Taking Care of Earth

How to be a good caretaker of Mother Earth

A.  Follow the Three Rs: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle:

  1. Recycle everything you can!
  2. Buy only what you need, avoid use-once and throw-away products
  3. Buy from environmentally conscience companies

In 50 years plastic use has doubled worldwide. Reports show that 8.3 billion tons of plastic has been manufactured since 1950. Currently only 9% of plastic is recycled, 12% is burned, leaving 79% in landfills and in the environment. 73% of beach litter is plastic, and according to the United Nations, ingested plastic kills an estimated 1 million marine birds and 100,000 marine animals each year.

B. How to reduce plastic use:

  1. Don’t use plastic straws, buy a reusable metal straw.
  2. Don’t buy or use Styrofoam cups or packing materials
  3. Carry reusable refillable cup
  4. Buy glass containers for food storage
  5. E-cycle computers, monitors, keyboards, and other electronics
  6. Keep your cell phone for years, instead of buying the newest greatest model.

C. How to conserve water and energy resources:

  1. Monitor your thermostat at home to save money and resources
  2. Turn off water while brushing your teeth
  3. Catch shower water to water plants
  4. Fill you sink with water to wash dishes; don’t just let it run down the drain
  5. Load dishwashers and washing machines to capacity before washing
  6. Car pool, ride your bike and walk more

D. How to preserve wildlife:

  1. Avoid using chemicals in your house and your garden, even the smallest insect has worth and chemicals kill vital pollinators
  2. Do not disturb wild animals or birds. Leave nesting sites, eggs, dens and animal babies alone.
  3. Protect all fish, retrieve fishing hooks and fishing lines
  4. Leave wild animals in the wild and don’t buy pets taken illegally from the wild
  5. Protect plants by not picking wildflowers or trampling vegetation
  6. Respect wild trees, avoid chopping tree bark or cutting trees

E.  Be aware of pollutants:

  1. Keep rivers, lakes and waterways clean, remove all bottles, plastic and other pollutants
  2. Toss trash in trash cans, don’t throw any trash on the ground anywhere
  3. In natural area pack out your trash and dispose of properly
  4. Dispose hazardous materials properly. Call your local Fire or Police Department to find out how.

If we all do it,  then little steps can make a huge difference!

Submitted by: Carlotta Lucas

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The Beauty of Leaf Mold

Instead of carting off your tree leaves to the landfill, or recycling them in a yard debris bin, why not improve your soil by making leaf mold?  Leaf mold is made from decayed tree leaves;  it’s easy to make, it’s free and it improves your soil!leaf mold bin

How Leaf mold helps:

  1. Adds trace minerals to the soil
  2. Reduces rainwater runoff, and evaporation
  3. Retains moisture. Leaf mold hold 50% of it’s own weight in water
  4. Loosens compacted soils
  5. Cools roots and foliage during hot weather
  6. Improves habitat for soil dwellers, such as earthworms & beneficial bacteria
  7. As mulch it helps control weeds
  8. Saves you money by using less fertilizer and less water

Methods:

Build a 3-4 foot tall wire-fence enclosure, fill it up with leaves, add water, cover with cardboard, mix occasionally if you want to, but it’s not necessary and in two years the leaves break down into a rich brown weed-free mulch.

To speed up the process:  Place your wire bin in a semi-shaded area, shred your leaves, add some nitrogen like grass clippings, coffee grounds, or a 1/2 cup of high nitrogen fertilizer, like urea, then cover leaves with a piece of cardboard.
Note: If you don’t own a leaf shredder, then make a pile of leaves and run over them with your lawnmower several times. You should have leaf mold in 9-12 months.

You can also make leaf mold using large plastic bags. Fill large bags half full with leaves, add two cups of coffee grounds, or a ¼ cup urea fertilizer.  Wet leaves thoroughly.  Tie the top,  poke holes in the sides for lots of air flow.  Stack bags in warm location, shake occasionally to mix. You could have leaf mold as soon as 2 months.

After leaves have decomposed, incorporate your leaf mold directly into the garden soil, and/or mulch around your plants. You can also mix it with potting soil to use in container gardens.

Note: Do not use these Walnut, Eucalyptus, or Camphor Laurel leaves for leaf mold. They contain growth-inhibitors, and are toxic to other plants.

Oak leaves take longer to break down, so it’s best to shred them.

Composting guide:  http://compostguide.com/using-leaves-for-composting/

Step-by-Step Guide to Making Leaf Mold : http://making-mulch-from-leaves

Article by : Carlotta Lucas

Garden of the Month: August 2017

The garden that Jacob Gougé has created around the home he shares with his wife and LR 5-17daughter at 240 N. First St. reflects both his creativity and his respect for living things.  It is the Ashland Garden Club’s Garden of the Month for August.  Over the 17 years they have lived there, Gougé has salvaged and bartered the materials to create terracing in the back, define garden beds, build a fire pit, display interesting artifacts, and more on this small lot.   It was bare dirt when they moved in.  He is very resourceful.

But Jacob has a generous spirit as well that prompts him to offer lilacs to passersby, share cuttings of his many succulents with those who ask, and invite admiring strangers inside the gate to see the whole garden.

IMG_2993Along with two smaller lilacs elsewhere in front, there is a huge lilac bush in the northwest corner of the fenced area.  Many of the branches of this lilac are five or more inches in diameter and have an unusual shredded bark.  This lilac bush is strong enough to support one end of two hammocks!

There are extraordinary ceramic pieces throughout the property, most of them created by Gougé.  He also pursues all manner of artistic expression via painting, sewing, beading,and other media. In addition, Jacob makes interesting planters for succulents out of stones or gnarled wood in which he drills holes to plant materials and for drainage.

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Food crops are concentrated in the back yard, that Jacob calls his “in town farm.”  This garden is 100% organic.  He grows lettuce all year, protecting the yield from the blazing sun at this time of year with a colorful umbrella.  He also grows asparagus, squash, carrots, snap peas, herbs of many varieties, and much more, often in recycled containers. He starts most plants from seeds in a hot box.  The family has three healthy chickens that provide eggs as well as droppings for compost.IMG_3001FullSizeRender 3

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