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Agri & Gardening urban gardening  kill grass  grow food only | Newsletter General

Urban Gardening: Kill Grass, Grow Food Only

by: SH
urban gardening  kill grass  grow food only | Newsletter

One of the largest wastes of space? That stretch of lawn in your backyard. Having ‘just grass’ might be fun for your kids to run around in, for your dog to pee in when you are too lazy to go out, or for having a relatively low-maintenance green alternative for the boring, plain tiles. Unfortunately, it does not deliver any more benefits.

Kill Grass, Grow Food Only

Now, let’s look at what would happen if you were to replace even a small part of your lawn with a vegetable garden for you to plant your very own veggies or herbs in. Not just a great way of stocking your pantry with fresh greens, but also a proven therapeutical way of dealing with the stress that the world is throwing at you - and unfortunately, there has been quite a bit of this going around lately.

areal, person, vegetables

Most of us seem to halt at the how-to. How do we get started? How do we maintain this plot of land? Isn’t it just a lot of work? Thankfully, there are some sure-fire ways of getting started and improving your chances of success.

Recommended: Gardening Organic Is Good For You, The Soil, Flora And Fauna

Urban Gardening: Plant In The Sun, With The Wind

One of the typical rookie-mistakes. Planting veggies and herbs in a plot of land that catches direct sunlight for the majority of the day, when they are clearly not suitable for this. Or the dramatic opposite, choosing for shadowy places where plants will just wilt away. There is such a thing as the ideal amount of sunlight for any garden, and this adds up to some six hours on a good day. The mid-day sun is the best.

Wind conditions are equally important for getting yourself a suitable vegetable garden. Especially if your area is susceptible to frequent strong winds, this is something to look out for. Your rows should ideally run parallel to the prevailing wind. So if your area is known for its strong winds from the west, you would run your plots of land from west to east.

Fence, vegetables, grass

Unsure about the sun or wind in your area? It is always a great idea to start off small, with an area no bigger than your living room rug. This will allow you to test the conditions and find out whether you actually enjoy gardening as a hobby.

Recommended: Gardening Decreases Stress And Is A Nice Way To Improve Life

Grow Food: Get To Know Your Dirt

Weather conditions aside, there is one more thing that you cannot influence - the soil in your area. Whether you are working with clay, sand, or something else, you really have to roll with what you’ve got. This does not mean that you cannot do anything about a particularly tough base layer, though. Over time, you can get your soil to become better and more suitable for what you are planning to grow.

It always pays off to get in touch with your area’s agriculture extension office or a local land-grant college. These guys are really familiar with the prevailing soil structure you are dealing with and can give you some great advice about what your soil needs to thrive, such as more organic matter or microbes. They can also assist in testing the acidity of your soil and, if needed, in performing an acidity adjustment.

Recommended: The World’s Gone Mad! You Need Mud, No iPhone

 The acidity, or pH-value, of your land determines the extent to which your plants are able to absorb the nutrients in the soil. And this will play a large role in determining the success of your vegetable garden. Ideally, your garden’s pH value would be between 6.0 and 7.0. Not quite there? You can increase the pH-value by adding soil sulfur, or bring it down through the addition of limestone.

House, vegetables, grass

Another way of getting to know your dirt is by having it tested for heavy metals, which is particularly important in urban areas or land that used to have pre-1950 homes of industrial facilities on it. Until then, better be safe than sorry and wear work gloves when handling your soil.

Urban Gardening: Feed Your Soil

Speaking of keeping your soil happy. Bringing it up to par is not just a one-time effort. You have to work with it full-time to keep it nourished and thriving. A healthy soil is one that is dark, fluffy, and moist - full of life. You can get it to be just this by adding compost to it and repeating this every single year. To get your garden started, you can add a layer of roughly 5 centimeters of compost. It sounds like a lot, but your garden will thank you later. After the first year, adding 2 to 3 centimeters of compost will be just fine. Effective compost is usually made up of composted leaves, straw, and some veggie scraps. All the leftover bits from cleaning your garden.

Through the addition of this organic matter, you will find that microbial activity in your soil will thrive. This means that there could be up to billions of bacteria in a single teaspoon of soil. And this is a good thing: nature thrives on diversity, and a happy soil means a happy garden.

Grow Food Only: Till Once For A Kickstart

For all of you rookies out there. Tilling is a procedure that involves deep tossing and turning of your soil. The jury is still out when it comes to its effectiveness, with some experts saying it could actually do more damage than good. Fact is that you should not do it too often, perhaps only when preparing a plot of land to be a new vegetable garden.

blue spade, soil
Photo by: Markus Spiske

By tilling a garden bed-to-be, you will not only thoroughly get rid of the grass, it will also introduce heaps of oxygen in your soil. And oxygen, that is the one thing that all living beings on earth thrive on - including those precious microbes in your soil.

Why shouldn’t you do it more often, then? Well, tilling also leaves the ground vulnerable to erosion, with no more roots remaining to keep the soil in place. Best to avoid this practice altogether when your garden is based on a hilly slope, or when weather forecasts are predicting particularly windy conditions.

Recommended: Vegetables, Fruit, Edible Flowers, But Also Bees In Cities Urban Farming

Kill The Grass

One of the main reasons given to not start a vegetable garden is the amount of work that people perceive it to be. This is mainly related to the near daily maintenance that is required, to make sure the weeds are staying away. But people are also worried about the work it will take to prepare a patch of land for growing produce. The main challenge here is keeping that persistent grass away, that used to grace your garden.



                                                          How To Turn Your Lawn Into A Vegetable Garden

 

One method that can be used to avoid grass roots remaining and sucking up moisture, nutrients and sunlight is the so-called cardboard-lasagna method. With this, cardboard squares are placed over the patch of grass that you want to use for your vegetable garden. Cover the cardboard with a layer of compost, followed by a layer of organic materials - whatever you have, really, be it leaves, wood chips, straw, or something else. Then let nature do its thing. The grass will die, while the soil is enriched with the nutrients fed to it as the cardboard disintegrates.

Recommended: Rooftop Garden: Sustainable Urban Agriculture

Gardening: Build Raised Beds

There are roughly two types of vegetable garden patches. One has in-ground beds, while the other has so-called raised beds. The latter are easier to maintain and grow, as they are better at holding water and stay warmer in the winter. The only downside is that they require a lot more soil to fill, as you actually need to pile up the soil on top of your chosen patch.

Raised beds, vegetables, path

Your Backyard Is Big Enough

Regardless of the size of your backyard, you will be able to grow your own produce. If you are ready to take the next step and looking to become fully self-sustaining, you will require some 185 m2. This does require some serious thinking, though. You will have to plant for calories and divide up your garden accordingly.

Recommended: Waste Is Delicious: Distorted Fruit And Vegetables For Sale

You will need to use some 60% of your garden for high-calorie and high-compost crops, including wheat, millet, or the surprisingly high-calorie generating leeks. Then you will need another 30% for high-calorie root crops, like potatoes. Finally, use the remaining 10% for vitamin-dense produce, including salad greens and tomatoes.

Growing Food: Plant What You Actually Eat

It may seem like a no-brainer, but it needs to be said regardless. Only plant things that you, or those around you, will actually eat. Planting celery when you cannot stand its taste is quite silly, as is devoting lots of space to tomatoes when you absolutely hate them. Simultaneously, you would do well to plant for easy future maintenance.

Red leaves, soil
Photo by: Markus Spiske

This means including perennial crops like fruit and nut trees, or plants like asparagus. These will come back every single year and do not require lots of replanting or yearly maintenance. Yes, they might take a couple of years to spring up, but when they do, you will have a trusty source of produce.

If You Can’t Grow Protein, Raise It

Protein is a crucial part of our diet. It is, however, notoriously difficult to grow. You could try pinto bean plants, or black eye peas. Or, even simpler: create some space for a chicken coup and bring in some hens. They will provide lots of eggs and compost.

Give Your Seeds A Head Start

You can also consider giving your seeds a head start by growing its seedlings indoor, using seed starting light, warming mats, and growing trays with domes. Give them some four weeks or more to grow and gradually introduce them to the sunlight by putting them outside for a couple of hours per day. When they are ready, plant them and give them much better odds of surviving.

Just watch out what plants you are doing this for, as some - including radishes, beets, corn and turnips, do not like being transplanted and are better planted in the ground directly.

Gardening: Outmanoeuvre Your Pests

Some last words of advice. First, keep pests out of your garden through efficient management. Plant some specific types before or after their typical season starts, avoiding the bugs that are keen to find them. Or use commercial insecticides. And make sure to keep your soil healthy: healthy plants are much better at fighting off pests.

Recommended: Farmers Tackle Pests With Flowers And Insects

Speaking of your soil, another great way of protecting is it by covering it up. Simply scatter some seeds for a suitable cover crop, to avoid the growth of weeds and keep the soil in place. It is great for local insects as well, who will turn your garden into a real ecosystem. You take what you need, while it continues to thrive because of what you give back. Eco-friendliness at its best.

Before you go!

Recommended: Eating insects Is Healthy, Tasty And Cool

Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day.

Like to write your own article about growing your own food?
Click on 'Register' or push the button 'Write An Article' on the 'HomePage'

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Breaking News, as the world changes…

In our world, WhatsOrb refuses to turn away from the changes in our society and environment which succeeds each other at a rapid pace.

For WhatsOrb, publishing on the environment is a priority. We give reporting on climate, nature, waste, lifestyle and sustainable solutions the prominence it deserves.

At this turbulent time for ‘all’ species and our planet, we are determined to inform readers about threats, consequences and solutions based on facts, not on political prejudice or business interests.

WhatsOrb Breaking News will be published as soon as urgent events from around the world and startling sustainable innovations reach us.

If there is anything we should know and publish about, please send a note to: [email protected] or write your own story on: www.whatsorb.comthe only news site which gives you a ‘sustainable voice!’

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Urban Gardening: Kill Grass, Grow Food Only

One of the largest wastes of space? That stretch of lawn in your backyard. Having ‘just grass’ might be fun for your kids to run around in, for your dog to pee in when you are too lazy to go out, or for having a relatively low-maintenance green alternative for the boring, plain tiles. Unfortunately, it does not deliver any more benefits. Kill Grass, Grow Food Only Now, let’s look at what would happen if you were to replace even a small part of your lawn with a vegetable garden for you to plant your very own veggies or herbs in. Not just a great way of stocking your pantry with fresh greens, but also a proven therapeutical way of dealing with the stress that the world is throwing at you - and unfortunately, there has been quite a bit of this going around lately. Most of us seem to halt at the how-to. How do we get started? How do we maintain this plot of land? Isn’t it just a lot of work? Thankfully, there are some sure-fire ways of getting started and improving your chances of success. Recommended:  Gardening Organic Is Good For You, The Soil, Flora And Fauna Urban Gardening:  Plant In The Sun, With The Wind One of the typical rookie-mistakes. Planting veggies and herbs in a plot of land that catches direct sunlight for the majority of the day, when they are clearly not suitable for this. Or the dramatic opposite, choosing for shadowy places where plants will just wilt away. There is such a thing as the ideal amount of sunlight for any garden, and this adds up to some six hours on a good day. The mid-day sun is the best. Wind conditions are equally important for getting yourself a suitable vegetable garden. Especially if your area is susceptible to frequent strong winds, this is something to look out for. Your rows should ideally run parallel to the prevailing wind. So if your area is known for its strong winds from the west, you would run your plots of land from west to east. Unsure about the sun or wind in your area? It is always a great idea to start off small, with an area no bigger than your living room rug. This will allow you to test the conditions and find out whether you actually enjoy gardening as a hobby. Recommended:  Gardening Decreases Stress And Is A Nice Way To Improve Life Grow Food: Get To Know Your Dirt Weather conditions aside, there is one more thing that you cannot influence - the soil in your area. Whether you are working with clay, sand, or something else, you really have to roll with what you’ve got. This does not mean that you cannot do anything about a particularly tough base layer, though. Over time, you can get your soil to become better and more suitable for what you are planning to grow. It always pays off to get in touch with your area’s agriculture extension office or a local land-grant college. These guys are really familiar with the prevailing soil structure you are dealing with and can give you some great advice about what your soil needs to thrive, such as more organic matter or microbes. They can also assist in testing the acidity of your soil and, if needed, in performing an acidity adjustment. Recommended:  The World’s Gone Mad! You Need Mud, No iPhone   The acidity, or pH-value, of your land determines the extent to which your plants are able to absorb the nutrients in the soil. And this will play a large role in determining the success of your vegetable garden. Ideally, your garden’s pH value would be between 6.0 and 7.0. Not quite there? You can increase the pH-value by adding soil sulfur, or bring it down through the addition of limestone. Another way of getting to know your dirt is by having it tested for heavy metals, which is particularly important in urban areas or land that used to have pre-1950 homes of industrial facilities on it. Until then, better be safe than sorry and wear work gloves when handling your soil. Urban Gardening: Feed Your Soil Speaking of keeping your soil happy. Bringing it up to par is not just a one-time effort. You have to work with it full-time to keep it nourished and thriving. A healthy soil is one that is dark, fluffy, and moist - full of life. You can get it to be just this by adding compost to it and repeating this every single year. To get your garden started, you can add a layer of roughly 5 centimeters of compost. It sounds like a lot, but your garden will thank you later. After the first year, adding 2 to 3 centimeters of compost will be just fine. Effective compost is usually made up of composted leaves, straw, and some veggie scraps. All the leftover bits from cleaning your garden. Through the addition of this organic matter, you will find that microbial activity in your soil will thrive. This means that there could be up to billions of bacteria in a single teaspoon of soil. And this is a good thing: nature thrives on diversity, and a happy soil means a happy garden. Grow Food Only: Till Once For A Kickstart For all of you rookies out there. Tilling is a procedure that involves deep tossing and turning of your soil. The jury is still out when it comes to its effectiveness, with some experts saying it could actually do more damage than good. Fact is that you should not do it too often, perhaps only when preparing a plot of land to be a new vegetable garden. Photo by: Markus Spiske By tilling a garden bed-to-be, you will not only thoroughly get rid of the grass, it will also introduce heaps of oxygen in your soil. And oxygen, that is the one thing that all living beings on earth thrive on - including those precious microbes in your soil. Why shouldn’t you do it more often, then? Well, tilling also leaves the ground vulnerable to erosion, with no more roots remaining to keep the soil in place. Best to avoid this practice altogether when your garden is based on a hilly slope, or when weather forecasts are predicting particularly windy conditions. Recommended:  Vegetables, Fruit, Edible Flowers, But Also Bees In Cities Urban Farming Kill The Grass One of the main reasons given to not start a vegetable garden is the amount of work that people perceive it to be. This is mainly related to the near daily maintenance that is required, to make sure the weeds are staying away. But people are also worried about the work it will take to prepare a patch of land for growing produce. The main challenge here is keeping that persistent grass away, that used to grace your garden. {youtube}                                                           How To Turn Your Lawn Into A Vegetable Garden   One method that can be used to avoid grass roots remaining and sucking up moisture, nutrients and sunlight is the so-called cardboard-lasagna method. With this, cardboard squares are placed over the patch of grass that you want to use for your vegetable garden. Cover the cardboard with a layer of compost, followed by a layer of organic materials - whatever you have, really, be it leaves, wood chips, straw, or something else. Then let nature do its thing. The grass will die, while the soil is enriched with the nutrients fed to it as the cardboard disintegrates. Recommended:  Rooftop Garden: Sustainable Urban Agriculture Gardening: Build Raised Beds There are roughly two types of vegetable garden patches. One has in-ground beds, while the other has so-called raised beds. The latter are easier to maintain and grow, as they are better at holding water and stay warmer in the winter. The only downside is that they require a lot more soil to fill, as you actually need to pile up the soil on top of your chosen patch. Your Backyard Is Big Enough Regardless of the size of your backyard, you will be able to grow your own produce. If you are ready to take the next step and looking to become fully self-sustaining, you will require some 185 m2. This does require some serious thinking, though. You will have to plant for calories and divide up your garden accordingly. Recommended:  Waste Is Delicious: Distorted Fruit And Vegetables For Sale You will need to use some 60% of your garden for high-calorie and high-compost crops, including wheat, millet, or the surprisingly high-calorie generating leeks. Then you will need another 30% for high-calorie root crops, like potatoes. Finally, use the remaining 10% for vitamin-dense produce, including salad greens and tomatoes. Growing Food: Plant What You Actually Eat It may seem like a no-brainer, but it needs to be said regardless. Only plant things that you, or those around you, will actually eat. Planting celery when you cannot stand its taste is quite silly, as is devoting lots of space to tomatoes when you absolutely hate them. Simultaneously, you would do well to plant for easy future maintenance. Photo by: Markus Spiske This means including perennial crops like fruit and nut trees, or plants like asparagus. These will come back every single year and do not require lots of replanting or yearly maintenance. Yes, they might take a couple of years to spring up, but when they do, you will have a trusty source of produce. If You Can’t Grow Protein, Raise It Protein is a crucial part of our diet. It is, however, notoriously difficult to grow. You could try pinto bean plants, or black eye peas. Or, even simpler: create some space for a chicken coup and bring in some hens. They will provide lots of eggs and compost. Give Your Seeds A Head Start You can also consider giving your seeds a head start by growing its seedlings indoor, using seed starting light, warming mats, and growing trays with domes. Give them some four weeks or more to grow and gradually introduce them to the sunlight by putting them outside for a couple of hours per day. When they are ready, plant them and give them much better odds of surviving. Just watch out what plants you are doing this for, as some - including radishes, beets, corn and turnips, do not like being transplanted and are better planted in the ground directly. Gardening: Outmanoeuvre Your Pests Some last words of advice. First, keep pests out of your garden through efficient management. Plant some specific types before or after their typical season starts, avoiding the bugs that are keen to find them. Or use commercial insecticides. And make sure to keep your soil healthy: healthy plants are much better at fighting off pests. Recommended:  Farmers Tackle Pests With Flowers And Insects Speaking of your soil, another great way of protecting is it by covering it up. Simply scatter some seeds for a suitable cover crop, to avoid the growth of weeds and keep the soil in place. It is great for local insects as well, who will turn your garden into a real ecosystem. You take what you need, while it continues to thrive because of what you give back. Eco-friendliness at its best. Before you go! Recommended:  Eating insects Is Healthy, Tasty And Cool Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your own article about growing your own food? Click on  'Register'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage'
Stay Updated on Environmental Improvements And Global Innovations