Every third Sunday of the month, a group of us gets together for community, learning, and ice cream; we call it the Black Arts Ice Cream Social. It is open to the public. We have a short presentation on the topic of the month, followed by discussion and general fellowship; there is also a raffle. There are usually at least 2 ice cream flavors, and one of those is usually vegan/dairy free; lately, both have been more of the flavored-ice variety. This month’s topic was Conscious Gardening, with the presentation given by Hippy Steve, a local landscape artists who focuses on permaculture.
These are my notes from the presentation:
“Conscious” is not so much a spiritual term, but definitely being awake and aware.
Living completely separate from nature has lessened our consciousness, and has contributed to global warming.
When you work in the dirt, it shifts your gut biome & improves your mood.
As we lose ice at the the poles, the weather shifts. In California, specifically, models show that the shifts are creating a fairly permanent ridge of high pressure that will keep moisture out of the region.
The soil of the planet holds 27 gigatons of carbon, which is 3 times the amount s in the atmosphere, and the science is indicating that it can hold even more, possibly solving the global warming problem entirely. But we have to improve soil conditions. Don’t till, don’t fertilize, do compost, allow deadfall to remain.
Soil has 5 components:
* Organic matter
* Microorganisms – break down the organics – top 6-8″ are aerobics
Micelium is a fungi that is key to plant growth – it has a symbiosis with the roots, in that it takes sugars and leaves all the nutrients the plants need. Long, stringy, white, organic matter. Healthier plans & ecosystem. Water wise. Mushrooms are the flower of the plant. Radiolab has a fantastic show on it “The Secret Life of Plants”
Grass is about the worst thing you can grow here.
Most grasses, other than Bermuda/crabgrass, can be killed off through sheet mulching. Let the grass grow high enough to annoy the neighbors and put cardboard over it, bending the grass in the process. Put about 6″ of mulch over that. If you do this in late spring, and we actually have a rainy season, it should be good for planting come next spring. You should probably water it on occasion either way, to help break down the cardboard and call in the worms.
Weeds have a harder time coming in when you sheet mulch, although disturbed & damaged soil calls in certain weeds. Star thistle especially. They will start repairing the soil.
Tree litter begins to look like it belongs there when you sheet mulch.
We should be watering our yards less frequently, and more slowly, to encourage the roots to grow deep.
Look at the water flow on the property.
Keep as much water on the property as possible. Trench at edges of property to help with that (fill with mulch).
There was a study done that showed that covering 5% of CA rangeland with compost offset the carbon emitted by the entire agricultural sector in our state. If we covered 25%, it would offset the carbon generated by the entire transportation sector. If we could cover about 60% California’s rangeland with 1/4″ of compost, California would become carbon negative – sequestering more carbon in the soil than we emit in every sector.
Want to join us? Our next gathering is September 16th – Laurie Lovekraft will be presenting on Spiritual Activism.