On the homefront: Soil

From the ground up Soil: a growing medium What is soil? Soil is made up of number of components such as decayed & organic matter, (which makes composting/humus), mineral & rock particles, is one of the most important elements for achieving success in the garden.  Of course, other elements such as location, water, sunlight and maintenance are also important for gardening success. Living organisms, although microscopic, work hard beneath the ground to enrich the soil producing a high quality medium for planting.  One such organism is the Earthworm, which as they burrow, they consume soil, extracting nutrients from decomposing organic matter like leaves and roots. Earthworms are vital to soil health because they transport nutrients and minerals from below to the surface via their waste, and their tunnels aerate the ground. An earthworm can eat up to one third its body weight in a day (1). Other contributing factors for quality soil is air and water. Earthworms are the most easily recognized soil organism and are viewed as a sign of soil health. New no-tillers eagerly document the increase in worm numbers as a sign of improving soil health — and they are right to make that assumption. In fact, worms are often studied as an “indicator species” for monitoring changes in soil quality(2). Types of soils: Sandy soil is made up of large particles, which allow water to drains quickly and can often take valuable nutrients with it. Clay soil is composed of very small particles,have the ability to hold water and nutrients but air cannot penetrate between these spaces, especially when they are filled with water. Poor...

Urban agriculture for a greener future

Wikipedia defines Urban agriculture as the practice of cultivating, processing, and distributing food in or around a village, town, or city. Urban agriculture can also involve animal husbandry, aquaculture, agroforestry, Urban beekeeping, and horticulture. More people are now living and working in urban centres, making the opportunity for growing food and raising small livestock, such as chickens and rabbits, becoming more common. It’s also exciting! There are so many ways we can incorporate food gardens as part our daily lives, and more and more, many of us are taking that option. Pots, vertical structures, fences, and overall designs can give a urban garden a unique and beautiful look. Using sustainable solutions and lots of creativity, urban farming is a good food solution for the city dwellers and is a big part of increasing a community food system. Urban agriculture has many benefits and is definitely a strategy for a future greening of the planet. Benefits of range from eating healthier, saving fuel, reducing pollution, decreasing transportation of food, greening of city spaces like parks, planting in front yards, schoolyards, rooftops, balconies, connect with the local community and the Earth itself.  Farming in urban centres is definitely a way to address climate change. On the economic side, farmers market are on the rise, youth are registering for courses and apprenticeships. Architects, Engineers and urban planners are now including food gardens in their designs for building sustainable neighbourhoods. The potential for training and education is huge, since urban agriculture is becoming an expected way of life for many people. Urban agriculture is an example of a modern victory garden. More info about...