Ugly Pumpkins

Leaves are covering the yards, the garden plants are slowly (or, if a freeze, quickly) dying, and the squirrel-mutilated faces on pumpkins are moldering across front porches everywhere. It’s the perfect time to start your garden compost pile! Composting is an age-old practice to conserve the nutrients that nature provides. Normally, trees, shrubs and grasses […]

What’s Old Is New

“Regenerative gardening means practicing gardening in a holistic way that regenerates the soil, our bodies, our living environment, and our planet,” says Shangwen Chiu Kennedy, a landscape and urban designer. “It focuses on putting nutrients back into the soil, resulting in plants capturing and storing carbon from atmospheric CO2 in the soil while also improving soil health, […]

Mud Slinging

With sea levels expected to rise 3 to 6 feet by the end of the century, coastal communities are moving fast to construct major shoreline projects to protect themselves. As the size of these projects expands, the primary building materials — dirt and mud — are getting scarce.                                                                                 ~ Lauren Sommer Mud puddles, muddy […]

Urgent Biophilia

“When we sow a seed, we plant a narrative of future possibility,”                                                 ~ Sue Stuart-Smith Yes, things are kind of crappy right now. We’ve got this incredibly bad pandemic keeping us mostly housebound for the last year and killing hundreds of thousands of Americans and millions worldwide. We’ve had four years of white supremacy, […]

Back to Nature

“Bury me not, on the lone prairie.”                                                 ~ The Cowboy’s Lament It was a lonely grave, no other markers or structures nearby. An old board, with flaked paint almost obscuring the message, stood upright in the desert at the base of Utah’s Book Cliffs. Maybe it had been some cowboy riding the lonely range […]

Cold Fire

“Mushrooms are one of our biggest allies if we hope to have any chance of healing the earth.”                                                                 ~ Sarah Kuta Humans have changed the planet’s ecosystems, both intentionally and inadvertently. Our very presence requires competition with other species for resources and our successful proliferation compounds that issue. We also perform actions that damage […]

Runoff

“A little water clears us of this deed.” ~ Lady Macbeth With the current loosening of restrictions on water quality and pollution discharges to streams and rivers, it’s worth thinking about what clean water actually means. We should all be familiar with the hydrologic cycle, where water evaporates into the atmosphere, condenses and falls to […]

Down and Dirty

“It’s like magic,” he explained, “You drop a seed into the dirt, add a little water and you get squash! It’s like Jack and the Beanstalk.” The kindergartener was all excited after his day at school where the teacher had talked about plants and growing — and I had to bite my tongue as I […]

Diggin’ Dirt

Soil is the “excited skin” of the earth, as soil scientists put it, and whether we nourish that skin or scrape away at it has big implications for mitigating and weathering climate change. ~ Ula Chrobak I have played and worked in the dirt and mud in many places. From ocean beach sand castles to […]

Down in the Dirt

Humans evolved in caves and fields — not in sanitized homes, cars and schools. And our immune systems developed to find and suppress foreign invaders, growing stronger with each battle won. ~ Christine Peterson It’s not there now, but I look forward to a time when we can essentially garden our homes — fill them […]