Friday, December 23, 2016

Gardening on a hill, bank & steep slope

Often when we choose a site for growing a garden, typically we think of flat land surface, but with some innovative ways, you can utilize your sloping hill or bank for growing space even if it's steep.
For example, using bricks, stone, rocks, wood, or other materials can create barriers to hold plants and soil in place. Because the space is sloped, soil will wash down, thus it is crucial to create those barriers to hold soil in place around the plants.
Many people will grow trees or crawling plants like crawling phlox to cover their hill space, but certainly a large vegetable and fruit garden is possible as you can see in the examples in the pictures below.

photo link

photo source

The Sage Butterfly

Recycled Bucket Gardening (container gardening for apartment dwellers)

In the past I have grown Cherry Tomatoes, peppers, and greens in 5-gallon buckets with success by using my own compost. I also made sure the containers had holes in the bottom for drainage.
And depending on the type of plants you're growing in the buckets, remember to set out in full sun and regularly water the containers because the Sun will evaporate water from the soil faster when a plant is growing in a bucket. For example, veggies grown in containers usually need more nutrition and water provided to them (unlike plants in the ground) because their roots cannot search for minerals and water that are deeper in the ground. Thus, I highly recommend using a mix of 'regular soil' meaning any kind of recycled soil you have around, then providing homemade compost on top.

Compost is easily made from fruit and veggie scraps (nitrogen material) with carbon materials like leaves, wood chips/mulch. Of course you can experiment by using fruit and veggie scraps that have not yet degraded into soil. For example, add banana peels at the bottom or top of your container mixed with soil of your choice. 

I am still amazed what can be grown in small buckets. I have seen potatoes, mushrooms, strawberries and Fruit trees growing in buckets and small containers, so anything is possible. In previous posts, I have shown you it is possible to grow over 10 large carrot plants in a small container (how to build a raised bed). And, growing Corn is another possibility to grow in a small container. Seen below, 6 foot tall Corn is growing in a 2'x8" Earthbox.

container gardening
One prototype seen below comes from the University of Maryland which gives you instructions and a list of materials needed to make a self watering bucket garden:

photo source
Growing food in buckets is ideal for Apartment dwellers living in a small space. Buckets can be placed on fire escapes, patios, porches, decks, etc. If growing in the Winter, bring your bucket garden inside the home, and be sure to place a tray underneath to catch water.

I have mentioned before I collected Car tires, fencing, buckets, and many other materials from the woods and alongside the roads. Of course I live in rural Kentucky where people as late as the '80s were throwing out and burying trash in their backyards and in the woods behind their houses, so it's no wonder what I find in the woods. In urban areas, it may be just as easy to find recycled buckets and containers, but from different sources. For example, I have a Garden friend that receives her buckets from grocery stores that are dumping out food waste and would otherwise be trashing the buckets. You'll have to clean the buckets thoroughly but that's to be expected.

For your enjoyment, I have provided additional examples of gardeners' Bucket/Container Gardens:

photo source
Larry Hall Youtube

John Kohler (pic from

Refer to my other posts on container gardening such as Grow Veggies & Fruit trees in Containers (Limited Space & Urban gardening), 1200 square foot apartment garden, and find my other posts from the tag "container gardening" to see what I have grown in recycled containers for growing.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Pawpaw flower & Fruit identification (Kentucky backyard native wild edible) video

I made a tiny video showing the identification of the Pawpaw flower and fruit. The pawpaw flowers in the spring (mid-April.) This year, there was one pawpaw fruit in my backyard. In Kentucky, the pawpaw flower was out on April 19th of this year. The video portion of the pawpaw fruit was taken on June 21 2016. I harvested the one pawpaw you see in the video on August 13th. I believe I waited a week or a couple of weeks later to eat the pawpaw. By that time, it was brown so I was unsure if it was rotten, but considering it was such a small fruit, I didn't think it would ever be ripe. But, from the amount I tasted of the pawpaw, it was a delicious caramel taste. Although I have heard the distinct flavor is like mango or banana.

Doe and Fawn eating apples & lots of licking (VIDEO)

This is how I observe and interact with nature

Books (nonfiction) I've been reading lately

There are people that read a book a day, and some others reading a book or two a week--and I find that amazing. If I want to continue to write and become a skilled writer, then I absolutely need to read more books. Recently I read an article by an author that said one of his best selling books was his 11th or 12th book he had written, and one of his friends has written 13-14 books in two years, and another friend wrote 28 books in two years. And we know some of the best books were written in a few weeks. It's amazing what people can do.
Perhaps if I found less time watching the news and video entertainment, then I would also read and write with such voraciousness.
This year I read a range of nonfiction genres that constituted religion, sexuality, gender, politics, domination and oppression, race and class, food and food responsibility, and criminology--some of which I have become my favorite books, or books that have been very helpful and insightful to me.
Right now, I'm reading by Howard Zinn. The first couple of chapters so far are not new information to me as I have read some quotes by Zinn, but I'm going to try to read this quickly because I wanted to wrap it to give to my sister for the holidays. I also recently bought by Trevor Noah, which I was excited to read. But just the other day I was very disappointed with some of the "tweets" I saw Trevor making regarding sensitive subjects--so I lost my adoration for him, but I will still read his book because it's an interesting life story he had growing up in  Apartheid. When I bought Trevor and Zinn's books, I went to the library and checked out bell hooks' Feminism is for Everybody book, so I will be reading that soon as well. Usually I buy books on Amazon through bing reward points, but I think I will be utilizing the library more to save money considering I want to get to a a point of reading more than I do.

Below is a list of books I finished this year that some of you may also find insightful. The books listed were for school, so they are specific topics on criminology and politics. However, many of the books I read leisurely would also constitute as political, but on my own, I tend to read works that may be more provocative or radical such as the book by Saul Williams, bell hooks, and Chimamanda.

Inequality in America: Race, Poverty, and Fulfilling Democracy's Promise  by Stephen Caliendo
(a) by Saul Williams
Sex in Crisis: The New Sexual Revolution and the Future of American Politics  by Dagmar Herzog
A Pound of Flesh: Monetary Sanctions as Punishment for the Poor  by Alexes Harris
Pray the Gay Away: The Extraordinary Lives of Bible Belt Gays  by Dr Bernadette Barton
Police, Power, and the Production of Racial Boundaries  by Ana Muniz
Harvest for Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating  by Jane Goodall
Appalachian Elegy: Poetry and Place  by bell hooks
We Should All Be Feminists  by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Crook County: Racism and Injustice in America's Largest Criminal Court  by Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve 

The books listed here are interesting, but because they were for my classes, I found them to be a bit outside of my own interests.
The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle
Youth Street Gangs: A Critical Appraisal  by David Brotherton (was interesting, but not entirely engaging)
Criminal Recidivism: Explanation, Prediction and Prevention  by Georgia Zara (heavy research content that slightly bored me and found the book to avoid speaking on race considering the research was based on white males)

A couple of books I liked but mostly skimmed through was Michael Pollan called , by Barbra Smith & Stephen Fisher, by Ronald Eller and his book .

Many of these books inspired me to write much of the content such as quotes and essays which you can find at my art blog called Land of Art at Because this blog focuses on ethical living through gardening and self sustainability practices, I find that my essays on topics such as race, class, and gender intersect with my choices of living ethically by growing food and living off the land. My focus of this blog where I post pictures, videos, and write about gardening and what I'm growing comes from a place of freedom from oppression, domination, and control towards liberation, peace, and justice. So because some of my readers may find these posts of my essays on race, class, and gender nonspecific to the blog Vegans Living Off the Land, I will be adding the essays I have written over at the Land of Art blog. I highly encourage you to reading my senior thesis if you're interested in abolishing prisons: A Proposal to Abolish Mandatory Minimum Sentences by Cassandra (Cassie) Kinney and A Proposal Against the Letcher Co., KY Federal Prison by Cassandra (Cassie) Kinney. And many more essays will be uploaded at Land of Art.