Thoughts on preparing for tomorrow in the Garden State...

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Citizen Corps + disaster/prep volunteer groups

Not much is closer to my heart than being a volunteer firefighter. I did it for 14 years and my parents, specifically my father, always said you should try to leave your community a little better than you found it. And being a volunteer in emergency situations is a perfect way to not only be prepared, but to give of yourself to others.

A new post on APN yesterday the 26th speaks directly to being an emergency volunteer and provides fantastic links and explanations for many levels. PLEASE hit the link and jump over to APN forums and read more.


Citizen Corps was created to help coordinate volunteer activities that make the nation’s communities safer, stronger, and better prepared to respond to any emergency situation. Citizen Corps is managed at local levels by Citizen Corps Councils, which bring together existing crime prevention, disaster preparedness, and public health response networks with the volunteer community and other groups.


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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Straw Bale Gardens - UpDate

Awhile back I spoke about experimenting with a concept called Straw bale Gardening in which you garden without dirt. Seemed like a neat Idea so I embarked on an experiment and bought 3 bales of straw and found a spot along the fence in my garden that was being used to grow weeds. The process goes something like this :
Place the bales on their sides and make sure they are firmly in place, stakes can be used but they will most likely sit still without them.
Everyday for 1 week sprinkle 1 cup of Ammonium sulfate (21-0-0) if you can get it, another high Nitrogen fertilizer if you can't (But it has to be at least 12-0-0), over each bale and water in thoroughly. Reduce that to 1/2 cup the following week, always making sure to water it in. After that you are ready to plant.

I planted excess plants that I had no room in the garden for. 1 Bell Pepper, 2 Cucumbers, and a pack of gourd seeds. So far the Pepper is going great, the gourd seeds have sprouted and are doing very well, but the cucumbers seem to be on the skimpy side and I'm not sure if that's because of the internal temperature of the bales or a nutrient issue.

A couple of points about this experiment: 1) The amount of fertilizer it takes to prep the bales, to me, is excessive and the time is also a tad on the crazy side. 2) The amount of water up front was huge, but after that it doesn't seem to need regular watering at all as the bales really hold the moisture once they get swelled up. And finally 3) The Straw grows too! but scissors keep it to a dull roar :).

Once the season is over I'll just till in the bales and consider the experiment as experience. I'm not sure that if you have room and dirt to garden in, this is worthwhile, bu tit is fun so far.

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