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Should Community Gardens be Organic-Only? What about Pesticide-Free?

As I recently mentioned here, the community gardeners in my town are fighting – with the treehuggers who don’t want the shade-producing trees nearby removed, and with each other over rules outlawing the use of synthetic gardening products.  And people wonder what’s there to rant about over gardening?  Ha! So one sensible solution being proposed […]

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Read related articles in: Designs, Tricks, and Schemes, Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on February 21, 2014 at 8:36 am   This post has 15 responses.

Do Trees Have Rights?

Let us consider the non-mobile, those who live at a slower speed than humans, those who conduct many “activities of daily living” underground. I’m talking about trees. Bound to its place place to a degree that most modern humans cannot comprehend, a tree must make do with only those...

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Posted by on February 19, 2014 at 3:40 am   This post has 29 responses.

My Favorite Turfgrass? Sheep Fescue!

Guest post by Thomas Christopher Enhancing biodiversity is fundamental to transforming lawns from the polluted green deserts that they now are into the sustainable, environmentally constructive landscape features we desire.  For that reason, in my plantings I’ve avoided becoming too reliant on any one grass.  Instead, I try to...

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Posted by Thomas Christopher on February 13, 2014 at 7:42 am   This post has 12 responses.

Coming soon – Roundup-Ready Turfgrass

Photo via Shutterstock News from the garden-product company we love to hate – Scotts-MiracleGro, of course.  As reported here (via a Rant tipster) CEO Jim Hagedorn announced at the company’s annual meeting that it’s testing genetically modified grass seed (Kentucky bluegrass) that will withstand the large-scale spraying of the...

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Posted by on February 7, 2014 at 11:35 am   This post has 9 responses.

The Public Food Forest: Clever Solution or Future Flop?

Public food forests are a shiny new trend in the United States. Focused on perennial crops such as fruit- and nut-bearing trees and shrubs, they embody the values of permaculture (which I’ve touted elsewhere) : generosity, abundance, good health and nutrition, and food security. If they are developed and...

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Read related articles in: Feed Me, Lawn Reform, What's Happening
Posted by on February 5, 2014 at 3:49 am   This post has 26 responses.

The Trouble with the Word “Invasive”

This is a long-simmering rant about the many ways the term “invasive” causes confusion, and more.  DO weigh in with alternatives, pushback, and rants of your own. “Invasive” as synonym for “nonnative” Google “native versus invasive” and the 5.6 million hits confirms my observation that this is a common...

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Read related articles in: It's the Plants, Darling, Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on January 24, 2014 at 9:12 am   This post has 104 responses.

We Only Bond with Complex Landscapes

Here’s one of my beefs with lawns: where is the mystery? We live within this awe-inspiring natural world, teeming with diverse creatures and plants. We have a built-in fascination for other living things (1). Why would we construct our daily environments in such a way that we avoid being...

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Read related articles in: Gardening on the Planet, Lawn Reform
Posted by on December 4, 2013 at 2:04 am   This post has 40 responses.

More than just seed porn

It’s ironic that by far the largest and most beautiful garden catalogs I receive are for the smallest commodities. And some might find it sad that I never buy any of these small items. Seeds are really cheap for all they can deliver, and nobody celebrates the glory of...

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Read related articles in: Eat This, Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on November 25, 2013 at 8:56 am   This post has 4 responses.

Help make the Arboretum Lawn Education Program a Good One!

Readers may remember this post announcing a forthcoming lawn education program at the National Arboretum financed entirely by the turf industry. (Scroll down here to see the funders).  Well, it’s now a reality, with the official ground-breaking event last week, and I’m more concerned than ever.  Though I’m a...

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Posted by on November 22, 2013 at 9:47 am   This post has 2 responses.

No poo for you, organic farmers!

If the FDA’s proposed food safety regulations go through, the use of animal manure on farms over a certain size, or which supply food to supermarkets, will be severely limited. According to this NPR story (and I am sure it has appeared in other news outlets), when farmers spread...

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Read related articles in: Eat This, Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on November 21, 2013 at 9:38 am   This post has 25 responses.

Annoying step back or welcome relief?

Unlike scrapbooking, genealogy, homebrewing, model trains, or cosplay, gardening brings with it an inseparable relationship to time and season. During the late fall and early spring—whenever those may fall for you—we are most at the mercy of that relationship. And for some gardeners, the interventions of the twice-yearly time...

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Posted by on November 4, 2013 at 8:02 am   This post has 17 responses.

When she’s not gardening

As I was driving into work today, I listened to an account of a small solidarity protest held in front of the company that operates our local water system. Apparently, this company, Veolia, was reneging on agreements they had with their transportation workers in Boston. I was bemused that...

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Posted by on October 25, 2013 at 9:35 am   This post has 4 responses.

How to find sources you can trust on controversial topics – like GMOs

Today the Washington Post introduces a new feature in its Food Section that will tackle controversial food-policy topics, like genetically modified foods.  It’s called Unearthed and in the inaugural column the writer proposes a test for finding information about GMOs that can be trusted.  That’s a question I often...

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Read related articles in: Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on October 16, 2013 at 10:03 am   This post has 9 responses.

The Shutdown Hits Home

Friends, in his own opinion, ProfessorRoush has done an exceptional job at Garden Musings, avoiding any mention of politics here over the now 3+ years I’ve blogged. Only those who know my tendency to rant over seemingly minute issues can fathom what a struggle that has been, but I’m going to make...

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Posted by on October 4, 2013 at 8:17 am   This post has 61 responses.

Video shows the Gardens of Greenbelt, Maryland in ’39 and ’13

Put something online; you never know where it’ll lead.  In this case, a reader of this very blog discovered the “Less Lawn, More Life” garden tour I organized in Greenbelt, Maryland, where our reader once lived.  So she attended and created this fabulous video of the tour!  It includes...

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Read related articles in: Lawn Reform
Posted by on September 25, 2013 at 10:18 am   This post has Comments Off.

“Less Lawn, More Life” Garden Tour this Sunday

I’ve noted earlier that organizing a local garden tour is a great way to meet your neighbors, and as I’m making final preparations for the tour this Sunday, it does feel like I have a new posse of local gardening pals who have my back in this venture and...

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Read related articles in: Lawn Reform, What's Happening
Posted by on September 10, 2013 at 8:05 am   This post has 10 responses.

Have I Become “Organic Until”????

Sure, I’m organic.  I don’t use any chemical fertilizers, fungicides, insecticides, or -cides of any kind.  For that matter, I don’t even use organic pesticides in my garden. If the bugs want to eat it, let them. I can always order a pizza. But then.  Then!  A colony of...

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Read related articles in: Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on August 28, 2013 at 5:39 am   This post has 40 responses.

Arrested Development

It’s a term that might best describe gardening in the South. It might best describe all things Southern, come to think of it … but that’s a topic for another blog. By arrested development, I mean that moment in time when forward movement and evolution stop. Just stop. In...

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Posted by David mcMullin on August 26, 2013 at 7:39 am   This post has 13 responses.

Want your kids to play outside? Rip out the lawn!

Guest Rant by Pam Penick Lawns are for kids, right? After all, they need that big, green carpet to enjoy the outdoors. Would it be an exaggeration to say it borders on neglect not to keep a lawn for your children or grandchildren to play on? Some people think...

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Posted by on August 15, 2013 at 7:50 am   This post has 164 responses.

Why I would be kicked out of a community garden

As a fellow online writer—who happens to be called Elizabeth Licata—says, “There’s no drama like community garden drama.” We’ve written a lot about community gardens here, including stories on gardens under threat by utility companies, gardens embroiled in internal politics (fueled by alcohol), and community gardens that have been...

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Read related articles in: Ministry of Controversy
Posted by on August 5, 2013 at 9:36 am   This post has 14 responses.
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