Green Your Life With Your Tax Refund - Part Two

Last week I introduced three things you can purchase with your tax refund check to get you on your way to a more sustainable lifestyle. If none of those suggestions struck a chord, I'll be adding more each week to give you more ideas.

This week: How about growing a small kitchen garden?

With some extra money, now all you need is a little time and work and you'll soon be having fresh organic food right from your backyard or porch. The easiest method I know of is square foot gardening. Here's what you'll need:

-boards of untreated lumber
-scraps of wood or small rocks for a grid
-organic potting soil and compost
-deck screws
-seeds of the plants you want to grow and eat (Seed Savers Exchange has some super cool heirloom seeds)
-some gardening gloves are good too

1) Pick an area that gets about 6-8 hours of sunshine daily, away from trees and shrubs and close to your home for convenience. Make sure it is an area that doesn't puddle after rain.

2) Use the boards to build a 4' x 4' box. Alternate corners and used the deck screws to keep it together.

3) Fill the box with a mixture of potting soil and compost.

4) Use the extra wood or rocks to make a grid of 16 square foot boxes on the top of the soil. This helps keep everything organized and easy to take care of.

5) Plant the seeds in the soil according the package directions. Check out to see which plants go best next to each other.

6) Take care of your garden. Water and weed as necessary.

7) Harvest, enjoy, and replant!

"But the greatest change we need to make is from consumption to production, even if on a small scale, in our own gardens. If only 10% of us do this, there is enough for everyone. Hence the futility of revolutionaries who have no gardens, who depend on the very system they attack, and who produce words and bullets, not food and shelter. It sometimes seems that we are caught, all of us on earth, in a conscious or unconscious conspiracy to keep ourselves helpless. And yet it is people who produce all the needs of other people, and together we can survive. We ourselves can cure all the famine, all the injustice, and all the stupidity of the world. We can do it by understanding the way natural systems work, by careful forestry and gardening, by contemplation and by taking care of the earth."

-Bill Mollison

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