Monday, February 24, 2014

Low-Energy Gardening

Today’s Traverse City Record-Eagle has a story on an upcoming “energy forum” to be held by the Leelanau League of Women Voters, Tuesday February 25, at the Leelanau County Government Center.  I’ll be there with a storyboard and a couple “show and tell” items as an advocate of low-energy home composting and food gardening.  In the US, we spend roughly $45 billion each year (much of that for fossil fuels) and more than half of our residential water supplies on our 30 million acres of lawn grass.  We grow it, we mow it.  It’s easy to convert some of that lawn to productive food gardening without power equipment, and the result can be a healthier lifestyle along with net cost savings.  The secret?  Compost!—together with care to preserve the many beneficial life forms that support plant growth in the living soil.  Hence my recent post on that subject.  I’ve been remiss in not posting ideas on starting a home food garden “from scratch,” but I’ll soon remedy that omission.  Organic home food production can be done with surprisingly little expenditure of energy—including your own.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Home Composting Notes

Home composting is an integral part of my gardening activity; I recommend it highly for everyone, gardener or not.  I see responsible recycling in its many forms as a serious public duty, and I believe composting, whether by the individual or by the community, as, in the long term, the most important type of recycling.  It’s more than a means of conserving resources and reducing costs—it’s a process that can significantly narrow the growing gap between nature’s small surplus and humankind’s large deficit in processes impacting our collective ability to feed ourselves.  It is the only method through which many millions of tons of organic matter per year may be safely and economically returned to the soil that forms the basis of our of our most basic livelihood.

Please take a few moments to review a recent compilation of my composting notes by clicking on METHODS & MATERIALS here or above.  I hope you’ll forgive my excessive “salesmanship” on this topic—it’s obviously one about which I feel very strongly.  I’ve included some basics on the process, a few photos, and some pointers on how to make high-quality compost suitable for use in an organic home food garden; and I’ve listed a few suggestions for further reading.  I don’t claim to be an “expert,” but my results are improving with experience.