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In the sustainability and environmental community, many discuss the effects our trash has on the global warming crisis. The real issue, nobody is talking about is the soil crisis
What is the soil crisis?
Soil erosion has been a decimate to the agriculture industry. Iowa was once filled with rich dark topsoil, fantastic for farming. Now, due to erosion, the soil is only a foot or a little deeper. This means eventually our fertile lands will be nothing more than a desert.
The soil is lacking in nutrients. In an article written by National Geographic, they touch on the deficiency of phosphorus in our soil. Phosphorus is important for DNA replication. The problem with obtaining it is commercial fertilizers, which allow for better absorption, also cause water pollution.
Recomposeis a company specializing in human composting. It is a fantastic alternative to modern practices. Useful land is being taken up to bury our dead, cremation releases emissions and burns fossil fuels.
The bodies are turned into rich compost in 60 days. The cost is $5,500 and the compost can either be donated, picked up by family, or a combination of both.
Some other commonly known ways to help our soil crisis include:
Composting at home
Better crop management
This is an everyone problem. No single change is too small.
Why should this matter to me?
Our planet should matter to everyone. You specifically should be concerned due to the fact you consume agricultural products. By being a consumer you are directly impacted by the soil crisis. Food security and cost directly impact every person on this planet.
You do not need a fancy frost cover, though, I will say though, these seem to fit better. They also work if you have to leave it on longer. They do not look as tacky as blankets and sheets covering all your trees!
You do not need to cover your tree to the ground. It will keep it warmer, but the main goal is to protect the leaves and branches.
Now, that does not include trees that have been planted in more recent years. A good frost barrier like ANPHSIN 2 Pack Tree Protector Wraps works amazingly at protecting the tree bark from frost!
Trees that are freshly planted are not as hardy as older trees and may need added protection!
Does spraying trees with water protect them from frost?
This is an old-time way to protect a tree from frost. While it does work, it takes some precision.
While opting for this low-cost way to protect your tree may seem like the way to go, it has its drawbacks.
The tree can still be damaged by the cold.
Too much water may cause excessive ice
Newly formed buds will have damage.
However, even with the new buds being damaged, the whole tree is protected from frost damage, which is the goal, right?
Well, yes and no. Your tree dying is not a great thing, but the newly formed buds dying just isn’t great either. This may be best for a much larger tree. But for those with smaller fruit trees, I just do not recommend this method.
When planning for colder nights, make sure to ensure your trees’ safety. This is especially true for newly planted trees! Whether you cover them or attempt to spray water, protecting trees is essential for all gardeners!
Yes, many will tell you that you cannot grow store-bought potatoes. There are downsides to doing this:
Not knowing if the plant is indeterminate or determinate.
They might have a potato disease
Overall, this can be a more inexpensive way to grow your own potatoes.
You will also need to wait for these potatoes to develop eyes to plant. That can make it harder overall to plant.
Can you plant potatoes straight into the ground?
Potatoes can grow straight into the ground! You will need to till around and amend your soil, however. This can be amended usually with rich compost.
Something to consider is if your potatoes are indeterminate or determinate before planting. Determinate would do better in looser soil but indeterminate needs to be buried to grow larger and produce more spuds.
Can I grow potatoes in containers?
Most definitely! Indeterminate work well inside containers because you can fill the soil as the plant grows to help gain height!
Consider purchasing potato grow bags or using old feed sacks to grow your potatoes in! These are all great options to produce your own homegrown potatoes!
Potatoes can grow fantastic in containers, just keep in mind the depth and space needed for your plant.
Potatoes can be a very easy vegetable that you can grow in your own backyard or around the homestead.
This is because they do not require much more than soil, compost, and water and they will grow. However, depending on the variety, you may need to add more soil as they grow.
Overall, potatoes are a perfect addition to your backyard garden!
This question here is one I get SO often. I always tell people just like you to start. . .well, yesterday.
The best time to prepare your garden was yesterday.
I hate to tell you that. That doesn’t mean do not start today! Here I will discuss ways to prepare your garden for the upcoming spring planting season!
When can I plant a garden?
This is dependent on where you live. Checking resources like the USDA for more information and pinpointing your zone is important to help decide when you can plant.
Usually, we are in zone 9 begin planting beginning in January. We either start seeds indoors or plant more frost-hardy plants outside. Gardening is a lot of unexpected. We may have a late frost that kills all your plants once you harden them off outside.
It is the unexpected in gardening that draws many of us into it. This makes deciding when to plant your garden difficult.
Understanding your overall garden area is the most important thing you can do to decide your next steps. Many just want to jump right in with barely any research.
How to prepare my garden to plant in the spring
Spring is a wonderful season for planting your garden. Many start wondering, well how do I prepare my garden for spring?
There are a few steps you should do to ensure your garden is ready for spring!
Research any upcoming frosts
Amend your soil
Decide what to plant and where to plant
The research will be your best friend as a gardener. Planning can help in the long run in optimizing the amount of food you get for your little space.
Soil amending with things like bone meal and compost is important! Do not skip this step. This is because healthy soil from the start can make or break your growing season!
Planning where to plant can help by lessening the number of pests your garden may see. It can also increase your harvest!
How do I prepare my garden for fall planting
Like with any season, the steps are similar. The only real difference in fall is the need for cold covers potentially.
Be prepared to cover plants during frostier nights to help extend your growing season. Another important consideration is planting any bulbs for the next spring. Many bulbs like to be planted early fall and lie dormant until spring!
Being prepared is important in gardening; however, it is more important to have a plan within that preparation.
Plan out your garden well before time to start planting. This can help set you up for success
In these more recent times, the idea of having your own sustainable garden is seemingly more and more appealing every day. For some, this can seem like such a daunting task.
Many of my friends are really starting to ask me often, “How to make a sustainable garden.”
Honestly, there are many easy and free ways to make a garden.
What is a sustainable garden?
Well, this question is sort of loaded depending on who you ask. By definition alone, a sustainable garden. . . well sustains itself. This means, if you did not touch it, it could in theory thrive.
Personally, I view sustainability as a way of living and therefore, a sustainable garden does not interfere with the nature around it. I try to work with everything into my garden in a way that is a sort of permaculture.
What does a sustainable garden look like?
There are a few features that almost everygarden can have to make it far more sustainable than what we view in our everyday lives.
No chemical pesticides or herbicides
We here love a biodiverse garden where we use companion planting as a means to prevent pests in our plants. Some of these plants are marigold and dill. A lush and diverse garden to me has always been appealing.
Not using chemicals has become my latest wish since having kids. Watching my children put everything into their mouths really concerned me since we used a lot of chemical disinfectants. So naturally, I do not use any of these in our garden.
I also compost and try to use reclaimed materials as much as possible. This helps us not only save money but reduce our waste in the long run.
This method also helps us reduce the amount of waste going into landfills!
Why is a sustainable garden important?
A sustainable garden is important because it focuses on not making a negative impact on our planet. Instead of working against the earth, you are working in sync with it in a way that makes a positive impact.
The produce from your garden can also taste better, be free of pesticides which in turn benefit you. Pesticides and herbicides run into our water supplies and cause major problems in the local environment.
Some pesticides even harm bees. Bees are important for gardeners as they help pollinate our fruits.
What are the benefits of a sustainable garden?
The benefits of sustainable gardening outweigh any of the disadvantages many can think of.
Building a better ecosystem in your soil
Healthier and fresher foods
These in turn help grow you and your family into more rounded people. Your children can learn from the environment around them and gardening is shown to be a fantastic stress relief.
Methods of sustainable gardening
There are many different teachings to choose from when picking what is right for you and your land. Here are just a few:
These are all three fantastic methods but each has its own traits.
Also known as ‘lasagna gardening’ this method involves not tilling the earth or disturbing the ground too much. You continue to layer organic matter and let things decay. This can be a wonderful method for the busiest of people.
However, it comes with its own issues such as the soil needing to be amended more. This though can also be a good thing. Every year your soil will only get better the more you plant!
This is often paired with farm animals so it can be more difficult to do if you do not have any. However, if you are able to have livestock this method is amazing as everything lives in a sort of symbiotic relationship.
Everything you grow benefits from one another and in turn helps reduce your waste tremendously and thus, is far more sustainable!
This method is very interesting and cost-effective. It works well if you have really poor soil that you just do not feel comfortable using no-till.
This method involves building raised beds and then filling the majority of them up with sticks and logs and then topping them with soil. This overtime will break down and feed your garden.
This helps save money because you won’t have to fill the entire bed with soil and won’t need to purchase most soil amendments once the sticks begin breaking down. It is also a very sustainable method since you are using items most people commonly discard.
Overall, many people do not think about the waste their garden may produce when they choose to do so. Developing a biodiverse and sustainable garden is important to the overall health of your plants.
This can be mutually beneficial to both you and the environment around you. Sustainability does not have to be expensive either.