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Tuesday, July 21, 2020

How does a home garden improve food security?


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This is a fantastic question, my answer is a hope that you dig in and start a garden. At the same time direct you towards the sustainable garden methods which make it worth your time? The direct answer is this, as people learn to grow their food for themselves using sustainable methods, they become less dependant on ‘big Ag’= Big Agriculture. That alone is a plus for the environment and for the individual’s peace of mind. As well as you know what, when, and your food comes from. You also are in control of how much and the quality of the food and are not limited or rationed as some foods and other items are right now during this pandemic. I have been growing a vegetable garden for nearly 35 or 40 years, each year is something to look forward to as I try new to me vegetables that are not available in the grocery stores. Then there is the learning of a new method to produce a better harvest and with higher quality. Growing your own food gives you directly say about will I use chemicals that harm not just the environment but the health of your body. Or will you use methods that produce high quality, healthy food and at the same time improve the environment? I highly recommend John Jeavon's methods and his book ’How to Grow more vegetables’, Be sure you get the ninth edition. Than you ever thought possible on less land with less water than you can imagine. Watch how to with these great Video Grow BioINTENSIVEve..

Saturday, July 11, 2020

How much Wheat do I need to grow for a year supply?


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How much wheat do I need to grow for a year supply? That depends on what you are going to make with it? But if you like bread use this method. I also recommend that you grow Enkorn wheat the original wheat that it none hybridnized and much nutrient for the buck. If you grow three garden beds 10 feet by 10 feet each, each one would be 100 square feet. For a total of 300 square feer. Each garden bed will produce enough wheat to make 17 loaves of bread or one loaf every week for 51 weeks. I learned this from Ecology Action: Home Grow Bio Intensive and I highly recommend learning this growing method. I currently grow what I term ECO garden method a step better than organic because I do not use ANY chemicals at all. I am converting more of my growing methods according to **GROW BIOINTENSIVE® Sustainable Mini-Farming. Best to your wheat-growing efforts. You are o your way to becoming a tried and true “breadwinner” at home!** This question was asked on Quora

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Recommended plants for garden balcony or allotment

Welcome to JimBo's 
Of all the plants in your garden, on your balcony, allotment, in your house or wherever your garden is, which would you most recommend to other people and why?

Without going into an in-depth list of plant names. Here is a basic answer useful for anyone would be this. Gardens and growing vegetables either in the ground, in pots and containers on balconies, or such all require labor and space as well as money. One should first determine the needs. For example is it for fun, food, health reasons, or to reduce food bill, or a hobby, etc.
Let’s take economics as an example. Here in Western North Carolina where I live, I can buy organic carrots for less than a dollar per pound. My gardening attempts with carrots have not produced enough on a regular base, nor are they as good as those from our local Whole Foods. I simply cannot grow them for the same price. So buying them is better.
Now, on the other hand, heirloom and organic tomatoes at Whole Foods [in Season] cost around $3.99 to $4.99 per pound. I say that the price is way too high. Why? Because I grow them cheaper and have a wide variety of tomatoes.
I also grow things that I like a lot and have great health benefits. Garlic, for example, we have not bought any from the store going on 5 years now. Here is my 2019 harvest. This supply will last up until my next harvest and it is the best garlic we have ever had.
Bottom line…grow what is the most expensive for you to purchase in the stores. This is one of the main reasons I grow food for us. Most folks try to grow a garden for the first time might not think of it as I mentioned. Grow what is easy like green beans that can grow in a container or pot on a trellis or in a garden setting. By the way, beans do not need full sun as many people will say. I have grown them in partial shade but with just a slightly lower harvest, yet same quality as full sun. The best tip is just to do it, reach down and get those beans planted. I say that you don’t need a “green thumb”, rather a brown thumb…one that has been out there digging in the soil and enjoying the hopes of a crop. Learn to grow with a garden and remember it is a growing season, you don’t throw it all in the ground on one weekend during early Spring and expect to harvest all Spring and Summer. No, you plant and harvest and plant and harvest right up through Fall and early Winter. God bless your garden and you.

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Tuesday, February 4, 2020

                     Composting made easy.
You do not need to dig a hole. In many years of gardening, all of my composting efforts have been the simplest and so far most productive with sheet composting.
When I cut the lawn simply rake clippings and layer them in the garden directly or compost area. Each layer is about 3 to 6 inches thick. This is alternating layers sandwiching each one as the sheet layer compost area is built up. The photo is that of my garden. To get the idea of how big and how deep this sheet compost bed is looking at the concrete block laying on the right half in the photo.
As you can see this is a raised bed and it is directly where the garden will grow. That way I do not need to move the compost into the garden since it is already in the garden. I have slopped land that is hard to cut. So it is allowed to grow very tall sometimes about 2 feet tall. This becomes my source of grass clippings.
Once all of the clippings are raked up I start building the sheet compost pile. When it is finished it goes all Fall and through Winter un-touched until the next Spring. When only a few areas of it might need to be turned over. For the most part, you plant directly without ever needing to turn the pile.
                                                            Building the compost pile
The sheet compost pile is like a big sandwich. You have bread on the top and bread on the bottom. What I used for “bread” is straw [not hey] while straw is not completely free of seeds it is more seed-free than hey. If you have rotted straw that is even better. Each layer alternates with different materials.
  • Straw
  • Green clippings
  • wood ashes
  • manure
  • soil
  • straw
If you have enough material make it a “double-decker” and build another sandwich right on top of the first one. That is basically a “double-decker” in the photo below.
Does this work? Yes, and it is easy because there is no need to turn it over. But you do need to let it sit unused for one to two seasons.
This is the same area where the sheet compost pile was two seasons afterward. 
These tomato plants never needed any additional fertilizers, I do not use it. The composting was all it needed. You do need to cover the soil around all of the vegetables that will be planted. This prevents soil runoff, it stops rain from splashing the soil back onto the plants and thereby reducing sick plants.
Here are potato growing

I hope that this helps with your composting.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Sloping Agricultural Land Technology

Here Garlic is planted and just to the right strawberries grow.
Sloping Agricultural Land Technology


My property is one big slope, yet I wanted to grow vegetables. I started by making steps and large steps at that. The steps are anywhere from 20 inches wide to 36 inches wide. The reality is that I did not measure any of them. I went by guessing the space needed for any vegetable. However, the steeper the slop the closer the rows and the flatter the slop the wide the rows should be. 
"Bear in mind that poor soil makes a poor farmer". So the most important is the soil, and that is true in all cases not just slopped land but flat land, as well. In dealing with slopped land the equation is multiplied with erosion. Topsoil is the most valuable soil there is in terms of availability. It takes nearly 100 years to produce 1 inch of topsoil and erosion can wash it away quickly.
When plowing or planting following the contour lines of the land. The contour line runs from one end of the garden to the other end. By following the contour line the is less erosion. 
Of the many vegetables that I grow, I like tomato plants a lot. it just fascinates me to see them produce.  My favorite thing to do is single-stem growth. Where I plant seedlings about 16 inches apart and as they grow I remove any sprout that would otherwise become a branch. I allow a set of leaves and a set of blooms. Doing this all the way up the main trunk.   This allows airflow and sunlight this is a great combination that not only results in a higher quality of fruit, it also cuts back on the plant disease. It is also important that mulch is placed 3 to 4 inches thick around the plants and the removal of leaves that touch the ground. 
This is a very productive row of heirloom tomato plants. As I developed each “step” I added wood on the lower end of the ‘step’ to maintain the soil.
In this photo, you can see the slope that I am working on and how this is one way to utilize a sloped property.

The study of the Asian agriculture system known as SALT or "Sloping Agricultural Land Technology.” will be beneficial for both domestic and commercial education and implementation.  Putting into practice is the most important part of any education.  Your most important goal is protecting the soil and ensuring that there will be topsoil for many generations to come. Always think of it this way. What you eat from the ground required soil to produce and if you did not protect and revitalize the soil's nutrients with more than what you took out in the form of produce, then your growing methods are not sustainable.   
One method SALT teaches is the growth of nitrogen-fixing plants in between the contours of food production.  There will be an area 15 feet or so that grows nothing but legumes or upland rice. I actually grew upland rice during 2019 Season only for the fun of it. I now know that the production grain can be used to grow rows of nitrogen and that is a neat find for me. 

SALT technology of soil conservation and food production is only one aspect of growing. You also need to grow the field and permanent nitrogen-fixing crops in wide bands between the contoured rows. When the growth of this row is about 3 or 4 foot tall it is cut down to about 1 to 2 foot and the cuttings are used in the alleyways to serve as organic matter.
To some extent I have been doing this by allowing the surrounding grasses to grow tall, cutting them and then using the cutting on the garden slope beds. I think that I will tweak this some during the next growing season.