Water

Popular Science dedicated the entire March/April issue to water.  When people plant Square Foot Gardens there is a minimum amount of water needed for the plants.  The concept is to grow in the minimum amount of concentrated space in order to produce the maximum amount of herbs, fruits and vegetables.

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There are many great segments to these articles and be assured that a numbers of facts presented will surprise readers.  In Honduras we just purchased supplies to fix leaks in the water system in San Jose.  Students at the dorm are also making rain barrels to save water and build awareness for water conservation in Yoro.

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Super Food

Moringa is now found in health food stores.  The nutrition comes from the leaves, flowers and roots.  It has 7 times the vitamin C of an orange and 4 times the vitamin A of milk.  For the poor villagers of Honduras, moringa is a supplement that came be grown, harvested and infused into people’s diets.

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The students at the Honduras Hope Dormitory are growing moringa to be shared with people who have deficient food sources.  We distributed 150 seeds in January with an incentive to give the plants away in April and instruct others how to maintain, harvest and cook moringa.

You might want to visit your local health foods store and inquire amount the nutritional value of moringa.

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.

Moringa – Honduras Hope

“A Path Appears” by Kristof and WuDunn states that “vitamin A deficiency leads to some 670,000 child deaths annually and is also the most common reason for child blindness”. Doris, the young woman in the photo, was instrumental in developing Square Foot Gardens at the dorm in Yoro that supports middle school and high school students. I am confident that Doris will help us grow moringa plants which has four times the vitamin A as milk.

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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.

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.