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ecovillage

Dogtown Ecovillage

Dogtown is a community group in the Dogtown neighborhood that seeks to live sustainability, to learn and share knowledge and practices for sustainability. We are an urban ecovillage situated in a city neighborhood. We work together and help each other on sustainable living and group projects. We each own/rent our own homes and we gather for meals and projects, etc. The core group is all within a few blocks; others come from the surrounding neighborhoods.

Goals

1) Bring together and build a community of neighbors interested in environmental sustainability through shared experiences such as pot-luck dinners, community service projects, parties, and educational events

2) Enhance the environmental sustainability of the neighborhood and promote these values more regionally.

3) Create projects such as: gardening in private and shared settings, permaculture, home energy audits, improved housing efficiency, cottage industry such as aquaculture, environmental or social justice activism, tool lending library, shared car, shared wifi, shared child care, shared space for environmental activist organizations.

Garden

Compost

Natives

Perennials

Edibles

Rhubarb

Companion Planting

Herbs

Berries

Butterfly Garden

Sheet Mulch

Squirrels

Squirrels are a fact of life in our urban setting. And they can be a nuisance in our yards and gardens. They dig up plants, they eat our tomatoes and our fruit, and they gnaw on our stuff. So what can we do about this.

  • One approach is the glass-half-full approach. When a squirrel is digging in my no-dig garden, he is doing the tilling that I have chosen not to do. So there is some mixing of soil for free.
  • Anytime I plant something out, whether seeds or seedlings, I protect it from squirrels. I have several pieces of chicken-wire, ranging from 2'x2' to 2'x4'. Anytime I plant something, I lay the chicken-wire on the ground over the planting, whether seeds or seedlings. Then I use metal landscaping staples (2“ metal staples) to hold it down. It stays in place till I need it for another planting.
  • Another squirrel protection device is a wire basket. I have several of these that range from 6”-12“ across. I place this over the seedling and weigh it down with a rock or hold it down with sticks or with landscaping staples. I pick them up at yard-sales or second-hand stores. They move around the yard every time I put out a new plant.
  • Some area gardeners have dogs, and they generally keep the squirrel population at bay, but don't really eliminate it.
  • I haven't managed to stop squirrels from eating fruit and tomatoes. I have come to accept it as a price of having fresh, local, organic produce throughout the season.

Insect Pests

Permaculture

Season Extention

Urine

Asparagus

Drip-line

Garden Markers

Natural Borders

Pond

Vermicompost

Seed Starting

Seed Saving

Plant Propagation

Seed Store

Plant propagation is the name we use for a variety of methods of increasing the number of plants we have. In plant propagation, we make use of a plant’s natural capacity to reproduce itself, and manage it for our own plans. Some plants reproduce very readily and we have to work to contain them in the garden. Other plants need a little encouragement to reproduce where and when we need them.

Plants reproduce through flowers and fruits (called sexual reproduction) and through spreading of the plant itself (called asexual or vegetative reproduction). We’ll talk first about sexual reproduction, involving collecting, storing and planting seeds. Then we’ll cover asexual reproduction, through softwood and hardwood cuttings, root cuttings and divisions.

Seed Saving

Plant flowers contain male and female parts. Pollen is transferred from the anther of a flower to the stigma of a flower and fertilization occurs. Some flowers are ‘complete-flowers’ containing both anther and stigma, and thus the flower can self-pollinate. Seeds from self-pollinated plants will have the same genetic make-up as the parent plants. Sometimes pollination is done with the aid of wind or insects. Plants with large showy flowers are usually pollinated by insects or animals. Wind-pollinated plants often have small, even insignificant flowers, for example, grasses and some trees. Some flowers have separate male flowers and female flowers, and sometimes, the male flowers and female flowers grow on separate plants. It is helpful to learn the reproductive characteristics of the plant before collecting the seed. Once pollinated the seeds begin to form, sometimes within a fruit, as is the case with berries and pawpaws, tomatos and melons. Other times, the seeds form in a pod as with legumes, or in the open as with asters, milkweeds and lettuces.

Observe plants growing in the home garden, watch the flowers and fruits develop. Pull a flower or fruit, now and then, to assess the maturity of the seed. The Seed Savers Exchange (www.seedsavers.org) has information about saving many species of seeds. Here are some general tips:

  • • Choose – Plan which seeds you will be collecting. Native plants are usually open-pollinated, so they are a good place to start. Heirloom vegetables are also open-pollinated. Hybrids show wide variation in the plants that grow from their seeds (F2 generation), so aren’t good choices for seed saving. Seed Savers has lots of information about easier and harder seeds to save.
  • • Time – Keep an eye on a plant as the flowers die, and/or the fruit ripens. In some cases, it can be helpful to place a mesh bag over ripening seeds so that they don’t disappear before you have a chance to collect them. You may want to mark a plant when it is in flower, so you will recognize it when the seeds ripen. Get permission to collect in public spaces or in others’ gardens.
  • Gather – Make sure you gather ripe seeds. Collect them in used envelopes, or folded sheets of paper.
  • Label – Label each type of seed with the plant name, place and date of collection. Don’t rely on memory.
  • Dry – Allow seeds to dry thoroughly, either in a paper envelope, paper bag, or on an open surface. They should be in a dry place with good air circulation, without insects, birds or mammals.
  • Clean – It is not necessary to clean the seeds from the rest of the plant matter (the chaff), but this step can help to make seeds easier to store and to keep seeds fresher. Cleaning seeds is a good indoor activity for fall and winter, when gardening tasks are at a minimum.
  • Store – Seeds are living, though they are dormant. For this reason, it is important to give them the best conditions to stay alive. Once they are fully dry, store them in air-tight containers, put all your envelopes in a canning jar. Or separate them by species into old pill bottles or spice bottles. Keep the seeds cool, but not frozen.
  • Treat – Some seeds require a 30-90 days of cold treatment (stratification), placing them in the refrigerator will meet this need. Some seeds have a tough seed coat that has to be broken before the seed can germinate. This can be done just before planting by nicking them with a knife or sandpaper, or by soaking them in water.
  • Share – Collecting enough seeds for the home garden is enjoyable and cost saving. Expand your varieties by bringing your seeds to a seed-swap, sharing with others and collecting the seeds they have to offer.

Seed Starting

Most native seeds can be planted outdoors in late winter. They will benefit from the variations in temperature and moisture, and will germinate when conditions are right. Native plants are adapted to spread their seeds without human intervention. Observe when the seeds ripen and how they are dispersed. Follow that pattern for best results.

If you are starting seeds indoors, make sure to give them sufficient resources to thrive. See the section on Air, Earth, Fire and Water. Most seeds germinate best at around 70-degrees. Keep seeds moist until the develop a root system to absorb moisture from the soil. Once sprouted, give the seedlings plenty of light and some moving air. Young seedlings are susceptible to fungal infections called dampening-off. The best prevention is a healthy growing space.

Many growers insist on using sterile planting mix. Others get great results by using soil straight from the garden, especially if they have been working for years on improving the soil microbiology and organic matter.

Start plants 4-6 weeks before the last frost. Slow growing natives can be planted even earlier. Some find it helpful to plant 10-20 seeds in a 4-inch pot. Then in 4-6 weeks, when the seedlings have several true leaves, they can be gently separated into individual pots. It is easier to pamper one 4-inch pot than 20 individual pots.

When transplaning to larger pots or transplanting into the soil, pamper the plants for a few weeks. Make sure they have protection from too much sun, too little water, and from critters who would prey on them before they get established.

Cuttings

Many plants can be propagated by taking cuttings from an existing plant. Cuttings should be pencil-thickness. Cut at a node, i.e. where a leaf is attached. Cuttings should have 4-6 nodes. Keep cuttings moist and place them in growing medium as quickly as possible after cutting. Take extra care of cuttings until they are well rooted. If you put them in pots, put them in a protected spot to root and grow out, before planting them out in the ground.

  • Softwood cuttings are taken in late spring or early summer from plants that actively growing. Leave only a few leaves at the top of the cutting. Place it a pot in moist soil. Cover the pot, or mist the cutting regularly until it roots. It should take a few weeks. You can dip cuttings in rooting hormone, or water them with tea made from willow stems. Sprinkle the cuttings with cinnamon to prevent fungus.
  • Hardwood cuttings are taken from one-year-old wood as the plants go dormant in the fall. Remove all leaves, and place it in soil to over-winter. In the spring, it may have formed roots and may leaf out. Keep it protected through the first few months in spring until it is well established.
  • Root cutting are taken from plants in the spring, especially from plants that send rhizomes (underground runners). Plant these in the ground and keep them well watered. They should send up shoots in 6-8 weeks.
  • Layering is a method of rooting a stem without cutting it from the parent plant. Bend a stem down to the soil and secure it there with a rock or a landscaping staple. Over time, the stem will form roots and can be cut from the parent plant. An alternation of this is to put a handful of soil around the stem of a plant, secured by plastic wrap or a plastic bottle and kept in place with string or tape. Keep the soil moist and cut from the parent plant when you begin to see roots emerging into the soil.

Division

Some plants grow in clumps that expand from year to year. These plants can be propagated by division. As a general rule, plants that flower in spring and early summer should be divided in late summer or fall. Those flowering in summer and fall should be divided in early spring before new growth begins. Dig the plant up, and remove enough soil to get a good look and the root structure. Divide the plant into clumps, keeping several shoots and roots on each clump. Sometimes there is an older dead portion in the middle of the plant – that can be discarded.

Shrubs can also be divided when they are dormant. Cut the shrub back to one or two feet tall and dig it out of the ground. Dividing the shrub may require a saw or hatchet, keeping several shoots and roots on each clump. Put each clump in a separate pot or in a separate spot in the landscape.

Roots and Tubers

Some plants can be propagated by roots and tubers, e.g. Apios americana, Sagitaria latifolia, Asclepias tuberosa. It's best to wait till the plant goes dormant and dig the root or tuber. Store it dormant till the spring, or place it in its new location to settle in and winter over.

Pollinators

Bees

Chickens

Quail

Food

Organic

Local

Vegetarian

Fermentation

Preservation

Drying

Energy

Energy Audit

Wind

Solar

Geo-thermal

Energy Reduction

Passive Solar

Community

Ecovillage

Potluck

Community

Consensus

Values

Economics

Co-ops

Cottage Industry

Tool Sharing

Child-care

Group Projects

Activism

Shared WiFi

ecovillage.txt · Last modified: 2018/07/21 06:11 by amycsj