Grow your own Food | May 2023
In preparation for my April seminar, which fell on Earth Day weekend, I spent a lot of time researching environmental issues, and honestly, it made for a pretty depressing month.
Eco-friendly has become a cliché term, but the more you learn, the more you’ll discover the importance of all of us stepping up to be a little more responsible for our actions. Our wasteful habits are really messing up our planet.
Every product we buy exists because of the long and polluted process it takes to mine the materials, manufacture it, package it up and get it to us only to end up in a landfill or an incinerator so it can turn into harmful chemicals that leach into our air, water and soil.
Luckily, if we all make small changes in our daily lives, like using less stuff, we will make a dramatic difference in the overall quality of our planet and our health.
What can we do?
Be more conscious of our consumption habits and reduce our reliance on products and material possessions. Not only will it improve your finances, but also decreases the amount of chemicals that we expose to our bodies, then ultimately send down the drain into our water supply.
use less everyday products. By gradually decreasing the amount of toothpaste, shampoo, soap, lights, and water we use on a daily basis, the overall reduction will be significant over time.
use eco-friendly products. Choose products that are made from sustainable materials, use less packaging, and are free from harmful chemicals.
responsible landscaping. Soil is a filter that prevents harmful chemicals and pollutants from entering our waterways and drinking supply. By utilizing our yards properly, we can each play a part in purifying our community!
plant trees. Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and provide habitat for wildlife.
educate others. Share this knowledge to spread awareness and encourage others to make sustainable choices so we can create change on a massive level.
In Brevard County, the consequences of poor soil management are particularly dire because our Lagoon, rivers, streams and oceans rely on the land as a natural filter.
When pollutants enter healthy soil, they are broken down by microorganisms into less harmful substances through a process called bioremediation.
But, poor, degraded soil doesn’t contain as many microbes (if any) or soil aggregates to hold the soil together so it runs off into the waterways, taking the pollution with it. And! As the soil runs off into the water, it exacerbates issues such as storm surge and erosion which is causing Florida’s coastal communities to collapse into the ocean.
If we don’t take action to protect our soil, we risk losing a lot.
Are we doomed?
Is there a way to fix what we have already damaged? Yes! And the solution is fantastic – grow a garden!!
We can each utilize our little plots of land on this Earth to improve the soil. And, since healthy soil yields healthy plants, it will be so much easier to grow your own food making you less reliant on the destructive process of buying it.
Gardening for soil health
So, for the rest of summer, it’s all about the soil!
Summer’s warm weather is the greatest time to focus on building up the soil. The high temperatures and increased rainfall speed up the decomposition process, which is great for improving soil, but, the heat and moisture also provide an environment where pests and disease thrive, making it harder to grow vegetables.
Bioremediation is the use of microorganisms to break down or remove pollutants from the environment.
Where do the pollutants come from? As rainwater falls through the atmosphere, it picks up pollutants such as dust, dirt, chemicals, and other airborne particles. Additionally, rainwater can become contaminated as it runs off surfaces such as roofs, roads, and parking lots, picking up pollutants such as oil, pesticides, and fertilizers.
So, although I will grow a few veggies throughout the summer, like sweet potatoes, beans and everglades tomatoes, I’ll spend most my time growing soil and microbes by feeding organic matter, compost and cover crops to my garden beds, to set my fall garden up for success.
I’m also spending this time building up grow bags into perfect habitats for microorganisms. I’ve been adding organic materials like compost, shredded leaves, grass clippings and cover crops.
I’ve also been adding MicrobeBrew as well as microbes from around my property. By the end of summer, I’ll have grow bags full of nutrient-rich soil that I can plant in, and use the soil around my garden.
To get a closer look at the results, I’m working with Amanda Rose at Microbialabs to analyze the soil samples under her microscope so we can really see whats growing on in there.
If you’re interested in learning more about the process, what I have learned about building up soil and what you should be doing this summer to set yourself up for successful fall garden, join me for this month’s seminar – Summer Grow Bag Gardening.
starting a new…
It has been a bit stressful around here this last month. During the drought my pond pump (aka my water source) broke, the chickens and puppy kept getting into the grow bags, I had to replace my AC unit, water heater and completely re-haul my car…and well, I quickly realized the whole “getting a puppy thing” was a terrible idea! So, it ended up just being a fun foster experience, and we found her an awesome home. I’m happy for her, and I’m glad to have my life back.
So, I’m excited to start fresh this month from the ground up, literally. I’m chopping everything down, collecting biomass and mulching the soil so I can focus on having the best fall gardening season ever!!
Have a great month all and see you in June.