A strange turbulence in this world of Gary

Archive for August, 2014

How To Build A No Dig Garden

The no dig garden is exactly what it describes…a fertile garden bed with no digging at all. It involves layering clean, organic materials that will literally compost around your plants as they grow.

A flower garden

The No Dig Garden is built on top of the ground, so you can build a garden anywhere. This makes it extremely attractive for those sites that have poor soil or are weed infested. It’s also a great method of gardening for those that can’t (or don’t want to) dig a
garden patch!

The site you choose for your garden must get at least 5 hours of sunlight a day. Drainage will be good because of the materials that will be used in making the garden.

If you are planting over lawn or weeds, mow them to ground level. If you are planting on a hard surface, put down some cushioning organic material first (like seaweed or leaves).

To build your no dig garden start with a layer of newspaper (no colour printing), at least 6mm (1/4 inch) thick. Surround the garden with some sort of border material. This can be bricks, logs, planks or rocks but should be at least 20-25CM high (8-10 inches)
to contain the organic material within.

Lay down a layer of lucerne hay leaving no gaps, to a height of 10cm (about 4 inches). Layer some good organic fertilizer on top to a height of 20mm (1 inch). This can be just about any sort of good quality material like chicken, horse, cow or sheep manure.

Add another thick layer of straw to the garden 150mm (6 inches) and another layer of fertilizer and then top it off with a 100mm (4 inches) of compost.

Water the garden until it’s soaking and let it settle for a few days before planting.

Seedlings do better than seeds in the no dig garden.

Here’s what will happen. The seedlings will get a kick start in the rich, compost top soil. The fertilizer underneath will start the ‘composting’ of the lucerne hay and straw. The composting will generate heat and biological activity that will really kick along the seedling growth. The roots will further break down the straw and hay and it in turn will become solid enough to support the growing plants.

The newsprint is thick enough to discourage weed growth through the layers, but will deteriorate enough to allow earth worms to chew their way upwards.

Continue to layer mulch, straw and compost as the garden bed matures. Never dig this bed over, just layer more and more material as required. Rotate your crops and add fresh compost regularly.

Your garden bed will deliver consistent, spectacular results season after season.

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Lessons I’ve Learned from My Garden

What does Lessons from My Garden have to do with getting organized? One of the things I’ve learned after 20+ years as an organizing consultant is that organizing has something to do with everything!’

A Garden

Here’s how organizing principles apply to the art of gardening:

“Half of any job is using the right tool!” (Note I said “using” – not “having!”) It took a blister to convince me to buy a new pair of loppers to finish trimming the butterfly bushes. With the new tool, pruning was easy and painless.

Today’s mail is tomorrow’s pile. While it’s certainly important to clean up the trash, weeds, and other undesirables in your garden, if you limit yourself to that activity, you can work very hard and see little results. One of the things my landscape designer taught me was to pick one small area and plant beautiful things to inspire me to keep going. With Paper Tiger, we encourage you to start using Paper Tiger to organize your desktop – you can worry about all those old piles later! After you get the new system in place, you can incorporate the old files into the new system – and if you don’t, they’ll eventually be old enough that tossing them will be easy. In the meantime, you have what you need to do today’s work, and you won’t be creating new unidentified piles!

Clutter is Postponed Decisions. One of the first steps in creating any rewarding garden is determining what kind of garden you want – vegetable, herb, cutting, perennial, etc. As great as all those options are, if you try to have all of them in the same space, the result will be disappointing. Or, to apply another Paper Tiger principle, “Put like items together!” Create a specific area in your garden for herbs, another for cut flowers, etc. In the same way, you can create separate “locations” in Paper Tiger for personal papers, active projects, CDs, clients, etc.

Successful organizing begins with a vision. The most beautiful gardens are first planted in someone’s mind! The initial question I ask every client is “If we were to meet three years from now, what has to happen for you to feel happy about your progress?” Their answers are varied, and include such statements as “I’ll be making $100,000/year,” or “I’ll be taking six weeks of vacation every year,” “I’ll be working at home,” or “I’ll have a full-time assistant.” If we don’t have something to aim for, we’ll never get there.

Organizing doesn’t have a ‘right’ or ‘wrong.’ The most exciting aspect of my work is the “art of organizing.” I frequently tell my clients, “You paint a picture for me of what you want to accomplish, and I’ll help you create and sustain an environment to make that happen!” What works beautifully for one client would be a complete disaster for another.

Organizing is a process not a destination. A garden, like organizing, is a continual process of reassessing what you like, what you don’t, rearranging existing plants, and trying new varieties. And so it is with organizing! Continually asking three questions: “Does it work?” “Do I like it?” “Does it work for the others I care about?” Be willing to take risks, don’t worry about mistakes, and just keep learning!

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