Chelsea Green News Archive


Permaculture Special: Last Chance!

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

This is it. Your last chance to reap the savings on all of our permaculture books. But hurry – sale ends June 1st.

By adding a permaculture twist to your garden design you can spend less effort, improve the health of your soil, and enjoy a bountiful harvest.

Chelsea Green has been the go-to publisher for key home-scale permaculture books for thirty years. Learn more about this simple but revolutionary system with these groundbreaking books—on sale for a limited time.

Happy reading from your friends at Chelsea Green Publishing.

P.S. In case you missed it for the month of May we put our pioneering permaculture authors at your disposal. Take a peek at the last Q&A posts here: Are Swales Right for You; Michael Judd’s Blueberry Soil Mix; and Eric Toensmeier on Aggressive Grass and Partial Shade.


Discount codes do not combine with other offers—our books
already on sale for example. Free shipping for orders $100 or
more is applied after the discount is applied. (U.S. Orders Only)
Permaculture Sale: until June 1st

 

The Resilient Farm and Homestead
Retail: $40.00
Sale: $26.00
Edible Perennial Gardening
Retail: $22.95
Sale: $14.92
Integrated Forest Gardening
Retail: $45.00
Sale: $29.25
Edible Forest Gardens (2 volume set)
Retail: $150.00
Sale: $97.50
Gaia's Garden, 2nd Edition
Retail: $29.95
Sale: $19.47
Edible Landscaping with a Permaculture Twist
Retail: $24.95
Sale: $16.22
Paradise Lot
Retail: $19.95
Sale: $12.97
The Permaculture Kitchen
Retail: $22.95
Sale: $14.92
Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land
Retail: $29.95
Sale: $19.47
Sepp Holzer's Permaculture
Retail: $29.95
Sale: $19.47
Grass, Soil, Hope
Retail: $19.95
Sale: $12.97
Perennial Vegetables Set
Retail: $35.00
Sale: $22.75
Edible Cities
Retail: $22.95
Sale: $14.92
Food Not Lawns
Retail: $25.00
Sale: $16.25
The Small-Scale Poultry Flock
Retail: $39.95
Sale: $25.97
The Holistic Orchard
Retail: $39.95
Sale: $25.97
Top-Bar Beekeeping
Retail: $24.95
Sale: $16.22
Natural Beekeeping, Revised and Expanded
Retail: $34.95
Sale: $22.72
Permaculture in Pots
Retail: $14.95
Sale: $9.72
Letting in the Wild Edges
Retail: $24.95
Sale: $16.22
Earth User's Guide to Teaching Permaculture
Retail: $29.95
Sale: $19.47
Sowing Seeds in the Desert
Retail: $15.95
Sale: $10.37
Outdoor Classrooms
Retail: $24.95
Sale: $16.22
The Earth User's Guide to Permaculture
Retail: $37.95
Sale: $24.67
People & Permaculture
Retail: $34.95
Sale: $22.72
The Basics of Permaculture Design
Retail: $25.00
Sale: $16.25
Desert or Paradise
Retail: $29.95
Sale: $19.47
The Woodland Way
Retail: $29.95
Sale: $19.47
Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond Vol. 1
Retail: $29.95
Sale: $19.47
Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond Vol. 2
Retail: $39.95
Sale: $25.97
Permaculture
Retail: $30.00
Sale: $19.50
Permaculture Pioneers
Retail: $24.95
Sale: $16.22
The Permaculture Way
Retail: $29.95
Sale: $19.47
The Earth Care Manual
Retail: $75.00
Sale: $48.75
The Permaculture Garden
Retail: $25.00
Sale: $16.25
The Uses of Wild Plants
Retail: $24.95
Sale: $16.22
How to Make a Forest Garden
Retail: $30.00
Sale: $19.50
Permaculture Plants
Retail: $29.95
Sale: $19.47
Permaculture Design
Retail: $24.95
Sale: $16.22
Permaculture in a Nutshell
Retail: $12.95
Sale: $8.42
Getting Started in Permaculture
Retail: $14.95
Sale: $9.72
Designing and Maintaining Your Edible Landscape Naturally
Retail: $49.95
Sale: $32.47
Holistic Orchard with Michael Phillips
Retail: $49.95
Sale: $32.47
Perennial Vegetable Gardening with Eric Toensmeier
Retail: $29.95
Sale: $19.47
Natural Beekeeping with Ross Conrad
Retail: $24.95
Sale: $16.22
Top-Bar Beekeeping with Les Crowder and Heather Harrell
Retail: $14.95
Sale: $9.72

Discount codes do not combine with other offers—our books
already on sale for example. Free shipping for orders $100 or
more is applied after the discount is applied. (U.S. Orders Only)

Mother Earth News Fair – May 31 & June 1

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Fair season is here — Mother Earth News Fair season that is! If you’re a homesteader, small-farmer, or gardener, you need to check out the Mother Earth News Fair near you.

If you live within a quick drive to Seattle, you’re in luck. Because the next Mother Earth News Fair is in Puyallup, WA on May 31 and June 1.

From speakers and workshops to vendors and livestock breeders, the Mother Earth News Fairs draw thousands of sustainability-minded, curious, self-reliant folks together for a full weekend of workshops, lectures, and hands-on presentations at the sprawling Puyallup fairgrounds. And of course, a full slate of Chelsea Green authors will be among the presenters.

The following authors will be leading workshops and giving keynote speeches in Puyallup:

Saturday, May 31
Doug Fine — workshop

  • 1:00 PM, Modern Homesteading Stage: Hemp Returns to Humanity.

Gianaclis Caldwell- 2 workshops

  • 2:30-3:30 PM, Real Food Stage: One Pot, One Gallon, One Hour Lasagna Cheese.
  • 5:30-6:30 PM, Real Food Stage: Yogurt: Marvels and Making.

Sunday, June 1

Joel Salatin — Keynote

  • 9:30AM, Mother Earth News Stage: Live Poultry Demo.
  • 4:00 PM, Mother Earth News Stage: Heretics Unite.

Gianaclis Caldwell — workshop

  • 11:30 AM, Real Food Stage: Raw Milk Production- Doing it Right.

Rebecca Thistlethwaite — workshop:

  • 11:30AM, Modern Homesteading Stage: From Hobby to Business: How to transform your farming hobby into a right livelihood

Toby Hemenway — Keynote

  • 2:30-3:30- Mother Earth News Stage: Agriculture, Horticulture, Permaculture: How a society based on gardens rather than farms offers a sustainable future.

Visit Chelsea Green at Booth #818-820 (right outside the Mother Earth News Fair Bookstore) for special deals, giveaways, book discounts, and to meet our authors face-to-face. Communications Director Shay Totten will be there to answer questions, talk about our books coming out later this year, and hold regular raffles where you could walk away with a Chelsea Green book … free!

We’ll also have hemp treats in advance of Hemp History Week, which begins June 2 and ends June 8.

See you at the Fair!

For the full line-up, download the Fair schedule here.

Food Justice: What it Means and Why We Need it

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

By Elizabeth Henderson, longtime sustainable agtivist, Chelsea Green author (Sharing the Harvest: A Citizen’s Guide to Community Supported Agriculture), Farmer at Peacework Organic Farm and co-Founder of the Agriculture Justice Project.

I come to my understanding of Food Justice from the perspective of my life as an organic farmer since 1980. Access for inner city and low-income people to healthy, clean, nutritious food is what you hear about most in news about food justice. According to USDA Economic Research Service in its annual report for 2012 on food security – nationally 48.9 million people live in households that are food insecure. In NYS 13.2% of all households are food insecure and 5% suffered “very low food security,” with more severe problems, deeper hunger, cutting back and skipping meals on a regular basis for both adults and children. 21.6% of all children live in food insecure households. Despite these distressing statistics, both houses of Congress agreed to cut the funding for nutrition programs in the Farm Bill of 2014.

Three Aspects of Food Justice:

  • Access to healthy, locally grow, fresh, culturally appropriate food
  • Living wage jobs for all food system workers – farmers, farmworkers, restaurant, food service, processing plant. . .
  • Community Control through cooperatives, faith-based initiatives, community organizations

In Central/Western NY, where we have rich soils and many extremely productive farms as well as gardens, there is no shortage of food.  Hunger comes from poverty.

Every bit as crucial as food access is just treatment and living wages for the people who grow, wash, cook, transport and sell our food.  Over 17% of the jobs in this country are food related.  If everyone who touched food (including both farm workers and farmers) made enough money to pay for high quality food out of their wages, our food system would be on its way to greater fairness and long-term economic viability.

Race Gender Wage Gap

Our society as a whole looks down on jobs that get people dirty.

Vocational studies are for youngsters who do poorly at academic courses. We call picking vegetables “stoop labor,” and the majority of the people who do this work are undocumented migrant farm workers whose average annual wages amount to less than $13,000 a year, according to the United Farm Workers. NYS law requires farmers to pay hired workers minimum wage, soon to rise to $9.00 an hour, and federal law requires paying legal H2A “guest workers” $9.60 an hour, but there is no requirement for time and a half for work over 40 hours a week, and even if you work 60 hours a week year round, minimum wage is poverty pay.

And there is no protection for farm workers who want to organize.

The National Labor Relations Act excludes two groups of workers – farm workers and domestics. Farm workers are not covered by the limited protections afforded to other workers by the National Labor Relations Act, particularly the right to form unions that is so much under attack these days. And protections for farmers in negotiating contracts with buyers are lacking too. The reality is that both family-scale farmers as well as farm workers in this country are in desperate need of fair trade.

Farmers Share Retail

My work as a farmer has largely focused on developing the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model as a way to ensure a decent living for family-scale farmers based on a fair contract with the people who join the CSA and agree to share the risks with the farmers. We started Peacework, the first CSA in western NY, during the winter of 1988-89. This season is our 26th. My involvement led to writing Sharing the Harvest: A Citizen’s Guide to Community Supported Agriculture (Chelsea Green, 2007) which tells our story based on interviews with hundreds of CSA farmers and organizers.

Members and farmers harvest greens together early in the season at Peacework Farm.

Peace work Farm

An aerial view of Peacework Farm, Welcher Road, Newark, New York

What the CSA model offers is a steady source of revenue and the chance to negotiate with your customers (buyers) to get a fair deal – pricing that covers the farmer’s full costs and pays the farmer a wage and even benefits such as health coverage or a pension fund. That is not profit – but it is a lot better than most ag deals or we would not have lost 4 1/2 million farms since I was born.

Carlos Petrini, founder of Slow Food, points out that farmers and their customers share a common fate. Petrini calls for food that is “good, clean and fair” and urges consumers to become “co-producers” with their farmers. Direct sales through farmers markets, on farm markets but especially CSA gives us the opportunity to transform the relationship between farmers and consumers. By sharing the risks of farming, consumers become co-producers in Petrini’s sense.

But what about food that you purchase in a store, restaurant or food service?How can you influence fairness in mainstream markets?

I have been representing the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) in an effort to answer this question by creating a social justice labeling program: Food Justice Certification. A sprinkling of farms and businesses has already been certified in Canada, Oregon, the Upper Midwest and Florida. In January, Swanton Berry Farm and Pie Ranch became the first farms to be Food Justice Certified in California. And in April, the Agricultural Justice Project (AJP) will announce the first three certifications in New York State – West Haven Farm, Green Star Coop and The Piggery Eatery and Butcher Shop, all in Ithaca.

Food Justice Certified

AJP is a program jointly sponsored by four not-for-profits that work on behalf of farmers and farm workers. Since 1999, NOFA, CATA (the Farmworker Support Committee, Comite de apoyo a los trabajadores agricolas), Florida Organic Growers and Consumers (FOG) and Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI-USA), have been engaged in a stakeholder process to write standards for fairness in the food system.

The program is designed for all agricultural production systems, fiber, and cosmetics, as well as food. Candidates must meet high bar standards that have been negotiated among food system stakeholders including both farmers and farm workers.

The standards (which can apply to farms, buyers, distributors, processors and retailers—every link in the supply chain from farm to table) include:

  • Fair pricing for farmers
  • Fair wages and treatment of workers
  • Safe working conditions
  • Fair and equitable contracts for farmers and buyers
  • Workers’ and farmers’ right to freedom of association and collective bargaining
  • Clear conflict resolution policies for all throughout the food chain
  • Clean and safe farmworker housing
  • Learning contracts for Interns and apprentices
  • A ban on full-time child labor together with full protection for children on farms
  • Environmental stewardship through organic certification

The goal is to change relationships so that everyone benefits. More information, including contact information, is available at: www.agriculturaljusticeproject.org

By purchasing food with this label, consumers will ensure that farmers receive a fair percentage of the “food dollar”, allowing for a stable and dignified life for the farm family. Farmworkers will receive a living wage, and be able to adequately provide for themselves and their families. And the broader community will develop a bond with those who work the land, support the economic well-being of farmers and farmworkers, and gain access to food produced in accordance with their principles and ethics.

Such a model would be one concrete step in progressing toward a more sustainable food system, in which, as stated in the principles of the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements, the “entire production, processing and distribution chain [would be] both socially just and ecologically responsible.” In this alternate vision, farm work would be valued by the larger society in direct proportion to the importance of food in peoples’ lives, thereby allowing family farmers to remain on the land, and farmworkers and their families to live a full and healthy life.

If we are to have a local food system that reliably provides most of the food needs for the population of our region, we must shift our spending priorities. The people who grow our food, farmers and farm workers, must get a fair share so that they can go on producing and lead decent lives. They do not need or even want to live like corporate CEOs. Many of the organic farmers and homesteaders I know would be happy to serve as models for a living economy based on the principle of ENOUGH. The Nearings, Helen and Scott, projected an ideal of four hours a day for bread labor, four hours for creative and artistic activities and four hours for conviviality.

Because of economic pressures, these days, people trying to make a living farming are so far from that ideal it is not funny. But if we at least begin demanding that farmers and farm workers should make a living wage with full benefits, (health care, compensation for injuries and unemployment, and retirement) from a 40 hour week, we may start moving towards true food justice that will sustain us into a future worth living.

Join the 2014 Local Food Enterprise Summit

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

As a part of Permaculture Month, Chelsea Green is proud to sponsor the 2014 Local Food Enterprise Summit, to be held May 31-June 4 in Miami, Florida, featuring two of our noteworthy authors: Eric Toensmeier and Judy Wicks!

Save $80 off registration. Register here and use discount code CHELSEA.

During this five-day intensive convergence hosted by Earth Learning and the Financial Permaculture Institute, you will learn from community investment and financial experts, permaculture designers, and sustainability entrepreneurs to begin building resiliency in your own community.

Economic and ecological challenges of the twenty-first century will be addressed, as you work with the experts to design forward-thinking businesses that optimize local, natural systems and human capacities to implement models of regenerative business and local resiliency.

Meet Our Authors

Eric Toensmeier has spent twenty years exploring edible and useful plants of the world and their use in perennial agroecosystems. He is the award winning author of Paradise Lot, Perennial Vegetables and co-author of Edible Forest Gardens with Dave Jacke. His current project is promoting perennial farming systems, including agroforestry and perennial staple crops, as a strategy to sequester carbon while restoring degraded lands, and providing food, fuel, income, and ecosystem services. Read more…

Judy Wicks is an international leader and speaker in the local-living-economies movement and former owner of the White Dog Café, acclaimed for its socially and environmentally responsible business practices. With her memoir, Good Morning, Beautiful Business, she tells her story of stumbling into entrepreneurship and ending up reviving a community and starting a national economic reform movement. Read more…

 

Don’t miss your chance to learn directly from these local food economy experts at this year’s Local Food Enterprise Summit! Space is limited. Register now using discount code CHELSEA.

Spring Cleaning Sale: Time is running out!

Monday, April 28th, 2014

Don’t forget to soak up the savings as you dig into spring. There is just one week left to save big on select Chelsea Green books.

Through May 4th we’re having a Spring Cleaning Clearance sale to make room for our forthcoming Spring releases. But hurry it is only while supplies last!

As always, we offer FREE shipping on orders of $100 or more.

Happy reading from the employee owners Chelsea Green Publishing.


Discount codes do not combine with other offers—our books already on sale for example.
Free shipping for orders $100 or more is applied after the discount is applied. (U.S. Orders Only)
Sale runs through May 4th, 2014 or until supplies last.


Deep Discounts: $9.99 Books
Wild Flavors
 
Home Baked
 
Cooking Close to Home
 
Food Not Lawns
 
Flying Blind
Dazzle Gradually
Adobe Homes for all Climates
The Atlas of American Artisan Cheese
9.99
Deeper Discounts: $4.99 Books
A Sanctuary of Trees
 
Up Tunket Road
 
Dreaming the Future
 
Power from the People
 
Chanterelle Dreams, Amanita Nightmares
 
The Raw Milk Revolution
 
A Solar Buyer's Guide
 
Wild Law
 
4.99
Deepest Discounts: $1.99 Books

 

Crop Rotation and Cover Cropping
 
Organic Soil-Fertility and Weed Management
 
Growing Healthy Vagetable Crops
 
Organic Seed Production and Saving
 
Nontoxic Housecleaning
 
Sustainable Food
 
Composting
 
Energy
 
1.99

Discount codes do not combine with other offers—our books
already on sale for example. Free shipping for orders $100 or
more is applied after the discount is applied. (U.S. Orders Only)

Permaculture 101: Ask the Experts

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

This May, in honor of Permaculture Month, we’re putting our pioneering permaculture authors at your disposal for a month-long Q&A session designed to help you become a better permaculturalist.

What is permaculture? In essence, permaculture is a system of designing households and communities that are productive, sustaining, and largely self-reliant, and have minimal impact on the environment.

Chelsea Green is proud to publish some of the most recognized, and award-winning names (both present and future) in permaculture, and we’re making several of them available to our readers to answer any and all permaculture-related questions.

The participating authors are: Ben Falk, author of the award-winning The Resilient Farm and Homestead, Toby Hemenway, author of a perennial Chelsea Green bestseller Gaia’s Garden, Eric Toensmeier, author of the award-winning Perennial Vegetables and the latest Paradise Lot. Joining this trio will be Wayne Weiseman, Daniel Halsey, and Bryce Ruddock, authors of the forthcoming book Integrated Forest Gardening, the first book to delve deep into plant guilds and polycultures, as well as Michael Judd, whose book Edible Landscaping with a Permaculture Twist, we are distributing in our catalog.

Ben Falk Toby Hemenway Eric Toensmeier
Wayne Weiseman Dan Bryce Ruddock Judd

Do you need to learn more about a specific design you have in mind? Or are you just getting started and want to know how to best evaluate your backyard or homestead? Whether you’re tackling edible garden spaces or farm fields, our expert authors are prepared to answer your questions on permaculture design, edible landscaping, plant guilds, perennial plantings, as well as the economics and social impact of permaculture.

To submit your permaculture question, use the form below and either put your query to the attention of a specific author (if you have a question about something you’ve read or tried in their book), or ask a general question and we’ll direct it to the right author to respond.

Keep checking back throughout the month as we’ll not only be posting answers, but excerpts and other information to celebrate permaculture month. And, all our permaculture titles will be on sale for the entire month of May.

Get digging!

Fill out my online form.

How Would You Change the World with 20,000 Twitter Followers?

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

To celebrate Earth Day, Chelsea Green Publishing is doing something a little different, something that, perhaps, has never even been done before. We are giving away Twitter followers—20,600 to be exact.

Over the years, through our @GreenTweet handle, we have developed a community of people interested in sustainability by sharing green tips, techniques, and inspiration.

As part of our yearlong 30th anniversary celebration, we’ve decided it’s time to pay it forward and pass that community on to a worthy advocate.  We are launching an open call for a socially conscious individual, organization, or business whose mission is focused on sustainability to take over the @GreenTweet Twitter handle.

The challenge is to turn those 20,000+ followers into 200,000, or why not go for 2M. Here at Chelsea Green we like to think big, so go ahead, show us what you’ve got to help make the world a greener and more just place to live.

And, for folks who’ve come to look to @GreenTweet for all things DIY from our authors, don’t fret. We’ve been adding a lot of that DIY, hands-on content—book excerpts, videos, and more—to our @ChelseaGreen Twitter feed so we can have all of our great offerings provided by one, simple channel.

Here’s How to Win

1. Fill out this entry form.

2. Tweet this message: “I just entered @ChelseaGreen #MyGreenTweet giveaway to takeover @GreenTweet incl all 20K followers. Interested? http://goo.gl/gUAFIP

3. Throughout the submission period, keep in touch by tweeting @ChelseaGreen messages, videos, images, and links that demonstrate your vision for @GreenTweet. Include examples of what kind of content you will share and how you will use this platform to motivate others and spread the word about sustainable living. Make sure to use #MyGreenTweet in all posts.

4. Periodically we will tweet questions and challenges to help us select a winner, so keep an eye on the @ChelseaGreen twitter feed for updates.

The submission deadline is June 18. We will announce the new owner of @GreenTweet on July 2, 2014—our official 30th anniversary. In addition to the followers, the winner will receive a collection of Chelsea Green books that are sure to inspire future projects and activism.

Get your green on and start tweeting for your chance to win. Good luck!

The Fine Print:
Chelsea Green will make every good-faith effort to contact the winner. Any winner whom we are unable to contact in a reasonable amount of time will lose their claim to the prize and Chelsea Green will award that prize to the next runner up. In the event that a winner is not declared, @GreenTweet will be retained by Chelsea Green. Unfortunately, Chelsea Green cannot be responsible for any technical problems in email transmissions. Once you fill out the entry form, you will receive a confirmation screen that your entry has been submitted. We will inform you via direct email on July 2nd if you have won.  Thanks for your participation!

Spring Cleaning Sale!

Monday, April 21st, 2014

Congratulations, you’ve survived another long winter! Now it is time for some Spring Cleaning.

Through May 4th we’re having a Spring Cleaning Clearance sale to make room for our forthcoming Spring releases.

We’re offering three chances to save big—up to 90% off—on select titles. But hurry it is only while supplies last!

As always, we offer FREE shipping on orders of $100 or more.


Discount codes do not combine with other offers—our books already on sale for example.
Free shipping for orders $100 or more is applied after the discount is applied.
Sale runs through May 4th, 2014 or until supplies last.

Deep Discount: $9.99 Books

 

Home Baked
 
Food Not Lawns
 
Wild Flavors
 
Flying Blind
 
The Atlas of American Artisan Cheese
 
Sippewissett
 
Cooking Close to Home
 
Luminous Fish
 
Deeper Discounts: $4.99 Books

 

Wild Law
 
Chanterelle Dreams, Amanita Nightmares
 
Cheesemonger
 
The Raw Milk Revolution
 
The Wat on Bugs
 
Dreaming the Future
 
Notes from the Holocene
 
An Unreasonable Woman
 
Deepest Discounts: $1.99 Books

 

Compost, Vermicompost, and Compost Tea
 
Organic Seed Production and Saving
 
Bye Bye Miss American Empire
 
Sustainable Food
 

Discount codes do not combine with other offers—our books
already on sale for example. Free shipping for orders $100 or
more is applied after the discount is applied.

Hemp is on the Horizon! Get Ready for America’s Next Agricultural Revolution

Sunday, April 13th, 2014

You can eat it, drink it, read it, tie it, wear it, drive it, live in it, and make money growing it, all while saving the soil and protecting the climate.

What is it? Hemp. That’s right, hemp.

Hemp is on the Horizon! Just this year hemp was approved to be cultivated for university research – a huge first step in hemp’s domestic comeback as the crop of the future.

Author Doug Fine is ready for that future. In his latest book, Hemp Bound: Dispatches From the Front Lines of the Next Agricultural Revolution, Doug explains why one of humanity’s longest-utilized plants is poised to rejuvenate the U.S. economy and help save the planet.

Hemp Bound is on sale for 35% off. But hurry – it only lasts until 4/21!

Whether you are a farmer, entrepreneur, investor, or just a curious reader, this book could turn you into the next voracious hemp consumer and leave you wondering why we ever stopped cultivating this miracle crop in the first place.

Happy reading from the employee owners of Chelsea Green Publishing

P.S. Wondering how a single plant can possibly live up to all this hype? Click here to test your hemp knowledge with our Hemp Pop Quiz and to dig even deeper into the History of Hemp.


*Discount codes do not combine with other offers—our books already on sale for example. Free shipping for orders $100 or more is applied after the discount is applied


Hemp Bound

Praise for Hemp Bound

“The issue is simple: farmers need hemp, the soil needs hemp, forests need hemp, and humanity needs the plant that the good Lord gave us for our own survival—hemp. . . Hemp Bound tells us with detail and humor how to get to the environmental Promised Land. Doug has created a blueprint for the America of the future.” —Willie Nelson, songwriter, president of Farm Aid -

“Fine’s style and storytelling ability make this one of the most fun books you’ll ever read about the future of farming.” —Joel Salatin, author of Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal 

“A short, sweet, logical and funny argument for the potential of one of the world’s most dynamic cash crops.” — Kirkus Reviews 

How to Start a Traditional Compost Pile in Your Yard

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

As a society, we make a lot of waste, especially in this culture of on-the-go single-serve disposables. As we work toward the Zero Waste Solution with Extended Producer Responsibility and other government mandated universal recycling of solid waste in the works, there is plenty you can do to reduce the amount of waste you send to the landfill.

Use less, recycle and reuse packaging materials, and compost your organic waste. And if you’re a gardener, there’s no reason to throw away this beneficial (and cheap!) source of nourishment for your soil. Compost is the key to a flourishing garden. Easily turn your kitchen scraps and yard waste into food your garden will love.

******

The following is an excerpt from Fresh Food from Small Spaces: The Square-Inch Gardener’s Guide to Year-Round Growing, Fermenting, and Sprouting by R. J. Ruppenthal. It has been adapted for the Web.

If you have enough space to start a compost pile in your yard, make sure your local city and county ordinances permit it. Some of them have restrictions because open piles can attract rodents and create odors. Assuming that your area allows open-air composting, consider whether you can fit three piles in your yard: one for new compost, one for aging compost, and one for the finished stuff that goes back on your plants. If you just have room for one, that is fine, but in order for your pile to fully break down, you will need to stop adding new material at some point and let it decompose.

Some compost piles are hot, while others never get very warm, and this is a function of the biological activity in the pile while the organisms do their thing. Getting your pile to heat up naturally depends on a long list of factors, including pile size, materials, layering, moisture, external heat, and other variables. But even if it does not heat up much, sooner or later the stuff will break down and you’ll have some good dirt to use on your plants.

Cold compost is perfectly acceptable stuff; it just takes a bit longer to make. Some gardening purists hold that the nutritional content of hot-cooked compost is far superior, but if you are using it as more of a soil amendment than a fertilizer, then this should not matter much. If you want to follow the pure wisdom, then the minimum size for a hot pile is about 4′ x 4′, which will allow enough internal space to create the proper conditions for this biological activity to take place.93 In lieu of this, any untidy heap will break down at its own pace.

Compost Bin

What should you put in your compost pile? Will it stink? Do you have to turn it regularly? The answers are: anything organic, a bit, and not really.

Dead leaves, lawn clippings, food scraps (except meat or fat), newspaper, cardboard, and manure are all organic matter and will break down in your compost pile. Ideally, you want to add a diversity of ingredients.

The pile will break down faster if you add both “browns” (dry ingredients such as dead leaves, newspaper, and cardboard) and “greens” (wet stuff such as food scraps, lawn clippings, and fresh manure).

“Greens” contain plenty of nitrogen while “browns” have more carbon, and your pile needs both. Conventional wisdom holds that the proper ratio is 2 parts “browns” to 1 part “greens,” but you can vary this ratio somewhat. Just remember that a pile of 100 percent leaves takes a lot longer to break down, and 100 percent food scraps may turn into a very wet and slimy mess long before it breaks down. Also, the more diverse sources of waste you add, the better its nutritional output will be for your soil.

Your new pile will stink a bit at first, but if you have never composted before, then you will be pleasantly surprised. It’s not as smelly as you would think. In its early stages, you can cover the compost pile with burlap, a tarp, or a layer of “brown” ingredients such as leaves or cardboard, which will help seal in the moisture and limit any odors. As the compost ages, it begins to smell more earthy, a fragrance that some actually enjoy.

Your compost is finished when you can no longer recognize the individual materials that went into it.

Aerating the pile is optional, but it may speed up the process by delivering oxygen where it’s needed. Use a pitchfork to turn the pile and make sure that both air and moisture are reaching each part. You can do this weekly or less often. And, if you do not want to turn the pile, then it will aerate naturally with time as the layers break down and settle.


Follow us
Get every new post delivered to your inbox
Join millions of other followers
Powered By WPFruits.com