost. For example, the bin I have is just that: a bin. But if you use this method, you're essentially cutting out that middle step, because your worms will be doing their composting work right in your vegetable or flower garden bed. Making a Worm Bucket for Your Garden Get a plastic 5 gallon bucket with a lid. There are two ways to handle how you're going to get worms to do the work in your bucket vermicomposter. What's the Point?

How to Build a Gypsy Caravan from Recycled Materials The first thing you notice about this gypsy wagon is the surrounding smell of cedar forest and the sound of crashing waves from the lake, which is just a stone's throw over the hill. In the winter, woodsmoke spirals up from the chimney jutting out of the curved wagon roof. There is a little lane leading up to the green glade, but it's nicest to arrive on foot. The 8' wide x 20' long caravan, or vardo, has been parked in this particularly beautiful forest for a few years, but is completely moveable by truck or tractor because it has wheels. It is built on a salvaged 5 ton truck chassis that cost $100, purchased from the local wrecking yard. The floor joists for the house are nailed to fir beams and bolted to the metal frame. A Combination of Traditional and Modern Materials The construction methods used to create this wagon are a combination of tradition and ingenuity, and the building materials are both new and recycled. Bringing a Touch of Permaculture Luxury Outdoors! Further resources

Square Foot Gardening 101 Update! Check out our new Square Foot Gardening Infographic for even more tips, diagrams, a plant list and much more. I recently stumbled upon a book (All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space! by Mel Bartholomew) with an interesting gardening method called square foot gardening, and decided we would give it a try. I’ve always thought the idea of having a vegetable garden would be a lot of fun. I know just enough about gardening to know that I am not very good at it, and that it is a lot of work. What is Square Foot Gardening? The idea behind square foot gardening is that you can plant fruits, vegetables and flowers in raised beds, above infertile soil and even out of the reach of pets. Materials Needed to Set Up a Square Foot Garden Material costs are variable, depending on the size of garden you plan to build. (1) Sheet untreated plywood – $0.00 (leftover scrap from a previous home improvement project) I buy our seeds from Burpee Seed Company. Total Start-up Cost: $42.02

Homemade Hummingbird Nectar Recipe Attracting Wild Birds No need to buy the powdered Hummingbird Nectar mix from the store for this rewarding hobby. Instead, make your with this simple hummingbird nectar recipe. You only need water and white sugar – super simple and easy to make. Use the following proportion: 1 part regular white sugar to 4 parts water. Example: 1 cup sugar, 4 cups water 1. 2. 3. 4. Using a microwave works too. Nothing extra: There is no need to add anything extra to the mixture, i.e. coloring, honey, etc. Storing hummingbird nectar: I store all varieties of my wild bird (Orioles, Hummingbirds, Butterflies, etc) “juice” up to two weeks in the fridge, but generally need to make it more often than that. Tip: I use a Rubbermaid container or a clean milk carton, clearly marked, to store my hummingbird juice in the refrigerator. Discard: If the juice in the feeder(s) becomes cloudy, or mucky, empty, clean and refill. Cleaning: Make sure bird feeders are cleaned every few days to a week to prevent any ickies.

How To Change Your Soil's pH | Horticulture and Home Pest News This article was published originally on 4/6/1994 Byline: by Eldon Everhart, Department of Horticulture Have you ever tried to grow blueberries or azaleas only to have them turn yellow, then brown and eventually die? "Acid loving" plants, like blueberries and azaleas, succeed only in acidic soils like those typically found in parts of Minnesota. The standard measurement of alkalinity and acidity is known as pH. The soil pH is important because it affects the availability of nutrients in the soil. Consequently, most horticultural plants grow best in soils with a pH between 6 (slightly acid) and 7.5 (slightly alkaline). But before attempting to raise or lower your soil's pH, you should first conduct a soil test to determine your current soil pH. Some soils in Iowa (especially those in western Iowa) are slightly alkaline to very alkaline, with pH's that range from 7.2 to 9.5. If your soil is alkaline, you can lower your soil's pH or make it more acidic by using several products. Issue:

Lasagna Garden - How to Make a Lasagna Garden Lasagna gardening is a no-dig, no-till organic gardening method that results in rich, fluffy soil with very little work from the gardener. The name "lasagna gardening" has nothing to do with what you'll be growing in this garden. It refers to the method of building the garden, which is, essentially, adding layers of organic materials that will “cook down” over time, resulting in rich, fluffy soil that will help your plants thrive. Also known as “sheet composting,” lasagna gardening is great for the environment, because you're using your yard and kitchen waste and essentially composting it in place to make a new garden. No Digging Required One of the best things about lasagna gardening is how easy it is. Ingredients For A Lasagna Garden Anything you'd put in a compost pile, you can put into a lasagna garden. Just as with an edible lasagna, there is some importance to the methods you use to build your lasagna garden. When To Make A Lasagna Garden Planting and Maintaining a Lasagna Garden

Gardening in a drought Guest post by Mark M. NOTE: This may be something to print out and store in your SurvivalMom Binder for future reference. image by International Center for Tropical Agriculture I have lived in many countries over the years, and have always had a vegetable garden. Recently, some friends told me about the bad drought in Texas. Kenya and Botswana. So how do they manage that? The technique involves three separate things, all of which are easily made by anyone with the ability to use a shovel, hammer or a trowel. Raised beds When we rented our home in Botswana, in the yard behind the house was a series of concrete troughs, roughly 4 foot wide, 2 foot deep and 15 foot long, running north to south. Shade netting Every 3 feet in the troughs was a hole, just the right size to take a ¾ inch PVC pipe. Thread watering Watering plants is the biggest problem during a drought. You may want to try it, you may not. © 2011, The Survival Mom.

10 Plants That Repel Garden Insect Pests 10 Plants That Repel Garden Insect Pests Please be sure to Join our email list and receive all our latest and best tutorials daily – free! Background photo – Yummifruitbat (Wikipedia) lic. under CC 2.5 We’ve been doing some research into plants that repel pests and have compiled a list of 10 plants that can be planted together with other plants as a simple form of insect control. The idea of selecting plants for insect control is not a new one – and is part of the overall subject of companion planting. As time passes by, it seems that more and more people are getting concerned (rightly!) Another of the ironies of the use of insecticides is that not only do they kill the “bad insects” (the ones that eat crops), but they also wipe out “good insects” – the ones that feed on the bad insects! Companion planting for insect control can work in two ways a) plants that deter the pests and b) plants that attract the “good insects” that eat the ones that harm the plants. Marigold Borage Carrots Dill Sage

A Magnificent Wardian Case Terrarium This is simply the most stunningly beautiful wardian case terrarium I have ever seen. Wow was I pleased to get these pictures in an email. I unexpectedly got the pictures from a terrarium maker who is a visitor to this site. If you are interested in Wardian Case terrariums I have a page all about the history of them and a few select ones that you can buy from I have attached the pic of the enclosure. -A pink Peperomia species front center. And here is a closeup. Homemade pH Indicator – DIY Experiments | Myles Power (powerm1985) Abstract Make your own homemade pH indicator! Red cabbage juice contains a pH indicator that exhibits a wide range of colours according to the acidity of the solution. Introduction Organic compounds tend to be coloured when they contain an extensive conjugating system. The pigments responsible for the blues, reds and purples in many flowers, fruits and vegetables, are members of a subclass of flavonoids known as anthocyanins. Red cabbage contains one of these colour changing compounds and can be easily extracted using the following equipment. Materials and Equipment Red cabbageknifeboiling waterLarge bowlpipetsmall glasses (shot glasses are perfect)Samples to test Experimental Procedure Chop the cabbage into small pieces and place into the large bowl.Cover the cabbage with boiling water and allow to cool.Decant the (now room temperature) cabbage juice. Video The main topic of the following videos is on the pseudoscience of homeopathy. Pictures Full list of DIY experiments

5 Easy To Grow Mosquito-Repelling Plants As the outdoor season approaches, many homeowners and outdoor enthusiasts look for ways to control mosquitoes. With all the publicity about the West Nile virus, mosquito repelling products are gaining in popularity. But many commercial insect repellents contain from 5% to 25% DEET. There are concerns about the potential toxic effects of DEET, especially when used by children. Children who absorb high amounts of DEET through insect repellents have developed seizures, slurred speech, hypotension and bradycardia. There are new DEET-free mosquito repellents on the market today which offer some relief to those venturing outdoors in mosquito season. Here are five of the most effective mosquito repelling plants which are easy to grow in most regions of the US: 1. Citronella is the most common natural ingredient used in formulating mosquito repellents. Citronella is a perennial ‘clumping’ grass which grows to a height of 5 – 6 feet. 2. Horsemint leaves can be dried and used to make herbal tea.

Solar Stream Balancing Soil Using Organic Minerals | Woodleaf Farm Soil Fertility Fertile soil is a mixture of well-balanced minerals, high organic matter, humus, humic, fulvic and carbonic acids, good aeration and bountiful soil life. The biology or life in the soil is at its healthiest when the nutrients are plentiful and balanced, and there is sufficient oxygen and water. The top few inches of soil is the most vital, holding about 70% of the life and 70% of the organic matter. Below 6 inches the roots are feeding on mostly soluble nutrients since the micro-organisms are not able to thrive without sufficient oxygen. It is possible to create biological activity deeper with deep double dug or mechanical disturbance like spading. Compost The best and cheapest organic fertilizer is compost. Taking a Soil Sample The aerobic zone is usually only 6-7” deep and should be all you need to sample for annual crops. Reading the Soil Test There are many labs around the country that give soil results. Organic Matter (O.M.) Phosphorus Potassium Magnesium Calcium Sodium pH C.