Friday, October 26, 2007

Some Big Changes This Week

This past week has seen a lot of changes over here at the Green Bean homestead.

We spent last weekend ripping out the water sucking lawn on our gigantic side walk strip (400 square feet) and replacing it with the lasagna sheet mulch recommended by Toby Hemenway in his home-scale permaculture book, Gaia's Garden. Basically, this is a method of alternating carbon and nitrogen so that your soil becomes more fertile on its on to avoid hauling in fertilizers in the future. You start by aerating the soil, covering it with slashed vegetation, then adding a thick layer of newspapers or cardboard. After that you add manure or grass clippings, then leaves (lots of fall leaves around here to be gathered for free) or hay, then compost (free from the city, made from people's collected yard waste) and finally a top dressing like wood chips. You water in between every layer. It doesn't look like much now but supposedly, in the spring, the soil will be great and then I'll plant my apple tree, some blueberry bushes and a few other plants. I may also do a cover crop to grow over the fall. At a minimum, we're saving water by not watering that strip for now.

Above is the work in progress. Below, is our finished product. Looks so so. All of our neighbors came out to see what we were doing so, at a minimum, it was a community building exercise. :) After we completed our project, I ran across an old post from one of my favorite blogs where the blogger also employed the sheet mulch method and swears by it. If it worked for them, I'm assuming it will for us. Keep your fingers crossed.

Our next big change, my dear hubby started biking to work. It took him a little over 30 minutes and he'll probably only be able to do it once a week but it's a big change for us. He also takes my youngest to preschool once a week which enables me to walk my oldest to school an additional day - that makes 4 out of 10 trips to school a week where we walk.

Also on the spouse front, my husband has started bringing his own lunch to work two to three times a week. I know this isn't new to a lot of folks but it is to us. He can't do it every day because he has lunch meetings some time. That said, I pack him a no waste lunch made of food purchased from our local farmer's market and he has a healthy, inexpensive meal that does not include the usual disposables inherent in a fast food lunch from the local cafeteria.

Finally, we fired our gardeners (though they were really super nice!) and their gas powered machines. We've started using our new push lawn mower this weekend.

I'm so happy that we continue to make progress.

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