Category Archives: Sustainable Solutions

Eco-Alternative Farmsteading

Extra acreage has enabled the Townes to increase farm production.Real people growing real food.  “It’s all about protecting the land and bringing it back to health. Not just taking what we can get from it, but giving back to the system to keep it fed.” Emily Towne, Full Plate Farm.  Read more about Full Plate Farm in this article published in the January issue of Acres USA Magazine.
Read the entire article here.

Don’t Toss Those Mums!

Mums are often used to dress up seasonal displays.Jill Henderson ~ Show Me Oz ~

Every fall, big box stores and greenhouses everywhere display rack after rack of brightly blooming mums.  Ostensibly, the showy plants are used by homeowners and businesses to bring a little color to the ever-increasing drabness of fall and to pretty-up outdoor Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations.  Most people just drop the relatively inexpensive pre-potted plants into a larger, more decorative container for display and then forget them until they are deader than door nails.  That’s shame, because mums are actually hardy perennials that if given half a chance, will survive in the garden and provide you with colorful, showy blooms year after year!

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Stair Building 101–Flanking Stones

Stair building 101 Image copyright Jill Henderson showmeoz.wordpress.comJill Henderson ~ Show Me Oz ~

When you live on the side of a hill like I do, everything is either up or down.  There’s almost no flat, straight way to get anywhere.  When we first moved here, the entire site was denuded of nearly all low-growing vegetation and the earth was eroding and sliding down the hill with each rain.  As we developed the gardens around the house, it became obvious that we were going to need some stairs to make getting up and down a little less treacherous.  Six years later, we have four nifty sets of stairs entering and leaving our garden space.  If you have ever wanted to try your hand at building stairs but were worried about the outcome, I’m here to tell you it’s lots of hard work, but also much easier than you might think.

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Fall Leaves: Good for the Garden

2013 11-22 Fall MosaicBy Jill Henderson ~ Show Me Oz ~

The clear, cool days of fall are perfect for wrapping up last-minute garden chores, such as winterizing perennial herbs, flowers and shrubs.  It’s also a good time to cultivate existing garden beds or create new beds for spring planting.  But there’s one chore in the fall that not everyone looks forward to – raking leaves.  Sometimes there are so many leaves that homeowners spend weeks trying to get rid of the deepening piles.  But instead of raking and burning, or bagging leaves for the garbage, consider putting your fall leaves to use in the garden as a protective, nutrient-rich mulch.

Controlling Squash Bugs Organically

By Downtowngal - Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49873322Jill HendersonShow Me Oz
Squash bugs. What a pain in the arse! Absolutely nothing in the natural world preys on them, their hard outer coverings resist even the most intense organic insecticides, the little buggers are masters at hiding their eggs, and they multiply faster than fleas. On top of that, they spread devastating squash plant diseases, have the uncanny ability to know when they are being stalked, and are eerily good at evasion.  If you do manage to get a hold of one, they emit a nasty, long-lasting stink that’s incredibly hard to entirely wash off.  But after a lifetime’s worth of battling this raunchy bug, I’ve learned how to live with them.  And this year, I came up with a new way to get the upper hand.

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The Terrace Project: Year Five

2015 5-6 The berm garden (5)Show Me Oz – As I was searching for something to write about this week, I came upon two articles I wrote waaay back in 2012 about the twin terraces (or twin terrors, as I used to call them) that “grace” our small backyard.  When we first moved here, the two slopes were badly eroded and washing clay and rock against the house and down into the valley. It has been quite a challenge to tame the runoff, stabilize the soil, and grow something, anything at all, on these two steep clay hills, but a lot has changed in the last four years!

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Garden Time: Watch Out for Early Garden Allies!

Box Turtle HatchlingShow Me Oz – Although ‘official’ spring has yet to arrive in Oz, the weather outside my door tells me it’s already here. As always, Dean and I are at it early and have already cultivated most of our garden and planted the first round of cold-hardy seeds. But while we’re hard at work cleaning up and organizing the yard and garden for the season to come, we are constantly on the lookout for sleepy, still-hibernating and just-hatching garden allies like frogs, toads, turtles, spiders, and all manner of beneficial insects and creatures that help us control insect pests in our organic garden!

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