EverGreenCoin Gardens

 

EGC Gardens
 

Farming and Ranching are some of the world’s oldest professions.  Without farming and ranching we would not live in civilization as we do today.  These amenities allowed humans to cultivate and produce their own food, alleviating the burdens of foraging and hunting.

Foraging and hunting took all day or multiple days to accomplish a harvest.  Being able to harvest our food in a single location gave us time and security.  Without the worry of where the next meal was coming from; we could travel further (with the food we produced) and we had time to build and create.

Agriculture has been and still is one of the largest industries in the world.  Our ancestors that were able to ranch and farm were also some of the world’s first entrepreneurs.  Since they knew how to produce and thus overproduce; they could use their over production for trade.  Trade is the first form of currency; an exchange of goods for goods.

In the past few thousand years, most people were proficient in agriculture.  It has only been recently that someone can't plant a seed without google or kept a couple of pigs, chickens, and goats around the property.

In the mid 1800's, 80% of the industry in the United States was farming.  It wasn't until the Industrial Revolution that common people forgot these skills and had to start producing for other humans.

Since the Industrial Revolution our environment has been in decline.  People have forgotten so much about the environment that they don't care about it anymore.  Unfortunately, this way of life is not sustainable for humans or the earth.

We can't keep taking from and destroying our environment if we want to progress as a species.  There is no such thing as reaping without sowing.  We can't keep burning jet fuel in the skies and indiscriminately dumping industrial waste.  We can't keep spending billions of dollars to drill for oil when we can make biodiesel from most plants.  We can't keep chopping down forests when there are hundreds of other materials that have the same effect, at no cost to the environment.

So what can we do about this?  We can start by taking our environment back.  If everyone on the planet had a small garden, wind and solar, a few chickens and a goat, collected their own rainwater, and reused and reduced their own waste; we could sustain our environment and families.  We could spend more of our time with our families at home; instead of an office or factory.  We would know where all of our food and energy came from without the worry of industrial pesticides or waste.  Under this system we would also be taking back our health.  We could trade our own skills and produce in exchange of goods and services.

What would we do about money though?  We all love to have fun, travel, socialize, and explore.  You certainly can go more than 100 miles by trading a dozen eggs or a few heads of lettuce.  What if there was an asset that paid you just for owning it and allowing it to operate on a network?

There is an asset like that and it’s called EverGreenCoin.  This environmentally friendly currency gives back to the people that give back to the environment.  Whether it be from making 7% on your stake, education and training, or just an exchange of value; EverGreenCoin focuses on the long term sustainment of the entire Earth’s ecology.

Welcome to EverGreenCoin Gardens.

Agriculture

What is Agriculture?

Farming & Ranching

Food Co-op's

Farmers Markets

Community Gardens

 

 

Gardening

Why grow your own food?

Growing, Indoor vs. Outdoor

Compost & Fertilizer

Pesticides

Making a start

Food Preservation

Plant Medicine

Agriculture

Join the EverGreenCoin Seed Crowdfund and help us feed the world.  HERE

What is Agriculture?

Agriculture is the cultivation and breeding of animals, plants and fungi for food, fiber, biofuel, medicinal plants and other products used to sustain and enhance human life.

Agriculture covers science and technology, equipment and industry, best practices, planning, timing, and coordination in the acts of farming and ranching.  It is the technical sides of these practices.  You would not be reading this if it wasn't for agriculture.

EverGreenCoin has deep roots in the environment and agriculture.  Members of the EverGreenCoin community have come together to provide a way for people of the world to learn about the environment and sustainability.  EverGreenCoin has searched the globe for best practices on how to preserve our planet and work them into our daily lives.  Let's start with your backyard, rooftop, or balcony.

Farming & Ranching

Farming is the activity or business of growing crops and raising livestock.

Ranching is devoted to the breeding and raising of cattle, sheep, or horses on rangeland.

Animal Husbandry

Animal Husbandry is the science of breeding and caring for farm animals.

Chickens

Raising chickens can be more than economically viable.  Not only can you get eggs and chickens, but chicken do a lot of work also.  You can also sell eggs, chickens, or even their manure.

Your chickens can work your compost and even process your food waste.  This puts some of the costs you lost, back into your farm or household.  Chickens are also easy to maintain.

There are a lot of publications on raising chickens.  Types of chickens, housing, fencing, production, etc.  The little bit off money it will cost you to start raising chickens will surely reward you not long after starting.

A young goat jumps over a meadow during warm and sunny weather at Gut Aiderbichl in Henndorf in the Austrian province of Salzburg, Monday, April 7, 2014. Gut Aiderbichl is a place of mercy for rescued animals. Weather forecasts predict good weather conditions with mild temperatures for the upcoming days in Austria. (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)

Goats

Goats have been known to eat just about everything.  In fact, many goats are made to swallow magnets that stay in the stomach, because they are known to eat metal.  This being said, goats can clear land that you want to work on.  They have also been used to manicure land and eat unwanted plants that may take over ones property

Goatherders have been known to rent their goats to help other farmers control their land.  Goat manure can also be spread directly onto crops.  As goats clear a field they can also put nutrients back into the soil.  Clearing land with goats has gained popularity as it is cheap and less burdensome on the environment.

Milk, cheese, meat, and wool are also some of the benefits of raising goats.  Goat milk and cheese are easy to make and very nutritious.  Goat is also one of the most consumed meats on the planet.  Though most goats don’t produce much fur, some produce enough that cashmere can be harvested.

If you want to help subsidize some of your own costs; or even make money, goats can be very beneficial.

Pigs & Cattle

Pigs and cattle are big meat and manure producers.  Pigs can clean up your unwanted waste, while a single cow can provide enough milk for a single family.

Whether you only have one pig or cow; or a larger operation there is money to be made.  Raising pigs and cattle can be very hard and tedious work, but it can be something that benefits you overall.

Small breeds of cows and pigs have been on the market for a while.  You can buy a miniature dairy cow and see how it works for your family.

Beekeeping

Beekeeping is the maintenance of honey bee colonies, commonly in man-made hives, by humans. A beekeeper (or apiarist) keeps bees in order to collect their honey and other products that the hive produces (including beeswax, propolis, pollen, and royal jelly), to pollinate crops, or to produce bees for sale to other beekeepers. A location where bees are kept is called an apiary or "bee yard".

Why would you want to keep bees?  There are a few reasons to keep bees if you have the time and aren't allergic.  This is an endeavor so please do a lot of research before you decide.

Sixty to eighty percent of all pollination worldwide, is done by bees.  In the United States bees are shipped cross country to pollinate large farming operations.  There is a lot of money in this, as farmers pay to have bees shipped to them for pollination.  If you own and operate a large apiary this is a possible market.

Some states actually give tax breaks for keeping bees.  Even if you have a small beekeeping operation the government may subsidize your operation.  There is a decline in the bee population so even a small apiary may be worth your while.

Honey.  Of course there's honey.  Bees have been kept since before the Egyptians.  The honey that was found in King Tut's tomb was still edible.  There are paintings from over 9000 years ago depicting honey harvesting.  That being said, honey is a market that is almost as old as gold.

The golden liquid also has many uses.  It has and is still used in medicine.  Honey has antibiotic, antioxidant, and antihistamine properties.  Having allergies can be helped by adding a little of the local honey into your diet  It is still used to make alcohol around the world.  Mead was a common alcoholic drink in the past and can still be made at home.

If you would like to start a small or large scale beekeeping operation there are many reasons and help to get started.  Just a few hives can help any farm or homestead with honey for sale or for consumption.

Basic Farming Equipment

  1. Pickup truck:

Pickups are probably the most versatile and useful long-term investment you can make for your farm. They are essential for hauling everything from building supplies, tools, feed, firewood, etc. Teamed with a trailer you can move livestock and much more. Although a pickup is a big investment, when well cared for it is an investment that can last for decades, and good used pickups can often be bought at a reasonable price.

Add a basic topper(camper shell) to your pickup and you can haul items that need to be kept dry, use the truck for camping, or haul small animals.  From chickens, rabbits, geese, goats, sheep, and small pigs are also easily moved under the topper.

  1. ATV/Compact tractor:

Even if you dream of working your land with animals, a tractor or farm utility vehicle (an ATV, or a cargo-ATV, often called a “ute”) is a practical thing to have.  An ATV can be almost invaluable in some cases; especially with a trailer.  It can be used for hauling and pulling; many companies now make farming attachments that can be added to your ATV.

Compact tractors are versatile pieces of equipment that are perfect for small farms. Depending on the attachments you have, they can do just about anything: mowing acres of lawn, digging a foundation, baling hay, pushing snow, setting fence posts; it’s all possible with a compact tractor.

For those in the under 60-acre category, a ute will often do all the work you need done, for less investment than a tractor, and manufacturers now make attachments ranging from front-end loader buckets to manure spreaders, that are specially designed to work with these rigs. The fat tires, light weight, and low center of gravity make these units easy on the land. If money is not a big issue, and you have a larger piece of land (say 160 acres or more), having both a tractor and farm utility vehicle is the way to go.  The tractor can do heavy work, like baling hay, but the utility vehicle can haul supplies, or get you across the farm quickly to move a paddock fence, or check on the stock and crops.

Two-wheel drive trucks, tractors, and utility vehicles are OK for flat ground that’s not too muddy, but if you’re in hilly terrain, a snowy climate, or tend to have frequent muddy conditions, invest the extra money up front in 4-wheel drive.

  1. Livestock trailer

If you intend to have large livestock (horses, cows, llamas, yaks …), plan on getting a stock trailer. Even if you don’t plan on hauling much livestock, a livestock trailer can be a great investment. You can haul animals, firewood, feed, hay and lumber. You can also use it as storage or rent it to another farmer or homesteader to make a little extra money.

  1. Handcarts and Wheelbarrows

This should be one of the first tools to invest in. Depending on the model and size they can be fairly cheap to pick up. They are lightweight, yet they carry big loads easily. Best of all, they are balanced in such a way as to be easy on the back. Some carts come with an accessory that converts them to a trailer for pulling behind an ATV or small tractor.

In the garden or yard, they’re great for moving topsoil, plants, seed, fertilizer or tools. In the barn, they are handy for cleaning up small piles of manure, or dragging tack from point A to point B. They are perfectly sized for moving a bale of hay, or a few 50-pound bags of feed.

  1. Manure spreader

If you are going to have any livestock, sooner or later you need a manure spreader. Even if your animals will spend most of their time on pasture, piles of manure accumulate, and spreading this manure thinly over the land improves soil fertility, reduces contaminated runoff, and helps keep fly numbers down. Several manufacturers have come up with compact manure spreaders that are ideal for small farms. The tractor-driven units carry more manure in one trip, and are probably the best way to go if you have a significant number of animals that are kept in the barn regularly. The ATV units are good for operations with only a few animals stabled regularly, or with a larger herd that is out on pasture most of the time.

  1. Electric tools

There are dozens of electric power tools available at hardware and home stores, but there are two must-haves for any type of around-the-farm construction project: 1.) A circular saw; and 2.) A drill/driver. Need to build your own compost bin? Out comes the saw and drill. Hanging a new barn door? Get the saw and the drill.

You’ll find these two versatile tools are useful for myriad projects, so invest in the best heavy-duty models you can afford. If you plan to do lots of construction and remodeling, consider adding a heavy-duty reciprocating saw to the electric-tool collection.

  1. Hand tools

Every farm needs a variety of hand tools. A 25-foot and a 100-foot tape measure; a good claw hammer; pliers; a socket and driver set; auger with attachments; adjustable wrenches in several sizes; a screwdriver set with both regular and Phillips head drivers.  Don’t forget the nails.

  1. Garden tools

Every small farm needs a flat spade and a pointed spade for digging. A good digging fork or rake is a multipurpose tool, used for breaking up and turning soil in the garden, harvesting, and for manure cleanup around the barn. A standard hoe and grub hoe are also vital gardening tools.

Fence Building

How to build a fence using pallet wood - Cheap, simple & easy!

How to build a simple garden fence

How to Build a Barbed Wire Fence in 10 Easy Steps

Making Split Rail Fence

Buck and Rail fence

Irrigation

Irrigation

Irrigation is the method in which a controlled amount of water is supplied to plants at regular intervals for agriculture. It is used to assist in the growing of agricultural crops, maintenance of landscapes, and revegetation of disturbed soils in dry areas and during periods of inadequate rainfall.

Check out the EverGreenCoin Water branch.

Types of Irrigation Systems

There are many different types of irrigation systems, depending on how the water is distributed throughout the field. Some common types of irrigation systems include:

Surface irrigation

Water is distributed over and across land by gravity, no mechanical pump involved.

Rainwater Garden Project

 

Drip irrigation

A type of localized irrigation in which drops of water are delivered at or near the root of plants. In this type of irrigation, evaporation and runoff are minimized.

Easy, Quick, DIY Drip Irrigation for your garden, step by step installation instructions.

 

Sprinkler irrigation

Water is distributed by overhead high-pressure sprinklers or guns from a central location in the field or from sprinklers on moving platforms.

DIY Sprinkler System

 

Center pivot irrigation

Usually found on large agricutural operations; water is distributed by a system of sprinklers that move on wheeled towers in a circular pattern. This system is common in flat areas of the United States.

Center Pivot Irrigation System

Center Pivot Irrigation System Aerial

 

Lateral move irrigation

Water is distributed through a series of pipes, each with a wheel and a set of sprinklers, which are rotated either by hand or with a purpose-built mechanism. The sprinklers move a certain distance across the field and then need to have the water hose reconnected for the next distance. This system tends to be less expensive but requires more labor than others.

Sub-irrigation

Water is distributed across land by raising the water table, through a system of pumping stations, canals, gates, and ditches. This type of irrigation is most effective in areas with high water tables.

Manual irrigation

Water is distributed across land through manual labor and watering cans. This system is very labor intensive.

FFA & 4H

Future Farmers of America(FFA) and Heads, Hearts, Hands, and Health(4H) are both youth organizations that aim to develop youth to their best potential, in agriculture, technology, science and business.  Both organizations provide technical knowledge and offer scholarships.  These maybe something beneficial for the young agriculturalist or innovator in your family.

Future Farmers of America(FFA) 

-FFA formally known as National FFA Organization, is an American youth organization, specifically a career and technical student organization, based on middle and high school classes that promote and support agricultural education.  FFA is a non-profit organization founded in 1925 and became a national organization in 1928. The organization is for those with diverse interests in the food, fiber and natural resource industries, encompassing science, business and technology in addition to production agriculture.

4H(Heads, Hearts, Hands, and Health)

4-H is a global network of youth organizations whose mission is "engaging youth to reach their fullest potential while advancing the field of youth development". The organization was officially adopted in 1927. In the United States, the organization is administered by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).  The goal of 4-H is to develop citizenship, leadership, responsibility and life skills of youth through experiential learning programs and a positive youth development approach.

Food Co-op's

A food cooperative or food co-op is a food distribution outlet organized as a cooperative. Food cooperatives are usually consumers' cooperatives where the decisions regarding the production and distribution of its food are chosen by its members.

EverGreenCoin uses in food co-op's

EverGreenCoin has the potential to help the collective in a food co-op.  In a food co-op the customers are the owners, kinda like EverGreenCoin.  Both the customers and the food co-op are earning 7% annually on their holdings.

Food co-op's run off of a collective account and EverGreenCoin has the ability to benefit the collective.  Customers could stake any portion of their coins to the collective account, via the 'stake for charity' feature.  The food co-op would then stake the collective coins on the network.

When that customer goes to the food co-op; not only do they have their staked coins, but since the collective is staking, the cooperative can give discounts.  This collective account can also be used to keep the operation going, make upgrades or additions, or even provide a larger variety.

Farmers Markets

A farmers market is a food market at which local farmers sell fruit and vegetables and often meat, cheese, and bakery products directly to consumers.

This doesn't' necessarily have to be farmers.  Anyone that is productive in agriculture can do business at farmers markets.  It also provides food to be locally sourced instead of shipped from another state or country.

Farmers markets are free markets.  If a seller does not have good product, they will either make it better or go out of business.  You can truly vote with your money at a farmers market.  You can make money too.

 

 

Community Gardens

A community garden is a single piece of land gardened collectively by a group of people.  Community gardens provide fresh products and plants as well as contributing to a sense of community and connection to the environment and an opportunity for satisfying labor and neighborhood improvement. They are publicly functioning in terms of ownership, access, and management.

Community gardens may help alleviate one effect of climate change, which is expected to cause a global decline in agricultural output, making fresh produce increasingly unaffordable.  Community gardens are also an increasingly popular method of changing the built environment in order to promote health and wellness in the face of urbanization.

Starting a community garden in  your area may be beneficial for your own neighborhood.  A better sense of community provides for a better society.  Talk to your neighbors and see if you can get one started today.

EverGreenCoin uses in community gardens

EverGreenCoin has the potential to help an entire community garden.  Like EverGreenCoin, community works together to achieve their goals.  If everyone in a community garden were staking EverGreenCoin, they would each earn 7% annually on their holdings.

Imagine if a community garden had a collective EverGreenCoin account.  Customers could stake any portion of their coins to the collective account, via the 'stake for charity' feature.  The community garden would then stake the collective coins on the network.

Community gardens take a lot of effort to keep running A collective community garden account would be able to pay for keeping the operation going, making upgrades or additions, or even provide a means to start new projects.  A community garden would be able to sustain itself and it's gardeners if EverGreenCoin were applied.

Gardening

Join the EverGreenCoin Seed Crowdfund and help us feed the world.  HERE

 

Ron Finley: The Guerilla Gardener

"Growing your own food is like printing your own money." -Ron Finley

Why grow your own food?

There are many reasons to grow your own food.  Growing your own food saves you money at the grocery store.  If you get your food from your yard, you don’t have to worry about was is or isn’t in it.  By now everyone has heard about GMO's and poisonous pesticides.  Growing your own garden not only gives you exercise, but also reduces your food waste.  Growing your own garden can give you more variety by allowing you to experiment or grow foods that you like.  One other benefit is eating healthy.  If you grow healthy food, you will eat healthy food.  How about food security or insurance.  By preserving your excess harvest you can use your food for barter or trade.  Having extra food stored also gives you piece of mind in the event of a natural disaster or adverse economic event.  Whatever reason you decide to grow your own food is yours.  Grab a shovel, some gloves and get involved with the universal process of sowing a reaping.

Growing, Indoor vs. Outdoor

Growing indoor vs. growing outdoor may just depend on where you live, but both have benefits and setbacks.

By growing indoor in a greenhouse you have the benefit of growing plants year round, starting seeds, keeping your plants out of the weather, or growing plants not capable of growing in your current zone.

Growing indoors for reasons like hydroponics and aquaponics are also beneficial.  Some plants just may do better growing indoors like spirulina and some cacti.

There are advantages to growing outdoor as well.  SUn, wind, rain, and weather.  Some plants get stronger by having to deal with the elements.  Growing outdoor also gives you freedom of movement and allows for certain tools and equipment to be used.

Hydroponics

Hydroponics:  the process of growing plants in sand, gravel, or liquid, with added nutrients but without soil.

Hydroponics: Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages:

  • You can grow anywhere.
  • Uses 20 times less water than soil based gardening.
  • Your environment is sterile, which means no pesticides.
  • You’ll use 20% less space for growing.
  • The system water can be reused, allowing you to conserve water.
  • You can have complete control over nutrient balance by using Dyna-Gro formulas.
  • No soil setup and testing hassles.
  • Harvesting is easier.
  • No mulching, tilling, changing of soil and weeding
  • You can grow year round.

Disadvantages:

  • Putting together a hydroponic system isn’t cheap.
  • Constant supervision is required.
  • Hydroponic systems are vulnerable to power outages. In the event of a power outage that outlasts your generators you will be manually watering your garden.
  • Micro-organisms that are water-based can creep in rather easily.
  • Growing a hydroponic garden demands technical expertise.
  • Production is limited compared to field conditions
  • If a disease appears all plants in the container will be affected.
  • Without soil to serve as a buffer if the system fails plant death will occur rapidly.

 

What Can You Grow With Hydroponics?  Click this link to see a list of the many plants that do well with hydroponics.

Hoophouses & Greenhouses

Hoophouses and greenhouse give the advantage of growing year round or plants you normally couldn't grow in your environment.  They are cheap and easy to make with a little bit of work and planning.  You can always buy one, but much less fun than doing it yourself.  We have provided some DIY videos if you would like to start growing your food year round.

PVC greenhouse in a day DIY

Easy way to build PVC greenhouse DIY

DIY Greenhouse PVC Hoop House

Raised beds

Starting and finishing a raised bed garden can be tedious and cost a lot of money.  However, they can be done cheap and effectively with the proper planning.  Check out some of these videos and build your own.

 

Raised Bed Gardening - How To Start A Raised Bed Vegetable Garden.

Creating a Raised Bed Garden Using Pallet Wood - 100% Free!

Raised Bed Gardening For Beginners.

 

Mound gardening

Mound gardens can be used to save space, grow root vegatables, or create a small ecosystem without irrigation or fertilization.  Mound gardens have been used for quite a while; in Germany they are called hugelkultur mounds and there are variations called banana mounds in other places.  In Africa they have a  variation called keyhole gardens.

Making a Hugelkultur garden bed

Backyard Hugelkultur Beds To Grow Food And Sequester Carbon.

Keyhole Garden - How to make an African style raised bed.

 

Straw Bales

Straw bale gardening: is a simply a different type of container gardening.  The main difference is that the container is actually the straw bale itself, held together with two or three strings, the outside crust of the bale serves as the container.  Once the straw inside the bale begins to decompose, the straw becomes "conditioned" and ready to plant.

This type of gardening is best for outdoors; unless you have a rather large greenhouse.  They are good option if you have poor soil or don't want to till your land.  If straw bales are more abundant where you live than plastic containers, this is a great option.  Also, straw bales can be a much cheaper option than buying large containers.  If you have some time or some hay bales laying around, this is definitely worth a try.

 

 

Straw Bale Gardening: Start to Finish

My straw bale garden

How to Condition and Plant a Straw Bale

Air Pruning

Double digging

 

Double Digging- How to double dig

 

How to make a double dig vegetable bed.

How to double dig a garden.

Compost & Fertilizer?

 

Compost

Composting is a simple way to add nutrient-rich humus which fuels plant growth and restores vitality to depleted soil. It's also free, easy to make and good for the environment.

Composting Benefits:

Soil conditioner: With compost, you are creating rich humus for lawn and garden. This adds nutrients to your plants and helps retain moisture in the soil.

Recycles kitchen and yard waste: Composting can divert as much as 30% of household waste away from the garbage can.

Introduces beneficial organisms to the soil: Microscopic organisms in compost help aerate the soil, break down organic material for plant use and ward off plant disease.

Good for the environment: Composting offers a natural alternative to chemical fertilizers.

Reduces landfill waste: Most landfills in North America are quickly filling up; many have already closed down. One-third of landfill waste is made up of compostable materials.

 

There are several types of composting.  They are:

Composting Basics

Onsite Composting

Vermicomposting

Aerated (Turned) Windrow Composting

Aerated Static Pile Composting

In-Vessel Composting

We wont cover  ll the different ways to compost, but we wanted to show you all of  the options in case one or more of them do not work for you.  A lot of how you compost will depend on how much time you can give to your composting project(s).

A lot of people talk about what you can can’t compost.  You will see industrial composting operations using huge thermometers and heavy equipment.  Some will say not to compost meat or newspaper.  We will just point you to the book ‘Compost Everything’ by David the Good.

How to Compost

  1. Start your compost pile on bare earth. This allows worms and other beneficial organisms to aerate the compost and be transported to your garden beds.
  2. Lay twigs or straw first, a few inches deep. This aids drainage and helps aerate the pile.
  3. Add compost materials in layers, alternating moist and dry. Moist ingredients are food scraps, tea bags, seaweed, etc. Dry materials are straw, leaves, sawdust pellets and wood ashes. If you have wood ashes, sprinkle in thin layers, or they will clump together and be slow to break down.
  4. Add manure, green manure ( clover, buckwheat, wheatgrass, grass clippings) or any nitrogen source. This activates the compost pile and speeds the process along.
  5. Keep compost moist. Water occasionally, or let rain do the job.
  6. Cover with anything you have - wood, plastic sheeting, carpet scraps. Covering helps retain moisture and heat, two essentials for compost. Covering also prevents the compost from being over-watered by rain. The compost should be moist, but not soaked and sodden.
  7. Turn. Every few weeks give the pile a quick turn with a pitchfork or shovel. This aerates the pile. Oxygen is required for the process to work, and turning "adds" oxygen. You can skip this step if you have a ready supply of coarse material, like straw.

Once your compost pile is established, add new materials by mixing them in, rather than by adding them in layers. Mixing, or turning, the compost pile is key to aerating the composting materials and speeding the process to completion.

Note: If you want to buy a composter, rather than build your own compost pile, you may consider a buying a rotating compost tumbler which makes it easy to mix the compost regularly.

 

Carbon/Nitrogen Ratio

All compostable materials are either carbon or nitrogen-based, to varying degrees. The secret to a healthy compost pile is to maintain a working balance between these two elements.

  Carbon - carbon-rich matter (like branches, stems, dried leaves, peels, bits of wood, bark dust or sawdust pellets, shredded brown paper bags, corn stalks, coffee filters, conifer needles, egg shells, straw, peat moss, wood ash) gives compost its light, fluffy body.

 

Nitrogen - nitrogen or protein-rich matter (manures, food scraps, green lawn clippings and green leaves) provides raw materials for making enzymes.

A healthy compost pile should have much more carbon than nitrogen. A simple rule of thumb is to use one-third green and two-thirds brown materials. The bulkiness of the brown materials allows oxygen to penetrate and nourish the organisms that reside there. Too much nitrogen makes for a dense, smelly, slowly decomposing anaerobic mass. Good composting hygiene means covering fresh nitrogen-rich material, which can release odors if exposed to open air, with carbon-rich material, which often exudes a fresh, wonderful smell. If in doubt, add more carbon.

 

Make This Super Easy Compost Bin

 

DIY Rotating Compost Bin

How To Start and Make a Hot Compost Heap

 

Composting 101

Fertilizer

Fertilizers come in two basic types: organic and synthetic. Organic fertilizers are made from natural, organic (living) materials, such as peat moss, bone, seaweed, composted plant materials, and animal manure. Synthetic or inorganic fertilizers are manufactured chemically or produced from rocks and minerals.

Plants need six basic nutrients to survive and thrive: carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. The first three — carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen — can be obtained from the air and water.

Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, however, usually come from the soil. Not all soil is rich in these nutrients, though. If your plants are going to grow like you want them to, then you're probably going to need to supply those nutrients by adding fertilizer.

Organic and synthetic fertilizers differ in more ways than just their composition. Synthetic fertilizers dissolve in water and can be used by plants immediately. They help plants to get off to a quick start, but they don't usually do much to improve overall soil health in the long run.

Organic fertilizers, on the other hand, don't break down quickly. Since it can take months to release nutrients, organic fertilizers are often applied in the fall so nutrients will be available by spring. Although it takes them longer to provide nutrients, organic fertilizers tend to improve soil structure and provide benefits that can last for multiple growing seasons.

Many farmers and gardeners choose to use a combination of organic and synthetic fertilizers over the course of a typical growing season. Farmers, in particular, often have a lot of one type of fertilizer on hand: Manure.

Manure is simply the waste products of animals that have been composted to remove any pathogens and break it down for quicker uptake by plants. Uncomposted manures must be used with caution, as they take longer to break down and may contain weed seeds or disease that can be passed into your landscape.

Herbivorous animal manure manure can sometimes be put directly onto the crop.  Some will also require that you compost it to an extent.  Rabbit and sheep manure can be used directly.  Cow, horse, goat, and other herbivorous manures may need to be composted.

Carnivorous animals must be composted because they can burn your plants.  Humanure and dog manure for example should be composted for two years before they can be used.  Check out the EverGreenCoin Renewables page to learn more about humanure and methane digesters.

Some of the best sources of manure comes from guano, worm castings, fish, and snake manure.  Most of these can be purchased, but worm castings can be done yourself if you have the time.

EZ How To Make a FREE Worm Factory

Pesticides

A pesticide is any substance or mixture of substances used to destroy, suppress or alter the life cycle of any pest. A pesticide can be a naturally derived or synthetically produced substance. A pesticide can also be an organism, for example, the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis which is used to control a number of insect pests, or even a genetically modified crop.

Pesticides include bactericides, baits, fungicides, herbicides, insecticides, lures, rodenticides and repellents. They are used in commercial, domestic, urban and rural environments.

What are some of the different types of pesticides?

Some families or groups of chemical products which are considered pesticides are:

Bactericides - These destroy, suppress or prevent the spread of bacteria. Examples are swimming pool chemicals containing chlorine, and products used to control black spot (bacterial blight) on garden plants or in orchards. Household disinfectants and some industrial disinfectants are excluded and not considered pesticides.

Baits - These may be 'ready to use' products or products which need to be mixed with a food to control a pest. This category includes baits prepared for the control of large animals, such as foxes, wild dogs and rabbits, and baits for insects (such as cockroaches and ants) and molluscs (snail and slug pellets).

Fungicides - These control, destroy, make harmless or regulate the effect of a fungus. Examples include chemicals used to treat Grey mold on grape vines and fruit trees, or Downy Mildew on cucumbers.

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) - Agricultural crops can be genetically modified to make them more resistant to pests and diseases, or tolerant to certain herbicides. For example, a gene from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis can be incorporated into cotton to provide protection against the larval stages of the cotton bollworm and native bollworm.

Herbicides - These destroy, suppress or prevent the spread of a weed or other unwanted vegetation, for example, the herbicide glyphosate is used to control a range of weeds in home gardens, bushland and agricultural situations.

Insecticides - These destroy, suppress, stupefy, inhibit the feeding of, or prevent infestations or attacks by, an insect. Insecticides are used to control a wide variety of insect pests, including thrips, aphids, moths, fruit flies and locusts. Pesticides include products used on animals to control external parasites if they require dilution or mixing with water. Products applied directly to animals without dilution, injections or other medicines administered internally to treat animals are veterinary medicines and are regulated.

Lures - These are chemicals that attract a pest to a pesticide for the purpose of its destruction. Solely food-based lures, for example cheese in a mousetrap, are excluded and are not considered pesticides.

Rodenticides - These are chemicals used specifically for controlling rodents such as mice and rats.

Repellents - These repel rather than destroy a pest. Included in this category are personal insect repellents used to repel biting insects.

A number of living organisms that can control pests have also been registered as pesticides. Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease, for example, has been used to control rabbit numbers; and bacteria that act as biological insecticides have been used to control various insect larvae, such as moths and mosquitoes.

 

GMO's

Let's remember that GMO's are classified as pesticides; so why would we want to eat them?  GMO's are not the same as plants that have been selectively bred either.  By definition, when you eat a GMO, you may be partaking in cannibalism.  Let that sink in.

 

Are GMO's safe? Most developed nations do not consider GMO’s to be safe and have significant restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMO’s. The U.S. and Canadian governments, though, have approved GMO’s based on studies conducted by the same corporations that created them and profit from their sale.
How do GMO's affect farmers?
Because GMO’s are novel life forms, biotechnology companies have been able to obtain patents with which to restrict their use. As a result, the companies that make GMO’s now have the power to sue farmers whose fields are contaminated with GMO’s, even when it is the result of inevitable drift from neighboring fields. GMO’s therefore pose a serious threat to farmer sovereignty and to the national food security of any country where they are grown, including the United States and Canada.
What are the impacts of GMO's on the environment?More than 80% of all GMO’s grown worldwide are engineered for herbicide tolerance. As a result, use of toxic herbicides like Roundup has increased 16 times since GMO’s were introduced. GM crops are also responsible for the emergence of herbicide resistant “super weeds” and “super bugs,” which can only be killed with more toxic poisons like 2,4-D (a major ingredient in Agent Orange). GMO’s are a direct extension of chemical agriculture and are developed and sold by the world’s biggest chemical companies. The long-term impacts of GMO’s are unknown, and once released into the environment, these novel organisms cannot be recalled.

 

There is a lot of information out there about the adverse effects of GMO’s.  The question is, are there safe alternatives to GMO’s and deadly pesticides?  Yes there are.  Companion planting is a good way to keep pests down and you can also make your own natural or safe pesticides.

Companion Planting

Companion planting is the close planting of different plants that enhance each others growth or protect each other from pests.

Scientifically speaking, companion planting embraces a number of strategies that increase the biodiversity of agricultural ecosystems (or what I typically call a garden). In layman’s terms, though, it is just about two plants helping each other out somehow.

While companion planting has a long history, the mechanisms of beneficial plant interaction have not always been well understood. In most cases they are formed out of oral tradition, family secrets, and front porch recommendations. Despite historical observation and horticultural science, companion planting is practiced because they are functional methods of planting that allow veggies and herbs to grow at their maximum potential. They keep bugs away. They keep the soil healthy. And they make the food taste better.

For example, Pumpkins work well as a row crop planted in close proximity to sunflowers, also a row crop.  Planting horseradish next to your potatoes will boost disease resistance.  Best tip, grow mint next to your tomatoes to enhance the flavor of your tomatoes.

 

Make your own pesticides

 

Oil spray insecticide

A homemade insecticide made from vegetable oil mixed with a mild soap (such as Dr. Bronners castile soap) can have a devastating effect on certain troublesome insects, such as aphids, mites, thrips, etc. To make a basic oil spray insecticide, mix 1 cup of vegetable oil with 1 tablespoon of soap (cover and shake thoroughly), and then when ready to apply, add 2 teaspoons of the oil spray mix with 1 quart of water, shake thoroughly, and spray directly on the surfaces of the plants which are being affected by the little pests. The oil coats the bodies of the insects, effectively suffocating them, as it blocks the pores through which they breathe.

Soap spray insecticide

A very similar homemade pesticide to the oil spray is a soap spray, which is also effective for controlling mites, aphids, whiteflies, beetles, and other hungry little insects. To make a basic soap spray insecticide, mix 1 1/2 teaspoons of a mild liquid soap (such as castile soap) with 1 quart of water, and spray the mixture directly on the infected surfaces of the plants. A soap spray insecticide works in a similar fashion as an oil spray pesticide, and can be applied as necessary (though it is always recommended to NOT apply it during the hot sunny part of the day, but rather in the evenings or early mornings).

Neem oil insecticide

An oil extracted from the seeds of the neem tree is a powerful natural insecticide, capable of disrupting the life cycle of insects at all stages (adult, larvae, and egg), making it a great resource for the organic gardener. Neem oil acts as a hormone disruptor and as an "antifeedant" for insects that feed on leaves and other plant parts. Neem oil is biodegradable and is nontoxic to pets, birds, fish, and other wildlife, and is effective against a variety of common garden insect pests, as well as being a natural fungicide that can combat powdery mildew and other fungal infections on plants. It can be found at many garden stores or natural foods markets. To use neem oil as an insecticide, either follow the instructions on the bottle, or start out with a basic mixture of 2 teaspoons neem oil and 1 teaspoon of mild liquid soap shaken thoroughly with 1 quart of water, and then sprayed on the affected plant foliage. Neem oil can also be used preventatively by spraying the leaves of plants that are often ravaged by pests, before they're actually infested.

Garlic insecticide spray

Garlic is well-known for its pungent aroma, which is delectable to some and yet repellent to others, and it is this strong scent that comes into play when used as a natural insecticide. Actually, it's not really clear if garlic spray and chile spray (below) are actually insecticides or are more likely insect repellents, but either way, these common kitchen ingredients can be used to knock down, or even knock out, insect infestations in the garden. To make a basic garlic spray, take 2 whole bulbs (not just 2 cloves) and puree them in a blender or food processor with a small amount of water. quart of water. Let the mixture sit overnight, then strain it into a quart jar, adding 1/2 cup of vegetable oil (optional), 1 teaspoon of mild liquid soap, and enough water to fill the jar. To use this homemade insecticide, use 1 cup of mixture with 1 quart of water and spray liberally on infested plants.

Chile pepper insecticide spray

Similar to garlic spray, chile pepper spray is a great homemade natural insect repellent that can be used for a variety of different pests. Chile spray can be made from either fresh hot peppers or chile pepper powder. To make a basic chile spray from pepper powder, mix 1 tablespoon of chile powder with 1 quart of water and several drops of mild liquid soap. This mixture can be used full-strength on the leaves of affected plants. To make chile spray from fresh chile peppers, blend or puree 1/2 cup of peppers with 1 cup of water, then add 1 quart of water and bring to a boil. Let sit until cooled, then strain out the chile material, add several drops of liquid soap to it and spray as desired. [Caution: Hot chile peppers can be very potent on humans as well, so be sure to wear gloves when handling them, and keep any sprays made from them away from eyes, nose, and mouth.]

All-in-one homemade insecticide spray

From the folks at Rodale's Organic Life comes this all-in-one DIY natural insecticide, which is said to be a combination of many different recipes submitted by readers. To make it, puree 1 bulb of garlic and 1 small onion, add 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper powder and let steep for an hour. Strain the mixture and add 1 tablespoon of liquid soap and mix well. To apply this homemade insecticide, spray it full-strength onto both the upper surface of the leaves, as well as the undersides, and store the remainder in the refrigerator for up to a week if desired.

Tomato leaf as a natural insecticide

Tomato plants are part of the nightshade family, and as such, contain alkaloids such as the aptly named "tomatine," which can effectively control aphids and other insects. To make tomato leaf spray for a natural insecticide, chop 2 cups of fresh tomato leaves (which can be taken from the bottom part of the plant) into 1 quart of water, and let steep overnight. Strain out the plant material and spray onto plant foliage.

Making a start

Getting started is sometimes the hardest part about starting a new endeavor.  This can attributed to lack of knowledge, implementation, or confusion.  There is nothing to worry about when you start a garden; whether you go big or small.  If something doesn’t work out this season, you can always try a different method next season.  The biggest problem for most people is not getting started at all.  If you never sow anything, you will never reap anything.  Here are a few way to start the plants in your garden.

From seed

Most plants are started directly from the seed every season.  Some seeds need to be stratified before they start growing.  When buying seeds make sure you research when and how the seeds should be planted.  Some seeds like licorice root needs full light to start growing.  Growing directly in the soil or in a rockwool cube will also depend on your plant.  Just make sure you do some research so you don’t waste your time or money.

Tubers

Tubers like potatoes and yams can be planted from seed, but there are faster ways to start them.

Yams have a unique way of starting if you don’t grow them from seed.  Yams, when propagated start growing little branches called slips out of them.  When your slips are big enough, you can break them off and then plant them directly from soil.

How To Grow Sweet Potato Slips: Getting Started.

Growing Sweet Potato Slips for Containers & Beds.

Potatoes can be planted from seed also, but is faster to grow them from eyes.  Remember the little green nubs that grew on the old potatoes in the pantry?  Those little green nubs are called eyes and that’s where your new potatoes come from.

Growing potatoes at home is easy.

Enormous harvest of Container Grown Potatoes.

Regeneration

Did you now some plants have the ability to regenerate? When you cut the ends off of carrots or beets you can plant those directly into the soil.  When you cut the ends off of green onions you can replant those and have green onions forever.  Collard trees are cut and placed directly into the ground also.  You also don’t have to dig up your lettuce every time you harvest.  You can actually cut lettuce at the base and it will come back up in a week or so.  The process of putting a mature plant into the ground for growth or regeneration is called propagation or cloning.

Propagation & Cloning

There are two types of propagation: sexual and asexual.

Sexual Propagation

Sexual propagation involves the union of the pollen (male) with the egg (female) to produce a seed. The seed is made up of three parts: the outer seed coat, which protects the seed; the endosperm, which is a food reserve; and the embryo, which is the young plant itself. When a seed is mature and put in a favorable environment, it will germinate (begin active growth). In the following section, seed germination and transplanting of seeds will be discussed.

Asexual Propagation

Asexual propagation, as mentioned earlier, is the best way to maintain some species, particularly an individual that best represents that species. Clones are groups of plants that are identical to their one parent and that can only be propagated asexually. The Bartlett pear (1770) and the Delicious apple (1870) are two examples of clones that have been asexually propagated for many years.

The major methods of asexual propagation are cuttings, layering, division, budding and grafting. Cuttings involve rooting a severed piece of the parent plant; layering involves rooting a part of the parent and then severing it; and budding and grafting is joining two plant parts from different varieties.

Food Preservation

There are many reasons to produce and preserve your own food.  You can trade or sell your food which makes your food like currency.  Preserving your own food saves you the costs of going to the grocery stores.  IN the event of a disaster or if you want to take food camping, you never have to worry.

There are many different types of ways to preserve your food; weather it be vegetables, meat, butter, oils, etc.  The most common types of food preservation are canning, dehydrating, freezing, and smoking.

Below are the different types and methods of food preservation.  We have DIY videos on how to do all oft his yourself.  If you think we've missed something, please let us know.

Canning

Canning is a method of preserving food in which the food contents are processed and sealed in an airtight container. Canning provides a shelf life typically ranging from one to five years, although under specific circumstances it can be much longer.

There are two types of canning that most people use, which are, pressure canning and water bath canning.  Some people are afraid of canning, but there have been many advancements since the old days and is no longer an issue.  The type of canning you do will be determine on what you're canning.

Water Bath Canning

High-acid-foods are easy to preserve, foods containing high amounts of acid are a popular choice for fresh preservers. These foods provide you with the opportunity to prepare and enjoy a wide array of home canning recipes, from excellent side dishes to delectable desserts. High-acid foods include fruits, fruit juices, jams, jellies and other fruit spreads, salsas, tomatoes with added acid, pickles, relishes, chutneys, sauces, vinegar's, and condiments.

Water Bath Canning 101.

 

How to water bath can.

 

Secrets of hot water bath canning

 

Pressure Canning

Pressure canning is for low acid foods. This includes any meat, vegetables, and dry beans.

 

How to use a  pressure canner.

 

How to can different meats with a pressure canner.

 

Canning Chili.

Preserving food using a  pressure canner.

Dehydrating

Dehydrating food for storage.

 

 

Dehydrating Food for Backpacking or Canoeing - Beef, Chicken, and Jerky.

Dehydrating with the sun

 

DIY Solar food dehydrator

Freezing

 

Freezer cooking 101.

 

How to freeze food properly.

Pickling

Pickling: is the process of preserving or expanding the lifespan of food by either anaerobic fermentation in brine or immersion in vinegar.  This method can be used for vegetables, eggs, and meat.

 

How to pickle vegetables.

 

Quick Pickles.

 

A 240 year old recipe for pickling eggs.

 

How To Make Pickled Eggs Tavern / Bar / Pub Style.

Fermenting

Fermentation in food processing is the process of converting carbohydrates to alcohol or organic acids using microorganisms(yeasts or bacteria) under anaerobic conditions. Fermentation usually implies that the action of microorganisms is desired. The science of fermentation is known as zymology or zymurgy.

 

What is fermentation?

 

Easy Peasy Fermenting Foods. Lets Ferment Dill Pickles. Sauerkraut, Tomatoes And More!

How To - Fermented Hot Sauce Recipe.

How to make Sauerkraut in a Harsch crock.

Smoking

 

Smoking meat.

 

Salting, Curing and Smoking your own meat.

Cold smoking fish.

 

Build a smokehouse.


Plant Medicine

Plant medicines have been used throughout human history by every culture.  It has only been since the last century that we gave up on plants and went to a pill.  Medicinal plants can be used in a variety of different ways for a desired effect.  Herbs can be used as teas, tinctures, rubs, oils, inhalants, etc.

Plant medicines have been used for physical, psychological, and spiritual remedies further back than written history.  Even Otzi the Iceman had an herbal remedy kit.  Read about it HERE.

This isn't to suggest that humans haven't made great strides in medicine int he last century.  However, maybe we should try plants, before having our friends and family drink a glass of radiation.

There are plants and herbs that can assist with just about everything.  Aspirin originally came from the bark of a willow tree.  From colds to cancer and relaxation to energy there is probably a plant that can help you.  Instead of taking a pill full of chemicals next time you have a cold, perhaps you can try thyme or mullein tea.

There are many books and online publications on this subject that describe plants and their uses.  If you don't own an herbal medicine book you can certainly find what you're looking for on the internet.

Herbal Medicine Chart.

 

The Power Of Herbs - Herbal Medicine Documentary

 

Top 15 Most Powerful Medicinal Plants

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