The harvest starts for some. Click here
Saving money and doing great gardening. Click here
Learning to farm organically as a WWOOFer. Click here
NY techie returns to aid Indian organic cotton farming. Click here
One farmer’s cheerful view on farming. Click here
Cow power and the wonder of great pasture. Click here
Chef argues for “paddock to plate”. Click here
Taking organic food to Mars. Click here
To-day I start a series of articles on the art of living small.
This is definitely an art. It calls for a mind shift from consumption to production. To paraphrase Bill Mollison: if just 10% of us grow food in our own gardens, the world changes.
Gardening is but one part of the Living Small equation. Following on from this starting point, housing, clothing, IT, transport and a host other areas fill the mind. For to-day I will stick with gardening. Gardening in small way provides it own challenges.
For the past eight months my own 4 foot diameter garden has been supplying us with a myriad of produce. I will expand it this Spring to an area 5 times the size. The smallness of this original garden is instructive.
I planted it out with sweet corn, zucchini, lettuce, butter beans, rocket and bok choy. I used to live in a much colder climate. There we only had one chance to grow summer vegetables. Where I am now provided many surprises. Some were welcome, some were not. The speed of growth and harvest was one of the welcome surprises. As was being able to re-plant and rotate crops about such a small area. Maintaining constant ground cover being easily achieved.
White fly were most unwelcome. I’d never seen them before. I diagnosed the first evidence of their infestation as a nitrogen deficiency. Correcting for this created more lush growth, attracting more white fly. Once the problem was identified very little helped. They only attacked the beans, zucchini and some self-sown tomatoes. I took what we could from these and composted the rest in an attempt to break any breeding cycles.
Next Spring I will companion plant with marigolds and nasturtium to deter them. More reading might find other solutions.
During this Autumn and Winter I have been growing beetroot, more bok choy, silverbeet, mizuna, lettuce, rocket, broccoli, cauliflower and snow peas. I have discovered the cabbage moth caterpillar. I just pick them off. Up to 15 per leaf per day!
What have I learned? It is possible to provide a large proportion of salad needs and a smaller proportion of cooking vegetables from such a small space. Additionally I have learned much about the local climate and the garden micro climate. I will be planting more of the smaller, quicker maturing types to keep the supply more constant. My other half has discovered how much longer food will stay fresh in the fridge if it only travels 15 feet to the kitchen and not half way across the continent.
From the observations and discussions with neighbours, I will not be surprised to see more little circles of food springing up across the area next Spring.
Treated seeds bad for bees! Click here
High rise gardening! (A slide show.) Click here
More vertical gardens. Click here
Veggies grow better amongst flowers. Click here
How far has your food travelled? Click here
To reduce waste, eat within “100km”. A Chennai example. Click here
101 bright spots in the global food system. Click here
GM farming heading to the UK as early as next year? Click here
Agriculture is not natural. Click here
Introducing some of Europe’s young organic farmers. Click here
A noble project!
I’ve made a project outline to try and inspire myself to research as thoroughly as possible (what can I say, I’m a planner). Below is a rough starting point for my research.
- Project: Design a sustainable living community that is as close to self-sustaining as possible (this includes food, water, buildings, and energy). Focus on making the smallest environmental impact possible, and include a list of tentative but realistic costs for each part of the community (land, building structures, farming equipment, etc.). Also, be sure to include a general timeline for the process of starting up the community (gathering experience, finding land, building structures), as well as a list of necessary/ helpful skills that would aid in creating a sustainable living community.
- Possible Research Topics: Organic gardening, livestock, climate zones, maximizing crop production (green houses, crop rotation, perennials), garden design, existing sustainable communities, best locations for such a community…
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Nature’s security blanket: Mulch. Click here
A perennial treat: asparagus. Click here
A community garden on a mission. Click here
A US Army garden brings healing. Click here
Seed ownership in US Agriculture. Click here
Nutrient efficiency, a good article. Click here
New Zealand’s organic grape industry grows. Click here
Sustainable berry production based upon “know-how”. Click here
The joy of gardening. Click here
Building a drought pod. Click here
Mulching, a key technique in the organic garden. Click here
What, when and how to feed your plants. Click here
Local, Organic and in season is the way to eat. Click here
Locavores drive food trends. Click here
Good reasons to eat local food. Click here
Mechanical weed control. Click here
Manure composting, a “waste” converted. Click here
Is organic farming really “unsustainable”? Click here