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Archives for September 8, 2016

Design Intervention: U is for Urn

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Article source: http://lancasteronline.com/features/home_garden/design-intervention-u-is-for-urn/article_20608374-75f7-11e6-baf4-ffe9155cec68.html

Un-Chill Cottage Row Residents Object To Zen Garden Honoring Japanese Americans As ‘Favoritism’


via SF Rec Parks

With its 22 Victorian houses from the 1860s and 70s, the secluded pedestrian side street known as Cottage Row feels as if from another era. So, too, do area residents currently objecting to a proposed 25-foot Zen garden that would honor the history of nearby Japantown and its residents who were sent to internment camps during World War II.

Cottage Row mini-park, located on the Sutter entrance to the pedestrian street was selected for the development of the Zen garden because it’s beautiful and there’s nowhere else to put it. Post-war redevelopment in the Japantown area leveled homes and further displaced Japanese Americans, and it also uprooted trees and demolished all other green spaces.

Cottage Row was spared during redevelopment, an emblem of pre-quake San Francisco. “There’s a lot of history there,” Japanese Cultural and Community Center executive director Paul Osaki tells KPIX 5, explaining that it’s a perfect site for the garden. However, he adds, “There are some that feel that it’s not part of Japantown and so put your garden over in your community.”

Sill, Cottage Row residents object, “digging in their heels” according to KPIX who had the story. Some are even calling the garden an act of “favoritism.”

“The timeliness of this project is imperative,” the Japanese Cultural and Community Center wrote in a press release this July. “Not only is it the 110th anniversary of Japantown this year, but more importantly, the Nisei, or second generation of Japanese Americans, are well into their late eighties and nineties with a substantial percentage of them having already passed away. Being able to dedicate the garden in the place they once lived and played would be of great significance.”

The endeavor is formally called the Issei Commemorative Garden Project, in honor of Issei, or Japanese migrants to North America. It’s designed by the prominent Japanese landscape gardener Shigeru Namba. The Center’s press release speculates that “The garden will also draw locals and tourists alike to the park and become a photo and social media site for Japantown.”

One Cottage Row neighbor who spoke anonymously and off-camera with KPIX 5 says the idea has caused “some tensions.” She assures the news channel that, “the bottom line is we all want the park to look its best,” registering concerns about the garden’s design and its maintenance. “I think it’s important to honor all of the people that have come to make the city great,” she then says. And she means “all” of them, not just one, confiding that “there is this perception that it’s perhaps it’s catering to, or providing a portion of public land to, a specific […] entity, and it may be considered […] favoritism.”

Osaki is wounded by these attitudes, tearfully telling KPIX that now, he senses how “… the earlier generations must have felt.”

Cottage Row was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places in 1991, with the registry’s website noting that “In the 1930s the walkway was popularly called ‘Japan Street,’ because the entire District was inhabited by Japanese-Americans until their internment during World War II. In the tiny rear yards of Cottage Row they grew vegetables, which they offered for public sale at an informal weekly open market held every Saturday along the Row.” Yet one area man, KPIX5 reports, went so far as to create a history website for Cottage Row claiming it was never called “Japan Street.”

Instead of the Zen garden, one neighbor proposes a monument to all cultures that have contributed to San Francisco.

Article source: http://sfist.com/2016/09/08/unchill_cottage_row_neighbors_objec.php

Treasure Valley gardening events includes secrets, fairy gardens

Friday-Saturday, Sept. 9-10

Secrets to Great Gardening in the Treasure Valley: 10 a.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday at Madeline George Garden Design Nursery, 10550 W. Hill Road Parkway, Boise. Free. RSVP to 995-2815 or info@madelinegeorge.com.

Saturday, Sept. 10

Fairy Garden Adult/Child Workshop: 10 a.m. at Idaho Botanical Garden, 2355 N. Penitentiary Road, Boise. Adult/child pairs will work together to create a single fairy-sized outdoor container garden. Elizabeth Dickey, IBG Education Director, will help you plant a container with fairy-scale plants and construct fairy furniture to set the scene. $25 IBG member pair, $30 nonmember pair. Register: 343-8649, idahobotanicalgarden.org.

Monday, Sept. 12

Concrete Leaf Workshop: 6 p.m. at Idaho Botanical Garden, 2355 N. Penitentiary Road, Boise. Create a garden ornament using concrete and a large leaf. Cover your leaf with wet cement on Monday and return to the garden on the next Monday to finish. All materials will be provided to make your own concrete leaf to use as a small birdbath or garden decoration. $20 IBG members, $25 nonmembers. Register: 343-8649, idahobotanicalgarden.org.

Wednesday, Sept. 14

Green Manure and Cover Crops: 6 p.m. at Idaho Botanical Garden, 2355 N. Penitentiary Road, Boise. Join Kevin Laughlin, former U of I Extension Educator, to learn why cover crops and green manures help improve vegetable garden soil, how to choose the best ones for your situation, when and how to plant, and how to convert from cover crop to vegetable bed. $12 IBG members, $17 nonmembers. Register: 343-8649, idahobotanicalgarden.org.

Friday, Sept. 16

University of Idaho Fruit Field Day: 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at U of I Parma Research and Extension Center, 31727 Parma Road. All tours include discussion/questions/answers on various cultural practices of fruit crops, including planting, growth regulators, pruning, thinning, girdling, irrigation, pest and disease control, safety in chemical application, use of chemical and environmental safety. Also, sampling of all varieties of fruit. Free. (208) 722- 6701, ext. 228.

Friday-Saturday, Sept. 16-17

Gardens Bursting with Seasonal Color and Texture: 10 a.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday at Madeline George Garden Design Nursery, 10550 W. Hill Road Parkway, Boise. Free. RSVP to 995-2815 or info@madelinegeorge.com.

Tuesday, Sept. 20

Perennials: 6 p.m. at Idaho Botanical Garden, 2355 N. Penitentiary Road, Boise. Michele Lesica, IBG Horticulture Manager, will take you on a grand tour of the Garden grounds to view and discuss perennial plants well suited for Treasure Valley soils and climate. $15 IBG members, $20 nonmembers. Register: 343-8649, idahobotanicalgarden.org.

Wednesday, Sept. 21

Harvest Food Preservation Class: Jams and Jellies: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the University of Idaho, Ada County Extension, 5880 Glenwood St., Boise. Learn how to make soft spreads, homemade liquid pectin, and how to remake your soft spreads if they did not gel properly. $15. Pre-registration is required. Deadline to register is one week prior to each class. Call 287-5900 or email ada@uidaho.edu.

Friday-Saturday, Sept. 23-24

Extending the Harvest: Fall and Winter Edible Gardening: 10 a.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday at Madeline George Garden Design Nursery, 10550 W. Hill Road Parkway, Boise. Free. RSVP to 995-2815 or info@madelinegeorge.com.

Wednesday, Sept. 28

Landscaping for Wildlife: 6 p.m. at Idaho Botanical Garden, 2355 N. Penitentiary Road, Boise. Explore some simple techniques for increasing the biodiversity of your own backyard. $15 IBG members, $20 nonmembers. Register: 343-8649, idahobotanicalgarden.org.

Harvest Food Preservation Class: Hands-on Pressure Canning: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the University of Idaho, Ada County Extension, 5880 Glenwood St., Boise. Learn about low-acid foods and how to process them using a pressure canner. Information on how to use and care for your pressure canner also provided. $40. Pre-registration is required. Deadline to register is one week prior to each class. Call 287-5900 or email ada@uidaho.edu.

Friday-Saturday, Sept. 30-Oct. 1

Garden Design Meet and Greet: 10 a.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday at Madeline George Garden Design Nursery, 10550 W. Hill Road Parkway, Boise. Meet local designers and chat about your garden. Light refreshments and beverages. Free. RSVP to 995-2815 or info@madelinegeorge.com.

Friday-Saturday, Oct. 7-8

Festival Container Design: 10 a.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday at Madeline George Garden Design Nursery, 10550 W. Hill Road Parkway, Boise. Free. RSVP to 995-2815 or info@madelinegeorge.com.

Friday-Saturday, Oct. 14-15

Essential Garden Maintenance: October through March: 10 a.m. Friday and 11 a.m. Saturday at Madeline George Garden Design Nursery, 10550 W. Hill Road Parkway, Boise. Overview of garden tasks and pruning for winter-loving gardeners. Free. RSVP to 995-2815 or info@madelinegeorge.com.

Tuesday, Oct. 18

Fall Tips for a Healthy and Successful Spring Garden: 6:30 p.m. at Idaho Botanical Garden, 2355 N. Penitentiary Road, Boise. Comprehensive class covers all the fall basics to encourage a glorious garden next spring, includes how to evaluate your landscape for future improvement, what to prune in the fall, soil amendment and mulching, tool maintenance and more. $12 IBG members, $17 nonmembers. Register: 343-8649, idahobotanicalgarden.org.

Article source: http://www.idahostatesman.com/living/home-garden/article100499472.html

Interior design takes center stage at Downtown Raleigh Home Show

— Looking to spruce up your home or garden? Get ideas and tips at the Downtown Raleigh Home Show this weekend at the Raleigh Convention Center.

Nearly 300 vendors, including kitchen and bath renovations, landscape remodels, outdoor water features, unique high-end furniture, will be on-hand Friday through Sunday. 

“We always have something fresh and new. We always evaluate what our consumers need and we deliver it at the show,” show manager Chiara Renella-Brooks said.

Some exhibitors to look for this year:

  • RB Landscaping features what can be done in your landscape or remodel.
  • Luxury Living Scapes, Inc. displays an outdoor water feature with a bridge.
  • SA Construction shares ideas for old homes and new construction.
  • Kamiya Furniture Gallery offers an array of unique high-end furniture options.

Show organizers noted that interior design is growing in popularity so they wanted to offer more furniture, interior designs and bath and kitchen remodeling companies this year. There will also be chances to win bathroom and kitchen remodels.

Carolina Containers and Transport, along with members of the American Society of Interior Designers (AIRD) Student Chapter, will present the Designer Showroom Container Challenge. Visitors will have the opportunity to walk within the decorated containers featuring recycled items from Habitat for Humanity. They will then vote for their favorite container and enter for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card and an hour consult with the winning student designer.

This year’s show also features guest appearances from DIY and HGTV star Matt Blashaw, DIY blogger Serena Appiah, WRAL’s Smart Shopper Faye Prosser and interior designer Rhonda Benvie.

Tickets are still available for the Downtown Raleigh Home Show.

Article source: http://www.wral.com/interior-design-takes-center-stage-at-downtown-raleigh-home-show/15994502/

Naming rights could add new twist to TRAC floor debate – Tri

There’s a fresh wrinkle in the dirt-versus-concrete debate over the best floor surface for the arena at TRAC in Pasco.

Naming rights.

Spurred by an unsolicited offer from an unnamed car “company,” the Franklin County Commission revisited the idea of selling naming rights for TRAC when it met Wednesday.

It is intrigued by the concept but won’t accept the proposed offer without making a public request for proposals. The county-owned center has been called “TRAC” since it opened in October 1995. Selling naming rights came up in 2008 but never led to a deal.

This time, naming rights could get caught up in a feisty debate about the arena floor. The county is wrestling with paving it to attract more business versus its commitment to showcase livestock events for the agriculture community. The winning bidder in a naming rights auction could influence the outcome.

Keith Johnson, county administrator, said selling naming rights could be a significant source of revenue for TRAC, which lost $480,000 in 2015. The county splits the cost with the city.

The unsolicited offer is worth $100,000 a year for 10 years, Johnson told the commission.

Pushing TRAC to greater financial self-sufficiency is a top priority for the current board.

Under new management, TRAC has turned a corner. It booked nearly $53,000 in profits in the first quarter and broke even in the second.

Tom French, TRAC general manager, said selling naming rights could stabilize the balance sheet.

“It’s an option I would entertain,” he said.

Selling naming rights is a common source of revenue for high-profile public amenities in the Tri-Cities and elsewhere.

Richland’s new community stage carries the HAPO Community Credit Union name under a 10-year naming rights deal worth $300,000.

Four regional car dealers teamed up for a $1.125 million, five-year naming rights deal with the city of Kennewick for Toyota Center and Toyota Arena. Gesa Credit Union entered a 10-year naming rights deal for the former Dust Devils Stadium in 2008 and secured naming rights for the Carousel of Dream with a $1 million donation to its development.

The commission took no action Wednesday, but indicated it’s intrigued by the idea. If it decides to sell naming rights, it could affect the eventual decision on the arena floor if the winning bidder has a strong preference one way or the other.

The possibility of selling naming rights comes as Franklin County, which owns TRAC, wrestles with upgrading the center’s floors.

TRAC has a 38,184-square-foot Exposition Hall and a 39,200-square foot arena. The former is a solid floor covered with a frayed, stained carpet. The latter is a dirt arena that can be covered with a temporary floor, which has been damaged by years of use.

Dealing with the arena floor could have serious consequences to some of TRAC’s most ardent users..

The Home Builders Association of the Tri-Cities is a major user. Its spring and fall home and garden shows are two of the most attended events of the year. Earlier this year, it asked to replace the dirt floor with concrete and offered to help pay for its construction costs.

The plan drew protests from the equestrian and rodeo communities. Layering dirt over concrete would be dangerous for riders, horses, bulls and other users, many said, and threatened to take their events elsewhere.

The HBA in the meantime has yet to confirm its spring gathering, pending a decision about the floor.

“We risk losing them,” Johnson told the board.

A new temporary floor of rigid interlocking panels would cost $190,000, which includes $20,000 for a carpet to overlay the temporary floor during more formal events. The bid, by Great Floors, comes with a five-year warranty.

But there’s more to the debate than replacing one temporary floor with another.

Installation entails leveling and compacting the underlying dirt, and setting the panels in the arena, which costs thousands of dollars each time the floor is changed from hard to soft surface. TRAC has absorbed the cost in the past but is no longer willing to do so as it aims to be more self-sufficient.

Shifting the cost to users could make TRAC unaffordable, pushing users to other arenas.

Commissioner Rick Miller said TRAC could reduce the number of arena floor changes by grouping similar events, creating a season for hard floor events and a season for dirt floor ones.

In related TRAC floor news, Great Floors bid $150,000 to replace the Exhibition Hall carpeting with a vinyl tile, carpet-covered replacement. Johnson said the old carpet is stained and curling up and has become an issue for event planners.

Article source: http://www.tri-cityherald.com/news/local/article100540762.html

Landscaping, water features star in hospice fundraiser – Walla Walla Union

The art of the pond and garden comes to the forefront during the daylong Walla Walla Community Hospice-sponsored Pond and Garden Tour from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday.

Participants may peek into 10 local gardens and enjoy the creativity and hard work of those who’ve landscaped their yards into places of beauty and relaxation.

“It has grown into a tradition for many residents who come back year after year.

“Tourgoers discover ideas that they can use themselves and hopefully get in the mood to start digging around in their own gardens,” said Claire Evans, Hospice events coordinator.

Each garden offers a distinctive style reflecting the tastes and personalities of the homeowners, she said in a release.

Vendors from around the Northwest will have garden-themed items and gifts for sale. Entertainment includes live performances from Roy Anderson and Phil Lynch.

Local artists in action throughout the day include Todd Telander, Jeanne McMenemy and Sharon Kaufman Osborn.

On the self-guided tour, properties may be visited in any order.

The limited tickets include a map and descriptions of all the sites and must be purchased in advance. Cost is $25 per person for those 12 and older.

Tickets are being sold at the Hospice office at 1067 Isaacs Ave. or Bright’s Candies Gifts, 11 E. Main St.

Tickets may also be purchased at www.wwhospice.org or 509-525-5561.

More details about the tour are available at www.wwhospice.org or on Facebook.

All proceeds are used to provide quality hospice care in Walla Walla, Columbia and Northeast Umatilla counties.

Article source: http://www.union-bulletin.com/things_to_do/arts/landscaping-water-features-star-in-hospice-fundraiser/article_533b5dac-7541-11e6-8eb1-f7a2d217df08.html

‘Better Homes and Gardens’ Live – 40% Discount for Starts at 60 Readers!

Those looking for home decorating inspiration; ideas for landscaping gardens; or handy do-it-yourself life hacks, you will be well catered for at the Better Homes and Gardens Live Sydney expo. Spanning three days, the event is an ideal mix of inspiration, education, surprises, and fun and makes for an entertaining and informative day out for the whole family.

Better Homes and Gardens Live, brings one of Australia’s favourite magazine and TV shows to life all under one roof.  There’s simply so much to do, including: 

  • Peruse hundreds of exhibitors showing off thousands of innovative wares for your home and garden.
  • Meet your favourite Better Homes and Garden’s TV talent and magazine editors.
  • Four dedicated stages and six show zones presenting inspirational ideas to make your home and garden a sanctuary.
  • Range of optional QA sessions and workshops including a cupcake decorating class with Elle Vernon, Food Editor of BHG Magazine, and a gardening QA with Roger Fox, gardening editor of Better Homes and Gardens Magazine and Matthew Carroll from Nursery and Garden Industry Australia.

And now, thanks to Seven West Media, we are thrilled to announce a 40% discount for Starts at 60 readers! (Valid on general admission). When purchasing tickets, using the link below, simply apply the promo code ‘STARTS60’ in the coupon code field to redeem your discount.

Event Details

  • When: 16 to 18 September
  • Where: Sydney Showground, Sydney Olympic Park
  • Doors open: 10am

Tickets on sale NOW!

For more information, Click Here

Article source: https://startsat60.com/stories/entertain/better-homes-and-gardens-live-40-discount-for-starts-at-60-readers

Ground breaks on vision of horticultural splendor

FAIRFIELD — More than 50 people looked out onto a barren landscape of tall, dry grasses, a dry dirt road and a scattering of smallish trees and shrubs – trying to envision classrooms and gardens and a thriving farmers market.

Patty Blondell can see it.

“I think it is going to be beautiful when everything goes up and everything gets done,” said Blondell, 59, of Suisun City. She is a student in the Adaptive Horticulture program.

And she thinks once it is built, more students will want to be part of the horticulture curriculum.

“It’s cool,” said Mark Lewis, 20, of Fairfield, also a student in the program, who said he would like to make a career in landscaping.

He became interested because of the work done at the family home.

“We have a house and when it got built, I helped (my dad) do the landscaping,” Lewis said.

The adaptive program, which serves students with a variety of special needs, will be one of the first to benefit from the $1.02 million first phase of the expanded Louise Wilbourn Yarbrough Horticulture and Plant Science Institute at Solano Community College.

The horticulture program also has plant science and other academic courses, which can help students looking to move on to four-year programs.

The official groundbreaking on the $2 million expansion took place Wednesday. The project is funded through the 2012 voter-approved Measure Q.

The first phase is primarily putting in roads, water, sewer and other infrastructure for the buildings that will go up in the second phase.

However, the first phase also will include quadrupling the size of the community gardens at the site, as well as increasing the number of Adaptive Horticulture gardens from 18 to 45.

Sandra Diehl, who heads the adaptive program, said the site also will have an agriculture demonstration area, and the orchard that is there now has seven varieties of fruit.

While the groundbreaking – complete with speeches from college and community officials – may leave the impression that this is the first step, it is only the latest first step in a project that actually started four years ago.

“We have envisioned a site that serves our students and the community,” Diehl told the gathering.

Ken Williams, another horticulture professor, traced the beginning back another four years when he assigned students the task of designing a botanical garden. The design produced by Candy Pond is the basis on which the second-phase garden will be constructed.

The phase also includes a museum and events center – though that part of the project is also referred to as a third-phase project.

For now the focus is on the first phase, the centerpiece of which is a 900-square-foot farmers market stand that will feature produce and other goods grown by the Adaptive Horticulture students. Proceeds from the sales will go back into the program.

“One of the wonderful things is you get the developmentally disabled who are often shunned (in the community) and they get to come out here and get outside and work and talk to (Diehl and others) and get to feel normal,” said Karen Black, a volunteer with the program.

Black was a teacher for 20 years when she became ill. She returned to the college and took a horticulture class and has helped for three years after her coursework was completed.

Jasmine Smith, 21, of Suisun City, is one of the students. She enjoys planting the seeds and doing other work in the gardens. But like all college students, she is looking to her future.

“I’ve been working and hope to get a job,” she said.

Solano College has made workforce development a major theme in all its programs, and horticulture is no exception. Students can earn academic certificates for some coursework, and many of the students go on to work as landscape designers, landscape contractors and in a variety of other fields.

Larry Bartlow, who represents students on the college’s board of trustees, said he thinks the farmers market will be wildly successful, not unlike the Christmas wreath program, and will expand the link between the college and the surrounding communities.

“We are growing a garden, but we are also growing a community,” Bartlow said.

Reach Todd R. Hansen at 427-6932 or [email protected].

Article source: http://www.dailyrepublic.com/news/fairfield/ground-breaks-on-vision-of-horticultural-splendor/

A great tomato crop has Lothair couple ready to share their gardening tips

A great tomato crop has Lothair couple ready to share their gardening tips

By PAUL OVERLIE

Liberty County Times

For Al Larson the move from back east to Montana had one down side, could he grow the garden he was used to having in the shorter Montana growing season? The answer, he found, is yes he can!

All and Carlee Larson grow a wide variety of vegetables, peppers and spices, but the jewel of this years work has been the tomatoes. Certainly he is having a lot of success with his other endeavors, and an excellent year with his peppers; but the tomatoes have been, well, almost unbelievable.

Al and Carlee have several types of tomatoes growing and all are coming up big this year, but the Burpee’s Steakhouse Hybrids are really growing like crazy. These giants are coming in at over a pound each and the numbers are just as incredible. He is also seeing high number yields with his other tomato crops and his pepper crop.

“It is possible to get good yields from a vegetable garden in this area,” Al said. “But there are some things that make it work.”

One of Al and Carlee’s secrets is the use of tillage, instead of chemicals, to control weeks growth. He also uses organic fertilizer, but in a different mixture for each type of plant. Of course it all begins with what all gardeners use, a good manure mixture on everything to start.

However, Al added a little extra to the mix that most people don’t have.

“I use the water from my minnow tanks to water my garden,” Al said. “When I need to clean out the tanks I just empty the water through a water device I have rigged into my garden.”

He thinks that just might be the extra something that made this year’s crop really take off.

Oh yeah, Al and Carlee have a bait shop. They sell minnows, leaches and night crawlers. It is self serve, open 24/7 and works on the honor system. The bait shop is located in his garage.

“I have a price list on the wall and you can just put the money in the can.”

Al says it has worked pretty well and he believes he is providing a service to the local fishermen.

But gardening is his passion. He has a lot of tips for local gardeners, like using a little aspirin and Epsom salts with water in a sprayer and spraying the leaves on his plants to keep the bugs away.

Anyone who would like to get a few tips from Al and Carlee can call them at 432-0148. Al said he is happy to talk about gardening with anyone and to share the things he has learned with others.

Posted: September 6, 2016 by

Article source: http://libertycountytimes.net/lct-news/a-great-tomato-crop-has-lothair-couple-ready-to-share-their-gardening-tips/

Low cost tips and starting a garden

By Frank and Muriel Newman

This week we share some tips from readers – and remind you how easy it is to start a garden.

Karen from Palmerston North has this recipe for a homemade alternative to commercial sugar soap for wall cleaning. You need: 1/4 cup of white vinegar, 1/2 cup of laundry detergent (unscented is better), 1/2 cup sugar, and 1.9 litres hot water. Mix ingredients well then apply to walls with a sponge, terry cloth (which is a towelling fabric with loops that can absorb large amounts of water), or a microfiber cloth. Rub gently until clean and wipe dry (you can rinse if you wish, but most of the time it is not necessary). Be certain to clean from the floor upwards, in sections, and wipe off any dribbles. This is not the same formula as commercial sugar soap, but works just as well.

John from Northland writes, “The Lotto prize pool only returns 53c for every $1 spent. Not a great investment!”

John also has a simple low cost and quick stuffed spuds meal. “Scrub potatoes and dry. Bake in a hot oven (220oC) for about 45 minutes until the potatoes are soft – or zap them in the microwave. Once the potatoes are cooked, scoop out the flesh and mash up with any cheap filling that takes your fancy: cheese, cooked mince or sausage meat, tomatoes, or whatever else is available in your garden. Put mixture back into the potato jacket, drizzle with olive oil or smear with butter, reheat then serve.”

Spring is a good time to think about starting a garden so you can enjoy the harvest for Christmas. Here are some tips.

An oily rag garden need not be any larger than six or seven metres square (it actually can be a lot smaller). It would have four or five garden beds bordered with treated or hardwood timber, and the soil raised about 300mm above ground level. Raising a garden in this way makes it easier to work in (a major consideration for those who would otherwise find gardening a chore), and it allows the soil to drain freely. Having a number of beds allows crop rotation and the opportunity to “recondition” the soil in the bed(s) not being used.

The ideal garden should be sited to collect plenty of afternoon sun. The sun warms the soil, and the warm soil then acts as an incubator for growth. The site should also be sheltered from chilly winds – preferably fringed by protecting trees and shrubs, but not so close that they block out the sun or that their roots invade your garden and steal valuable nutrients.

Once the site is right, the next thing to attend to is the soil. If your soil is heavy clay or infertile then lots of ‘goodness’ will need to be introduced. You can of course buy various composts and fertilisers at your local nursery, but those living off the smell of an oily rag can avoid the cost by finding their own sources of goodness.

Animal manures make excellent fertiliser, but most will need about 6 weeks for the material to dry otherwise it may burn the roots of young plants. Other sources of goodness are blood and bone (dead carcasses), haystack bottoms, sawdust, straw, vegetable matter, seaweed, lake-weed, and leaves.

For free sawdust, try a local wood-turner, joiner or timber-mill. These guys have heaps of wood shavings and dust and they are normally glad to give it to you because it costs them money to remove it. Make sure the sawdust is from untreated wood.

Seaweed and lake-weed can be collected while on a family outing, a sack full of leaves can be gathered from your own yard or from a local park, and haystack bottoms from farmers – as can the various types of manures (piggeries and horse stables are a goldmine for the manure collector).

Getting the site and soil right is critical to a happy and productive garden. With the basics in place your garden will produce much more than your family alone can eat!

Don’t forget to let us know if you have a favourite tip to share with readers, or a question – you can contact us via the website at oilyrag.co.nz or by writing to Living off the Smell of an Oily Rag, PO Box 984, Whangarei.

-Frank and Muriel Newman are the authors of Living Off the Smell of an Oily Rag in NZ. Read our wealth of tips at www.oilyrag.co.nz.

Article source: http://www.voxy.co.nz/lifestyle/5/262372