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Sustainability-your best tips!

Posted by brendasue 6 (My Page) on
Sun, Mar 8, 09 at 10:26

I'm wondering what your best tips are for sustainability!

Is it saving seed from heritage variety plants, saving rainwater in large quantities, culling heavily for hardiness, diversified outputs (i.e. 2 diff breeds, 2 diff variety of the same crop), apply high compost content to the soil?

Are you working towards sustainability and what is your main output & plan? Is it crops, livestock, fowl, fish, or other? Maybe a combination?
Brendasue


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Sustainability-your best tips!

I grow multiple cover crops on garden plots each year, fallowing alternate plots for 1 season. Composting everything and crop rotation. use of mulch and the use of ground limestone are a big asset.

the animals I breed are selected for resistance to disease and conformity to the breed standards., been doing it this way forever, nothing new here.


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RE: Sustainability-your best tips!

I am trying to do a little of everything. Lots of crops and chickens now and the addition of other farm animals when time and money permit. We sell eggs, veggies, soap, wildcrafting, ornametal nursery items and art. Hoping to add a pond for fish this year and maybe bees, time permitting.

We would love to own a little cottage in the big woods with our own souce of power in windmills and solar. That's our retirement dream - total self sustainability. Right now it's not possible. Need more land - fields to grow fodder and timber for heat.


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RE: Sustainability-your best tips!

Turn off the lights when you leave the room, shut the windows and doors when its cold, drop your thermostat in the winder and raise it in the summer. Oldies but goodies.


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RE: Sustainability-your best tips!

We almost never drive anywhere unless we have at least two reasons to do so, and as a result we drive maybe twice a week.

We've collected 12 55-gallon drums for free from the water treatment plant and set them up under downspouts in the spring, to water the gardens from, some with pvc pipe in the top side for overflow, some black ones are in the greenhouse to act as heat sinks (not sure this has a net benefit though).

Built four, 3-bin composters out of free pallets from hardware stores.

We need to grow more green manure crops - it makes an incredibly cheap fertilizer.

In April we're getting a home energy audit. The $150 is refunded if you make under a certain income so it will be free. It will tell us where best to insulate, replace windows etc.


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Don't sweat the small stuff. Stress can kill ya!


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Well, we've collected over 40 55 gallon barrels (gotcha beat Paulns!!). Not sure exactly what we're gonna use all of them for, as we've made/used them for feeders(2 kinds!), water barrels, potatoe barrels, maple syrup barels, horseradish containers, a cover for a duckling brooder, and we'll be using the as heat collectors for our greenhouse, and MAYBE floats for a duck landing on the pond.

We compost, raise animals for health & disease resistence, garden, can, & save any scrap whatchamacallits we can acquire then build things like the greenhouse or the stove for maple syrup making. We heat primarily with wood but would like to return back to solar if funds allow.

Brendasue


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RE: Sustainability-your best tips!

I guess I misinterpreted the op, I thought it was in regards to ag sustainability??


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RE: Sustainability-your best tips!

were you talking to me? I know my answer was not EXACTLY on point although in my mind you can do all this stuff and stress can still keel you over. In regards to the question I am still formulating my plan as I go along. Winging it so to speak. Ask me again next year and my answer will be way different.

BrendaSue where are you getting all these barrels from? I'm sooooo jealous!!


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RE: Sustainability-your best tips!

Fancifowl, No you got it. I think we're just at varying levels, some farther than others. Yes I was looking for more traditional methods then went off base myself.

I think I threw it off with my hurried post and kinda combined sustainability with increased independence with our barrel uses, we've branched out a little bit because we have them to use now. I kinda got excited because we aren't the only ones saving them!

So to keep it on topic, we add kelp to our gardens to replenish any minerals lost in addition to manures. Luckily we have running water on the property so pumping gardens & even pastures when needed is a big plus. We're way too small to be completely self-sustaining, but we do get excited whenever we accomplish something like a new skill or technique towards our goal.

Brendasue


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I got connections!

lol. They throw them away near where I work, so I asked for them. We're constantly trying to think of ways to use them, where it doesn't look too shabby, and assist in our goals of expandng our independence. That's why I'm trying to grow potatoes, cause I have the barrels to do it with and it won't be too much extra work cause I can just tip them over to harvest! We eat a LOT of potatoes, and likely will be eating a lot more.
Brendasue


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RE: Sustainability-your best tips!

even more jealous now....


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RE: Sustainability-your best tips !

So does anybody do the no-till method? Every year I try to do no-till, but every year hubby plants winter rye & tills the garden. It would actually be funny if I wasn't so upset at the amount of labor I put into spreading manures on the garden. This happens every year, no fail.

Paulns & Fancifowl what do you plant for a cover?

Branden do you do any gardening?

Runningtrails I've been wanting to try soaping, just havn't had time. Are you finding it hard to bye the lye these days? I hear it's getting hard to come by.

MsJay I'm going to ask you the same queston next year.
Brendasue


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RE: Sustainability-your best tips!

You can make your own lye from wood ashes.

I grow a bunch of cover crops. My mainstays are 2 crops of buckwheat, a succulent which decats rapidly and doesnt add a whole lot of matter but it does take up Phosphorus and when it decays releases it in a usable form for the veggies. After the bw is done I sow cereal rye for a winter cover and till that in 2 weeks before planting.
I alternate plots growing veggies one year and the green manures the nest. Some plots will get a 2-3 year fallow with a clover/timothy growth before being cropped with the veggies.
I grow clover between the berry rows and that is tilled in annually, or at the least mowed several times.
The garlic is planted in Oct in raised beds with oats being overseeded in the garlic, it winter kills and covers the bare soil. I never leave any soil without a crop of something fior even a few weeks.

No till for me would be impractical but with the right equipment it would be a good thing.


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RE: Sustainability-your best tips!

  • Posted by paulns NS zone 6a (My Page) on
    Tue, Mar 10, 09 at 12:54

40 barrels, holy smokes. You're giving me ideas.
I wonder about using black barrels in the greenhouse. They collect heat all day, release it at night, reach ambient (i.e. minimum) temp by dawn - this is an assmption on my part, we don't have thermometers in the barrels - so then don't they become a source of cold, while the sun is trying to warm the greenhouse again?

About covers, 'Never leave the soil uncovered' is one of the main tenets we follow too. In newly turned ground, a buckwheat-buckwheat-overwintering grain (oats or barley or annual ryegrass) succession is my favourite.

I haven't tried growing clovers etc between rows for fear they will compete.

The fertility of the sandy soil in our original garden is dropping quickly despite yearly additions of compost and leaf mulch, so we've so far set aside one section for a year of legumes, fenced it in when things got established, and started putting the hens in there for grazing and added fertility. I'm reluctant to set aside ground though because we need all we can get for our market gardening - kind of a catch 22.

On the other hand we've started two new 4000 sq ft gardens in the past five years by 'trench gardening', which I think is a very sustainable method. Cut trees, pull stumps, level the ground, setting aside as much good topsoil as possible, then the guy with the backhoe dug trenches about 15" deep X 2' wide, which we then filled with all sorts of organic material, collected locally - seaweed, fish plant waste, compost - each layer covered with native dirt. Two crops of buckwheat were planted on top and tilled in, followed by oats, barley or ryegrass, which grew a foot or so before being winterkilled, and then the rows were planted the following spring. This method provides deep fertility - probably more than the plants can use - the organic matter holds moisture well - we rarely need to water - and with few weeds. The space between the rows we keep covered with a mulch of wood chips, sawdust or eelgrass.

This method involves a lot of initial labour and some expense but once it's established it's very easy to maintain - a little weeding, replenishing mulch, and pruning - it's mostly berries and asparagus, plus salad vegetables. In the fall I plant more grains. Tilling in spring is optional but I do it anyway.


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pinetrees,oaktrees,cattails,dandelions,greenbryer,bullthistle,are all plentiful throughout at least most of the US. They are very tasty and keep well if prepared for storage properly, and thats just to name a few! ps... they are a whole lot easier to grow than tomatoes too!


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Brendasue, I have heard that lye is hard to get in the US, not so much here. I have researched making my own lye, however, don't know if I'll go there. I am finding the hard fat to be expensive. I can get scraps from local butchers, but not a lot.

Also, I do no till gardening on part of the gardens. I would love to do this on all - just don't have enough cardboard, but I'm working on it. I like to use cardboard on the bottom with organic layers of old hay and fall leaves. It takes a couple of years to break down and really kills the weeds and grass. Someone on this forum said you can put the fresh chicken manure on the cardboard if you keep it away from the plants until it has time to compost. Might be risky, don't konw if I'll do that. I have old chicken manure from last summer :-) Just not as much as I would like to have.

Also called sheet composting. You can see what I have done at the link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: No Till Gardening


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Cardboard takes a lot of nitrogen to rot so another form of N would be a good idea, i use bloodmeal, soy meal and/or corn gluten wich are high ih protein which converts to n.


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Does that prevent the weeds and wild grass from growing?
I use chicken manure and layers of other organic material on the cardboard. Cardboard is the bottom of a lasagna gardening weed prevention layer, also called sheet composting.
I use the cardboard for weed control. I have such a wild garden without it and don't want to plant all the rows far enough apart to till between them with the tractor. The layering gives me a neat and tidy garden that breaks down and adds to the nutrients as it ages, while smothering to death the weed layer underneath. I do this on lawn to make a flowerbed too. Sure beats removing sod and digging!


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okay I am not a gardener BUT I learnt a trick that worked really well with me last summer. I had a stack of newspapers outside under the roof run off. They got soaking wet. When I was ready to plant I laid the wet newspapers down (just opened each section and however many pages were in a section that is how many I used). after I laid out all the wet paper I put my topsoil on top and then planted my flowers. For the larger flowers I dug my hole as normal put the flower in then covered the area around it with the wet paper. They grew really well and had hardly any weeds. The wet paper was too thick for weeds to come through. This si something I will do again. AND over the year the paper should have composted.

I kept this pile of newspaper in the same place all spring under a rock and I used all those free papers I get in the mail and the ones the paper boy throws out. I had collected them for 3 months so by the time I was ready to plant I had plenty. I asked my neighbor to save papers but they brought me a bag over of crumpled up papers. It only works for me when the sheets are folded and flat. I had to finally tell them I had enough when I realized they were not going to bring me a NEAT pile...beggars can't be choosy but they can say no!


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I used the newspaper trick when building the raised beds, worked well.
I also get the game bird pellets in brown paper sacks and use them betrween rows, the rabbit feed bags I burn as they are shiny paper.
A piece of conduit, sharpened by reaming can punch neat holes in several plys of newspapers for planting onion sets and plants thru. Works pretty good.


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A lot of good tips were posted. We've used some of them. Our feed bags (back when we were buying in bags) had plastic liners inside 2 layers of paper. It was kinda annoying because they were the perfect size for a row, but we couldn't get the plastic out easily so we just threw them away.

We use the chicken manure in the walkways so it decompses for next year. It works ok, we just don't have enough for the whole garden.

For nasty weeds we use a mixture of vinegar, water, & dish soap. It kills them by the next day, & they come back maybe once, but then they are killed & we don't see them again. I've been using it on thistle for 3 or 4 years, always miss a few so they re-seed, but the number of plants are definately diminishing, last year I think I only had 5 or 6 plants left to kill, so I think they've almost been irradicated!

Brendasue


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Last night I went to a meeting and had a demonstration of drip irrigation and a video of gene modified grain.It was really scary.Makes me want to never eat corn and grow my own vegetables and save every seed I can.I have saved lots of flower seed and have been an organic gardener for years.Learned that the "organic" horse manure I have used can have wormer in it that kills earthworms.I have used the no till and lasagna gardening techniques successfully.I have been covering bermuda grass with carpet and cardboard and chicken tractors rather than spraying it 3 or 4 times with roundup to maybe kill it.We recycle,reuse and use up.It becomes a way of life after so long.Posy_Pet


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geez, I used wormer(2-3 different types) regularly on my horses and cattle and sheep and then used the manure on my fields and gardens AND had and still have lots of earth worms present in the soil!
I just went to an ag field day and had a bit different feeling about some things. The roundup ready corn(morning glory gene) requires much less herbicide than other corns which means less overall enviro damage. The BT corn is reasistant to ear worms thus spray might not be required to harvest a profitable crop. The N corn better utilizes available nitrogen so less harmful chemical ferts can be used to get the same yield, and the gene for drought resistance causes a larger root system to better utilize available soil moistue. Thes things will enable a starving world to have more food in ever increasing population. I look forward to future genetic improvments and find it exciting research. I dont think I want to eat crops with animal genes!

I do hope that there is more effort exerted to test the safety and long term effects of the science involved in gene transfer.


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In that video,they showed a woman who had gotten some taco shells that were made with some corn that was not approved for human consumption and she had a really bad allergic reaction.Shortly afterwards those products were recalled.The corn was for animals(starfire? I think.)Somehow it had been used in products for people.Nothing about the genetically modified corn sounded attractive to me.Posy_Pet


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It is an on going battle about GM corn. There are studies being done on the studies that were done on GM corn. Some studies say it will cause your children to be born naked and other studies say they will be born wearing Burberry Kids. I don't know about all that but I know if you can get a contract to grow experimental plots of GM corn you will find it pays very well.


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The battle with GM crops these days is more about money and patents than food, although there is a lot of that too.

I have done a lot of research in migraine causes, as I had severe ones daily for a long period of time, until I quit eating wheat. They started about 15 years ago, maybe a bit less. In my research I learned, through a lot of sources, not just a few, that the genetically modified wheat protein (gluten) molecule has been so changed by continuous modification that it no longer resembles it's original form and, as such, is not tolerated by a large percentage of society, most of whom don't even realize it. One of the first major side effects has been severe migraines.

All I have to say is that in the four years since I stopped eating wheat, to test this, my migraines have gone from daily and incapacitating to about one a month, sometimes less. When I eat wheat, I get a sever Migraine every time. I don't even go through Costco and snack.

With that one drastic diet change, I illiminated the migraines and got my life back. I stay away from other GM foods as much as I reasonably can, but am not militant about it, mostly due to the info below than health concerns.

What does anger me is Monsanto and their patents. One reason large companies are genetically modifying crops is that they can patent the seeds. Heirloom and natural seeds are not patentable. It's all about the money. You are not allowed to save seeds from your crops if the original seed you purchased is GM seed, as there is a patent on it. You must buy new each year, legally. Monsanto is the major supplier for most seed houses in North America and holds a patent on all their GM seed, which is most of what they have now. New GM seed production is their attempt to own and control the market and the food supply.


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Fancifowl, the roundup ready corn actually uses more roundup, because the corn can take it, its a shift in herbicide usage, not necessarily less, and much less disturbance of the soil. Also from what I've heard the N corn is likely to be a bust, The N scavaging gene is unlikely to work for high nitrogen crops.

Runningtrails, yes absolutely the wheat gluten genes have been modified over the past several hundred years to the extent where they are not the same, however this is from the process of natural mutation combined with artificial selection, domestication. That is not the result of a scientist in a lab, it happens with wheat we would lable GMO and wheat we would not.

Monsanto is a devious corporation, and there are lots of reasons to oppose them, that doesn't mean that GMO's are bad, Haliburton is pretty bad too, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't lock criminals up in jail (I know this wasn't your argument, I just wanted to clarify the issue).


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Forgive me

I just came across this video, which I think really fits with the direction that this conversation has veered.

Experts Agree Giant, Razor-Clawed Bioengineered Crabs Pose No Threat


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that was ridiculous


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'Sensible' genetic modification of plants should be allowed, while the dangerous kind should not. :) I'd like to see that distinction made into law.
E. Ann Clark at the University of Guelph put it best when she called GMO's 'a solution in search of a problem'. It's just a new way to make money, and an experiment being carried out on us without our permission. I try not to eat GMO products but I do anyway, because they're unlabeled ingredients of many food products.
That's interesting about the wheat/migraine connection. There's a heritage wheat variety, Red Fife Wheat, which is making a comeback, and some say it doesn't have the antagonistic effects of modern wheats. You may want to look into it runningtrails. I'm impressed you gave up wheat - that's a hard one.


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Thanks Paulns, I'm glad to hear there is a heritage wheat variety. I have wondered about that recently and if it's readily available. I may look into it. I have gotten used to eating 100% rye bread and other grains instead. It's a bit more expensive and takes some searching but worth it to me.

Brendasue: what's the ratio of vinegar, water and dish soap, please? I desperately need something like that!

I used newspaper before discovering cardboard boxes. It does work well too but takes a lot of newpaper layers to do the same job and I have more access to cardboard boxes. It's all wood pulp.

They pay well for growing test fields of GM corn? I could do that. Would I have to weed it? Maybe they should be trying to make corn that weeds itself. lol!

I would grow other corn for eating.


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Brendasue, I am sorry for horning in on your thread but there is something I need to get off my chest regarding Brendan, I saw what you posted on the homesteading forum and I think you are disgusting and I ask that you do not post on my questions, I will not be viewing any of your "Links" for we now know what kind of person you are, you are sick and twisted-these are family forums where children may participate-I am glad that it was removed, for it nor you have any place on these forums-


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Runningtrails I've long ago lost the official recipe. I use about 3/4vin, 1/4water & a tbsp of dish soap. The soap helps the mixture adhere to the leaves. It works on most everything, though there are some unidentified plants I need to spray really heavy or it doesn't turn them brown.

What is this homesteading forum? What, I missed a farming website? lol. Can anyone share the URL? I'm glad the offending link has been removed, sounds like it should never have been posted and was offensive.

Brendasue


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Nelda I understand your strong feelings.
Brendasue "Homesteading" forum is another part of GardenWeb Forums. A link was posted there that the OP and others, myself included, thought was related to the subject of the thread. The OP and others, myself included, was very upset to find the link was sick. The situation is also mentioned in the Momma Rabbit thread on this forum, read between the lines. I am upset that my history trail shows I even went to such a site. Anyway the thread has been removed thank goodness.


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brenda sue check your email...

I guess I could relieve my job of some of the cardboard they have on the loading dock for recycling. it would be a lot easier to use than my whole process of soaking the newspapers LOL especially when the cardboard is right at work!!


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  • Posted by paulns NS zone 6a (My Page) on
    Tue, Mar 17, 09 at 22:29

We've done hundreds of feet of garden paths - maybe thousands, come to think of it, over ten years - by laying down 6-10 sheets of newspaper at a time, overlapping the ends, and covering them with ~6" of sawdust. We save the newspapers or get them from the recycling depot, and sawdust from local people with portable sawmills who are glad to get rid of it - we've gotten I don't know how many truckloads. We do this work on a day with no wind, to save the extra work of wetting it and to keep the sawdust from blowing around. We weed thoroughly before laying down the newspaper. This is a lot of work, but makes a difference in the long run - which is what sustainability means (to my mind): do it right now so you have less work later. Not 'no work' but 'less work'. The paths need patching with more sawdust after a couple of years, and redoing after about four years. I like that the materials are free, and the paths give the garden an orderly look. Here's a freshly redone path. Another thing I like is that after a year of weathering the sawdust doesn't look so orangey :).
Photobucket


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very nice BUT
all I could think looking at your pictures was snakes snakes snakes. LOL

I like the idea of the paths with the sawdust though. Very good idea. I am not sure about being able to get sawdust for free though. My luck I would get charged. I finally went to pick up my free pallets yesterday and now the guy wants me to pay for them because he said when they were free he could not give them away. That made no sense to me. hmmmph. I told him to forget about it.


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Msjay-LOL me too, snakes, snakes--yuk hate them! I will scream like a girl if I see one!! :) Good Grief where do you live that people don't give stuff away for free:)Come to my neck of the woods with a tractor trailor I will load you up on lots of free stuff!! LOL

PAULNS: Oh my gosh-absolutely beautiful-I am sooo jealous your paths and flowers and lilac bush are awesome. what is that on your arbor/trellis? We have 4 acres 2 of which is wooded and have always wanted to do something like what you have-I have so many tree's and valleys Sad fact just not enough time in a day! I will just put it on my wish list-and wish for someone to come along during the night and get er done!! :)

Nelda


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  • Posted by paulns NS zone 6a (My Page) on
    Wed, Mar 18, 09 at 14:58

Thanks, I'll pass the compliments along to the chef - she gets this mad glint in her eye and then has to plant something. The lilac-looking bush is Butterfly Bush aka summer lilac aka Buddleya davidii (sp?). On the right of the arbour is Rosa rubrifolia and on the left is a pink and yellow flowered honeysuckle. The butterfly bush and the honeysuckle are considered invasive in warmer climates, but here they grow and multiply slowly...

Snakes? I had to ponder that for a while - why the picture would make anybody think of snakes. Oh you mean fear that snakes are hiding under the perennials? Does a fear of snakes keep you from growing flowers or would you grow them differently where you are?

Amazingly there are no poisonous snakes on this island, it's like Ireland in that way. Every other summer though we'll get little garter snakes that will surprise us, usually at the edge of the gardens or on top of a cool compost pile. Last year there were none so maybe this year. It's always good to see them.

About sustainability ideas, I've read about growing bushy vines against the house for cooling it in summer, and as a carbon sink, and dream of doing one of those rooftop sod or succulent gardens..

msjay that's a shame about the pallets, it does seem like some people think the higher the price, or any porice, on something the more value it must have. Keep looking, maybe you'll get lucky.

Bottom feeding and sustainability are pretty closely related, hmmm...


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Just a few ideas on sustainability and such. The GMOs are all created with a purpose, but that purpose is NOT sustainability. Monsanto and others have lots of good ideas for commercial farmers to make their lives easier, but for the homesteader they are bad news. Just as Nestle tried in the 1970's to get everyone in the world--3rd world included--off breast milk and onto formula (to raise their profits)and it amounted to many children dying because their mothers diluted the the formula many times the original dilution since they could afford enough to feed their babies at the proper dilution, the GMO manufacturers are trying to corner much of the seed market by offering seeds with "benefits" such as insect resistance, herbicide tolerance, etc. While in the short term, these seeds offer increased yields and ease of cultivation, in the long term they will increase tolerance of insects to insecticides (especially natural ones like the various strains of BT, which Monsanto uses in some of their potato and corn breeds) and in general weaken the genetic adaptability of the plant crops by restricting the gene pool.

Many of the seed companies have been trying to reduce the numbers of OP vegetables on the market by only selling hybrids, but GMOs take these concepts MUCH further. They hope to corner the entire world's food supply. That does not contribute to sustainability.

By the way, hybrids can be turned back into open-pollinated varieties in a few generations. I just learned that many of the best OP varieties on the market are actually hybrids that have been "turned".


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Hi Paulns, thanks for the infor on your paths - Nope I would plant them just the way you do! With 4 acres I have my fair share of snakes-nothing poisonous just Garter snakes,black, brown cow snakes,king snakes-now around lakes and our forestry we have water Mocc., cotton mouth, rattle snakes and copper head a little further away from us. The chickens mostly keep the snakes at bay! I just never seem to have enough time to do everything that I want to!


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I have to admit it is gorgeous but yeah I was thinking of snakes hiding in there.


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Paulns,BEAUTIFUL garden!Doninalaska,thanks for explaining about the GM corn.I understood that if a blight of some kind struck it,that there wouldn't be any other varieties to take its place.Also it was interbreeding with the many varieties in Mexico used for different specific things.I have been a mostly organic gardener for many years and am against using roundup on food.It seems they have to spray everything these days.Posy_Pet


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OK, where is this link to see Paul's gardens? Did I miss it?

I make lots of paths too, mostly with fieldstone from the property or cardboard with old hay/straw on top. Anything to cut down on the lawn!

I love big lush gardens but we don't have poisonous snakes here either, just the odd rattler way out. We do have bears and coyotes :-)

I do have a lot of very large garder snakes. I find them sunning themselves all over the place - from tiny little babies to huge daddy ones. I really like them as they eat the little field mice and are so interesting to watch! They're like the bats in that a lot of people have an aversion to them, but they are our friends and harmless.

We don't get a lot of free stuff here either but I can find the odd pallet free. We collect all of those that we can find for fuel in the wood stove in the winter. It makes great kindling. I use them for buildling things too. I'm working on a big farm sign for the road right now, out of 1" scrap shipping crates.


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Just to make certain everyone knows there is a difference between GM plants and simple hybrids. They are not the same. Any one of us could create many hybrids, but almost none of us could create a GMO.


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RE: Sustainability-your best tips!

  • Posted by paulns NS zone 6a (My Page) on
    Wed, Mar 25, 09 at 20:10

Thanks posy. Here's another one, just to keep the thread going, and because I finally figured out a quicker way to load photos. The colour of the sawdust sets the purple (another butterfly bush) and pink off nicely. I don't know why you can't see them runningtrails, are you using Netscape by any chance? That's been a problem for me. I'm finding Photobucket is much quicker to load using firefox. Hope you can see this one.

Photobucket


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Oh, they're posted directly in this thread? I'm at work and they probably have some kind of internet filter, etc. I'm using IE. I'll check at home.


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I am at home now and can see them. Wow! Beautiful gardens! That is what I am aiming for. The sawdust looks great! I will be using old hay/straw for my mulch for now, and shingles. I'm picking up a huge amount of roofing shingles today from a neighbor to use for edging and paths. The mower will run right over them without having to deal with a grassy edge.

I have a large amount of lawn to get rid of. I have the next three days off and will be working outside for most of it. The ground is only beginning to thaw on top, however, so that makes it difficult. I can still cover/remove sod and put the mulch down, just can't plant anything yet.

The open fields are still snow covered, mostly, so I can't deal with veggies at all yet. That gives me time to do landscaping. Love the buddleia! I have a source for all the lilac bushes I want and will be putting in some of those.


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RE: Sustainability-your best tips!

  • Posted by paulns NS zone 6a (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 29, 09 at 10:46

Lilacs are wonderful...Our snow is going at about the same rate - bare patches in places, two feet of it in others....
Getting rid of lawn is another good idea. We've been chipping away at ours, replacing patches of it by tilling, planting two buckwheat crops followed by annual ryegrass, till that in spring and plant herbs. It involves more maintenance for the first couple of years than mowing would, and then one good weeding a year.

Did anybody do Earth Hour last night? Those big cities like New York must have been quite a sight with so many lights out.


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RE: Sustainability-your best tips!

paulns regarding your comment on GMO's Experiments are being carried out on us, but only in the same sense as they have been carried out on us for the last 100,000 years or so, and it would be absolutely impossible for us to stop. The first time someone sold you goats milk lets say, that was an experiment carried out by the goatsmilk industry.

I think your legal suggestion would be impossibly vague.

As for a problem world hunger, pesticide use, and fertilizer are three that spring to mind right away. Sure its only really taken off comercially, that is in large part because there is so much stigma around it globally. The yellow rice that prevents blindness was made out of the goodness of someones heart, but didn't work because the people who would benefit from it were told to be afraid of it. We know exactly what we put in to the rice, we know that its safe and you can easily tell which rice it is so someone who happens to be allergic to Vit A can avoid it (suck) but stigma killed it. We just need to wait a generation or two for it to go the way of rock and roll.


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RE: Sustainability-your best tips!

Lawn Alternatives are one of the most beneficial sustainable landscaping techniques. It saves a great amount of resources such as water, labor, time, and money.

Here are a few examples of Lawn Alternative practices: low-maintenance lawns, non-toxic materials, lawn alternates like ground covers, no-mow lawns and hydroseeding with natural or wildflower mixes, grasspave, grasscrete, drivable lawns

Here is a link that might be useful: http://www.hdsustainablelandscapes.com/


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RE: Sustainability-your best tips!

I am saving a tank of oil over the summer. I shut off the oil furnace in the early spring and only turn it on for showers and dishwasher then back off again. I expect to save over $500 on oil this way so easy and painless. I will keep it up to about Dec 10 when it usually gets cold around here in zone 5 Massachusetts. First frost is about Oct 1. And there will be cold nights but inside the house will stay warm enough. The sun will warm it also. I will see how it goes. But his is one heck of an easy way to save lots of money.

I do not even go down in the basement. I have a toggle switch on a red plate for emergency for the furnace and I use that. I turn it on in time to warm the water. We all shower then run the dishwasher and cloths washer and then back off.

The oil has gotten so expensive when it went over $4 a gallon. I was paying $4.50 a gallon for heating oil. I just had this idea this past spring even though prices were lower but I figured they would go up again. I told the oil guy to stop delivering this summer. I would call him back. He did fill it in the spring.


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RE: Sustainability-your best tips!

paulns, send me an email and let me know how you get the pictures in! That looks great!

Here, in California, we have only two poisonous snakes, and I've never seen either one in the wild. Rattlesnakes and coral snakes. Since we have horses, we LOVE snakes--they sure help keep down the rodent population. I envy those of you who have snakes to watch. I live in the city, and although we have tons of rats, mice, and raccoons, a fair amount of possums and skunks, and an occasional coyote, the snakes haven't been able to survive as well. :-(

Regarding cardboard, Michael's craft stores have TONS of cardboard shipping boxes that they just bale and dispose of. Just give them a call, and they'll let you know which day the shipment comes. The boxes are rather flimsy corrugated, so they're not hard to handle and would probably soak up fluids easily. They will be happy to give you all you want for free.

Our family has always been environmentally conscious, reusing or recycling everything we can, and eating low on the food chain. With the current economic climate, and my job loss, I have started a garden, and will be expanding it to grow as much as I can. I can probably grow bunnies for meat, but I haven't quite gotten that far yet.

BTW, we have horses, but we board on inexpensive private pasture. My home is in a suburb. If I had my own land, I'd have a large garden, small orchard, a milk goat, some fowl, and a little pig.


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