Podcast: Holistic Nature of Us: Doug Tallamy, Bringing Nature Home

 

Description: Gardening for Life:  “Chances are, you have never thought of our garden – indeed, of all the space on your property, as a wildlife preserve that represents the last chance we have for sustaining plants and animals that were once common throughout the U.S. But that is exactly the role our suburban landscapes are now playing and will play even more in the near future.”

Meet Doug Tallamy, who shares his research and extensive knowledge concerning the rapid decline of invaluable species due to our development practices. Can we do something today? Yes. He gives us practical tips for practical sustaining action. Join us for a timely and meaningful discussion.

About My Guest: Doug Tallamy is a professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, where he has authored 89 research publications and has taught Insect Taxonomy, Behavioral Ecology, Humans and Nature, Insect Ecology, and other courses for 36 years. Chief among his research goals is to better understand the many ways insects interact with plants and how such interactions determine the diversity of animal communities. His book Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens was published by Timber Press in 2007 and was awarded the 2008 Silver Medal by the Garden Writers’ Association. The Living Landscape, co-authored with Rick Darke, was published in 2014. Doug is also a regular columnist for Garden Design magazine. Doug is a Lifetime Honorary Director of Wild Ones and has won the Garden Club of America Margaret Douglas Medal for Conservation, the Tom Dodd, Jr. Award of Excellence, and the 2018 AHS 2018 B.Y. Morrison Communication Award.

Podcast Transcript: Transcript Tallamy.

Podcast: Holistic Nature of Us: Mark Shepard asks: How does nature do it?

Description: How does nature do it? is a question frequently asked by Mark Shepard, one of my podcast guests. In this video, we get to see Mark’s farm, while he shows us chestnut trees, his property development and describes permaculture principles he puts into effect every day. Many of my podcast listeners tell me how much they enjoyed Mark Shepard’s discussions. He observes: what makes the system work? And then applies those very principles. Nature is a bit messy yet diversity creates backup systems.

I enjoy videos like the one above because he shows us what he has put into practice. So for a bit of a break in my podcast schedule, I am offering a couple of weeks of other videos by my guests. I hope you enjoy them. Any comments? All are appreciated.

Enjoy, Judith

Bio: Mark Shepard is the CEO of Forest Agriculture Enterprises LLC, founder of Restoration Agriculture Development LLC and award-winning author of the book, Restoration Agriculture: Real-World Permaculture for Farmers. Mark has also been a farmer member of the Organic Valley cooperative, the worlds largest Organic Farmer’s marketing co-op, since 1995. He is most widely known as the founder of New Forest Farm, the 106-acre perennial agricultural savanna considered by many to be one of the most ambitious sustainable agriculture projects in the United States.

New Forest Farm is a planned conversion of a typical row-crops grain farm into a commercial-scale, perennial agricultural ecosystem using oak savanna, successional brushland, and eastern woodlands as the ecological models. Trees, shrubs, vines, canes, perennial plants, and fungi are planted in association with one another to produce foods, fuels, medicines, and beauty. Hazelnuts, chestnuts, walnuts and various fruits are the primary woody crops. The farm is entirely solar and wind-powered and farm equipment is capable of being powered with locally produced biofuels.

Trained in both mechanical engineering and ecology, Mark has developed and patented equipment and processes for the cultivation, harvesting, and processing of forest-derived agricultural products for human foods and biofuels production. Mark was certified as a Permaculture designer in 1993 and received his Diploma of Permaculture design from Bill Mollison, the founder of the international Permaculture movement. He teaches agroforestry and Permaculture worldwide.

For more information about Mark Shepard, one can visit newforestfarm.us
For Restoration Agriculture Development, visit restoration.com @restoration.ag on Instagram
For Forest Agriculture Enterprises, visit forestag.com
He can be located on Facebook by searching mark.shepard.906 and his Instagram is @mark_shepard_rad

 

 

Podcast: Holistic Nature of Us: Craig Floyd’s Ted Talk

Description: Craig Floyd is passionate about helping children who are food insecure. His “Giving Garden”, here in Mystic CT, a part of the Denison PequotSepos Nature Center does just that. Armed with dedicated volunteers his garden not only flourishes but becomes a safe haven for children, our Veterans and more. New London County, CT is the recipient of these delicious, nutritionally packed no-till, no spray crops. 

I had a chance to visit Craig and his garden over the winter. What he has done with 11,000 square feet is truly amazing and a well thought out role model for change. When we help others we help ourselves, a holistic principle that  Craig and his garden embodies.

Since I am taking a break I thought I would offer his TED talk to my listeners. I hope you enjoy his passion, dedication, and education as Craig shares his story. Remember, all comments are appreciated.

Thanks & Enjoy,

Judith

 

How Soil Unites Us: Nic Jelinski, Soil Scientist

 

Hi Folks, I am taking a couple of weeks off this summer from scheduled interviewing for my podcast series. However, I have a great lineup. Some of my guests like Mark Shepard and Craig Floyd have youtube videos and TED Talks. I’m kicking off July with Nic Jelinski, soil scientist, and a great speaker. Enjoy.

Description: Dirt, soil, the stuff we walk on, grow our food in, dig up and build with is our lifeblood here on this planet. Soil scientists like Nic Jelinski bring the nature of soil home in practical ways. He is making a difference and contributing to our understanding of how invaluable our land is. Have we forgotten? I think so. With so many environmental issues facing us today, folks like Nic and others are reminding us of the many roles soils play in our landscape and for the health and vitality of future generations.

Soils are water purifiers, manufacturing facilities, recycling systems, plant growth systems, and provide food and shelter for countless species, growth medium for food and more. We are beginning to look more deeply into the soil beneath our feet. Isn’t it interesting that as we unlock our inner potential as a species we also unlock the mysteries of soil, the dirt under us? As we explore the deep underground places within us, we explore the deep earth we cannot see. Ironic.

Nic’s talk is engaging, timely and important to our understanding of this precious resource we have exploited across the planet. Now is the time for practical action.

I hope you will give a good thought to his message. What is one practical action you can take today to take care of the land? All comments are appreciated.

Enjoy. Judith

3 Garden Design Tips for Spring Planning

 

 

We’ve had a lot of rain here in the NE this spring. Yet we eagerly run out when the sun pokes through a cloud and continue to spruce up yard and garden. We plan our vegetable beds and flower beds and usually look forward to adding something new. I’ve got three great tips for you today to consider when nursery shopping:

 

 

1. Think foliage.

We drool over the new hybrid creations that flash color and design but I propose looking at plant specimens from a foliage perspective. Check tags and better yet research the plant first to make sure its compatible with native species in your region. Choose native or heirloom varieties. Then look at foliage types for texture, depth, and color. The trick is to plant-wide leafed plants next to ones that are lacier or with a finer texture. For example, hostas have a variety of colors, sizes, and shapes. Their strong root system makes them ideal next to wet areas, ponds. They can handle some shade too. Next, consider planting daisies between the wider leafed varieties such as Leucanthemum vulgare.

Years ago I planted several Hosta varieties ( deep blue leafs next to variegated white and green with yellow tints in between) in a relatively small shaded area to create a textured appearance. It takes a couple of years for new plants to fill in space but it’s worth it. Are deer a problem? Yes, they can be. Hostas are one of their favorites. I sprinkled cayenne pepper on leaves routinely and then added a nonobtrusive wire mess to the area.

 

2. Add food producing plants to your landscapes.

 

In previous posts, I have mentioned adding fruit-bearing shrubs such as blueberries, cranberries, and loganberries into more traditional non-food landscapes. If you spray and/or use chemicals then they are not edible. But if you have azalea, rhododendron bushes on your property, which like an acidic soil and are not treated, then you have a great match. Berries add color and provide food and habitat for many species. Get a soil sample done to make sure soil pH will support the berries. Blueberries, cranberries, and loganberries are all in the Vaccinium family and compatible.

 


3. Plant Wildflowers

Wildflowers can occupy a small land space. I especially recommend them if you have a field of “weeds” and its overrun. While the first year is the most work, the subsequent years need little to no maintenance, are drought resistant, and are sustainable. Meadows provide habitat, shelter, food, and water for so many critters, who are endangered today. My book, At the Garden’s Gate, has a chapter on how to turn lawn into a meadow in 7 easy steps.

We get creative in spring with our land spaces. After winter’s quiet and mono palette we look forward to springs renewal. I know I do.

I hope you found these tips helpful. What changes will you make in your gardens this year? Share your stories. We enjoy hearing from you. Judith.

 

 

 

 

 

Blog: Add More Fruit Trees to Your Landscape

 

My podcast guest this week, Mark Shepard, talks about forest restoration. What is a forest? What is the ecosystem naturally present in a given ecoregion and how can we support that by planting trees? He also recommends fruit-bearing trees for several reasons: find the ones native to your ecosystem region. They produce fruit/nuts, fruits and nuts contribute food source for us and critters, increase diversity in our landscapes and contribute to the overall ecosystem.

Curious? I was too. We would like to increase fruit trees in our backyard, but here in NE, they can be a lot of work with poor returns. As I researched the topic, I came across this video that shows us how to add fruit trees to our yards. However, I had no idea we can keep them short, manageable and add variety. Pretty cool, right? With the right soil conditions, proper fertilizing we can take a relatively small space and put ten fruit trees in the space needed for one fully mature non-dwarf variety. The secret is picking fruit trees from the same family. For example, choose the pome fruits, such as varieties of apple and pears or choose stone fruits, prunus, such as peaches, plums. He suggests great results by not mixing the 2 groups in one plot.

Spring is here. The video and Mark’s discussion give us “food ” for thought (pun intended). We can see our yards with fresh eyes after winter’s barrenness and with itchy feet and fingers think about using our space differently. At the very least adding more plants increases diversity.

What new plans do you have for your yards? What inspires you to add more diversity? All comments are appreciated.

Enjoy. Judith

 

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