Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Growing Local

In response to my little survey, not as of this posting completed and what's in my head this rainy day, I have decided to write at least partly about compost. Compost has more than one definition and it seems to mean something else in different areas.

this compost came from local gardens throughout the Pittsburgh area.In the United States, we tend to think of everything that we throw into a compost heap as compost. In more British areas, I believe that they tend to think of the final product from a compost heap, and potting soil as compost. I have had a few clients ask me if I can deliver some 'soil' to their garden for topping when what they really mean is 'compost'. All that really matters is that you reader, wherever you are understand what I am saying.

OK, so where was I? Growing local, yes, I am trying to establish a self-sufficient garden, but I have imported a lot of material into it. The 1st is compost, meaning the final product. I get mine from a local source, Agrecycle. I also use Agrecycle to dispose of yard debris, both my own when it's bulky, and that of clients. They compost it and sell it right back to me. So that means that the compost that I have topped my garden with is local.

I also supplement my garden with various fertilizers. I am not a scientist but I try to balance out my various plants need, especially my tomatoes. This year I am finding it easier to fertilize them with my bokashi, which because it allows meat and cheese waste, is richer than other self-produced fertilizer. I also have buried a lot of pet hair and some alpaca fleece waste(I started spinning last fall after I acquired some very inexpensive western Pennsylvania raw alpaca fleece).

I became very interested in hair and other things composed of keratin after I heard about smartgrow. Smartgrow is simply a mat made out of human hair which sounds really bizarre. I won't explain it here, visit their site. Anyway, it seemed to me that I could replicate smart grow results just by using my hair, my pet's hair and all the alpaca waste I accumulated when I carded my fleece.

Anyway, It occurred to me today that not only am I reducing the waste I am producing but I am truly turning my garden into a locally grown garden in more ways than I thought. And by doing so I am greatly reducing my carbon footprint. I am also reducing my fertilizing costs.

And I haven't even discussed my rainbarrel project. There are multiple levels in which that is beneficial. But that is a future post.

1 comment:

frazzledsugarplummum said...

Interesting read Gabrielle. My garden is only a couple of months old so I have bought in locally produced mushroom compost and soil for the raised beds. Everything I have is clay clay clay.... I have used some fertilisers for particular crops to give them a start off. I have set up a compost bin but at this stage don't have much to put in it. I do use my own and pet hair as well. When you think of miles used to buy products it really strikes home.