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    Archived pages: 94 . Archive date: 2014-10.

  • Title: Avant-Gardening: Creative Organic Gardening - How YOU CAN GROW an grow an organic garden
    Descriptive info: .. Home Page.. About Us.. Sustainable Organic Gardening in the Pacific Northwest.. Botany Basics.. "You Can Grow!" Workshops.. Composting.. Soil Building.. Hardiness Zone Map.. WebRings.. "You Can Grow" CD's.. "Tid-Bytes" Insights.. Garden Pests Organic Controls.. Biodiversity and Genetic Engineering.. Sustainable Organic Gardening in New Mexico.. Companion Intensive Planting.. Permaculture.. Labyrinths.. Seed Starting Guide.. Creative Garden Design.. The Greenzbox.. Culinary Herb Gardens.. Xeriscape.. "Growing with the Seasons".. Photo Tour I.. Photo Tour II.. Photo Tour III.. Photo Tour IV.. Photo Tour V.. Organic Products.. Gardening Books.. Gardening Supplies.. Recommend This Site.. Resources.. AVANT-GARDENING: CREATIVE ORGANIC GARDENING.. WELCOME! " YOU CAN GROW! ".. "Confronted with the vision of a beautiful garden, we see something beautiful about ourselves.. ".. Jeff Cox.. In 1986 we created our first sustainable organic gardens.. Years of gardening experiences are a pleasure to pass on.. In our travels, we have created both Pacific Northwest and high-desert Southwest gardens, resulting in a wide range of gardening experience.. Working with the soil has always been an expression of values and ideals: truth, beauty and goodness.. Truth - discovering predictable patterns and laws of the universe while observing and enjoying the cause and effects of our creative actions; Beauty - the art of using patterns in garden design, and working with living plants as a medium for creativity; and Goodness - sharing the bounty from our gardens with others.. It is through sharing that gardening becomes more than just a means of providing food, it becomes a model of what is possible within a community.. Everyone who is growing healthy, nutritious, organic food is promoting a more sustainable way of living.. Your garden endeavors might encourage others to garden, creating a local gardening community.. With a collective surplus of food, a local farmers market could then be established providing an arena to discuss gardening experiences, and sell extra produce.. Transform your soil, your soul, and the world around you - one seed at a time.. "The Acts of Today are the Destiny of Tomorrow.. !".. Follow us on Facebook!.. Share.. |.. WHAT'S ON OUR WEBSITE? - EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT ORGANIC GARDENING!.. What is Sustainable Organic Gardening?.. How to Grow an Organic Garden and Make it Sustainable Over Time; The importance of heirloom/organic/non-GMO seed;.. Frost/Insect/Wind/Rain/UV Plant Protection.. How to Grow High altitude Gardens in the Southwest; NM plants, trees, and wildlife.. Watch our video - Coyote eating a bird seed block!.. Culinary Herb Gardens, Cooking with Herbs, and Herb Garden Designs.. Herbs are easy to grow, they don't require many nutrients, are generally drought resistant, and their flowers attract and feed bees and butterflies.. Garden Pests and Organic Control.. How to recognize garden pests and control them organically and sustainably! Where to get organic pesticides.. How to attract bees to your garden.. Xeriscape.. Organic xeriscaping - landscaping with slow-growing, drought tolerant plants/trees/and shrubs.. Sunstone Press in Santa Fe, New Mexico recently published a book by Frank and Vicky Giannangelo -  ...   seedlings outside.. Direct seeding techniques.. How to build cement walls for raised bed gardens.. - a You Tube video by Frank and Vicky Giannangelo.. Instructions for building cement wall raised bed walls for a garden - step by step!.. "Best Friends: Black Cat and Red Fox".. A black cat and a red fox spent two years together on the north end of San Juan Island! Watch their cute interactions.. "Follow Quirky the Blind Kitten as he grows up".. Quirky is a kitten blind from birth.. The local shelter asked if we would adopt him when he was 5 weeks old and we did.. He is way beyond cute.. Hardiness Zone Map and First and Last Frost Dates.. Use this map as a general reference when determining what plants will survive the climate in your area.. First/last frost dates, and frost/freeze definitions.. Everything you need to know about botany, simplified.. A metaphor of life's journey, a pattern that creates a symbolic space.. A meditation technique to balance the right and left brain.. Stress reducing benefits.. Workshops.. The Greenzbox; Sustainable Organic Gardening; Rockwork; Strawbale Walls; and Labyrinths.. "Avant-Gardening Tid-Bytes Insights".. "A collection of gardening related essays.. VIRTUALLY VISIT - "One picture is worth a thousand words.. NM Photo Tour I.. Home and Gardens, Building a Straw Bale Wall.. NM Photo Tour II.. Rescued Pets, Wildflowers, Wildlife, and Rock Formations.. NM Photo Tour III.. Winter, Native Trees and Shrubs, Landscapes.. NM Photo Tour IV.. Building a Hogan and a Kiva Fire Pit; Gardens and ponds, Wildlife.. San Juan Island, WA Photo Tour V.. Gardens, Wildlife, Sunrises, Sunsets, Flora and Fauna.. "You Can Grow" Organic Gardening CD.. Sustainable Organic Gardening Information/Planting Techniques/Garden Design/Inspirational Sayings.. NEW! - The Spirit of Gardening Quotes.. Over 3,500 Inspirational Quotations, Poems, Sayings, Quips, Links and References.. Arranged by 140 Topics.. NEW! - Photos of Beautiful Gardens.. Take a Virtual Tour of Gardens Worldwide.. "Watch Frans Lanting's - A lyrical view of life on Earth.. In this stunning slideshow, celebrated nature photographer Frans Lanting presents.. The LIFE Project, a poetic collection of photographs that tell the story of our planet, from its eruptive beginnings to its present diversity.. One Man, One Cow, One Planet.. Watch this Great Documentary on the Importance of Biodynamic/Organic/Sustainable Gardening.. This movie will encourage you, inspire you, and restore your faith in the possibilities of one person's ability.. to change the world, one step at a time.. buy it, support them, spread the word.. This is one of the most important movies of our time if we are to sustain life on this planet!.. Organic Plants, Seeds, Foods, and Supplies.. Helpful Gardening Books.. Resources.. "Other helpful gardening websites".. HELPFUL WEBSITES YOU MIGHT LIKE TO VISIT:.. Wind Chimes.. Bamboo Poles.. Garden Sheds and Summerhouses.. Amazon.. com Widgets.. Website designed and maintained by Vicky Giannangelo.. Feedback? Comments, questions, suggestions?.. contact us.. Created by Frank and Vicky Giannangelo, copyright (c) 2001-2013.. According to our.. Web Counter.. You are visitor number:.. //-->..

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  • Title: Avant-Gardening: Creative Organic Gardening - About Us
    Descriptive info: Mossy Knoll Garden/San Juan Island.. New Mexico.. Welcome ! " You Can Grow ".. ABOUT AVANT-GARDENING: CREATIVE ORGANIC GARDENING.. Follow us on Facebook!.. We started creating sustainable organic gardens on.. San Juan Island, WA.. in 1986.. In 1994 we moved to.. Sedona, AZ.. for three years and created sustainable gardens near Cathedral Rock.. From 1998 - May 2010 we lived near.. El Morro National Monument.. in Northwestern New Mexico where we created sustainable gardens at 7300' in a high desert environment.. In each area we helped establish and participated in a local farmer's market, and gave workshops on sustainable organic gardening.. In May 2010 we returned to San Juan Island, WA, and begin yet another exciting chapter in our gardening adventures!.. NORTHWEST BEGINNINGS.. Our first gardens were created on San Juan Island, Washington - an island off the coast of Washington State, 10 miles from the bottom of Vancouver Island, British Columbia.. We started with a small vegetable garden plot in our back yard, which was nestled within a 2 acre cleared area surrounded by old growth Western Red cedar, Hemlock, Alder, and Douglas fir.. Next we built a 60 x 80 concentric circular herb garden with interlocking paths, trellises, and a central focal point with a birdbath surrounded by creeping phlox, lilies, and different varieties and colors of creeping thyme.. The beds in between the interlocking circular pathways were filled with many varieties of each herb - sage, thyme, mint, rosemary, oregano, lavender, catnip and catmints, and others - including anise hyssop, hyssop, comfrey, horehound, ornamentals, French sorrel, and a Bay tree.. All these herbs were set against a backdrop of bamboo planted behind an old cedar stump.. Local interest prompted.. building another garden area with fruit trees surrounded by more paths, beds, and trellises.. The beds defined by these paths were filled with many varieties of annual and perennial flowers.. Assorted berries were espaliered to 8 short trellises, which radiated out from an old red  ...   in 1993 and moved to Arizona, where we spent three years creating and coordinating the building of a large formal herb and vegetable garden for a private community.. SOUTHWEST ADVENTURES.. We moved to northwestern New Mexico from 1996 - 2010 to an area presenting many challenges, altitude, erratic spring weather, a short growing season, and a 7,300 ft.. harsh high desert environment, which allowed us to use our experience and creativity to establish new gardens, teach others how to garden, start a new farmers market, and a "Ramah Area Annual Garden Tour".. We gave Rockwork, Labyrinth, Strawbale Wall, Permaculture, and Sustainable Organic Gardening Workshops during the year.. An online newsletter, "Avant-Gardening Tid-Bytes" was published monthly from 2000 until 2008.. We also wrote a book called "Growing with the Seasons", which is available at Amazon.. com or your local bookstore.. BACK TO SAN JUAN ISLAND, WA.. In May 2010 we moved back to San Juan Island and have created a new business called "MOSSY KNOLL GARDEN" on Bailer Hill Road on the southwest side of San Juan Island, WA.. We have a circular herb garden, a vegetable labrinth garden with cement wall raised beds, and a Zen Garden which includes a pond with a waterfalls.. We have a small greenhouse, and a composting area.. We want the gardens to be an example of what an individual or family could create in a small growing area to provide themselves and others with culinary herbs, vegetables, flowers, fruit and nut trees, and assorted berries.. The gardens are organic and sustainable, and we are here to offer fresh picked seasonal produce, gardening advice, encouragement, and inspiration to all who may come by.. There are culinary herbs, seasonal produce, berries, and cut flowers for sale.. We are open to the public for viewing by appointment year around, or when the sign at the head of the driveway indicates we are open.. To make an appointment to visit our gardens please.. for time/information/directions..

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  • Title: Avant-Gardening: Creative Organic Gardening - Gardening in the Pacific Northwest
    Descriptive info: Welcome ! "You Can Grow".. SUSTAINABLE ORGANIC GARDENING IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST.. PACIFIC NORTHWEST GARDENING.. While we were living on the sunny southwest side of San Juan Island from 2010 - 2014 we created as a series of formal gardens, a herb garden, a Zen garden, and a large vegetable garden/labyrinth.. We used cement walls for raised-bed gardens, created a formal pond with waterfalls, had a greenhouse, and a composting area.. These gardens were organic and sustainable.. During the four years we were there, we offered seasonal organic produce for sale - culinary herbs, vegetables, salad greens, and cut flowers.. A herb shop featured dried herbs, tea blends, everlasting flowers, garlic braids, and more.. We provided gardening advice, encouragement, and inspiration to all who stopped come by, and hoped the gardens were an example of what an individual or family could create in a small growing area to feed their families in the Pacific Northwest.. BUILDING THE GARDEN.. We started this garden by fencing in an area 35 feet wide and 55 feet long.. We made a two foot wide 8 inch high raised bed on the inside perimeter of the fence - 130 feet long - thinking that would provide enough growing space.. As we finished the perimeter garden bed, we realized there was not going to be enough growing space so we made another two foot wide bed inside the other bed - 100 feet long - with a two foot wide path between them.. Since we had such a good start, we made a third bed inside the second bed - 65 feet long - with another two foot path between them, working our way into the center, where there are are two small beds, one 5 feet by 8 feet, and one that is 7 feet by 9 feet with a fruit tree.. We have a total area of 1925 square feet with 700 feet of growing space in these winding two foot beds.. The beds are made with cement walls about eight inches high and four inches wide, partly for durability and partly for practicality (you can sit on them, step on them, and they will not rot).. We have planted perennial flowers, artichokes, squash, a variety of berries that will be trellised along the south edge of the fence, snap peas, beans, kale, winter and summer squash, red and green chard, and a lot of lettuce varieties and salad greens.. Interspersed throughout the garden are fruit trees that will be "trimmed to fit" the areas they are in.. Watch.. "How to build cement walls for raised bed gardens".. When these gardens were finished, we realized we had unconsciously created a.. Labyrinth.. One of the newest gardens was a Zen garden, featuring a Pergola, and a pond with waterfalls.. Read a great article about us:.. Here we go again.. !.. "Last night I had the opportunity to stroll through beautiful Mossy Knoll Garden, and asked that the owners write a column about it.. " published by.. Friday Harbor Now.. San Juan Island's newest online newspaper!.. "The spontaneous energies of the earth are a gift of nature, but they require the labors of man to direct their operation.. Thomas Jefferson.. HOW TO GARDEN SUSTAINABLY.. With a temperate zone 7 growing season, it is relatively easy to have a bountiful garden in the pacific northwest.. Surrounded by the natural beauty of the islands, creating a garden in such a setting is a pleasure and a joy.. The growing season is around 250 days with the first and last frost dates are around mid-April and mid-November.. With the proper row covers and protection, it is easy to grow salad greens year around.. We have had Kale, lettuce, and spinach varieties go through an entire winter.. Root crops may be left in the ground and dug up as needed.. The areas with a good.. soil.. depth sufficient for gardening or farming are generally slightly acidic, and can range from a quickly draining rocky, gravelly, or sandy soil to a mucky soil with poor drainage.. Soil pH is determined by mineral content in the subsoil.. pH is the symbol for the logarithm of the reciprocal of Hydrogen ion concentration in gram atoms per liter.. For example, a pH of 5 indicates a concentration of.. 00001 or 10-5 gram atoms of hydrogen ions in one liter of solution.. Acidic soil has a pH range from 1 to 6.. 5.. Alkaline soils have a pH range from 7.. 5 to 10.. Neutral soil has a pH of 7.. Lime (Dolomite) or oyster shell lime increase the alkalinity in an acid soil; soil sulfur and gypsum lower the pH in an alkaline soil.. For the best results, add  ...   the hope of building a better lilac, lily, cherry, rhododendron, pansy, or improving another species spurred some to action.. Others sought beauty, tranquility, and aesthetic pleasures in the garden.. More than a few just enjoyed watching things grow.. It is these and dozens of other stories about outstanding gardeners, prize-winning plants, and world-class gardens that make up the region's gardening past.. ".. Source:.. Pacific Northwest Garden History.. TAKE A VIRTUAL PHOTO TOUR.. Our Gardens, Beaches, Wildlife, Flora, Hikes, Landmarks, Places, and Parks.. San Juan Island's Farms & Gardens.. Formal Garden at English Camp.. Roche Harbor's Formal Gardens.. Pelindaba Lavender Farm.. San Juan Vineyards.. Buy Locally: Island Farms.. Farm Finder: San Juan County, WA.. FACTS ABOUT THE SAN JUAN ISLANDS.. Geologically.. , the Puget Lowlands are a low-lying region between the Cascade Range to the east and the Olympic Mountains and Willapa Hills to the west.. In the north, the San Juan Islands form a division between the Puget Lowland and the Strait of Georgia in British Columbia resulting in a rainshadow.. The 7500' high Olympic Mountains act as a wall that protects the northeastern Olympic Peninsula and San Juan Islands from the bulk of the rain that moves into the Pacific Northwest.. Rainfall on San Juan Island averages between 18-29 inches per year, with 62% falling between November and March.. This is about half the amount of rain that nearby Seattle receives.. The elevation of the island ranges from sea level to over 2,400 feet.. Unlike most of the Pacific Northwest, it is sunny an average of 250 days a year, with the sun shining an average of 62 percent of the time in summer and 28 percent in winter.. San Juan County is abundant in.. native plant.. species.. In the spring wildflowers are everywhere, and along the shoreline even Prickly-pear cactus and Gumweed can be found.. There is abundant wildlife: whales, dolphins, seals, otters, bats, Black-tail deer, silver fox, mink, three species of garter snakes, and raccoons.. There are more than 200 species of birds, including great blue herons, oyster catchers, Trumpeter swans, Peregrine falcons, ospreys, and eagles.. San Juan Island has the highest concentration of nesting Bald Eagles and Peregrine Falcons in the state.. Golden Eagles have nested here.. Short-eared Owls and Northern Shrikes over-winter in the short grasses.. There are crows and ravens.. In the winter House Wrens, Chickadees, Oregon Juncos, and Sparrows are abundant.. In the Summer there are hummingbirds, nuthatches, towhees, finches, woodpeckers, grosbeaks, starlings, cowbirds, and a plethora of other birds at our feeder.. A black cat and a red fox spent two years together on the north end of San Juan Island!.. There are fields, mountains, and dry, open, rocky slopes and more than 300 miles of shorelines with heavy surf and tides.. There are open prairies, and forests with Western Hemlock, Red Alder, Western Red Cedar, Western White Pine, Bigleaf Maple, and Madrone.. Garry oaks line the grassy hillsides.. On the west side there are seasonal waterfalls.. There are lowlands with shallow lagoons and marshes.. We see sword ferns, salal, salmonberries, evergreen Huckleberries, Red Elderberry, Oregon Grape, Snowberries, Ocean Spray, and Vine Maples.. Three resident pods (J, K, & L) of Orca whales, Transient Orca Whales, Minke Whales, Humpback Whales, and many more sea creatures inhabit the waters from May-September as they feed on the migrating salmon populations, herring, and quill.. They are commonly seen passing by the Westside of San Juan Island.. Minke whales are small Baleen Whales from the Salish Sea and are seen in the summer and fall.. We see Dall's Porpoise, sometimes called false killer whales because of their markings.. There are also Harbor Porpoise, which are gray-brown in color and have a triangular dorsal fin.. We have seen Harbor Seals which are small and spotted gray in color.. During the summer months they give birth to their young on the rocks along the shore.. Take a Photo Tour of San Juan Island.. Beaches, Wildlife, Flora, Hikes, Landmarks, Places, and Parks.. San Juan Island Links.. Friday Harbor Now.. San Juan County List of Farms.. San Juan Islands Washington.. San Juan Island's Weather.. San Juan Island Hiking.. San Juan Island National Historical Parks.. San Juan Farmers' Market.. San Juan Island Preservation Trust.. The San Juan Nature Institute.. The San Juan County Marine Resources Committee.. San Juan Island Land Bank.. The San Juan Island Agricultural Resources Committee.. The Whale Museum.. Wolf Hollow Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.. Historic Friday Harbor.. San Juan Island Trails Committee.. San Juan Island Parks.. San Juan County Parks.. San Juan Road Map.. Washington State Links.. The Washington Native Plant Society.. The Nature Conservancy in Washington.. Center for Whale Research.. San Juan County, Washington.. Created by Frank and Vicky Giannangelo, copyright (c) 2001-2014..

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  • Title: Avant-Gardening: Creative Organic Gardening - The Basics of Botany
    Descriptive info: "The proof of evolution lies in.. those adaptations that arise from improbable foundations.. Steven J.. Gould.. ECOMOMIC BOTANY.. Economic Botany is the interaction of people with plants.. The word is based on two Greek roots: ethnos - race, and people - a cultural group; and botanikos - the plant lore of a race or people, and a study of that lore.. Find out a lot more about economic botany here:.. What is Economic Botany?.. A BASIC KNOWLEDGE OF BOTANY.. Can help us to understand organic gardening and how plants function.. Botany is a branch of biology that deals with plant life.. Botany is the science of plants - the collecting plants for the study of plant life.. Botany is the biology of a plant or plant group.. THE PLANT KINGDOM PLANTAE.. is one of the five kingdoms.. that are used to classify all living things.. THE MOST BASIC DIVISION.. is between vascular and non-vascular plants:.. NON-VASCULAR:.. the more primitive plants such as mosses.. lack conductive tissue for circulation of water and nutrients.. These reproduce by roots, shoots or spores.. VASCULAR:.. plants include both flowering and non-flowering plants.. the vast majority reproducing by seeds.. VASCULAR PLANTS THAT BEAR SEED.. are divided into two groups:.. GYMNOSPERM.. (produce naked seeds that are only partially.. enclosed by tissues conifers being the largest family).. ANGIOSPERM.. (produce a covered seed in an ovary.. a protected chamber that forms part of the fruit).. FLOWERING PLANTS.. are divided into two  ...   for many seasons.. PERENNIALS.. HERBACEOUS:.. soft stemmed perennials that die.. back to the ground in winter and grow again in the spring.. WOODY:.. trees and shrubs perennials that lose their foliage, but.. retain their stems and grow foliage again in the spring.. PLANTS HAVE TWO.. two types of root systems:.. TAPROOT:.. one main root going deep into the ground.. FIBEROUS:.. these have a complex root system.. spreading from the base of the plant.. PLANT LEAVES.. have two functions:.. PHOTOSYNTHESIS:.. a chemical reaction to produce sugar in the form of glucose from carbon dioxide (C02) and water (H20).. Glucose allows for the production of cellulose, and starch (a later supply of energy that is stored in the plant s cells).. The first leaves gather energy from sunlight, which is necessary for Photosynthesis.. TRANSPIRATION:.. a process that carries minerals to leaves where oxygen and water vapor escape through the stomata.. "Every individual alive today, the highest as well as the lowest, is derived in an unbroken line from the first and lowest forms.. August Frederick Leopold Weismann.. TED.. - Technology, Entertainment, Design - an annual conference bringing together the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives - watch the best talks and performances.. Watch Michael Pollan's - The omnivore's next dilemma.. Organic Resources and Supplies.. Dave's Garden: Guides and Information.. Planet Natural.. Peaceful Valley Farm Supply.. Fertile Garden.. Harmony Farm Supply.. Extremely Green Gardening Company..

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  • Title: Avant-Gardening: Creative Organic Gardening - Gardening Workshops"
    Descriptive info: WORKSHOPS.. Our San Juan Island WA Workshop Schedule 2014 will be posted in February.. All workshops are $20.. 00 per person.. Please register in advance.. A garden is more than just a means of providing food, it is a model of what is possible in a community.. Everyone could have a GreenzBox garden and grow healthy, nutritious organic food - thereby promoting a more sustainable way of living, encouraging a local economy via a farmers market creating an arena to discuss gardening experiences, sell their extra produce, and share the bounty.. "We can learn to imitate nature by creating a natural eco-system, symbiotic relationships that are productive, non-polluting, and beneficial to the whole environment, and thereby sustain all living things within the system.. SUSTAINABLE ORGANIC GARDENING/GREENZBOX.. 9:30 - 2:00 - Bring lunch, hats, gloves, and drinks.. Not scheculed yet..  ...   a Deer Proof Garden.. *Simple, Easy to Build, Inexpensive.. *How, and Why, it Works.. *UV Protection and Water Conservation.. *No Weeds, No Pests, No Critters.. *Tender Lettuces and Salad Greens.. *Soil Improvement, How to Plant a GreenzBox.. *Promoting a Gardening Community.. "LANDSCAPING WITH ROCK AND CEMENT".. "How to build a Rock Wall".. 9:30 - 2:30 - Bring lunch, hats, gloves, and drinks.. *Tools, Materials, and Techniques.. *Pools, Ponds, and Water Gardens.. *Rock Walls, Steps,and Easy Paths.. *Designs.. *Mixing Cement.. *Hands-on Rockwall Building.. "HOW TO BUILD A STRAWBALE WALL".. "Building Strawbale Walls".. *Tools, materials, and techniques.. *Walls, Foundations, and Designs.. *Hands-on Strawbale Wall Building.. *Setting Bales, Fastening Wire and lath.. *Cement and Stucco.. Labyrinth Workshop.. "CREATING YOUR OWN LABYRINTH".. *Introductions.. *History, Myths, Folklore.. *Rituals, Meanings, Meditations.. *Ancient and Modern Designs.. *lunch.. *Labryinth Walk and Guided Meditation.. *Reflective Journaling.. Workshop Photos..

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  • Title: Avant-Gardening: Creative Organic Gardening - How to make organic compost for your garden
    Descriptive info: COMPOSTING AND MULCHING FOR SUSTAINABLE ORGANIC SOIL.. All fertile areas of this planet have at least once.. passed through the bodies of earthworms.. Charles Darwin.. SUSTAINABLE SOIL.. building for organic gardening begins after the initial soil testing and the addition of fertilizers and conditioners.. It is very important to maintain and improve the soil when trying to garden organically.. Sustaining the soil means that you have a means of replenishing the garden soil with what you have at hand compost, beneficial microbes, enzymes, and earthworms.. Ideally, once your organic garden is established it could be sustained with garden compost alone - by removing garden soil and layering it in your compost.. This method uses the microbes in your soil to inoculate your compost, which in turn will feed your soil.. COMPOSTING.. improves soil structure and moisture retention.. Billions of decaying organisms (25,000 bacteria placed end to end equal one inch) feed, grow, reproduce and die, recycling garden waste into an organic fertilizer and soil conditioner.. Composting is the ultimate recycling process improving soil structure, increasing the soil s ability to hold moisture, providing soil aeration, fertilization, and nitrogen storage.. It buffers pH, releases nutrients, and provides food for microbial life.. THE SECRET TO A SUCESSFUL GARDEN IS A THREE TO FOUR INCH LAYER OF MULCH.. When your compost is ready, sift it by using half-inch hardware cloth over a wheelbarrow.. Place a shovelful of compost on top and rub it through the wire.. This process removes the larger pieces, and anything that has not yet broken down.. Empty the wheelbarrow contents into a pile.. Take what is left on top of the wire and place it on the bottom of a new compost bin.. When your pile is sifted, mix it with composted manure.. If you have access to sheep manure, that is the best because it is a cold manure and does not need to be composted before you can use it on your garden.. If you have a shredder or can rent one for a day, buy some bales of alfalfa hay and shred together equal portions of hay, compost, and manure.. This fluffy mixture makes the best mulch for a garden.. Worms love it, the soil remains consistently moist, you have no weeds, and soil temperatures are cool so the roots can absorb the maximum amount of nutrients.. The worms will make fertilizer for you.. This process becomes sustainable over time.. Test your soil and add needed organic nutrients before you mulch.. A balanced soil is a healthy soil.. Healthy soil means healthy plants.. You only need to test your soil every few years once it is balanced.. Mulching will save you time, nutrients, water, and will continuously release nutrients into your soil as it breaks down over the growing season.. When you water the water will tend to flow into the rows where it is needed by running off the milch into the rows of plants.. You will conserve water because it won't evaporate in the hot sun.. We mulch in the spring and in the fall.. The fall mulch protects the soil over the winter months, and is turned into the soil in the spring.. Then another layer of mulch is added before planting the garden.. To plant seeds, just make a space in the milch for a row, and plant the seeds between the rows.. Throughout the summer add the plant thinnings to your compost pile.. When you harvest, add the outer leaves and roots to your compost pile.. BUILDING YOUR COMPOST PILE.. MAKE YOUR PILE.. about four feet in diameter, and four feet high, on a well-drained site.. A ring of hog wire with a ring of chicken wire on the outside of it works well - providing air circulation, keeping the pile contained, is easily taken apart for turning or sifting, and, it is economical and very easy to maintain.. We let our piles set for a year and then sift them in the spring when we are adding compost to our garden beds.. No Turning! If you want to turn your pile, let it set 3-4 months, remove the wire and set it up next to your pile.. Take the pile apart, mix it, and add it to the new pile, moistening it as you go.. You may do this as often as you like.. This will speed up your composting process.. FIRST LAYER.. on the bottom should be about three inches of roughage corn stalks, brush, or other materials to provide air circulation.. SECOND LAYER.. is two to four inches of dry vegetation carbon-rich "brown" materials, like fall leaves, straw, dead flowers shredded newspaper, shredded alfalfa hay or dry manure.. Water well.. THIRD LAYER.. should be two to four inches of green vegetation nitrogen-rich materials, like grass clippings, weeds, garden waste, vegetable peelings, tea leaves, coffee grounds, and crushed eggshells.. Kitchen waste may be added but never use meat scraps, diseased plants, dog or cat manure, or poisonous plants, plant-based kitchen waste.. Water until moistened.. (Too much water will compact your pile and reduce available oxygen.. ).. FOURTH LAYER.. is garden soil, two inches thick.. It is important to add garden soil because it contains a supply of microorganisms and nutrients, which will inoculate your compost pile.. As microorganisms grow, they collect essential nutrients containing antibiotics, vitamins, and catalytic enzymes in their body tissues and release them slowly as they die and decompose.. REPEAT LAYERS.. of dry vegetation, green vegetation, and garden soil moistening each layer until the pile is three or four feet high.. To insure enough green vegetation one can plant extra garden greens, or devote one of the garden beds to the growing of compost.. Good composting greens are broccoli, cauliflower, kale, comfrey (grow it in an isolated spot, and do not disturb the roots, because it can be invasive), peas, beans, and all  ...   foot or so.. Keep feeding the worms in the breeding area by adding greens and shredded alfalfa hay to the top of the pile every few weeks.. Be sure to add four or five inches of shredded alfalfa hay for winter protection, and keep the pile moistened, but not wet.. BELOW THE GROUND BIN:.. Dig a 2x8 foot trench two or three feet deep into the ground below frost level.. Place a six-inch layer of peat moss and shredded newspaper or cardboard on the bottom, and water until evenly moistened, but not soggy wet.. FILL THE BIN.. ¾ full with a mixture of 2/3 corrugated cardboard and 1/3 sphagnum peat moss, shredded newspaper, shredded leaves, or shredded alfalfa hay, add a little crumbled aged or composted manure, and a cup or so of fine sand mixed with equal parts of wood ashes, and ground limestone.. Mix well, moisten, and add two to three inches of a mix of finely chopped vegetal kitchen wastes, garden waste, and aged manure to one end of the pit.. ADD ONE POUND.. of red compost worms, which can be ordered through the mail.. (When your worms first arrive they may be dehydrated, you can feed them a light dusting of corn meal before you cover them.. LOOSELY COVER.. worms/waste with a 2-inch layer with shredded alfalfa hay.. Water and feed two or three times a week adding vegetable waste under the alfalfa layer to keep the process going.. Each time you feed your worms place the waste mix next to the previous feeding area, working your way toward the opposite end of the pit.. When you get to the end of the pit, feed back towards the beginning.. As you continue these layers and reach the top, leave a four-inch space between the cover and the mixture for ventilation.. COVER THE TOP.. of the pit with a sheet of plywood to keep out the elements and critters, and weight down with rocks.. IN A FEW MONTHS.. and under the alfalfa layer you will have worm castings, which can be transferred to your garden beds.. To harvest your worm castings wait until the worms are being fed are at one end of the pit.. You can remove the castings from the opposite end of the pit.. Replace the castings with the mix of 2/3 corrugated cardboard and 1/3 sphagnum peat moss, shredded newspaper, shredded leaves, a little crumbled aged or composted manure, and a cup or so of fine sand mixed with equal parts of wood ashes, and ground limestone.. Cover with the 2-inch layer of damp shredded newspaper or cardboard mixed with straw.. INDOOR WORM BINS.. COMPOST CAN BE MADE INDOORS.. by using wood, metal or plastic bins with lids.. Special worm composting bins may be ordered through the mail, or you can easily make your own.. Special worms are used in Vermicomposting: Eisenia foetida or Lumbricus rubellas, which can be ordered from worm farms, or some nurseries.. Start with about a pound or worms, around 1000.. They can multiply quickly, and the surplus can just be added to your summer garden, or given to friends.. BUILD OR BUY A BOX:..   FOR TWO PEOPLE,.. a box 2 x 2 x 8 deep, or so, wood, metal, or plastic, will suffice.. For a larger family, make it 2 x 3 x 1 deep.. There should be some small ¼ holes in the bottom for drainage, and the box should be set on a tray with 1 spacers between the tray and the box, for aeration and drainage.. LINE THE BOTTOM.. with shredded 1-inch strips of newspaper, inch wide strips of cardboard boxes, and peat moss.. A mix of 2/3 corrugated cardboard and 1/3 sphagnum peat moss, or newspaper, is a good bedding mixture.. You can also add shredded leaves and a little aged or composted manure, and a cup or so of fine sand, ashes, and limestone.. Moisten the bedding, mix it well, and add the worms.. Let it set for a few days before kitchen waste is added.. Your worms will happily feed and make castings.. ADD KITCHEN WASTE.. every day or so, by burying it a few inches or so in the bedding mix in one end of the box.. Kitchen waste can include: vegetable and fruit scraps, coffee grounds and the filters, tea bags, without the tags, any vegetable matter, bread scraps, dried and crushed eggshells, and small amounts of finely chopped meat scraps, garlic and onion.. of the compost bedding with a layer of damp newspapers, and a loosely fitting lid with holes for air.. Every time you add waste, work your way to the other end of the box, so you will have about 8 or 9 different adding areas.. When you get to the end of the box, start over at the other end.. Worms will eat the bedding along with the scraps, and you may need to add more.. Keep the bedding mix/scraps moistened, but not soggy wet.. In a few months you will be ready to harvest your compost.. TO HARVEST COMPOST.. castings, follow the same procedures for gathering outdoor castings.. Only add the castings to your garden beds, these special worms live indoors only.. Setting Up a Worm Composting Bin.. Worm Casting Harvesting With Sustainable Dave.. Worms seem to be the great promoters of vegetation, which would proceed but lamely without them, by boring, perforating, and loosening the soil, and rendering it pervious to rains and the fibers of plants, by drawing straws and stalks of leaves and twigs into it, and, most of all, by throwing up such infinite numbers of lumps of earth called worm-casts, which, being their excrement, is a fine manure for grain or grass.. The Rev.. Gilbert White of Selborne, 1777.. Garden Sheds.. Red Worms for Sale.. Buy a Worm Farm.. Home of the Organic Gardener.. All Natures Safeway..

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  • Title: Avant-Gardening: Creative Organic Gardening - Building Sustainable Organic Garden Soil
    Descriptive info: "WHAT IS SUSTAINABLE ORGANIC GARDENING?".. THE IMPORTANCE OF ORGANIC/HEIRLOOM SEED; HOW TO BUILD A SUSTAINABLE SOIL; FROST, WIND, UV, AND INSECT PROTECTION.. "When we heal the earth, we heal ourselves.. David Orr.. WHY GROW A SUSTAINABLE ORGANIC GARDENING?.. Sustainable organic gardening starts with a method for building sustainable soil.. Sustainable soil is a renewable soil.. When you renew your soil with your own compost and plant at least some of your crops with your own organic seed, you will have created a sustainable method for growing your own food.. First, test your soil and then add ammendments to balance the NPH.. Add trace elements as needed.. 90% of your gardens success is in the health of the soil.. When crops are deprived of basic nutrients in an unbalanced soil, they languish.. When your soil is balanced and healthy, plants thrive and are resistent to diseases and insect damage.. With a balanced garden soil, microbes and beneficial soil organisms will thrive and you can start adding your garden soil as a layer in your compost, sort of like a sourdough "starter".. See:.. how to make compost.. "New research conducted by the US Department of Energy (USDE) provides even more proof that synthetic pesticides and herbicides are completely unnecessary when the right balance of natural microbes are present and flourishing in soil.. Soil microbes are the immune system that protects plants, crops from disease.. When your innculated compost is put back into your garden, you will be innoculating your soil with these microbes which will help to grow strong plants.. Healthy plants grow more vigorously, taste better, store longer, and better resist insect attacks, and have greater resistance to cold, heat, drought, and disease.. Chemical fertilizers destroy your soils ability to grow food, kill all the soil microbes, and add unwanted nitrates or salts to the soil.. There will be chemical residues to the food you eat.. Organic gardening is growing without chemical fertilizers, naturally building the soil to support healthy plant life.. Chemical fertilizers and additives will, over time, damage the soil's ability to provide what plants need to resist disease, insect attacks, and stress.. Soil depletion of organic nutrients and soil microbes are the main causes of unhealthy plants and plant diseases.. RECIPE FOR SOIL DEPLETION:.. Pesticides + chemical fertilizers = Infertile soil, stressed plants, and insect attacks.. RECIPE FOR SOIL BUILDING:.. Organic fertilizers + microbial activity = Soil fertility, healthy plants, and resistance to insect attacks.. A healthy, organic garden produces strong plants that are able to withstand adverse conditions.. The consistent traits and habits needed to make good soil can also help build fertility in our lives.. Success in the garden proves the efficacy of these tools, and as we use them to expand our gardens - the garden of our yard, and the garden of our soul - we expand all the aspects of our lives.. Those things we do to create a healthy garden can become the tools needed to explore, change, and enhance our daily lives through:.. Assessment.. - the plan of action.. Decision.. the choice to act.. Implementation.. the act itself, the doing.. HOW TO GROW A SUSTAINABLE ORGANIC GARDENING.. Soil can either be acidic or alkaline, or neutral the soil s pH.. NUTRIENTS NEEDED FOR HEALTHY SOIL INCLUDE:.. HUMUS.. - organic matter in various stages of decay, such as oak leaf mold, peat moss, and rotted sawdust.. Humus increases water-holding capacity, modifies soil structure, stimulates plant growth, permits root penetration, and helps to correct soil imbalances.. Some forms of humus are found in compost and animal manures.. NITROGEN.. - contains proteins and is a food source for compost piles (grass clippings, green vegetable matter), and it stimulates green growth in plants.. Sources are blood meal, cottonseed meal, alfalfa meal, fishmeal, and fish emulsion.. PHOSPHORUS.. - stimulates root growth and promotes fruit and seed maturation.. Good sources are soft rock phosphate or bone meal.. Deficiencies are indicated by purple leaves, brittle roots, skinny stems and late fruit set and maturity.. POTASSIUM.. - promotes plant vitality and disease resistance.. Sources are Greensand, also known as Glauconite, sulfate of potash, wood ashes, or Sul Po Mag.. Deficiencies are indicated by an irregular yellowing of lower leaves, and poor root growth.. CALCIUM.. - important for plant cell wall integrity, root development and leaf growth.. Low levels show up as deformed new leaves and branches, weak stems and roots.. A good source for calcium is gypsum, which can also lower the alkalinity of the soil..  ...   inches across by one foot deep.. Fill with water and let drain.. As soon as the water has drained, fill it again.. Time how long it takes for the water to drain.. If it takes more than 8 hours, you have a drainage problem.. Add sand, gypsum, chopped straw, or perlite to increase the drainage.. Too much drainage can be determined by a water test.. This will tell you if you soil drains too quickly, leaching nutrients and causing plants to be watered more frequently.. Water well a small portion of your garden.. Two days later, dig a hole 6 inches deep.. If the soil is dry to the bottom of the hole, your soil drains too quickly to promote good plant growth.. Add peat moss, vermiculite, perlite, composted manure and mulch well to prevent evaporation.. THE IMPORTANCE OF ORGANIC and HEIRLOOM SEED.. Members of the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Alliance (OSGATA) have signed onto a code of ethics and are engaged in preserving the integrity of seed above and beyond profit-market interest.. OSGATA develops, protects and promotes the organic seed trade and its growers, and assures that the organic community has access to certified organic seed, free of contaminants and GMO'S.. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are the result of laboratory processes which artificially insert foreign genes into the DNA of food crops or animals.. Those genes may come from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or even humans.. GMOs are not safe, but have been in the food supply since 1996.. Most Americans say they would not eat GMOs if labeled, but the U.. S.. does not require labeling.. Read about why you should avoid Genetically modified food.. and.. SHOPPING GUIDE: How to avoid buying foods made with genetically modified organisms (GMOs).. Not only is it important to grow in organic soil, but also to plant organic seed.. Certified organic growers are not allowed to have GMO s in their seeds.. Read about why you should only buy organic seeds for your garden.. A plant is considered to be an heirloom (not a hybrid nor modified with GMO's) if it is an open-pollinated (able to reproduce true to variety under natural conditions) plant that with its original genetic material and unique reproductive and immune information intact.. A hybridized plant is the result of a cross between 2 varieties of a plant, and when seeds are taken from a cross-pollinated plant, these seeds can not reproduce the parent plant and will revert back to one of the parents genetics.. If we keep using commercial genetically modified hybridized seeds and lose the geneitcs of the originals, one day we may be faced with seeds that will not be able to reproduce a healthy plant.. This is happening now with GMO seeds.. We are losing our heritage seeds and they are becoming extinct.. We are seeing a worldwide disappearance of traditional plant varieties.. If we cannot plant a seed and a healthy plant, we will not survive.. Common food plants available today represent only 3% of those that were available in 1900.. 75% of native crop varieties in the Western Hemisphere have disappeared because modern agribusiness hybridizes seed for commercial advantage without consideration of the value of heritage seed.. Organic heritage seed is the only seed that will promote a sustainable food chain.. RESOURCES.. Organic Seeds.. Learn how healthy soil functions and what it requires.. Green Harvest (Australia) information, reference guide, organic pest control.. Save water when gardening using aflow meter.. Soil Analysis.. Minifarms.. "When the planes still swoop down and aerial spray a field in order to kill a predator insect with pesticides, we are in the Dark Ages of commerce.. Maybe one thousandth of this aerial insecticide actually prevents the infestation.. The balance goes to the leaves, into the soil, into the water, into all forms of wildlife, into our selves.. What is good for the balance sheet is wasteful of resources and harmful to life.. Paul Hawkin from The Ecology of Commerce.. - Technology, Entertainment, Design - an annual conference bringing together the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives - watch the best talks and performances, for free! Join TED - create a profile page, contact other members, comment on the individual talks, save items to your favorites, and more.. Watch How to Create Good Growing Soil.. Watch Common Mistakes When Gardening.. Watch How to Collect a Soil Sample for Analysis.. Website designed and maintained by Vicky Giannangelo..

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  • Title: Avant-Gardening: Creative Organic Gardening - USA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
    Descriptive info: USA Frost Zone Map.. Definitions of Frosts/Freezes.. United States Average Frost Dates.. United States Frost Zone Map.. When planning your garden you need to take planting zones and frost dates into consideration.. Use this planting zone map as a general reference when determining what garden and landscape plants will survive the climate in your area.. Plant Hardiness Zones divide the United States into 11 planting zones based on a 10 degree Fahrenheit difference in the average annual minimum temperatures.. For example, the average annual minimum temperature in Zone 2 is -50 to -40 degrees Fahrenheit, and the average annual minimum lowest temperature in zone 10 is +30 to +40 degrees Fahrenheit.. There are also different climates and frost dates within planting zones in a region due to the topography, lakes and rivers, canyons or mountains.. These can cause altered airflows which can raise or lower the temperature, changing the zone in your area.. The chemical balance and texture of the soil, exposure, altitude, rainfall, humidity, sun light levels, and wind, and wind chill factors can also alter the effects of plant hardiness zones.. You should also consider the hardiness rating of the plants you would like to grow.. Some plants will not live through severe winters; others will wither in  ...   heavy damage to all but the hardiest of plants.. United States Average Zone Frost Dates.. Zone 1.. Average dates the last frost - 1 Jun / 30 Jun.. Average date of the first frost - 1 Jul to 31 Jul.. vulnerable to frost 365 days per year.. Zone 2.. Average dates the last frost - 1 May to 31 May.. Average dates first frost - 1 August to 31 August.. Zone 3.. Average dates first frost - 1 September to 30 September.. Zone 4 - our zone for Giannangelo Farms Southwest at 7300'.. Average dates the last frost - 1 May to 30 May.. Average dates the first frost - 1 September to 30 September.. Zone 5.. Average dates the last frost - 30 March to 30 April.. Average dates the first frost - 30 September to 30 October.. Zone 6.. Zone 7.. Zone 8.. Average dates the last frost - 28 February to 30 March.. Average dates the first frost - 30 October to 30 November.. Zone 9.. Average dates the last frost - 30 January to 28 February.. Average dates the first frost - 30 November to 30 December.. Zone 10.. Average dates the last frost - 30 January or before.. Zone 11.. Free of Frost throughout the year..

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  • Title: Avant-Gardening: Creative Organic Gardening - You Can Grow Gardening Webring
    Descriptive info: AVANT-GARDENING: CREATIVE ORGANIC GARDENING.. WELCOME! You Can Grow!.. "Confronted with the vision of a beautiful garden,.. we see something beautiful about ourselves.. ".. "If you have a website related to Gardening or Sustainable Organic Gardening, please click here and join our.. "Sustainble Organic Gardening" WebRing.. If you are not already a member of WebRing you will need to sign up and then you can join , or if you are already a member, sign in and then join our WebRing!.. Powered by.. WebRing.. ®.. This site is a member of WebRing.. To browse visit.. Here.. PROMOTING A GARDENING COMMUNITY.. A garden is more than just a means of providing food, it is a model of what is possible in your community and  ...   produced by less than 2% of the population, by using this organic bio-intensive mini-gardening method, everyone could be part of the solution.. We nurture ourselves as we nurture our gardens, renewing our connection with the earth and her beauty, thereby reducing stress on the world's finite resources, and strengthening our community as a whole in the process.. Without community we can be overwhelmed by forces that seem outside our control - we can pool our enthusiasm, our resources, our knowledge, and, together, we can grow.. We hope that you enjoy our organic gardening information website and our "how you can grow an organic garden" insights gleaned from years of experience, and we wish you many days of enjoyable, successful, and sustainable organic gardening!..

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  • Title: Avant-Gardening: Creative Organic Gardening - Organic Gardening CD
    Descriptive info: "Avant-Gardening is a creative process, a technique for growing.. personal creativity using plants as a medium to connect.. the garden outside to your inner-garden visions".. " You Can Grow ! ".. Learn How To Design and Grow Your Own Sustainable Organic Garden!.. by Frank and Vicky Giannangelo.. A four-section CD with extensive Sustainable Organic Gardening Information, Planting Techniques and Garden Design,.. Inspirational Sayings, Quotes, and Poems, Garden Photos, An Introduction to Avant-Gardening,.. " Seeds of Inspiration " - a compilation of Seasonal Essays, and more!.. All CD ROM'S include both PDF and Microsoft Word Formats.. You can Purchase a CD by sending a cashiers check or money order.. for $10, which includes shipping in the USA.. Please contact us for shipping charges outside of the USA.. Mail checks to:.. Vicky Giannangelo.. 2260 Bailer Hill Road, Friday Harbor, WA 98250.. Orders will ship ASAP via the postal service.. CONTENTS.. Section one: " Basic Organic Soil Building Techniques ".. As we learn to sustain and maintain our soil with resource conserving techniques we learn to sustain ourselves.. Organic soil building, the importance of microbial activity, sustainable gardening, water conservation, mulching, and easy composting.. 1.. Introduction to Soil/Soul Building.. 2.. The Only Difference Between the Soul and Soil is "U and I".. 3.. Organic Soil Building Techniques.. 4.. Types of Soil.. 5.. Soil Needs.. 6.. Long Term Soil Requirements and Needs.. 7.. Composting for Sustainable Gardening.. 8.. The Clarifier*.. a gardeners relationship with the soil can be  ...   optimism, and spiritual growth.. Celebrating life with garden photos, words of wisdom, poems, and quotes - a light along the way , sowing of those little seeds of inspiration, through which we might be able to find, and trust, a process of discovering our own creativity by connecting with those forces that allow us to express ourselves in our own unique way.. Introduction   11.. Happy New Year.. Layering Layers   12.. Garden Visions.. A Garden of Memory   13.. Progress and Creative Pleasure.. Gardening Ourselves   14.. Avant-Gardening.. The Dancing Hatch   15.. Alchemy.. Fluxion to Grade   16.. The Only Difference.. Precious Harvest   17.. Balance.. Partial Perspectives   18.. Shifting Creativity.. Baby Steps   19.. Universal Patterns.. Stick to the Trail  .. 11.. Section four: " Introduction to Avant-Gardening ".. Developing your connections to potential, understanding your personal creativity,.. and how to recognize the moments of creative opportunity.. An Introduction to the Clarifier*.. Avant-Gardening/Growing Creativity.. Creating Connections with Potential.. Replication.. Steps in Creativity.. Botany Basics.. Plants and Their Meanings.. Fruits of the Avant-Garden.. The History of Giannangelo Farms Southwest.. *The Clarifier is meant to be both an educational tool and a verbal compass.. The media tells us what words mean in the present, and so it becomes necessary.. to look to the past to re-connect with that lifeline of work/knowledge/meanings.. that are found in our Latin word roots.. Top Garden Sites.. Changing LINKS.. All Links Directory.. Search Engine Optimization and Free Submission..

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  • Title: Avant-Gardening: Creative Organic Gardening - Book: "Growing with the Seasons" by Frank and Vicky Giannangelo
    Descriptive info: Welcome ! " You Can Grow! ".. "GROWING WITH THE SEASONS".. - a selection of organic gardening related essays by Frank and Vicky Giannangelo.. Published by Sunstone Press in Santa Fe, New Mexico,.. Under the book title.. Available from.. in Santa Fe, NM (505) 988-4418,.. Or from.. , or it can be ordered from a bookstore near you!.. This is a book with photos and essays about our.. adventures in organic gardening, personal growth, community, and sustainability.. "Avant-Gardening Tid-Bytes".. "Little seeds of inspiration, once sown, are sure to sprout.. "Avant-Gardening Tid-Bytes" - a collection of newsletter essays about our adventures in organic gardening, personal growth, community, and sustainability.. Copyright (c) 2013 by Frank and Vicky Giannangelo.. Back Issues.. 2007.. 2006.. 2005.. 2004.. 2003.. 2002.. 2001.. September 2008 (Our Last Issue).. Re-appearance.. There is always a mystery in the annual mass re-emergence of local flora in the desert southwest.. It occurs after the seasonal monsoons arrive, suddenly drenching the ground with heavy afternoon rains that shock the ground that had been dry and compacted.. Much of the initial showers collect and run off into small rivulets which gather into larger cuts in the earth eventually mingling in gullies that race downhill to the low flatlands below.. Each year spring winds bury deeper those seeds shaken from the last season s plants.. It is only when, well into the monsoon season, that moisture is absorbed, sinks down into the ground and enlivens the seeds deposited from years past.. Each year, after the rains arrive, one or more varieties of indigenous plants appear in masse, showing themselves as the predominant species for that season.. Some years bring about a mixed field of sunflowers, Fleabane Daisies, Desert Globemallow, Indian and Desert Paintbrush, and in the fall Purple asters, covering the landscape with yellow, red, and soft lavender hues in the early morning and late evening sunlight.. Other years have been dominated by a purple array arising from the Rocky Mountain beeplant, taller and sharper in color.. This year Common and Nuttall sunflowers are carpeting the area and are taller than we have seen them in the past.. We have begun to harvest our hot peppers.. The other night we ate the last of our frozen Poblanos.. They were not too hot for those dining with us, since most people in this area like hot chiles.. The jalapenos we are bringing in are the largest we have grown.. We attribute the extra growth to the plants having been the right size at the right time to take advantage of the sudden monsoon rains.. When put in a garden, the plants have an intentional growing life not dependent on anything other than the time or place in which we put them.. They are subject to our whims: when they are put into the soil, what fertilizer they receive, when they are watered, and how much sun or shade they will get during the day.. This lulls us into a dichotomy of thinking, one that assumes we are in control of plants and that they have no say in their lives.. The Rosetta Stone, discovered in 1799, was carved in Greek, Egyptian hieroglyphic, and Demotic.. Because of the trichodic nature of the information, Egyptian hieroglyphics were finally deciphered, opening up a new view of ancient Egypt.. In reality, we function in a trichotomy.. We at times forget, believing ourselves somehow so separated from plants by our intelligence, that they too have an intelligence, which if so deciphered would expand our views.. As the re-emergence of wildflower species show, they hardly need our help to sprout, grow, and reproduce.. Over the years, this intelligence has been attributed to devas and spirits, much in the Findhorn tradition, or in animistic philosophies.. All of which appear to exist just outside our access.. Richard Firm at the Department of Biology at the University of York in the United Kingdom believes that plants have a clear goal, that of germination, survival, and dispersal of their progeny.. Each plant, after germination, grows according to its parts, be they leaf, flower, or root.. Each part functions in its individual capacity, yet all doing so in a programmed response to what is needed for the fitness of the whole, as a union.. The clarion call of spring has once more been answered inside and outside the garden.. It is a shared response.. It is a call from outside, yet held within each.. Once we expand our recognition of this binding force, as a union we will grow.. August 2008.. Pendulistic Progress.. Oh, grow up.. When we overheard this, even though we knew it was about asking someone to become mature, the term seemed broader in its meaning implications.. Of course at the beginning of the growing season one always wants the seeds and transplants to grow up, become mature so that they can be used and useful as was the plan when they were planted.. We have watched our local Farmer s market grow up from its initial small beginning to the well organized, well supported, and continuing to grow marketplace of fresh produce that it is today.. We have seen our community grow up and become an area of creativity and a joint expression of those who have been here a long time and those who are newly arrived.. We have aided, in our own small way, to New Mexico becoming a state with many small farms and gardens, which have been the impetus for the state to grow up as a forerunner of what, can be seen as, a possible model of local food production.. Grow up becomes an exhortation of a literal nature from Dr.. Dickson Despommier, Professor of Public Health at Columbia University.. In 1999, he began creating living towers, structures in urban areas which could feed 50,000 people organically and without transportation costs.. This same concept won the Green Building Contest in 2007 for downtown Seattle.. Grow up to the National Wildlife Federation means go grow a portion of your land back to where it was before lawns turned suburban development into a monoculture.. The Backyard Wildlife Habitat program certifies homeowners who provide friendly environments for small mammals, birds, butterflies, and reptiles.. One of the main requests of the program is to raise native plants and trees that will eventually grow to provide a natural food and shelter for indigenous species.. There is a trend in urban areas for residents to want to grow up and be more self-reliant.. National magazines of late have carried stories about those who have converted their front yards into vegetable gardens, retaining the backyard the traditional garden space for family personal use.. The good thing about front yard gardening is that it is seen by more people, embedding the idea as they drive or walk by.. The community garden concept has been around for some time, yet has never been able to grow up to its full potential.. Although we are wary of the overuse of the term green, it is encouraging that there is now a channel on television called Green that covers building green and other areas of green concern.. Maybe our communications system will finally grow up and provide the masses with the vital information needed to grow up a culture concerned with something more than consumerism.. The meniscus inscribed by the swing of a pendulum has an infinite number of points between the apexes.. Once awakening upon one of these points, we can place our progress as on the beginning down swing, somewhere on the bottom, awaiting to rise to the next level, or at that apex of change in which we recognize the movement and the opportunities growing in that trend.. It is not hard to get caught up in the dark reports we are given each day through the media, but in truth, it is a small black patch on a great white canvas, that is waiting for us to enhance with color and life.. There is not one brush wielded by society - each individual has his own brush with which he can give old facts a new look.. All we need to do is grow up.. July 2008.. An End of a Beginning.. Having watched a weather report that assured warm, sunny weather for the whole week and into the weekend, we made the decision to set out into the ground all the precious plants we had been taking in and out of the house as the whims of weather dictated, not wanting to chance an early freeze on what would be our garden for the year.. One morning, two days after planting them outside, we awoke to see what we had heard as a gentle rain in the night had turned into snow and covered everything.. We went outside and sprayed them with water, which dissipated the thick-flaked wet snow.. There was some drooping here and there, but we did not know for sure if there was any damage to the squash, peppers and tomatoes, which were the most vulnerable.. By afternoon, we could tell that nothing had been harmed.. The sudden change in the weather prompted us to get our number ten cans out of storage and set them over each plant at night.. Finally, the temperatures rose and we were able to take the cans away, but friends down the road were still having freezing nights and had to cover all their plants each night with gunnysacks.. Our new gardens are about ten degrees warmer than our old gardens, which were at the lowest point at the bottom of the hill where katabolic winds brought in and deposited cold air.. It always seems sudden, abrupt in a way, when plants show themselves maturing, beginning the middle of their lives, firmly rooted and racing towards fruition.. We discovered this one day while watering, leaving us wondering, When did that happen?.. That thought became a garden lustration that led to the next phase, the watch it mature stage.. June also brought two workshops: Basic Rockwork and Strawbale Wall Construction.. Each was rewarding and fun.. There is something unique that occurs when ten people come together to learn something, it leads to a jovial camaraderie.. And, especially after lunch, with on-the-porch-chatter, everyone gets to know the other a bit better.. The hands-on work on someone else s project as a first experience is comforting and encouraging.. Being able to do something with unfamiliar elements like rock, cement, wire, and stucco, gives one a feeling of competence by creatively using materials unfamiliar in every day usage.. Suddenly one has acquired a skill.. It is also a good opportunity for self-assessment.. Reading a book about how to build a strawbale or rock wall is not the same as putting one s hands to the wall.. Hands-on also allows a personal assessment as to whether or not one will want to do this again or if one enjoys it.. It is the unknown, the untried, which often halts the ever-seeking inner creativity from avenues of pursuit.. John Brockman recently said, You are not creating the world, you are inventing it.. The gardener understands that fiat grows no food.. It is through invention, the recombination of what is available to us, that we bring into existence the garden world.. We are alluvial alchemists, producing an elixir of life, which is needed and benefits all.. Spring entices us to reinvention, a new beginning of more of this and less of that, new ideas created from past experiences.. We look forward to a final stage, knowing that the end only marks the beginning of the next season s growing journey.. For those of us fortunate enough to have hand in soil, there is no need to wait for an end result to know that we can grow.. June 2008.. A Sustaining Stance.. Our view of the finite in modern times fluctuates with the current assessments and discoveries of the universe and our place in it.. In the earlier periods of human history, the earth and its resources appeared infinite; new lands to be discovered just over the next hill or the latest scientific findings giving an ever widening view of our world and our access to it.. This marching mindset of mankind was halted abruptly with the popularized photo showing the blue planet Earth hanging alone in the dark space of the present unknown.. It was a winnowing of the consciousness, blowing away the chaff of myth and speculation that had clouded and obscured the individual s view of the finite and infinity.. This mass realization of the finite stores of our earthship began the movement toward the concept of sustainability.. But acceptance of such ideas are slow to take hold, even when prime examples, such as the dust bowl years of the plains states, pointed to the need for soil conservation, a concept even today not fully realized.. Like many terms and words that pop into our media-broadening culture, sustainability is thrown into the mix of organic-conservation-green-global warming-hybrid vehicle hype.. For the vast majority of those who hear these words, they remain just that, words and concepts hastily agreed to as necessary but, don t bother me with it now.. It is hard to imagine famine with a full larder.. Our dictionary shows ten ways the word sustain can be used.. The three held most in common are: to keep an action or process going; to supply with food or other necessities of life; and to keep the spirit or mind from giving way.. In all species from bacteria up,  ...   concerns about chemicals and the food we eat, natural became a catchword of direction, an idea in general more than a specific eating plan or directive.. Once natural caught on, the more specific term organic , with all its legal and social needs being met, has become closely identified with one market, food.. From this now well established base of dietary recognition springs a new word invoking old meanings.. Suddenly everything seeks to be green.. As with the first popular usage of natural, green in its early use was by those interested or concerned with the environment.. Lately Madison Avenue has unceremoniously snatched the word to attract those who wish to see a more natural-world-association in their lives.. Now we have green clothing, green buildings, and green cars, its association now put on anything one wants to sell.. The word stands in danger, if not having already happened, of becoming so abstracted that it stands for nothing and yet covers everything.. Most are lulled toward a good feeling intimated by the word never delving deeper into what is actually being presented.. There is a jeopardy in never having put one s hand to seed and soil.. The ease of access to our food supply makes us forget the time lag involved in going from seed to harvest.. This is apparently the case of those so willing to promote ethanol as the biofuel green savior of the world s fuel needs.. The solution appears attractive to mega farms, who receive a portion of the 17 billion dollars of subsidies given out by the government for corn-ethanol production.. It would seem most legislators see growing corn as simple as pumping oil or gas from the ground, not realizing the amount of energy and chemicals needed for its growing.. Recent expert opinions claim a 1-to1 ratio, achieving no positive energy outcome from the input.. While ethanol may be kinder on the environment than petroleum, its production is not so, with the nitrogen needs being most problematic.. Those high nitrogen fertilizers and pesticides used in fields are never completely absorbed by the plants and the rest goes into our underground water supply.. The runoff eventually accumulates in rivers, like the Mississippi, which empties this leftover nitrogen soup into the gulf of Mexico, enlarging the already New Jersey State sized dead zone where aquatic life no longer exists.. The U.. goal for biofuel by 2017 is 35 billion gallons, and yet if achieved would only displace 3.. 5 percent of gasoline use.. To meet this goal, the entire U.. corn crop would need to be used, taking away from the world s poor a food source that will triple in need by 2050.. While being applauded as a green solution, its promotion as an answer to our energy needs only brings about greater destruction of land cleared of carbon absorbing trees, the destruction of animal habitats, and ignoring the water intensive needs for growing on the scale proposed.. The idea that biofuel can be an overall solution is masked and made palatable by its green nature and promotion as a green answer for use in our green cars and in our green homes, when in fact it is a concept that will only become more unwieldy and detrimental in the future.. This grasping at straws approach will only eventuate in the straw that will break the proverbial camel s back.. Morris Berman notes that, An idea is something you have; an ideology is something that has you.. At this time, it would seem biofuel ideology has a hold on farmers, consumers, and politicians, all acquiescing with a green fervor.. Lack of practical experience can often make an idea seem simple to achieve - just grow our fuel sounds good! Even now, we try to find ways to increase production with genetically modified seed, using more land, more chemicals, more pesticides, with larger multi-million dollar refineries, and more equipment.. The energy used to light our goldfish pond at night, and the lights along the winding path going to our carport from our house, work for us dependably each day, freely given each day by a new crop of energy from the sun.. When our agricultural and technological resources are used to feed the peoples of the world first and our machines second, then we will grow.. February 2008.. Cutting with Occam s Razor.. With sub-zero weather at night, and snow covering the ground, we initiated the analage from which this year s garden will grow.. A garden is not an amoeba-like entity consisting of only one cell.. Each year the garden is conceived, grows, and dies, silently awaiting its resurrection when minds and hands are told to act.. The garden is not a place, a plot immoveable; it often travels the early season in and out of greenhouses, cold frames and other areas of protection as the gardener scrambles for an edge against the weather.. The garden is not solely a local entity; additives such as Glauconite, also known as greensand, mix with the native soil, blending ancient sea creatures with the more recent topsoil.. Each year, the new garden s plants are not unconnected with past gardens.. Seeds may have come from great distances or they may have been harvested from plants located in the same area from fruits which date back extensively, known as heritage seed.. Or, like relatives who visit each year, we can clone plants that provide traits we know, assured they would give us the characteristics that we want.. Our rosemary plant has been with us for about 15 years, and continues to thrive in its large, green pot sitting in a sunny spot in our living room.. There are four main stems, each thicker than a forefinger, covered with scales that look like brown peeling paint.. The stems divide and divide again and again until at the top of the plant, over one hundred thin tips are reaching upward.. It was easy to get almost fifty clones this year.. We got out the heat mat, filled the seedling pots with a growing medium we knew worked well for rooting, set them in the plastic trays and filled them with water.. The thermostat was set at 80 degrees.. The mat was warming not only the water in the trays but our cats who found the unused portion of the mat that was covered with a blanket to prevent heat loss, and stretched out in luxury.. Most of the cuttings ranged from two and one-half inches to four inches in height.. The bottoms of the stems were stripped of leaves, a diagonal cut was made on each stem (so it would not sit flat against the bottom of the pot and not be able to receive nutrients), and each was dipped into a rooting hormone (Rootone) and inserted into the soil.. Rosemary is a symbol of remembrance and friendship and has been used traditionally at weddings, sprigs often given to those in attendance, or inserted into the bride s bouquet.. It is often said that smell retrieves memories more readily than any of our other senses.. Its other uses range from herbal products for the body, to the wood being used to make lutes and other instruments.. Once rooted and transplanted into larger pots, our clones will be sold at the farmers market and given as houseplants and grown indoors, and set out in the summer.. New Mexico winters can fall to below zero during January and February, and rosemary is only viable above 20 degrees.. There is something comforting on many levels about cloning rosemary: since we are not growing a plant from seed, resources are conserved, and it is sustainable over time.. There is almost a familial feeling to each year as the clones are put out into the world, a continuation of the same strain that has been a faithful member of our family, sharing the years indoors in the winter and outdoors in the summer sun, setting on the south east side of our porch.. William F.. Occam (1285-1349), an English monk and philosopher wrote, It is vain to do with more what can be done with less.. Each clone becomes a symbol to others of what can be done to produce more with less.. Kobi Yomada advises that, We must not only educate the mind, but also the heart.. Through remembrance and friendship, we can teach the heart to give direction to the mind in finding ways that we can grow.. January 2008.. Learning from Necessity.. A few weeks ago, we began cutting a few of the standing dead trees on the hill behind our hogan for firewood, although we leave most of them for the birds and other wildlife.. There is snow on the ground and a trail became evident as we climbed up and carried wood down.. The wood is all pinon pine, dead from bark beetles that attack trees weakened by drought.. The bark is riddled with holes extending into the hard wood, making it easy to strip off the bark where felled.. We wondered if the junipers would take over now that they were not in competition for nutrients and water.. We knew they were symbiotic with the pinon, and then we wondered if there might not be fewer junipers!.. After the wood was cut, split, and stacked on the porch, we had time to look out across the valley as the sun s declining rays gave long shadows, vibrant green trees, and defined the sandstone variegation s vivid colors.. The day before was solstice, the turning point of the sun s declination.. As we looked to the east, we saw the rising full moon just over the horizon on same level as the setting sun, balancing our view of the heavens like weights on an east-west scale.. The view gave a comforting feel of cosmic harmony, a state of balance that we all seek in our day-to-day existence.. To bring into alignment all the elements we want included in our diets, three stages must be considered.. The first is exoteric.. Shoppers generally have no thoughts about food production when selecting produce in the supermarkets.. At this level, use of the product is the end goal.. Millennia of genetic selection gives way to the selection of more immediate needs, like the evening s dinner.. The second stage is mesoteric, narrowed from shoppers, to those who have a more direct knowledge and an actual physical association with the food, whether it be the farmer, a seed company employee, or a fertilizer salesman.. The physical act of growing food has many facets when going from seed to table.. The third stage is esoteric.. At this point, those on the periphery drop away, leaving the grower, who is involved in the whole process.. Our gardens place us into an even smaller group with a shared knowledge of seed and soil and how to incorporate them into intricate growing systems.. Having an esoteric understanding of what is going into our bodies gives a greater chance to balance our needs than an exoteric who grabs from the shelf because a product looks good.. When spring arrives, gardeners will begin to restore the balance in their gardens; pH levels will be checked, nutrient needs will be adjusted, and all the small additions or subtractions that the gardener feels are needed to provide a prolific equipoise will be carried out.. Recently, North Dakota State University asked us to write a review of a recently published book about small farms in New Mexico titled, Artisan Farming: Lessons, Lore, and Recipes.. One of the points made is, that New Mexico lacks two necessities that have prevented large-scale commercial farming: water and soil.. The lack of these does not mean there is no agriculture, but what it has spawned are many small growers, those who find out what they can grow, find a market, and supply it.. While the plains states with miles of wheat and cornfields fit into the exoteric level, New Mexico is at the esoteric level, abounding with small organic farms, sustainable gardens, and centuries old pueblos with those who understand the need for heritage seed that will produce true to each grower s special conditions.. These local varieties of seed are hoarded, treasured, used in ceremonies, and given as family legacies.. As is often the case, we learn more from necessity when we have less.. The proliferation of artisan growers, those skilled in bringing forth food from small fields are on the rise in New Mexico, pursuing recondite methods, some modern, some ancient, proving that even within difficult environments, we can grow.. Avant-Gardening is a creative process, a technique for growing personal creativity using plants as a medium to connect the garden outside to your inner-garden vision.. It is a method of combining art, which is abstract, with craft, when working with a physical medium.. It is a door, a path, a tool - allowing you to enhance your creative skills using plants.. It is learning how to establish a connection, joining inner visions, to physical and mental environments.. The core of creativity is alchemy - the root of creative thinking - the basis for Avant-Gardening.. ALCHEMY: from middle Latin: ALCHYMIA - transformation; to change in shape.. Personal creativity is a connection with the creative elements (air, water, soil) of the universe.. You will have many creative situations that will be an opportunity to shift a paradigm - to step beyond yourself and your "limitations".. You can grow!.. Watch "My Stroke of Insight (Jill Bolte Taylor) on TED Talks!..

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