Archive for March, 2008
Local, healthy food is essential to the sustainability of our towns and cities. As oil prices rise, accessible food, that doesn’t have to be trucked in from the countryside, and is controlled by the local community interested in providing for itself, not a corporation seeking only profits. Recently, the Beach Flats Community Garden in Santa Cruz received a notice that all gardeners turn in their keys to the space by the end of March.
Get yourself some kombucha culture and you’ll be on your way to making this healthful drink. You may have tried the brands of kombucha showing up in grocery cases everywhere, but it’s been said that the fresher it is, i.e. making it at home, the better the health effects. Here are some photos from the kombucha we keep in our kitchen at work. (more…)
I’ve never started my own seedlings, so this is making me very excited. About a week ago I filled some seed starter trays with potting soil, put some seeds on top of the soil, covered the seeds with more soil and watered with a fine spray. I kept the tray in my front kitchen window which gets some good daytime sunlight. Five days later, I went away for the weekend and nothing had poked up out of the soil, but I came home to sprouts! This first photo was taken tonight, Tuesday, March 25. The next photo was taken two days ago on Sunday; notice how much they have grown in two days! (Note that I did rotate the tray to distribute the sunlight.)
A small claims case between Percy Schmeiser and Monsanto has been settled. This is huge news for the anti-GMO movement because the Schmeisers have been struggling through legal battle after legal battle after Monsanto, a biotech ag corporation, first sued the Canadian farmer when it was discovered that some of the canola plants found in the Schmeisers fields was a patented variety owned by Monsanto. Monsanto sued for patent infringement, but that raises the question, can life be patented? Schmeiser’s fields were not intentionally planted with the Monsanto seed, they were pollinated by wind, a natural, uncontrollable effect. Schmeiser reports harassment, threats and continued legal attacks.
Be sure to check out the greenhorns blog to learn more about young people coming to the farm to get their hands dirty. There are also some DIY ideas that might spark your fancy. A “greenhorn” is a ranching term for an inexperienced person on the ranch who has never before roped cattle. This term is lately being applied to the new generation of young farmers. So much so, that there is a film in production to document the trend.
The Inhabitat blog yesterday published some seriously cute cow pictures and an interesting article about how PG&E is turning the huge excesses of cow manure into electricity in California. Methane gas is a more harmful greenhouse gas than CO2 and tons of it are emitted into the atmosphere from the factory farms producing our meat and dairy products. It’s been argued that the industrial meat and dairy industry is a bigger cause of global warming than our car obsession (according to the United Nations).
At the moment, this rather huge installation is able to power approximately 1,200 house per day. Not a large number, but then, you if you consider that there are 2,000,000 cows in California alone, you can certainly start smelling the possibilities.
A corn plant in my office was getting quite tall and the owner wanted to re-pot one or two of the stems to be shorter. This can be accomplished by air layering. Air layering is a method of encouraging root growth in the middle of a plant stem of a tall plant that wouldn’t generate roots by simply making a cutting. A major advantage of air rooting over other propagation methods is that the top of the plant remains attached to the original stem and is able to receive nutrients Here are some photos of the process completed by my friend Amber. You can also check out this helpful step-by-step guide from Iowa State University. I’ll post a report of the results later when some roots begin to show through the moss, should take a couple of months.