Yosemite fires – How to stop “natural” disasters

Yosemite Fires - How can we stop a "natural" disaster?

How can we stop a “natural” disaster?

I’ve been thinking on the Yosemite fires and the causes of them.  Basically it all boils down to a lack of respect for our planet.  We as the human race have been very neglectful and abusive to our planet, however this isn’t a post on how horrible we are.

Global warming cannot be blamed for any particular natural disaster like the Yosemite fires because how can you qualify a statement that did?  However, there is no doubt that the rise in temperatures on the planet contributes to less snow pack in the mountains and less spring runoff.  This rise in temperature also increases the amount of energy storms we see.  So we get things like dry-lightning occurring more often which is a perfect way to start a wild fire.

How can we stop these “natural disasters”?

1. Take back the deserts

In many parts of the world, deserts have taken over areas which were once lush grassy meadows or abundant forests.  Reclaiming a desert as a forest is not some magic which is unattainable.  Geoff Lawton shows in his video Greening the Desert, that this is entirely possible in one of the driest places on the earth; Jordan.

2. Stop killing the ocean

The ocean is vast and it’s the biggest bio-filter in the world.  It has insane regenerative properties, yet it never seems to get a chance to heal itself because of corporations like BP and Exxon dumping huge amounts of oil into it.  Not to mention the Fukushima nuclear power plant dumping radioactive water into the ocean.

The ocean is being stripped of its resources.  I remember my dad telling me about the abundance and ease of fishing when he was a kid, and how it’s completely different now.

Give the ocean a chance to heal itself and it will amaze you.

3. Stop buying things

Our planet is being destroyed mainly because of one thing.  The dollar.  That’s exactly what you would expect a commie Canadian to say isn’t it?  Well, I’m not a communist.  I’m saying if we stop buying, they will stop stripping the earth of resources at such a huge rate.

When we buy something, we should be proud of that thing!  We worked hard for the money we put out for it.  Why would we settle for something made with planned obsolescence in the business model?  We want our things to last!  Ever notice how if we buy clothes now a days, they wear out in a year or less?  Yet I can go to a second hand store and buy something made in the 70′s which will outlast anything I buy new on the same day.

Conclusions

I’m not writing this post pointing fingers at anyone because I’m not perfect.  I firmly believe that everyone is at their stage in sustainability and that we’re all trying to get a little better.  I’m just trying to show that it is possible to change the way things are going environmentally.

If you have any thoughts of your own on this, please share them with me.

Thanks so much for reading.

Mike and Molly’s House of Awesome!

I’m a member of instructables.com and a little while ago, I found this ible which I loved.  Turns out the people who made the instructable have a blog here which has some awesome articles on growing in the desert, cooking and my favorite is this one on a zucchini which cross pollinated with a pumpkin making a massive zucchini!

zumpkins

Give them a read.

Caleb

Free Companion Planting Chart a Great Resource for Your Garden

I’ve made a free companion planting chart based on one I found on the Permaculture Research Institute’s website.  The reason I made this one is I couldn’t find one that I could edit.

Please take this and edit it with your own observations and share it back.  I would love to see your comments and changes.

Free Companion Planting Chart

 

Beautiful Permaculture Garden at The AREA in Inglewood Calgary

Hey everyone.  I wanted to share a video I posted on YouTube showing a great permaculture urban garden.

Check it out and let me know what you think!

how to control pest insects in your garden using your garden

How frustrating is it when you put so much work and effort into a garden, and then like out of nowhere, your plants are nearly ruined from insects munching on them?  I’m going to explain how you can control the insects that feed on your precious crops.

blossom!

Continue reading

sheet mulching to rebuild soil and resist drought

If you don’t read this whole post, please scroll to the bottom and check out the questions.  I’d love to have peoples opinions and input.

I have been trying to figure out the best way to start a garden in Calgary Alberta.  We have rich soil here and I’ve been hearing that if your soil is “too rich”, your vegitables such as carrots won’t grow as well.

sheet mulching

In my constant search of all things permaculture, I stumbled upon a series of videos a while ago put on youtube by the University of Massachusetts where they transformed a lawn into a very large permaculture garden.  They did this without digging, and they didn’t even tear out the grass.  Instead the sheet mulched the place.

Sheet mulching is where you put a layer of compost down on your lawn, and then put cardboard or newspaper on top of the compost.  After that, you put a thick layer of mulch down such as wood chips or straw or whatever.  The cardboard breaks down and the lawn dies underneath and becomes biomass.  This makes a very rich soil to grow in and thickens the topsoil layer.

Check out the video.

the conundrum

While I was visiting Plantation Garden Center (again, very nice people), I was speaking with one of the people who helps out there and she was saying that this can be referred to as lasagna gardening and that it can have bad effects on our gardens.  I am not about to say that she’s wrong in any way, however I was very surprised to hear this.  I thought the richer your soil the better.  It seems silly in my head to purposely have a lower quality soil so that certain things will grow better.

Maybe I’m looking at this wrong too.  Maybe a healthy soil isn’t one that is jam packed full of nutrients. There is a balance to everything and perhaps this is just one example.

Another line of thought is, if certain things won’t grow in this climate in a nutrient rich soil, maybe we shouldn’t be growing them.  I want to build the soil and make it deeper and richer.  I want the soil to be healthier and deeper next year and the year after that.  If carrots get stringy, then maybe we should grow tomatoes and other nutrient loving things instead.

I’m not trying to put that lady down in any way.  I asked for her opinion and I accept it, and I’m not going to sheet mulch the gardens I’m working, so I’m taking her advice.  It’s just something that struck me as odd from a permaculture standpoint anyway.

input

What are your thoughts?  Have you tried sheet mulching?  Have you had issues where your soil was “too rich”?  Am I thinking totally wrong here?

Let me know.  I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for reading.

Caleb

grow tons of veggies and flowers while you live in an appartment!

This video shows demonstrations of a really cool technique of virtical gardening using a product called the garden stick.

I can’t stand buying something that I can easily make myself, so I’m planning on making one this year. It’s a great idea.

my seeds are sprouting!

I’m pretty stoked right now because my seeds are sprouting!  I know these plants might not make it because I planted them too early, but I’m very happy to see green in my house!

Picture of Sprouting Seed Tray

I’m two weeks away from starting seeds using phase two which will be newspaper pots.  I’m really looking forward to that.

I thought I’d give a rundown of what I’m going to be planting, and I would love your comments and ideas on where I should plant the different plants.  I don’t know nearly enough about guilds so I guess this year is going to be a watch and learn year so I see what does well beside one another.  I will also be staggering where the plants are and what they’re next to.

I would also love your tips on when to plant them (or if I just plant them all together) if you have any experience with that.

the list of plants (all organic)

  • Rainbow Chard – Neon Glow
  • Italian Heirloom Kale – Lacinato
  • Jewel – Toned Beets – Red, Gold and Candystripe
  • Rainbow Radishes – Easter Egg II
  • Tricolor Carrots – Circus Circus
  • Royal Burgundy Beans
  • Heirloom Pole Beans – Rattlesnake and Purple Pole
  • Ornamental Sunflowers – Sun Samba
  • Dill – Just Dill
  • Snap Peas
  • Exhibition Sweet Peas – Blue Celeste
  • Dark Green Zucchini
  • Italian Pesto Basil
  • Cilantro
  • Thyme
  • Chives
  • Orange Cherry Tomatoes
  • Parsley – Moss Curled
  • Red Calabash Tomato
  • Purple Tomatillo
  • Brandywine Tomato
  • Lavender
  • Heirloom Flowering Vines – Cathedral Bells
  • Lettus Outredgeous – Lactuca Sativa
  • Arugula – Eruca Sativa
  • Carrot Royal Chantenay – Daucus Carota Sativus
  • Happy Bee Blend -Buckwheat, Phacelia, Dragon’s Head and Dill

I would have to say I’m most looking forward to the tomatoes, beans, peas and herbs.  I’m also going to try and talk my dad into letting me build a herb spiral too!

herb-spiral

Please leave me any questions, comments and ideas.

Thanks for reading.

Caleb

Starting seeds

So I’ll be the first to admit that I have no idea what I’m doing.  I’m fully shooting from the hip on most of my endeavors as far as gardening is concerned and because of that, I fully expect to make lots of mistakes.  To try and minimize my losses though, I’m hitching my bets as much as possible.  I’ll be using at least three different techniques to start my seeds this season with hopes that at least one will work well.

seed starting tray

I purchased a coconut husk seed starting tray from Plantation Garden Centre (very nice people, please support them if you need anything) in the NW of Calgary, and yesterday I used the whole thing to plant basil, thyme, lavender, 4 types of tomatoes, parsley and cilantro.  I’d love to hear comments from you on whether this was a good move or not.

I also purchased a grow light from a local hydroponics store called Quick Grow (also very nice people and really helpful), and I figured out that under my desk is the perfect spot to start seeds.  The light will sits just above the tray because it’s mounted under the drawers.  I loved this idea because it’s not in the way at all!

Picture below: Planting seeds

After mounting the light, I put the seed tray under there.

Picture below: Mounting brackets

Picture below: Under my desk where it’s completely out of the way.

Picture below: Under the light

pots and soil

My second technique to starting seeds will be to use old fashioned organic potting soil.  I purchased some soil from Plantation Garden Centre, and I’ll probably be using old yogurt containers and whatnot to house the soil and seeds.  I’ve also heard of using newspaper folded into a cup, egg shells (which seems like an awesome idea), toilet paper rolls, etc.  I don’t really care, but I’ll be starting some seeds in soil also.

hydroponic media

My third technique will be to start seeds in this weird seed starting media I got at Quick Grow.  It’s fluffy and I have no idea how it works.  These seeds will not be going into the garden.  Instead they’ll be going into a window farm that I’m building.

feedback

As always, I would love to hear from you.  I’m new to this, so if you have questions or comments, please let me know.

Thanks for reading

Caleb