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Bakari
biodieselhau...
Male
Oakland, CA



 
Posted By Bakari

My garden has finally been started.
It has been a long time now since I first decided to, but at least I didn't wait until mid-summer when it would be too late to plant.

I built the planter entirely out of scrap wood I had saved from past hauling jobs.



The half barrel in the pictures is also from a hauling job, but is not in use yet.



I lined the bottom with carpet (from a dump run)



to protect the plastic which goes above it (the plastic left over from a furniture move done in the rain).  Then an old blanket on top, both to protect the plastic and to aid in water wicking.

I placed some pieces of broken concrete (which used to be a fountain base) as supports for the porous sheet of wood which elevates the soil above the water reservoir, so that while the water below is accessible (via soil wicking) it does not saturate the soil or plants.



The mesh keeps the soil from getting into the reservoir.



The plastic trim lining the top of the planter is hauling leftover too.
I found slightly used (one season) potting soil on Craigslist in Oakland for free. Potting soil wicks water better, and so is recommended in self-watering systems. In theory the system uses less water, requires less maintenance and regulation, and produces healthier plants.
Being my first attempt ever to grow food, I consider this season practice, and I will be very happy if I end up eating anything at all from my little home-made box of dirt.

The first thing I planted was a potato. It was originally meant for eating, but it went bad, so I threw it in the compost. Later I noticed stems pushing their way around the plastic cover, and lo and behold the "bad" potato was sprouting. So maybe now I will get a good potato out of it.
My neighbor who gardens had told me even before I built the planter that she had a tomato plant for me. She also gave me a tomato stake; which, incidentally, I had given her about a year ago, having gotten it in a dump run and having no use for it at the time. Apparently she took a couple more than she really needed back then and had been storing the extra all this time.
She also shared some lettuce seeds and a bean plant. I got some free basil seeds in exchange for signing up for some email list at the farmers market last week.  My friend said she may give me a plant too.

So far I have spent almost no money on my new garden at all...

 

(just a bit more, and the finished pictures, on my MySpace blog, click here)


 
Posted By Bakari

I'll write something of my own soon, promise.
Until then, here are two articles, with some steps you can take in your own daily life which will ultimately benefit everyone (not to mention your wallet and health!)
_____________________________________

Because every time you buy gas, the terrorists win:
http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2007/01/king_of_the_hypermilers.html

"Wayne's driving obsession began after 9/11. Before then, he drove "75 miles per hour in the left-hand lane," but in the wake of the attacks he vowed to minimize his personal consumption of Mideast oil. As he sees it, Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda received their operating funds from all the U.S. consumers who bought Saudi oil... There was a direct relationship between our addiction to oil and the World Trade Center coming down."

Less consumption of Mideast oil would also make our economy less susceptible to spikes in the price of opec oil, which have triggered U.S. recessions. More than half the gas we pour into our vehicles in America is imported, and we send more than $4 billion a week abroad to buy oil. If we all got a 25 percent improvement in fuel economy (far less than the 50 percent improvement that Wayne and his hypermilers routinely get), we could reduce by half the oil we import from the Mideast for our cars. And then there's global warming. "I'm not just doing this for myself," Wayne told me before we met. "I'm doing this for my country and the world."

...

"guys in Priuses were bragging about 44 mpg, and I was doing better in a Corolla."

... As he drove, he began to see how little things—slight movements of his foot, accelerations up hills, even a cold day—influenced his fuel efficiency. He learned to wring as many as 638 miles from a single 19-gallon tank in the [Acura] mdx [SUV]; he rarely gets less than 30 mpg when he drives it. "Most people get 18 in them," he says."

(Summary: You don't need a hybrid. Just slow down.)

_________________________________________
But wait, there's more:

Our collective diet uses as much energy as our driving. Eating vegetarian, local, and organic, isn't just about health or the poor little animals. Its also about our environment and energy independence. Eating low on the food chain needs to be a priority for everyone.
Excerpted from: http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2008/11/diet-for-a-warm-planet.html:

"Since America is responsible for 22 percent of annual emissions, I suggest we set a target of shrinking our personal carbon footprint by 22 percent, or 9,606 pounds...

So what would a 22 percent diet look like? Step Two is all about losing weight.

Seriously. Body fat. My personal flab is not just a private matter between me and my coronary arteries. Nineteen percent of US energy usage—about as much as is used to fuel our cars—is spent growing and delivering food to the average American who consumes 2,200 pounds of food a year. That's a whopping 3,747 calories a day—or 1,200 to 1,700 more than needed for personal or planetary health. The skinny truth is that as much as 7.6 percent of total energy in the United States today is used to grow human fat, fat that translates to 3,300 pounds of carbon per person.

For starters, half of our food energy use comes from producing and delivering meat and dairy. If we gave up just meat, we could maintain that hefty 3,747-calorie intake but consume 33 percent less in fossil fuels doing it."

(Entire Blog at MySpace)