Not just Water

When I fill the Britta water filter at home the chlorine gas fills the air with a foul stink. I think the Town is putting extra chlorine in the water during the pandemic.

We can all filter the water that we drink. However when you spray plants from a hose the chlorine goes into the soil and kills the microorganisms. Those microbes build organic complex structures. Rain barrels are useful for eliminating the chlorine that kills those microbes. If you don’t have a water barrel you can eliminate some of the chlorine and florid chemicals by spraying into a watering can first. The chlorine gas will be released. If your city or town is using a lot of chemicals in the water you will smell them right away. Take just one more step to grow organic healthy plants and spray the chemicals away.

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Great Kid

In Hingham, the town composts our leaves and other organic waste.  They do a great job.

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In the picture my new neighbor Shaun is shoveling compost which I use as mulch.  At Lowe’s they charge $ 5.64 a bag for mulch.  Mulch in a bag is dyed and treated with weed preventatives.  Other ecological considerations are: the energy it takes to fill the bags at the mulch farm, trucking it to the store and bringing the empty plastic bag back to the dump as trash.  In our town most of the residents bring their trash to the dump so they are already there to fill the emptied containers which was originally stored the trash.

We also have a swap shop which is a big favorite.  The town just upgraded the facility and volunteers monitor the area so that people don’t over stay their welcome.

Encourage your town to get involved in reuse if they are not already doing it.

Final Exam

Shirley is the girl in the picture.  She wrote an essay at her school which qualified her to go to Guatemala with members of her school.  She had a firsthand a view of how the harsh living conditions are in developing countries.

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She has expressed to me her thoughts about beginning to understand some of the social and economic issues that face poor people.

Chemical fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides and GMOs are the reality for most Americans.  In countries in Central and South America it is even worse because there are few regulations for dangerous chemicals being used on crops.  I am convinced that even in the United States we cannot stop Monsanto.

Organic gardening is hard work.  I build Square Foot Gardens, compost and make an organic soil mix.  Yesterday I brought the materials necessary for Shirley to build a Square Foot Garden.  With some help and my direction, Shirley did most of the work.  She screwed the 2 inch by 6 inch lumber in place.  She stapled the weed block to the bottom.  On her hands and knees she mixed the vermiculite, peat moss and five different types of compost together.  She planted some vegetables and learned about the importance of watering deep into the squares.

For me it was a good day.  For Shirley it was a dirty day.  And now of course, the responsibility is hers.

Cuba

A Square Foot Gardener sent me this article from the Boston Globe.  A must read.

http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2015/04/15/cuba-future-farming/ESYROGF8WARyyRv3lmgNHO/story.html?s_campaign=email_BG_TodaysHeadline

The real issue is greed.  Once American industrial farmers find a glimpse of success in Cuba they will attempt to put a giant footprint on the Country and the people.  I have seen it first hand as my wife Kathy has successfully dragged me throughout most of South and Central America.

In Honduras, were we are currently working and teaching Square Foot Gardening, we spent one entire day in Yoro looking for anything that we could purchase that was organic.  We found nothing.

The picture below is an organic garden.   Children in Yoro, Honduras built this space using organic techniques.  They have just begun to build up the soil with composting techniques.

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In Honduras, the Monsanto signs are boldly painted on the cement block walls and the people rely on chemicals to farm and to control pests and weeds. This too will become a way of life for farmers in Cuba as American money buys them out.

Your Driveway

In our community we have a farm that is a CSA.  I volunteered on the farm one afternoon.  I said to an environmental intern from the University of Vermont that the soil appeared to me to lack organic composition.  I asked him how they successfully grow anything.  His answer: “fertilizer”.

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This CSA and many others participate in the local farmers’ markets.  Many of us believe that if it is purchase at a farmers’ market it must be good.  I would like to encourage you to start small with a Square Foot Garden and see where it takes you.

One more point.  A Square Foot Garden can be an urban garden.  The only space it takes is a patio, a driveway or even a front yard.

A Kelp Walk

Our farmland is polluted with years of spraying chemicals, pesticides and herbicides.  Many of the plants that we compost contain those same poisons.

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So where can we turn?

The ocean is polluted as well but the massive amount of water allows for the chemicals to become diluted.  We must consider however the runoff from land and roadways as part of the calculation.

Using kelp seems to be a reasonable alternative.  The kelp I am holding in the photo is from Nantasket Beach in Hull.  Students at Quincy High School determined while preparing for a science fair that the kelp needs to be washed twice in order to reduce salt content for composting.  The salt was causing red wiggler worms to be lethargic without a couple of rinses.  The students also found that too much soaking reduces mineral content found in the kelp.

Students too can make a difference.  Having a great chemistry teacher as a mentor goes a long way.  Having a wonderful wife to walk the beach with gets me there.

“The Dirty Dozen” – Dr. Maywald

A few days ago I spent a good deal of time with Dr. Chrostoph Maywald, D.C. a chiropractor and friend.  He also specializes in sports therapy.  Several years ago he did several clinics for our tennis teams at Quincy High School.  The entire school couldn’t win much of anything on the athletic fields.  The student / athletes were so frantic to win that they forgot about playing each point, one at a time.  The next year after his training our team team qualified for the state tournament.

Dr. Maywald’s mind darts from one wellness area to others.  His life has been one of discovery and providing wellness.

He introduced me (the Square Foot Gardener) to “The Dirty Dozen”. This is a list of foods most commonly contaminated with pesticides.    http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART02985/Foods-You-Should-Always-Buy-Organic.html

In addition, we read about the super food kale and yet a 2008 test revealed that “some samples were contaminated with two organophosphates – chlorpyrifos and oxydemeton-methyl”.

Some fruits and vegetables metabolize chemicals more readily than others.  Therefore as you look at the list in the above URL, you will know what to eliminate from you non-organic shopping list.  The solution – spend a lot of money on organic or just grow it: 1 Square Foot at a Time.  

It is good to have doctors who look after their patients in a holistic manner.

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The above photo is a typical SFG that you too can grow organically.