A unique and viable approach to establishing local food self-reliance and building stronger communities.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Locally Sustainable Gardening in the Face of Supply-Chain Shortages

Seeds from the bulk-foods section
According to this article on: Staying Ahead Of The Shortages: What To Stock Up On For The Coming Year (link below), one of the categories that may be in short supply are commercial fertilizers, as the majority of these are produced abroad and shipped from countries that will also be facing supply-chain challenges. They say:
"A lot of people are gardening and that has led to a big run on fertilizers. While there is still plenty available, that might not always be the case. It takes high amounts of energy, and people to make many of the commercial fertilizers on the market. Many people are stocking up on the organic varieties in particular. The smaller organic fertilizer companies are not used to this type of demand and they could struggle to meet it in the near future." (LINK: Staying Ahead Of The Shortages: What To Stock Up On For The Coming Year)
For years, the Sharing Gardens has been anticipating shortages, and higher prices on fertilizers and soil amendments. This is why we've been developing and perfecting our methods of creating soil-fertility from locally available materials such as leaves, grass-clippings, wood ash and coffee-grounds. (See links below).

Fertility without fertilizers (commercially-made ones that is...). Sharing Gardens - July 2019
Sharing Gardens - late July - 2019
This year we didn't purchase or use any fertilizers or amendments (including livestock manures) and we created our own potting mix from the worm-castings we harvested from our greenhouse paths, mixed with a courser compost our neighbor produced from hard-wood sawdust, coffee grounds, leaves and grass clippings (with a lot of help from his worms!). Here are articles about this "veganic" method we are using with great success.

Lovely compost!
Making your own "Veganic" (no animal manures) Potting Soil

Grass Clippings and Leaves for Mulch

Coffee Grounds and Wood-Ash for Fertility

We noticed in the article on Stocking Up that they didn't mention stocking up on seeds. We have seen many headlines this season about vegetable-seed shortages. If you would like to learn about saving many of your own seeds (the majority of seeds we use, we saved ourselves!) here is a post with info on saving many kinds of seeds in your own garden for use next year.

Saving squash-seeds
Family Heirlooms: Saving Your Own Seed

Please keep in mind that sustainable gardening practices at a local level will be far more successful if you build cooperative relationships with your neighbors instead of trying to do it all alone. Here is a link to many resources about how to start a Sharing Garden in your own community.

Gardening with a group! Many hands make light work...

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