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Wednesday, September 29, 2010


I recently heard the hard numbers, for how much food is wasted in the US. Its 40-50%.

Take that in a moment. We throw half our food away.

Numbers for the rest of the world is similar, its not just the wastefull Americans this time. We all suck at this apparently.

I have always grown plants, I remember being 7 years old digging up seedlings and transplanting them into pots, watering my morning glories and fussing over sunflowers (in pots that never got very big).

The past five years or so tho, I have begun to really put this deep seated urge to use. First growing indoor and outdoor potted plants...learning to remember to move, clean, water, prune them etc. Since this is som'thing you must teach yourself to remember. Plants don't cry when they are hungry, so its easy to forget them.

second, once we are in the house, I forayed into "drought tolerant". The desert scaped yard in my head, was beautiful. But it was not to be.

I found out, after I bought every succelent and cacti known to man, lowes and homedepot. That almost everything available was cacti from high elevations/mild climates...or succulents that were meant to grow under the shade of other, larger plants. Or wanted no rain in the winter, and monsoon rain in the summer, and would die if not carefully managed.

Every single one of these plants, pretty much had a heart attack if I didn't water daily, and if placed in the sun, they would burn. Ever seen a cacti burn? Its really depressing.

So in the end, the only landscaping I could do with succulents where with the ones they use on the freeway embankments, whose cuttings I stole from behind a autoparts place that backed up to an offramp. All the expensive and rare plants were useless.

So back to the drawing board. More plants, and more research later, I found the best thing for me to do, was to drive around and see what species were clinging to life in my neighbors yards. Talk about depressing...

Each house has basically no yard, or a yard of weeds, with one or two trees or shrubs clinging to life despite being completely ignored.

So what I found in my "research" is that the following plants survive here with little to no care.

Southern magnolia
Jade plants
cape honeysuckle

and thats pretty much it.

Well armed with my new knowlege, I lansdscaped my little heart out, still lost a few to the wind, but for the most part, all is green.

So then I started learning about permaculture. Now I came to the realization, that I really should be growing USEFUL things on my land. Granted the flowers make great food and habitat for birds/insects, which was a goal...but now I really need to make use of things, or else suffer the guilt.

So began my foray into "farming".

Let me tell you now. There must be som' pretty savy people out there, or som' really magical chemicals, or else we'd have nothign to eat. This. Shit. is. hard.

Iam learning. Trial and error, research. I had to learn how to mulch, mulch correctly, how to prune/water correctly. How to plant/place trees. Times of year to grow veggies...bugs...rain...disease...placement...wind AAAAAA!!!!

Each year gets easier, but of course, each year, I try and take on som'thing new, or som'thing more than I should, so there is always a project to fail. I have finally come to grips with the fact that my soil is absolutely useless, and I will have to buy/make all my soil for the whole property.

I guess my point is, I now see why no one does this. Its hard on the body/mind/soul. But in the same note. We really DO need to ALL do this. We are running out of water/space/peace of mind. And instead of creating food and habitat, we are watering turf, and poisoning bugs, and fertilizing our roses. I can't remember the last time I used chemicals or fertilizer. That was a great feeling, knowing my yard was so healthy that everything was balancing. Seeing the birds and insects and reptiles that were NONEXISTANT three years ago makes me beam.

This is the right path, I know it. I just wish more people were on it.

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