Garden

Lasagna Gardening

                                                           fox

Lasagna Gardening

This year I’ve decided to do something different in my garden. You learn as you go and I’ve learned that weeding is way too time consuming. There may come a day where I enjoy doing it, when I’m 60 and retired. Not today.

I’m talking about lasagna gardening. Delicious sounding, I know. It’s also known as sheet composting or layer gardening. It’s a way to construct your garden, adding layers of organic materials that will compost down into beautiful, rich, fluffy soil. It’s great for the environment and easy to do.

No Dig

One of the great advantages of lasagna gardening is you don’t have to dig or till. That means I don’t need to wrestle with the bucking tiller every year and spend hours flipping the garden beds. No need to remove grass or weeds to start either. The first layer of the lasagna is brown corrugated cardboard or three-six layers of newspaper. You’ll want to take off any tape, stickers or anything else weird from the cardboard first. To be honest, this was the longest step in this process. If the garden is new, just put the cardboard right on top of the grass. Mine is existing so I had to work around the perennials. Wet everything down really good. That will keep it in place and start the decomposing process. The earthworms love paper and will join the party quickly.

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What goes in?

Anything you’d normally put into a compost pile can be used for lasagna gardening. There is a method to it all, it comes down to the layers. You’ll want to alternate between carbon (brown, drier material) and nitrogen (green, living matter) layers. Generally the brown layers should be twice as deep and the green layers. No need to fuss too much though, use what you have. Here’s some examples:

Green

Vegetable scraps
Grass clipping
Manure
Coffee grounds
Plant clippings (no seeds)

Brown:

Fall leaves
Straw
Black and white newspaper
Cardboard
Sawdust
Wood ash
Pine needles

Don’t be shy on the layers. If you’re starting from scratch you’ll want to keep alternating layers until your pile in about two feet high, it won’t take long before it’ll shrink down. Add layers periodically to keep feeding the soil.

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When to start?

I started my lasagna garden this spring. It probably would have been better to do it in the fall so it could decompose all winter long. Brown matter is also more abundant in the fall. But, I didn’t do that. Instead I added more soil, especially around my established plants. Since the matter hasn’t broken down yet, I had to give the plants something to work with. When planting time rolls around, I will need to cut a hole in the cardboard for each plant. If you’ve used newspaper or started your lasagna earlier, you should be able to dig right in.

Most of the work for this type of gardening is spent on prepping. You’ll need to gather all your materials ahead of time. If you’re like me and live in a city, just go through all your neighbors recycling containers the day before pick up to get all the cardboard you need. You can learn a lot about your neighbors that way too. Just be stealthy about it or it could get weird. I couldn’t be more excited that the hours spent on weeding and tilling are long over. Happy gardening!

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postpartum, Uncategorized

Comfrey Root, Postpartum

imageComfrey Root:

This is a staple in my home and that of many of my friends and family. Comfrey is a member of the borage family. It’s a strong-growing perennial so I like to get my roots from my parents garden. Traditionally called “knit bone” by herbalist. It’s been know for centuries to treat a wide array of ailments from broken bones, sprains, arthritis, burns, acne and other skin conditions. Whenever anyone has a bonk, bump or bruise this is what I turn to. If you put it on right after an accident happens, sometimes it prevents bruises from even forming.

After my first home birth, my midwife made me comfrey burritos to ease the pain and swelling of my lady parts, by that I mean vagina and perineum.  It was fabulous, so soothing. Here’s how to make them:

You will need:

2 cups dried comfrey root

Cheese cloth

Large muslin tea bags, if you can find.

Peri-bottle- if you deliver in a hospital, you can probably get one before you leave. Otherwise, check either on-line or maybe at Walgreens.

Extra-super jumbo overnight pads

To make:

Put one cup of comfrey root into a large tea bag (or two). If you don’t have large tea bags you can put 3-4 tablespoons of comfrey into some cheese cloth and secure at either end. You want it loosely packed with a little bit of freedom.

In a pot boil two quarts of water. Add the comfrey bundles and simmer for 30-60 minutes. Let cool.

Remove the herb bundles (don’t throw away) and either refrigerate or freeze the mixture.  Label it so you don’t accidentally drink it thinking it’s juice. It will last for about a week in the fridge, so freeze when it doubt. When ready to use just put it in your peri-bottle and use (at room temperature) while urinating to ease any discomfort from minor tears, bruising or swollen tissue.

The comfrey tea can be used to pour over jumbo night pads, placed on a cookie sheet and put in freezer. When slightly frozen rewrap pads in wrapper. Use after birth as ice packs.

You can also make your own comfrey burritos. They won’t have any weird chemicals that are in regular pads. Put 2-3 tablespoons of the cooked comfrey into 4×4 squares of doubled layered cheese cloth, fashion into a burrito shape. Wrap in plastic wrap (so they don’t stick). Put into freezer. When ready to use, remove the plastic and wrap in a washcloth and apply to perineum. After about 45 minutes remove. Do this several times a day for the first few days after birth.

Comfrey should only be used topically, don’t ingest it. I know some probably will say, you know what, I’m going to ingest it anyway. It’s just my option. It contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids which could be toxic to the liver. Also, just to be safe you may not want to apply it to an open wound.

I have a package available to new or expecting mothers.  This contains 1 cup of comfrey root (about 5.5 ounces), a peri-bottle and a large tea bag for $18.  You can find it at my studio, I can mail it to you (add $5 for shipping and handling) or you can find me on Etsy.  If  you have any questions or would like to purchase, contact me.  Cheers, Gaia Grown.

Uncategorized

Face It!

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Face It:

Jojoba oil, rosehip seed oil, almond oil, Shea butter, beeswax, lavender essential oil and rosemary essential oil.

After living in MN most of my life, this product was born out of necessity. My skin gets SO dry in the winter and my face starts to peel off. Naturally, I can’t have that. When I present myself, it has to be with my best face forward. I’ve tried a ton of products, some budget, some way expensive. Since my perfect product was not out there, I had to make my own.

When I was told that the wrinkles under my eyes were starting to mesh together, I knew I had a problem. I’m 33 and just starting to think about what my skin will look like it just a few short years if I don’t do something drastic now! My skin tone has never been very even, so that’s a problem. I also wanted to be able to put it on, have it absorb quickly and not clog my pores. Oh yes, and smell good.

The only issue I’ve found with it is, once I start putting it on my face I don’t want to just stop there, I want to just roll around in a bathtub of it.

 

Jojoba oil: Slightly nutty smell. Contains sebum which is produced naturally by our own skin.  This makes this oil a good carrier because the skin recognizes it.

Rosehip seed oil:  Evens the skin tone; whether it’s from sun damage, scars, burns, stretch marks or hyper-pigmentation.  Works great on wrinkles and fine lines.

Almond oil: Seals in moisture without clogging pores.  Absorbs quickly.  Full of vitamin E and fatty acids to reverse and prevent signs of aging.

Shea Butter:  Superb moisturizer.

Beeswax:  Forms a protective barrier on the surface of the skin while still allowing the skin to breathe.

Lavender oil:  Reduces redness and swelling.  Is an anti-fungal and anti-septic.  Calming smell.

Rosemary Oil:  Lightens dark spots and blemishes.  The smell releases tension.

 

Really massage it into your skin, your face will thank you.  I am a massage therapist after all.  It promotes circulation of your lymph system and brings new blood into the face.

I wish I could tell you all about what makes these products so grand. Unfortunately you’ll have to do the research on your own. I encourage you to do so.
Legalities- These products have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not meant to diagnose cure or treat any disease or ailment. Consult your healthcare professional before starting any health care regiment.