The mats last about 5 years and are printed with nontoxic ink that won’t leach into the soil.
The mats use a technique called square foot gardening. “The key is planting in grids instead of rows so you can maximize your space,” said Weiner. “More food in less space. We adapted the layout of the Nourishmat based on this popular method. We say natural because it embraces the idea of bio-diversity.” This method requires less water and fertilizer then conventional monoculture farming.
The square-foot method also makes plants into beneficial neighbors. “The layout of the plants revolves around companion planting,” said Weiner. “For example, the bugs that like marigolds are the same bugs that love to eat the bugs that love to eat tomatoes.”
I started seeds in egg cartons for planting in May/June. Per the usual, I’m a little behind on my timing. I’m definitely going to need more soil to fill out the rest of my container garden that’s not shown here.
If SEED SAVING is collecting seeds for replanting in the future…
Then SEED STEWARDSHIP is the process of saving seeds with the purpose of maintaining or improving that seed’s health and resilience. It also includes the act of saving and selecting a variety over a period of many seasons, with the end goal of passing it on to others in the future.
The ideal of SEED SOVEREIGNTY firmly plants seed saving and seed stewardship in the realm of fundamental human rights. It is the freedom to save seed and determine the foundation on which our food system rests. With the current attacks of industry hitting at the heart of food sovereignty, the simple act of seed saving becomes a major act of resistance and social empowerment.
One of my favorite gardening bits I saw in New Zealand: the chicken tractor. This is one built in the Backyard Garden of the Hamilton Gardens. The idea is to build several raised garden beds that fit the shape of the chicken coop and then sit the coop on each bed for a few weeks at a time to allow the chickens to prep the soil for planting. The chickens will do what chickens do, scratching and fertilizing and ridding the area of bugs… things the farmer would have to do on their own anyway. Keep on rotating the coop through the planting cycle, so it is good to have 5 or 6 beds if you can use them all. Once one bed is harvested let the chickens move in, have at the trimmings, do their work for 4 to 6 weeks and then move them on.
I’m finishing up the second to last week with the Green Team summer program. Check out the latest Teaching Garden Update to learn more about what I’ve been up to the past few weeks. Yes, the rumors are true. I get paid to garden with youth. Awesome, huh?