Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - No Till Gardening

Welcome to Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW)!

Wondering how to live greener? You've come to the right place. Each week we challenge ourselves to try a new task ... or "amp up" something we're already doing. We raise our awareness, learn from each other and develop Eco-friendly skills which will improve our lives and protect our planet. Doing so together gives us power ... the power to Change The World!

If this is your first visit, please click HERE for information and a complete list of all the challenges we've taken on so far.

This post contains great information and I encourage you to read through it at your leisure ... however, if you are short on time, you might find the following quick links helpful:

Last week our challenge asked us to prevent soil erosion by adding mulch and ground cover to our gardens. My home is surrounded by deciduous trees so we have a good supply of leaves which we use to mulch our garden. We also planted ground cover to further hold our soil in place. I was particularly fascinated by the number of perennial plants which are edible. Thyme, strawberries, mint, and American cranberries are just a few of the many, delicious ground covers available.

The Honor Society are those people who help us spread the "green" word by writing an article about our challenges and/or leaving pertinent comments.

Marla had some great ideas for us: "We have a lot steep banks that I we have slowly been planted ground cover on. We have planted ivy which is great because it is very tolerate to temperatures and pest resistance but it does grow fast so you have to keep it trimmed. I do love it though - it looks really nice. We also have planted Juniper (which is an evergreen) that makes a great ground cover. Phlox is another great choice that blooms with a glory of beautiful bright colors ranging from different shades of pink, lavender to white. It is absolutely gorgeous in the springtime. Ours should soon be blooming very soon. It spreads each year. I also have use butterfly bushes to help with erosion and they are always a pleasure with the lovely butterflies they attract. They come up every year more beautiful than before. I have recently discovered perennial geraniums that spread quite quickly and just transplanted some to another one of our banks. They also bloom throughout most of the summer into early fall and are very hearty. I have used daylilies too and I love the many beautiful colors and sizes of this striking and weather resistance flowers. They are easy to transplant and I just planted about 5 new petite size bulbs last week for ground cover. They get bigger and have more blooms every year. We also have used stepping stones and small gardening ornamental stones to fill in in small areas that stops erosion and looks very attractive. We have just added some old bricks to some areas last summer to hold the soil and arrange them in different shapes and forms. There are so many great ways to help erosion while beautifying your home. Just use a little imagination and work. It will pay off so that we don't lose valuable soil. It has worked for me."

Alicia accepted the challenge and shared this: "We use mulch which also helps in keeping the soil more moist which really comes in handy especially during drier times in the Summer. We also like planting things like turnip greens in the Fall. It is a great ground cover and you have food also! Alan also edges our gardens which helps keep the soil from eroding. I always love the challenge of not eating meat. It really is easy to do and can help so much. Just imagine if we would all just not eat meat even once a week what a HUGE difference it would make!!"

cstocks is way ahead of us: "I'm almost done applying mulch! Last year I mulched all of our fruit trees and in August a flood washed it all away. It ended up in neighbors yards, so hopefully it was not a total lost cause. So... try as I might again this year. I mulched all of the fruit trees PLUS some more areas that have not before--a new grape arbor and a kitchen herb garden (sing along now: parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme!) plus some areas that had been grass, which we want to turn into garden areas. I read (somewhere) that shredded newspaper covered with sheets of corrugated paper act to suppress weeds, so I suppose that constitutes a mulch. We put that down in the paths in the vegetable garden and it will eventually break down. We have quite a bit from a recent move and keeping it out of landfill (though we would recycle it, it's a 20-mile trip to the transfer less gallon of gas to put in the car). We're acutely aware of preserving our water resources; no part of our yard gets water unless it's for creating food. Mulch helps to retain necessary moisture (especially in summer with single digit humidity). Since I was doing it anyway, it's not fair to accept this challenge, so, I'll have to go meatless!"

Charlotte joined us and said: "Ground cover and mulch - interesting challenge!"

Did you know that some commercial mulches contain artificial dyes? That's just one of the interesting facts included in Mulch now to rescue your gardens by Vicality!

Our Twitter friends joined the conversation and shared the following:

From @WorldChangingMe
- Mulched the raspberries! #ctww

From @rose_rambles
- I plan to plant this native Australian violet as ground cover in place of grass - for this week's #CTWW challenge.

The #CTWW Gang are those folks who tweet our challenges using the hashtag #CTWW. If you're a Twitter member, I recommend following them ... they share great things. Let's meet them:

@2kidsandacoupon @arithatcher @beatepdx
@bestrawesome @brokeblokeblogs @collegegogreen
@debsmikdav1 @dehelen @dominiquegoh
@ecofairiesclean @efoodpyramid @familyfocusblog
@freshcleanersaz @ginavalley @givelocal15
@grandmasdiaries @greektitan_mov @greengympenge
@greenqueenofmod @gronavra @groovygreenlivi
@herbgir1972 @ifarmlight @islayhijk
@jen_fontaine @kaitlingarder @kayelleallen
@krmbalclothing @laalicia @ladyjcmuses
@leslieveg @letgogracefully @littlewing_13
@london_020 @marjoriemcatee @martha_bourke
@mdgblogger @memorialgrdnscg @mimibarbour
@momfindsout @mommyhiker @motheremu
@myzerowaste @mzazeela @nolafusion
@nomadictexan @organicgpodcast @outdoorfammag
@rckweddings @realityarts @rose_rambles
@rosehipsmedlars @rulesofgreen @shoppingcharity
@shopwhatpops @signsbyrhonda @spafloating
@spookymrsgreen @sustyq @tcvgreengym
@tgilbt @thefreckledrose @theworld4realz
@ticlme @treesgroup @turningclockbac
@wary12 @wellminded @williambllp
@wimpyvegetarian @worldchangingme

My Final Thoughts:

We've been working, all month, to protect our soil. Mulching and ground covers are two easy ways to do that. Considering the important roll which soil plays in food production, it only seems to make sense that we treat this amazing resource with respect and care. To any doubters "out there", I say ... just take a look back in history, to the 1930s and the "dust bowl". Taking the soil for granted caused people to lose their homes and struggle to feed their families. Food production, throughout the entire country, was negatively affected. It all could have been prevented! Let's learn from their mistakes and never repeat them!

Thanks, everyone! If you wrote an article, I Stumbled, Tweeted, Facebooked and posted it on Google +. You can help spread the "green" word by using the share features located below this post.

This Week's Challenge:

April's theme is: 2015 Year of the Soil

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - No Till Gardening
Tilling the soil fatally buries
beneficial organisms

Tilling damages and exposes earthworms.

It also releases CO2 into the air and destroys soil structure.

Here's your challenge ...

This week, consider using the "no till" method of gardening. Basically, avoid inverting the soil and tread lightly, or not at all, on your planting area. Some ideas to try include raised vegetable gardens, "lasagna" gardening, straw bale gardening, and square foot gardening. If you have a new garden area, start with the double-dig method followed by the addition of soil amendments such as compost. The idea, this week, is to disturb the soil as little as possible when planting.

OR ...

Not into gardening? There are still actions which you can take to help the soil. Since large commercial farms (the guys who provide produce to most grocery store chains) are more likely to till, support local, organic farmers this week. Buy veggies from a farmer's market or a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm. Consider preserves (jams, canned foods, etc.) which were made locally using local foods.

Are you ready to hang a "do not disturb" sign on the soil? I know that you are!

Until next time ...