Check out this article from Atlas Obscura that talks about the agriculture practice of food forests. I have talked about them a bit here at the Green Living Library but this article really brings the whole concept into light.
The thought of needing to rebuild urban soils probably strikes most of you reading this a funny at best and a waste of time at worst. What possible reason could you have for rebuilding urban soils, you are not a farmer or rancher why should you care about the quality of the soil underneath your feet.
Well the simple reason for this is that soil is quite literally what everything is built upon and I know that is a bit tongue and cheek but it is still true. I don't just mean the literal built upon like a building on a foundation but also the web of life that supports life as we know it is also built upon the soil at our feet. Now in the grand scheme of things I will concede that the soil quality out on farms and ranches might be more important than the one in your front yard but that doesnt mean the soil there isn't important.
When you look out at the typically suburban lawn what do you see?
Some see a beautiful manicured space that is great for playing on lounging on and gives your house great curb appeal. Whiles others like me see a mostly wasted, severely underutilized space that could be put too much better uses like growing food and creating pollinator habitat.
When people think of a garden they most likely think of the annual garden standards,
But that thinking is missing out on great resource that they can use to reduce work, fertilizer inputs, watering needs and did I mention work. For me the reduced work is a big seller when it comes to gardening and the amount of work it can take depending on your techniques can be staggering. That is why I am a big fan of perennial crops in place of annual crops wherever possible.
When you decide to plant a tree there are many different things you must take into account before you purchase the tree. You will need to answer a few key questions before you can figure out what type of tree you should plant in that area.
· Will this tree be planted near a structure?
· Will the tree be planted underneath utility lines?
· What type of soils do you have at your site?
· Do you have enough rain or supplemental water to grow a tree successfully?
· What is the primary purpose of the tree? (shade, aesthetics, food production etc.)
When building a new sustainable lifestyle you will need to become well versed in topics you have never given a thought about before. One of those topics you will never know everything about even if you study it for years is soil. Soil when you dig into it (pardon the pun) is one of the most fascinating and challenging aspects of building a sustainable, environmentally friendly life. It effects the most basic parts of living, your food, water and shelter needs are directly tied to and influenced by soil.
Soil determines what food you can grow and how much of it you can grow. It will be a large factor in determining where groundwater is and how tasty that water is. It also tells you where you should and should not build a house or other structures.
So to sum up what could be a long rant, you need to know about soil in general and about the soil where you want to build a new life.
Hello my name is Josh Larson and I am the creator of the Green Living Library. Here on the blog you will find updates to content found in the Green Living Library as well as stories from those living the sustainable life already.