Arsenic

My neighbor is a construction manager working on mall outside of Boston, Massachusetts.  The mall is being built on a former apple orchard.  The project has had some obstacles.  The amount of arsenic in the soil exceeds acceptable levels by the EPA.  The contaminated soil cannot be removed from the parcel of land which means the construction company must bury the soil under payment or mix it with uncontaminated soil to reduce the percentage of arsenic in the end product.

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When farmers spray pesticides, the unblemished apples, big red peppers or perfect melons all look so good.  Beware the perfect fruits and vegetables because they may not be as perfect as you think.  When the arsenic in the pesticide was sprayed, there was enough to kill small insects.  As the rain fell, contaminates soaked into the soil.  The apple tree’s roots absorb the chemicals.   The accumulative effect has caused big problems for the developer.  What has been the effect of the arsenic on you and especially on young children?

It might be worth considering Square Foot Gardening.  BEWARE: being an organic gardener may take some time to learn.  Mel Bartholomew’s book Square Foot Gardening might be a good place to start.  Warning, don’t just skim the book, read it.

Zika – Mosquito Control

In Yoro, Honduras as well as a home we are trying to control mosquitoes using plants that are natural repellents.

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http://www.ecosnippets.com/gardening/plants-to-keep-mosquitoes-away/

The url above shares with us the plants that can make a difference in our lives as well as in the lives of others in countries where the zika virus is a real threat to especially unborn children.

Students at the Honduras Hope sponsored dormitory are propagating plants which will be shared with people whose homes are one room buildings without screens.  Our goal is to turn the land adjacent to the dormitory buildings into a place to propagate these plants.  The students are already growing food there.  With their skills they will be able to  grow useful  mosquito repellent plants to distribute to people in other under served communities.  The target homes will be those of expectant mothers.

Venezuela -Starvation

Why should you set an example?  The story in this link tells an interesting story.

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That is why we are teaching the children in Honduras to grow organically.  I often tell people that trying to convince adults about scientific gardening is like talking to a brick wall.  We are all vulnerable based on drought, GMOs and conflict.  Where does you food really come from and how far does it need to travel in time?

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.

What Is Wrong? – School Gardens

A farmer who has been involved school gardens in South America, Asia and the United States surprised me with an interesting observation:  School Gardens don’t work.

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My observation has been that the intentions are most always good but: here in the Northeast, if we follow the patterns of farmers and gardeners, the traditional vegetables are harvested in July and August.  The children are gone for vacation.  Who waters and weeds during the summer?

Growing cold weather plants can offer a harvest before kids check out for summer.  The germination process however needs to start on or before January 1st.  These plants can go into the ground as soon as the frost is gone.

Check out these cold weather plants that we are harvesting right now.  Please realize that teachers are overwhelmed and in January most are not thinking of a school garden with snow on the ground.

Yes, This Is Real!

Over the past couple of weeks I have been talking to people who question whether a 3 by 3 space can yield them meaningful garden produce.

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It is not the square area that you plant in, it is the quality of the soil medium that is used. Big gardens can become overwhelming.  You might want to start off with something that is manageable and then expand it.  First of all make it enjoyable.

The pictures are of one 3 by 3 Square Foot Garden.  Tomatoes, kale, cucumbers and string beans all in one.