Living Sustainably

Aquaponics | Rain Harvesting | Composting | Other Green Products

Coconut Coir, Say Goodbye to Peat Moss!

coconutPeat Moss is a common material used for gardening, but it’s not sustainable, mining is damaging to the environment and it’s acidic.

The Dirt on Peat Moss

Does Peat Moss Have a Place In the Ecological Garden?

We use recycled coconut fiber, called coir, a food industry byproduct. As such it’s sustainable, less acidic, and performs better for the myriad of uses we need:

1. Cover Material for Composting Toilet
2. Worm Composting Bedding
3. Mulch and soil additives
4. Upholstery Stuffing

There’s a great tutorial for using Coconut Coir at The Real Garden.

We get ours at Amazon with free shipping, and are very happy with the results. It comes in 11 lb. compressed bales (expands when hydrated) for $22.


What is Humus?

Humus is organic matter that holds moisture, keeps soil loose and well drained, and supports micro organism activity. All these benefits mean good plant growth. Adding compost and mulch builds humus, eliminates the need to use chemicals (provides nutrients and discourages pests), and reduces the need for irrigation.

For further info:


Building Soils for Better Crops, Organically

I borrowed a book from Melvin Martin the other day on soil quality. Now we have been gardening organically for a number of years, and using mulch and compost, but the book he lent me, “Building Soils for Better Crops”, does a great job of explaining the different types of soils, the critters found in them (beneficial and otherwise), the needs of the various soils and plants, and how to make exceptional growing soils. We give this one 5 stars, and have added it to our permanent collection. Not Melvin’s copy, we returned that one 😉


Strawberries, Veggie Oil, and Generator Conversions

Early this morning my son Matt and I headed over to the Martins. We collected 3 or so drums of veggie oil from the local college and an Italian restaurant, then headed back to the Martins to pump it into the boiler for dewatering. We also raked a few hundred feet of strawberries, removing last years mulch cover, then went back to my place to work on their website, and convert my gasoline generator to tri-fuel usage. Melvin Martin is in the process of re-assembling the oil press for the upcoming Energy Fair. Melvin checked out my work on the new 12vdc piston pump, which replaced our 120 vac jet pump. This is much more efficient at pumping water from our well, cutting our power consumption by more than half.