Primary Earth-friendly Gardening Tenents:

*Tolerate minimal damage to plants and lawn from pests. *Build and maintain healthy soil by using compost and natural soil amendments. *Use chemicals as a last resort. *Use native plants when possible. They are adapted to the climate, soil and area pests. *Attract Beneficial Insects to increase pollination and decrease harmful pests. *Conserve water by using responsible watering methods.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Transitions

When I began gardening back in 2004 I did not know a lot about soil building or gardening. I did have a strong belief in green living, although I am not sure it was called that back then. I read labels and avoided chemicals in cleaning products and foods, I avoided fast food and kept on top of the school maintenance team and state laws about things that affected my kids. I recycled the best way I knew at the time and conserved energy in the manner all kids raised in the 70s by a Joan Baez loving mother did.

The next seven years transformed my life. In January 2004 I walked out of a job, tired of being under-appreciated, tired of the stress and the long hours away from my kids. I spent the next 4 years as a stay-at-home mom, and even home schooled one of my kids for a year to help transition her into middle school. During those 4 years at home I took classes in organic gardening and composting and became a Mater Composter/ Recycler and Master Gardener with organic practices training. I became involved in community outreach programs and participated in a community event promoting natural yard and garden care as a host gardener.

With my background in education these volunteer projects soon led to a curriculum development position with the county, and soon after I returned to teaching and eventually landed my dream job as a lead teacher in a magnet program. I taught natural resource conservation and just last summer completed Advanced Placement training to teach AP Environmental Science.


 The garden lab. The space was terraced and a pathway connected the lower patio and upper walkway. In the photo to the right you can see the start of  the beetle bank. And above space is leveled for a 3 bin compost set up.








 In the photo on the left you can see espalier apple and pear trees.

What a classroom, it was huge. I think it was capacity 74. We had lab space and a salmon tank.






Students practiced organic vegetable production. In the photos below you can see the brand new greenhouse space. The advanced class ran extended season vegetable sales.


















And then my husband was relocated 2300 miles east to Northern Indiana. So, here I sit in Michiana, trying to decide what to do now. I cried for two weeks straight as I unpacked my books and research and set up my new office. I decided to start blogging again while I look for a job and decide what to do next.

I feel like I am kind of behind the curve now, at my age, as I read about kids earning degrees in environmental science and community development that did not exist when I was in school. I have been looking at continuing education and certification programs for "green professionals, such as LEED online courses. I am kind of interested in waste management and it's connection to green practices, if you can't tell by my zealous promotion of vermicomposting and leaf mulching :) I found a lot of good information , and it looks like there may be grant opportunities too.

I see everything from energy audits to waste management as related to how I garden and the cycles I see in nature. I guess I am just the next generation of Joan Baez loving mothers. They think I am a big west coast hippy here in Indiana. Ok, maybe.