Welcome to the Grateful Garden!

It is with much joy that I welcome you to this blog and the Grateful Garden Farm! I hope to inspire all readers to become happier, healthier and more conscious members of society. The goal of the Grateful Garden Farm is learning. My boyfriend and I are learning how to sustainably farm because we want to show you the power you, as an #individual, have to change something in our society. This blog will spotlight different people and groups standing up for a purpose, helpful gardening tips, farm updates and current news in sustainability. The mission of our farm is to empower the individual and to help you grow your own food, too.

#homesteading #permaculture #sustainability #organic #individual #staygr8ful  #wednesdaywisdom

Welcome Post

Nic and I in Chicago, IL summer 2015.

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Plant Spotlight: Pole Beans

Pole beans are a common vegetable garden find in Wisconsin. Pole beans are relatively easy to grow, and they can produce a generous harvest if they are attended to correctly.

Soybeans

Conditions

Pole beans prefer full sunlight and soil that drains well. You do not have to fertilize the soil for pole beans because they are legumes (contain a beneficial bacteria that provides the plant roots with nitrogen). Pole beans prefer soil that drains well. You should avoid harvesting or pulling roots when soil is moist to avoid disease transfer.

Planting

Plant your pole beans 1 inch deep in the soil and cover loosely with dirt. Space the seeds 2-4 inches apart. Pole beans will germinate in 14 days. Beans need 1 inch of water per week. It is recommended to water plants early in the morning so the plants can dry quickly.

Harvesting

Your bean plant will start to produce flowers 6-8 weeks after germination. Harvest your bean plants when the pods are firm, but before the seeds form bumps on the pods. Avoid harvesting your beans too late because they will taste woody and bitter if overripe. You can typically harvest bean plants 2 weeks after your plants bloom. Pick your beans every 2-3 days so your plants remain productive.

Common Harms

Common diseases in bean plants include: anthracnose, mosaic and mildew. Common pests in bean plants include: aphids, caterpillars, Mexican bean beetles and corn earworms.

Sources: http://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/beans/growing-pole-beans.htm

Green Beans

https://www.plantvillage.org/en/topics/bean
http://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/garden/how-plant-grow-and-harvest-beans-all-kinds

 

Week One: Roots, Spiders and Mindfulness

We have officially lived on the land for one week. Our move in day was June 1st 2016. As I mentioned in earlier blog posts we have no electricity or running water at our property. This has put planting in the greenhouse to a standstill, but the rain has allowed us to continue planting outside. This brings me to my first topic: roots.

Roots

Roots holds two meanings in this case. First, roots in terms of family. We are so grateful for Nic’s dad for allowing us to start this adventure. I also am so appreciative of my parents for helping me move my horse down to the farm on Saturday, June 4th. They helped us complete our fence and brought us some water to fill the camper. I am also thankful for all of our family (and friends) who have helped us and supported us in any way. You guys rock!

The second roots I would like to address are plants. I have come to find a deep amazement for plant roots. Like our family roots they support and fuel our new seedlings. They extend themselves deep into the ground, despite rocks or other obstacles, to support the plant we harvest from. When I transplanted seedlings on Monday June 6th I couldn’t help but smile at the strong roots that were holding the soil into place.

Spiders

My dad was always the official spider killer in our family while I stood in the hallway and waited until I heard them being flushed down the toilet. For that reason it was quite astounding to me when I realized I was picking up armfuls of cut grass with spiders galore and didn’t freak out…actually I would dare to say it almost brought me joy. Spiders eat bugs, so when I see spiders I know there are bugs everywhere which makes me happy because that means that the land is bursting with life. I used cut grass to mulch our garden beds and I am hopeful that the spiders that I just transplanted will eat the bugs that are eating our bean plants.Mulching our Garden

Mindfulness

“Inside the garden’s gate

a sea of green surrounds me.

In its embrace I learn to see

the truth of oneness.” -Zachiah Murray

I love everything about nature and I love to see nature reflected in me. Because it simply just is, and it just does. Working with nature inspires and amazes me. I love all the different ecosystems I am exposed to. Today I am mindful (and grateful) for trying new things. Living on the land has thrown me into so many different situations that I had no idea how to handle, and I find it invigorating. I approach each challenge with excitement, because there are no expectations for me or our farm. No matter what the end result is, we are coming out ahead because we took a piece of land and created a new working ecosystem.

Do any readers have questions for myself or Nic? Are you wondering how we possibly are handling living without water/electricity/wifi? Please comment your questions below we would be happy to answer them.

Stay grateful, my friends. (~);}

Farm Update!

Nic and I bought a trailer to live in this summer! We drove it down to the farm this weekend and stayed in it Saturday night.

trailer

We did some work on the greenhouse! The top plastic and back wall are now up.

greenhouse

We applied for two farmers markets this year! So cross your fingers for us.

We started 10 flats and have a ton of sprouts in the two little greenhouses in our bedroom!

seedlings

I love seedlings!

I graduate in two weeks!

Have a good week everybody. Stay grateful (~);}

Farm Update!

Life has been happening here in Wisconsin! Which is awesome, but I doesn’t give me a lot of time for farm updates….SO here’s what we have been up to:

  1. I finally saw (and instantly fell in love with) the land!
  2. We bought a greenhouse! 

    greenhouse bought

    Yay craigslist!

  3. We moved the greenhouse (and it’s almost set up).
  4. We got a free garage off craigslist that Nic and the boys are currently disassembling.

    garage

    Check out the Roger ears bottom left.

  5. We might have solved our water problem.
  6. We found a shower!
  7. We found huge deer horns!
  8. ANNNND I’M GRADUATING IN LESS THAN A MONTH

I hope you can forgive my sporadic posts and I promise I will update everything with pictures and progress after I graduate…I just really need to get that done first ;). Thank you to my loyal readers. I hope for more of you in the near future.

PS Happy Earth Day! How did you guys spend it?

Stay grateful and eat well my friends (~);}

Let’s Talk About Climate Change!

Earth Day was met with optimism this year when 177 world leaders signed the Paris Agreement, a climate change document, proposed at the United Nations conference on climate change, or COP21.

The Paris Agreement  involves each country creating a 5-year plan on strategies to reduce carbon emissions.

 

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COP21 Logo

This worldwide collaboration is bound to bring the most innovative and clean technologies and policies to the table.

Although this news is phenomenal, I do not take as optimistic of a stand on our environmental state as CNN did yesterday. They published an article on their website called Earth Day: We’re not as doomed as you think.

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CNN logo

 

The article discusses decreasing solar energy prices, clean energy research and electric cars. The article failed to mention some serious environmental crimes like monocropping, fracking, factory farming, phosphorus loading or any of the other major environmental catastrophes we are facing.

I think this article downplays a serious issue finally getting the international attention it needs. With good news comes optimism, but this environmental battle is far from over.

The best way we can deal with our environmental problems is with knowledge. It is time to stop protecting big business and time to start leading our countries with environmental integrity. 

THE NEW YOU (1)

Made on canva.com

If we want to reach a sustainable environmental state and maybe some day start to restore our environmental condition, our biggest issues should be our talking points not our most embarrassing secrets. That is how change happens, by the manifestation of ideas.

I would like to take a moment to appreciate all readers who participated in Earth Day events. Thank you for being inspiring and leading by example. Continue to spread what you know about climate change to anyone who will listen!

THE NEW YOU

Made on canva.com

Stay grateful and eat well my friends (~);}

Bhutan’s Carbon Sink

The small country of Bhutan continues to exceed their promise of being carbon neutral by creating a carbon sink (also know as carbon negative or absorbing more carbon than they produce).

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Bhutan, political map aridocean.com

Tshering Tobgay, Bhutan’s leader, gave a TEDTalk in March 2016 about how the beautiful country of Bhutan created this carbon sink. The country is seeing the negative effects of global warming impacting their country despite their low carbon impact. Tobgay expressed his displeasure for other countries who are being environmentally irresponsible and is urging for change. Click here to learn more about how climate extremes impact Bhutan from the Asian Development Bank website.

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Tobgay giving a TedTalk about Bhutan’s carbon sink. Courtesy  of ted.com.

Bhutan leaders have chosen to run their country based on a gross happiness index. They offer free education and health care to all residents to improve the quality of life. As a result they are seeing less carbon emissions produced from their country.

I chose to spotlight the positive impact Bhutan has on the world because I am hopeful that other countries will soon follow their example of being carbon neutral and basing their country standards around overall happiness.

This is the TedTalk that Tobgay gave earlier this month. He’s actually pretty funny, and he turned the temperature of the lecture hall up 2 degrees because the increased world temperatures are melting glaciers in Bhutan. I highly recommend watching the whole video (it’s about 20 minutes long).

What do you think? Is the gross happiness index a plausible way to run a country like the US?

#Bhutan #climatechange #TedTalk #carbonsink #carbonneutral

Victory! The DARK Act is Rejected!

Rejoice, the people spoke and our government listened! The Deny Americans the Right-to-Know Act (DARK Act) was rejected!

The DARK Act was proposed by major food companies like Monsanto and General Mills to take away the consumer’s right to request labeling on food containing GMOs. 

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Companies who use GMOs from seedsnow.com.

The DARK Act was created in response to Connecticut and Maine passing laws that requires food with GMOs to be labeled to give consumers full disclosure of what they are eating. You can read the Washington Post article about passing GMO labeling laws here.

The act would have protected big companies from publishing any sort of GMO labeling on their packaging. The top genetically modified seed producers do not want to label their products in fear that people will stop consuming them.

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Courtesy of Food Policy Action twitter page.

The rise in modified crops is largely credited to the claim that this is the only way to feed the growing population. In reality GMOs are ruining soil compositions, diversity, increasing the amount of herbicides used in agriculture and have created superbugs that are becoming resistant to pesticides. You can find more information about GMO from the Just Label It website.

According to Just Label It 90% of Americans polled were in support of labeling GMO food. Our overwhelming voice was finally heard. You can see how each senator voted below. It was a close call to reject the bill, but I think we should be proud of this victory.

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If your senator voted “Nay” they voted to reject the DARK Act.

From here I’m going to write my Wisconsin representative and let him know I’m not satisfied with the way he voted. I think GMOs are dangerous to our environment and I highly discourage the current agricultural style of monocropping (planting a whole field of one crop). I also think that there is not enough research done on the effect that eating GMOs has on human health.

The Grateful Garden Farm only uses non-GMO, organic seeds and they are my only recommendation when it comes to seed buying. I will soon be publishing a post about integrated pest management for anyone who is worried about how to fight off pests if you are using seeds that aren’t genetically modified.

#votefood #righttoknow #gmo #justlabelit

FINGERS CROSSED!

We found something very exciting on craigslist that I hope we can buy today. It would save us money and we could possibly afford the Gurillo plow we need for our garden beds! I don’t want to jinx us, so I won’t say what it is, but I’ll post it up if we get it.

We will finally be able to get started on our land this coming weekend and over my spring break. I can’t wait to post some pictures on here.

In the mean time send us your good thoughts. Everything will work out as it should.