10 plants to encourage bees to your garden

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if we don’t help them, we are all going to starve. bees are invaluable for pollinating crops that make us all food. stop using pesticides and go to all natural pest control.  the poisons are killing the bees and are not good for humans either.

Top 10 Plants To Encourage Bees To Your Garden

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THE FOUR STEPS REQUIRED TO KEEP MONSANTO OUT OF YOUR GARDEN

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now that we’ve discovered that not only has monsanto cornered the regular seed market and is forcing GMO on us all, they are also using devious ways to infiltrate the heirloom/non GMO, organic seeds.  please read how to keep them OUT of your garden.  

 

http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/the-four-steps-required-to-keep-monsanto-out-of-your-garden/

Natural Remedies from the Garden: Lemon Thyme Herbal Disinfecting Spray

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Crafting natural health and home remedies is my expression of creativity…

…and I’ve written before on the topic of natural cleaners for the home.

The simpler the better, in my opinion…

…but today I wanted something more!

Something powerful, yet gentle enough for most surfaces of the home.
Something from the garden.
Something that smelled pretty and fresh.

NOTE: after checking prices on hydrosol, it became evident that this is too expensive for most folks, so i’ve found a link with a video on how to make your own! here it is: http://renegadehealth.com/blog/2010/09/22/how-to-make-an-herbal-hydrosol-for-your-skin-or-a-room-freshener

go here for the recipe: 

http://frugallysustainable.com/2013/06/natural-remedies-from-the-garden-lemon-thyme-herbal-disinfecting-spray/

Coffee Grounds a Good Substitute for Manure in the Garden

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source: http://www.biblicalscholarship.net/vigilant30.htm

Coffee grounds can be an excellent addition to a compost pile. The grounds are relatively rich in nitrogen, providing bacteria the energy they need to turn organic matter into compost. About two percent nitrogen by volume, used coffee grounds can be a safe substitute for nitrogen-rich manure in the compost pile, explained Cindy Wise, coordinator of the compost specialist program at the Lane County office of the Oregon State University Extension Service. “A lot of people don’t want to use manure because of concerns about pathogens,” she said. Contrary to popular belief, coffee grounds are not acidic. After brewing, the grounds are close to pH neutral, between 6.5 and 6.8. The acid in the beans is mostly water-soluble, so it leaches out into the brewed coffee. Since 2001, Wise has trained and coordinated OSU compost specialist volunteers who have collected and composted nearly 200 tons of coffee grounds from 13 coffee shops and kiosks in Eugene, Springfield, Florence, Cottage Grove, and Veneta. That’s the equivalent of about 25 large dump
trucks full of coffee grounds.

Lane County alone is estimated to generate 1 million pounds of used coffee grounds per year, Wise said. “Recycling this valuable soil amendment and compost ingredient makes sense both economically and environmentally,” she said. Wise is encouraging gardeners and those that compost in other communities to arrange to collect coffee shop grounds for composting. But be sure to make prior arrangements with a coffee shop to collect grounds. Then, take a clean five-gallon bucket with a lid, label it with your name and telephone number on the bucket and lid and leave it at the shop and then pick it up at the shop’s convenience. Here are some suggestions for using composted grounds in the yard and garden from the OSU Extension compost specialists:

-Mix grounds into soil as an amendment. Make sure to keep them damp. 
-Spread grounds on the soil surface, then cover them with leaves or bark mulch.
-Add grounds to your compost pile, layering one part leaves to one part fresh grass clippings to one part coffee grounds, by volume.Turn once a week. This will be ready in three to six months.
-Or, put them in an existing unturned pile. Just make sure to add a high carbon source, such as leaves to balance it.
-Grounds may be stored for future use. They may develop molds but these appear to be consumed during the composting process. Or a large plastic bag works for storage as well.
-Paper coffee filters may be composted with the grounds.
-Keep in mind that uncomposted coffee grounds are NOT a nitrogen
fertilizer. Coffee grounds have a carbon-to-nitrogen ration of about 20:1, in the same range as animal manure. Germination tests in Eugene showed that uncomposted coffee grounds, added to soil as about one-fourth the volume, showed poor germination and stunted growth in lettuce seed.

Therefore, they need to be composted before using near plants. Wise and her composting protagees have been conducting informal research on composting coffee grounds. So far, they have observed that coffee grounds help to sustain high temperatures in compost piles. High temperatures reduce potentially dangerous pathogens and kill seeds from weeds and vegetables that were added to the piles. They have noticed that coffee grounds seem to improve soil structure, plus attract earthworms. When coffee grounds made up 25 percent of the volume of their compost piles, temperatures in the piles stayed between 135 degrees and 155 degrees for at least two weeks, enough time to have killed a “significant portion” of the pathogens and seeds. In contrast, the manure in the trials
didn’t sustain the heat as long..

“We were amazed at the results we got with coffee grounds when we did thetrial,” Wise said. Jack Hannigan, an extension-trained compost specialist, is pleased with the results he gets from the coffee grounds he collects from the Fast Lane Coffee Company in Springfield to use on his farm in Pleasant Hill. “I make hotbeds that run about 150 degrees,” Hannigan said. “It kills the weeds. I can get the piles hotter and break down the compost better with coffee grounds than I can with manure. It works great.”

Coffee grounds also can be added directly to soil but the grounds need a few months to break down, Wise said. “We’re not certain about how coffee grounds act with the soil, but anecdotally people say they do dig it into the soil,” she said. An additional benefit of diverting coffee grounds from the landfill is that it helps cut greenhouse gas emissions, said Dan Hurley, waste management engineer for Lane County’s Short Mountain Landfill. “To keep organics out of the landfill is a good thing for reducing greenhouse gas emissions because organics decompose and produce methane. Methane is about 25 times as bad as carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas,” Hurley said. Recycling coffee shop grounds also fosters interactions between community residents and local businesses. The coffee grounds stay in their communities, meaning that fuel isn’t being used to truck them from far-flung areas of the county to landfills.

DIY Raised Bed for gardening

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For this project, you will need two 8 foot 2×12 planks (cut in half), 4 corner brackets, screws, weed preventing landscape cloth, scrap cardboard, veggie scraps, green leaves, green grass clipping or other green matter, leaves, twigs, dried hay/grass or other brown material, organic soil.

NOTE:(we made our raised bed 3×6 to fit our space. you can make yours whatever size you wish. 4×4 is easier to work without the need for stepping in the soil. and we used brackets we had on hand.  choose whatever works best for you.)

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Using your electric screwdriver,  mount the corner bracket in the center of your board. Make sure it is straight and flush.

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Attach the remaining board via the bracket, forming a corner.Image

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It’s easier to do this if you have someone help you hold the board against the bracket, while you use the electric screw driver to screw it together.

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You now have your raised bed frame.

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Cut weed preventing landscape cloth a few inches bigger than the inside of the box/bed.  You will need this extra cloth to staple to the wood.

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Next, add cardboard you have saved for this project.  It’s biodegradable and will work as a moisture barrier.  Cardboard is considered “brown” material and works with your raised bed to provide nutrients like dried leaves would.  Don’t skip this step.

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Keep filling your bed until the cardboard is as even as you can get it. Make sure it’s flat as possible.  You can add several layers.

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Add green material on top of the cardboard.  Green material is anything like veggie scraps, fruit peelings, green leaves, small amount of grass clippings, eggshells, coffee grounds.

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We added banana leaves from a tree we pruned and other leaves and small twigs from pruning trees and shrubs. Don’t use large twigs or sticks.

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Cover the cardboard as well as possible with your green matter.  You are building a “compost” under your soil which will feed your plants for months and help maintain moisture in your soil.

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Next add brown material: dried leaves, some dried grass, dried tomato vines, dried corn husks, small twigs. (if you don’t have dried leaves, you can use strips of newspaper or other scrap paper)

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Break up any twigs or vines into small pieces.  We walk on ours to crunch it up and press it down before we add the soil.

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Add organic soil on top of your other layers and smooth it as evenly as possible.  You will have to add more soil, in time, as the levels compress and compost.

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Now your raised bed is ready for planting!  If you’d like to make the most of your space, make a grid from twine, mapping off 16 squares, each one being 1 square foot.  Plant your veggies in each square. You can read about square foot gardening online or look for future posts about it, here.