What makes hemp such a sustainable crop?

What makes hemp such a sustainable crop?

Guest post by Keilah Kaiser

Unique characteristics of hemp

Since the early 1700s, hemp has built a strong name for itself as a sustainable crop and textile resource. Yet a lot of people are confused about this industrial plant and its relationship to marijuana. Because of this confusion, negative stereotypes are commonly associated with the hemp plant, striking fear in the public.

But there's a clear distinction between the two. It's imperative to note the benefits the hemp plant brings. And it starts by taking a close look at the structure of the seed and the stalk of the plant.

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How to Safely Transport Your Plants

How to Safely Transport Your Plants

guest post by Tess Halpren

(image by Brina Blum on Unsplash)

There has been a ton of research to establish why plants have such a positive impact on the environment, and on our well-being. They add more than just aesthetics to a room. Some of their many other benefits include

  • Improved air quality

  • Improved humidity levels

  • Reduced stress and improved well-being

  • The ability to evoke a calmer, happier effect

  • Reduced negativity in the workplace and home

  • Ability to absorb noise

  • Help in saving energy

  • Aid in speeding up recovery from illnesses

  • Help in reduction of carbon dioxide levels

Based on these impressive benefits, it’s no surprise people hold their plants so dearly. And if you’re planning on moving or relocating in 2019, the thought of how to best transport your plants might have already came to mind. The Zebra created this helpful guide on how to effectively and safely transport your plants. It includes best practices, safety precautions, and helpful tips for before, during, and after your move.

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5 Ways You Can Have Lush Green Grass All Year Round

5 Ways You Can Have Lush Green Grass All Year Round

guest post by Emma Metson

It is a thing of beauty to raise and maintain your own lawn. Lush green grass doesn’t only come in the form of artificial grass, no! For most of us, it is a chore to raise the real deal. But to many, it has become their art. I don’t think there is anyone on the planet who wouldn’t appreciate a clean, sleek, vibrant grassy garden or yard.

If the grass is well taken care of, it can bring a vibe of elegance to your home, thus making your yard, and you, look a hundred times more respectable.

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Soil Amendments for Organic Gardening

Soil Amendments for Organic Gardening

Guest post by Anna Wrench

The right type of soil is important for plant growth, especially in organic gardening. The gardener or specialist in soil knows exactly how the soil has to be treated in order to make it more fertile. If you are cultivating crops, then it requires that the soil be enriched with apposite nutrients to help in the proper growth of crops.

The modern trend is inclining towards environmentally-friendly and healthy organic gardening. Organic gardening seeks to maintain balance and harmony with nature. In this context, soil supplies help with the decomposition of toxins, play an essential role in root growth, maintain the health of the root, and lessen the gardener’s dependency on fertilizer. It is indeed essential for growing productive and healthy crops that are healthier not just for the consumer but also for the environment.

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The Perfect Rainwater Collection System for Homesteaders and Urban Gardeners

The Perfect Rainwater Collection System for Homesteaders and Urban Gardeners

Guest post by Jon Godfrey

Rainwater collecting is enormously helpful. However, if you understand the infrastructure that you put in place, it can be even better for your home and garden. Let's look at how you can set it up yourself.

1. Set Up Your Roofs and Gutters

Your house, garden gazebo, shed, garage, and every other building on your property should have excellent gutters all the way around the roofs. Run a garden hose in them and walk around, carefully checking for any leaks that would cut down on efficiency.

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Why you should think beyond organic for a bigger impact on the environment

Why you should think beyond organic for a bigger impact on the environment

Globally, the way people think about food has shifted dramatically over the past few decades. With major changes to the food industry (including the introduction of GMO, the mainstreaming of organic foods, a growing awareness of the problems with factory farming, and the growing number of documentaries about our eating habits) more people now think that eating healthy is important. Along with that, many people have turned to the organic market to create healthier diets for themselves and their families.

Organic is hyped, let’s be real for a minute here. While I would never tell you not to eat organic (for reasons I have explained in previous posts), the fact is that there are lots of problems with organic farming that most people don’t know, or just choose not to think about. And eating organic will not help save the planet. That last thought is an important one, so I’ll repeat it once more.

Eating organic foods will not help save the planet.

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5 Things you can do now to have a winter food garden

5 Things you can do now to have a winter food garden

Most people who garden believe that the growing season ends when the weather begins to turn cold and morning dew turns to frost. This is absolutely not true, though. A few places (USDA zones 0-2) have extremely short growing seasons that make it very difficult to grow vegetables outdoors without using specialized techniques and growing plants that are uniquely adapted to grow in that climate. However most people, even those who live in places where it reliably snows every winter (like Ontario, Canada), can continue to grow fresh herbs, vegetables, and even some flowers all year round.

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Effective pest control without the harmful chemicals

Effective pest control without the harmful chemicals

If you have grown plants for food or aesthetics, you have probably experienced the frustration of losing some of your crops to insects and other pests. That is just a part of gardening, although if you grow crops year-round, you’ve probably realized that the upside of winter gardening is that you don’t have to spend much time fighting herbivores, since the cold weather kills them or drives them into a dormant stage. Animals are a different story, however, and you may find that hungry squirrels, deer, raccoons, or other critters are helping themselves to your plants even through the cold season.

To get rid of insect herbivores, many gardeners resort to using insecticide-pesticides. (Pesticides consist of a number of substances, including weed killers like RoundUp, insect-killing chemicals, and molluscucides, or “snail bait.”) In fact, most commercial (and many non-commercial) plants are grown with the aid of pesticides. While this may seem like a solution to the problem of insect herbivores ruining all your hard work, it has many downsides that have implications for your plants’ health, the health of the environment, and your own as well.

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7 things you’re doing wrong in your garden (and how to fix them)

7 things you’re doing wrong in your garden (and how to fix them)

If you have been gardening for a while, you’ve probably realized that making mistakes is a big part of the process of learning. Even the most experienced gardeners make errors of judgment that can lead to a failing or otherwise unsuccessful harvest. Some problems are inevitable when it comes to growing your own food: weather changes can ruin a harvest in a single day, so if you are not prepared (or available) to act fast in case of unexpected frost, heat wave, extended periods of rain or humidity, or sudden insect infestation, all of your hard work can be ruined very quickly…

Whether you’re a neophyte, a seasoned grower, or a business owner looking to make a profit from your harvest (or just earn a little extra cash on the side from your farm), you may be making some of these common mistakes that growers make, all of which affect the health, productivity, and viability of your garden in a major way.

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Companion planting: how to do it, mistakes to avoid

Companion planting: how to do it, mistakes to avoid

Companion planting is a small-scale method of intercropping, which refers to the practice of planting one kind of plant next to another or others that help it thrive. It is often associated with small-scale organic gardening (the type of gardening I have exclusively done for the past 18 years) or other biodynamic planting methods, and it is a favorite technique of farmers seeking to produce more yield in less space.

Although popular literature touts the benefits of intercropping over monocropping, there is a lot of debate, and consequently, confusion over which plants go well together, and whether some of the reported benefits of companion planting are consistent or coincidental. This is partly a debate between using scientific methods (usually in controlled, laboratory stings) and using personal experience to determine how to companion plant. There are benefits to both methods, though admittedly, I prefer to rely mostly on experience (my own and that of successful gardeners I know) with a smattering of science to help me understand why certain combinations have seemed to work well in my own garden, while others don’t seem to have much effect one way or another.

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Container Gardening 101: Small Spaces, Big Yields

Container Gardening 101: Small Spaces, Big Yields

This summer I’ve been blogging about container gardening quite a bit (that is, when I managed to blog! We’re undergoing some big changes here at Green and Prosperous that have taken up most of my blogging time, including developing an online course on container gardening for beginners and experienced growers alike). This post continues our summer theme, with a focus on how you can grow more in less space.

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Room to Grow: 8 things you need to do to make your container garden thrive this summer

Room to Grow: 8 things you need to do to make your container garden thrive this summer

Whether you have already begun your container gardening adventure or are just getting started, you’ve probably realized that container gardening presents many advantages over traditional in-ground gardening. Aside from being a great way to grow some of your own food in small spaces, as a container gardener you can exert more control over a number of variables that can sabotage an in-ground garden, like weather, pests, and soil quality. I covered these and other matters in last month’s post on container gardening. This post addresses some of the practical matters involved in not only starting your container garden, but helping it to thrive. Here are 8 things you should be doing to keep your container garden healthy, happy, and productive well into the fall season.

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Short on outdoor space? Why you should try container gardening

Short on outdoor space? Why you should try container gardening

Spring is here! For some of us, spring is finally here. Although the crazy weather patterns we’ve been experiencing in the mid-Atlantic region where I live have left many of us anxious to go out and dig around in the dirt, others may only be thinking about making this the year they grow some of their own food (or the year they grow more of their own food). If you’re ready to stop thinking about it and start doing but are challenged for space (maybe you live in an apartment of condo, or maybe you have a tiny yard, or your yard doubles as your dog’s bathroom), this post is for you. Maybe you have a healthy growing operation in place already but are starting to suffer from back problems because of all the bending involved in maintaining your garden. If so, this post is for you, too. Or maybe you’re just interested in trying something new or adding new elements to your garden. This post is for you, too.

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10 Reasons to Plant a Garden This Fall (it’s not too late!)

10 Reasons to Plant a Garden This Fall (it’s not too late!)

Fall is here and soon after, winter, and while many of us have put away the gardening tools and supplies, picked our last harvests, and composted the leftover stalks and roots, there’s no need to wait until the spring to begin again. Growing your own food is something you can do year-round if you begin this fall. If you’ve been considering fall (and winter) gardening but haven’t done anything about it, here are ten reasons to consider it a little more seriously…

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Revisiting our collective past with a stroll through community gardens

Revisiting our collective past with a stroll through community gardens

(part 2 of 2)

Sometimes, community gardens have the power to embody our collective memories of the past. While they can enable us to build new relationships and create opportunities to sustain a more food-secure future, they also tell us something about the struggles, strengths, and legacy of generations ago.

I explored some of these issues in an interview with Pastor Willie Wilson of Anacostia’s Union Temple Baptist Church on June 24th, the occasion of the 2017 opening of the church’s community garden to the public. The community garden at UTBC is a partnership between the University of the District of Columbia and the 11th St Bridge Project. Besides serving as a gathering point for the local community, it also provides a means to promote some of the ethics embodied by the church, most prominently spiritual development, fellowship, communication, and the uplift of marginalized African-American communities in the metro Washington, D.C. area.

Our interview quickly took on the overtones of a series of stories of past injustices, struggles of the present, and an unvarnished, if bleak view of at the future should the status quo remain in place, told through the lens and the experience of a man who has lived, worked, preached, and fought for this community for over 31 years as the lead pastor of UTBC.

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