Say to the World – We Compost

YouTube has a lot of video clips on composting.  Take a look at short ones because a lot of gardeners love to hear themselves talk.

A friend of mine said yesterday in an email that she hopes one of the lessons that can be learned from the coronavirus19 is that people think about growing Victory Gardens.  Food security should be on our radar as we visit supermarkets with some empty shelves.  What happens when the immigrant farm workers get sick?

Plants that grow in compost are so resistant that pesticides do not need to be used.  For those who cannot or don’t want to afford the organic fruits and vegetable at the market, a victory garden grown in compost may give you satisfaction.

I realize that we are all so busy; but not right now.  Get started today.  You might find some stress relief.

The photo below is of one of my composting units.  It is simple in structure.  There is one added component.  I oxygenate the compost with a little aquarium pump.  That increases the oxygen levels for the microbes which speeds up the process.

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The Organic Key

Making compost is a sustainable process.  Students at our Honduras Hope Dorm are developing organic gardens.  They make compost and are growing food to be used as a nutritional base.

Their next project will be to bring this technique to their mountain village and teach their families to grow without chemicals.  The students at the Dorm are champions.

Square Foot Gardening / Trump

You could be thinking that nothing might be more distant from Donald Trump’s mind than Organic Farming.  He might be the king of fast food right now as in Kentucky Fried Chicken.

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Just picture in your mind the Obama and Trump news clip when they first met at the White House after the election.  It is obvious from the photograph that Barack is eating vegetables out of Michelle’s White House Garden while Donald is opening up the fried chicken and fries.

Your bottom line as well as mine is that during the Trump administration, big business and industrial farming will have an economic edge over the local organic farmer.  If you want to buy organic it will be expensive.  Get ready to pay high prices.  I might add that I read the magazine Farming.  The articles are full of information about GMO’s, pesticides and herbicides.  Big farmers are tied into the chemical companies for added productivity and improved profitability.

Square Foot Gardening and growing vegetables can be a challenge.  There are seven necessary steps to be successful: composting, germination, planting, watering, weeding, timely harvesting and preparing the food nutritiously.  It is really not easy to complete all the steps and there is some science involved.  There are many helpful sources for information.  Googling topics can provide necessary assistance.

Along the way we can all look better as we bend and lift while watching our vegetables grow.   We can all do this, One Square Foot at a Time.

Raw for Smoothies

Raw herbs and vegetables will provide maximum nutritional value for your diet.  All of the ingredients on the counter have been grown in compost, (mostly worm castings), coconut coir and vermiculite.

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From left to right:  frozen wheatgrass, moringa leaves, celery, spearmint, kale, beet greens and parsley.  Delicious when added to frozen organic blueberries and frozen mango.  I also add ginger, turmeric, flax seed, flax seed oil, unsweetened coconut, cinnamon.  I use almond milk or soy milk and some Trader Joe’s yogurt.  Thinking about adding a little garlic tomorrow. Substitute a smoothie like this for breakfast and watch the pounds disappear.

Like Talking to Bricks

When it comes to organic gardening I often feel that the key for success is our children.  They are open, enthusiastic and have fun growing things.  We are teaching math, science and technology through horticulture in Honduras.

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The two pictures are almost identical.  One picture shows the best pepper crop that I have ever grown.  I use worm casting and the children at our Honduras Hope Dorm use worm castings.  The gardening technique is called Square Foot Gardening.  We are headed back to Honduras in November and our next project at the Dorm will be growing and the distribution organic Moringa.

The Smart Gardener

My neighbor Leo Gallivan has valuable experience as an environmentalist / gardener.  He and his wife Holly spend six months in Florida.  Springtime is when most people are preparing their gardens.  Not Leo.

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Leo isn’t at home in the spring and he does’t need to be.  Because as a smart gardener, he prepares the garden in the fall.  He mulches all the green material around the existing plants.  The nutrients that he uses come from the existing plants reusing the organic materials.  You can be a Smart Gardener too.

Wells, Is the Answer – yes or no?

The staff at Holly Hill Farm in Cohasset, Massachusetts topped off their raised beds this year with seaweed.  Holly Hill is an organic farm that uses the facility to grow locally as well as provide instruction for children.

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One of the instructor told me the other day that last year’s crop of garlic that was covered with seaweed, was much fuller and looked healthier than the beds of garlic not covered with seaweed.  Notice the seaweed that I harvested.

Wells is a long time friend of mine.  He found good success last year with his garden.  It takes time to figure out what is best for each of us however I am proud to say that he follows this blog and has tried some of the suggestions.

He also frequents the Connecticut shoreline so seaweed is a natural for him to pick up for his garden.  The tricky part will be to convince his wife that she will be returning home after a weekend with seaweed in the trunk.  Wells, you have all winter to buy her nice things and persuade her about the benefits of organic gardening.

Just Grow It

One Square Foot at a Time has been designed to influence you, school children and the people of Honduras.  There are many worthy organizations that help people in developing countries to grow food that is more nutritious and provides greater quantities of vegetables and fruit.  Most of the organizations that I have heard of, try to use organic methods.  However there are many challenges in these countries and if the only solution to save a crop is pesticides, I too would use them.  It is a no brainer to use chemicals and pesticides when life depends on each harvest.

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What I have read concerning agricultural groups that go into developing countries is that they help farmers understand seed saving, using organic methods and conservation in order to increase yields.  All of that provides investments in the people and lends itself to good health.  My interest however is to teach the children.

The students served by Honduras Hope are eager and hard working.  They show their appreciation while working with us and I believe they are learning science and math as we work with them.  Some of these children have brought these techniques to their mountain villages and there is interest from those communities.  In January we will start a kitchen gardening program at our rather crude kitchen facility in the mountains where we provide nutritional and protein rich lunches for children from birth to six years old.

The Square Foot Gardening Program in Yoro is doing very well.  It is developing so well that I want to expand what we are doing.  I want to pay students a small stipend to teach young child and adults as well to use Square Foot Gardening techniques to grow things other than beans and corn.  I want to introduce kale, spinach and broccoli into their diets.  I want to provide nutritious smoothies to children that are malnourished.

In January I am bringing a gas generator to Honduras.  The people in both of the villages we serve have no electricity.  We have a community center in Plan Grande which is a wonderful facility.  With electricity from the generator we have planned movie nights.  Many students have never seen a movie and they don’t have televisions.  Students who want to attend Friday night movies can earn admission to the movie by bringing a five gallon bucket of compostable materials to the new composting bin at the primary school.  With the contribution to the composting idea they will earn a ticket to the Friday night movie.  It is proposed that young women from our Girl’s Empowerment Program will collect tickets.  Others can watch movies on Friday evenings by purchasing tickets.

Compost of course is the key to successful Square Foot Gardening.  There are plenty of green compostables and horse manure on the reservations. All of the kids use machetes.

This is the time of the year when everyone is asking you for money.  Worry not, I will find the money eventually.  However if you would like to become a part of an exciting venture, this might be something that you will want to become a part of.  Should you decide to contribute be sure to earmark your gift to Square Foot Gardening.

Send to:  Honduras Hope

P.O. Box 60

Franconia, N.H. 03580

Smoothie Obsession ?

You stop into your local smoothie shop and pay too much for a 16 ounce drink.  And you think; “this will pick me up” and it does because you have conditioned yourself.  You have bought into the smoothie cult.  Certainly, that smoothie is much better for you than a Coke and probably more nutritious than a Miller Lite.  What did you pay for that smoothie?

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Think for a minute where those ingredients came from.  How far did they travel?  How long were they lying around the shop and at what temperature?  Were they refrigerated for a long period of time?  What kind of soil were they grown in?  Are they truly organic?  Is the soil that it came from nutrition rich?  Vitamins and enzymes can be produced by plants but minerals cannot.

With Square Foot Gardening it is ease to control mineral content because the soil medium is contained.  I use Azomite and kelp to provide the essential minerals.

I advocate for you to compost and best with red wiggler worms.  However, if there are no minerals in the vegetables and fruit that you are composting, there will be no minerals in the soil or in the plants that you eat.

Do you have questions?  I do not have all the answers.  I have some and welcome having you message me.