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Posts Tagged ‘ecosystem’

Ecosystems Restoration John D Liu
Forests keep drylands working – think big, think local!

January 17, 2014, California Governor Brown declared California is in a Drought State of Emergency. Many of us ask ‘What took so long?’ We have been having record breaking January high temps, no rain in sight. What will summer be like?! Our other concern is fires.

Nashville born Chinese American John D Liu has been greening deserts for 2 decades. As an environmental film maker, he has documented the successful restoration of large-scale ecosystems in some of the most difficult areas, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Jordan. He was first inspired by the seemingly miraculous recovery of China’s Loess Plateau, from desert to lush farmland! He has lived in China 30 years, so has seen it firsthand. Amazing results happen in 3 to 5 years, not only affecting the local areas, but all the areas below. As the soil becomes able to retain water, water flow is increased, giving water to farmlands and for hydroelectric power. Heads of state invite him to help their countries.

If we can green deserts, we can save our land and water locally! What they do, we can do in our landscapes and gardens on a smaller scale. Water capturing terraces are established on hillsides. Holes are dug and lined with rocks to keep the water there until plants recover and do that job. Plants are planted. Destructive grazing or land use is stopped. We can make major and mini bioswales and terraces, build a series of rock lined mini dams in steep gullies to slow water and let it sink in, restore the water table. We can cover our land as is natural, with plant debris sprinkled with manures. We can easily let crops grow to fruition, let those plants feed the birds with their seeds in winter, some seeds will fall into the soil. We can save some seeds from our best plants, and let the plant fall to the ground. Rather than let plants fall over and lay there in unbreathing straw-like mats, we can speed the soil building process, cut and break them up with our shovels, aerating the soil, increasing water holding capacity. We, can add manures, grow green manure crops, let land rest at times. Cover exposed soil with organic soil feeding, building, mulches. If you own herds, cattle, goats, sheep, chickens, move them around. Have a plan. Install a grey water system – it is now legal in California.

Consider Dry Farming. Sometimes it’s doable, sometimes not. Here are practical tips for the adventure from different people who have done it! In general, select seeds and plants that are heat and drought tolerant that require less water. Also, in your veggie gardens, alternate plantings of soil nourishing legumes, then other plants. Keep your soil healthy and lively, having excellent water holding capacity, so it makes the most of what moisture it does receive.

What we do in our landscapes and veggie gardens is a mini model of the world you want to see happen. If you are inclined, you can teach it to others verbally, by writing about it, or through images as well. Connect with local groups who specialize in water conservation land stewardship and have experience. In Santa Barbara CA that might be Sweetwater Collaborative that offers hands-on workshops.

Liu’s work is more than just talk. The success of this restoration is well documented. It is not just a tale of hope; it’s evidence of hope. Get out your shovel; it’s a New Year!

Watch the Green Gold video! 47:31 Minutes

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The 3rd Annual Seed Swap was a great success!  I found some great fava beans donated by Tom Shepherd, Shepherd Farms.  I’m still looking for some jicama seeds.  There were wonderful talks, was lively music, new friendships made, and, of course, seeds gathered for mighty planting!  If you didn’t make it this year, be sure to come next year! 

Feb 5 Banana Plantation & Mulching Party at Mesa Harmony Garden!  8 AM to 1 PM, Holy Cross Church, Meigs/Cliff Dr.  Wheelbarrows, picks, pitchforks, shovels needed – bring if you can!  Over 100 fruit and nut trees have been planted already, now it’s BANANA planting time!  Come see the 34 plot community garden and the project!  Get inspired!  

Feg 14  Happy Valentine’s Day! 

Feb 19 The Seed Ball Making Party!  11 AM to 4  PM at Plaza de Vera Cruz  – across the street from the Saturday Farmer’s Market, where Sol Foods Festival was.   If there is rain the new location will be posted on eatthestreet.org.  If you have seeds to share, please do bring them.  And bring some snacks or dishes to share if you wish!

What is a seed ball?  Think of them like this:  Little Adobe Gardens  Imagine then, a clay ball the size of a large marble. Imagine also that it contains seeds for a complete habitat. The seed ball could contain plant potential for an entire ecosystem.  It can be made by anyone, anywhere in the world where there is clay, compost, seed and water.  The ball is tossed wherever you want to plant, rain moistens it, the clay ‘melts’ its nutrients into the surrounding soil and blankets the seeds with minerals & vitamins.  Covered & moist, they germinate, voila!  Flowers!  Or veggies! 

In honor of Masanobu Fukuoka, the Father of Seed Balls, The Story of Seed Balls by Jim ‘Catfish’ Bones:


Feb 27  Santa Barbara Guerilla Planting Day!  The Seed Ball Party is purposely planned to precede a day of Guerilla Planting, planting anything and anywhere, respectfully!  Particularly it is emphasizing planting unused land – flowers or vegetables!  Some people will be planting trees!  Several downtown Santa Barbara businesses are already planning creative events!  One brewery is going to plant Barley!   

Feb 26  10 AM  Vegetable Gardening with Oscar Carmona  La Sumida NurseryRain or shine. Class is free! 

Feb 26-27 Santa Barbara Spring Home & Garden Expo!  HOME should be an experience, not just an address. 
Earl Warren Showgrounds     Saturday 10 – 5,  Sunday 10 – 4
Admission: Adults $6.00, Kids 12 & under are free  Parking: Free
*A portion of the proceeds benefit the Community Environmental Council (CEC) 

Fairview Gardens Urban Homesteading is an exciting new series of classes scheduled throughout the year.  Some of the classes filled the first day the announcement was made, so sign up right away for any you are considering, and ask to be on a list for a 2nd group to be formed!   It is a wonderful way to reconnect with the earth. The series, designed by the staff at Fairview, covers everything from container gardening, composting and raising chickens, to canning, preserving, and more, taught by the best people in our community on site at the farm.  (805)967-7369  info@fairviewgardens.org

Apr 16 & 17, CEC’s Earth Day Festival 2011!

Give your Valentine a basket of veggies and some seeds to plant!  Have a great month!

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