Monday, November 29, 2010

We Need Your Help and Your Cardboard

The Marcus Garvey Liberation Garden (MGLG) is in existence to increase the supply of organic produce in Southeast Houston, TX. We also strive to educate individuals on more efficient methods of urban gardening.

Since our inception in March 2010, we have and still are using four methods to cultivate our garden. The most successful method we have is used is the method in which we cover the ground with a layer of cardboard and hay. This is by far one of the most efficient methods of gardening that we use because the ground is never tilled, no bed is built, and no extra soil is needed.

This cardboard method is ideal for virgin soil (an area that has never been cultivated for a garden). The cardboard starts to kill the grass immediately by shielding it from the sunlight. The grass dies and becomes compost and fertilizer for your plants. The layer of hay is used to help cover some of the holes in the cardboard and stop the cardboard from being blown away by the wind. The grass below will be completely dead within two weeks. (You can always look under cardboard to check it.) Once there is no longer any grass living, we made small holes in the hay and cardboard for the sewing of the seeds. When the seed germinates it is the only thing that will sprout! All weeds and grass is blocked by the cardboard.

There are numerous benefits to this method. One of the most prevalent benefits is there is no weeding needed. The cardboard does not only stop the weeds from growing, but it does not allow direct sunlight to reach the soil. This helps because direct sunlight during long Texas summer days can dry out a soil in a matter of hours. If you ever have the chance to play in soil, you will notice the top of the soil is much lighter than the soil a fraction of an inch below the surface. The lighter top soil is visual proof that the direct sunlight is depleting the soil of some of its nutrients. When you see a forest or jungle, there are many plants and trees growing, but no soil is exposed. The soil is covered with organic matter, which is exactly what we try to replicate in the MGLG with the use of cardboard and hay. Another benefit of using the cardboard is that much less water is needed because the rate of evaporation is slowed due to the lack of direct sunlight beaming on the soil.

This is why we need your cardboard! As you partake in the Holiday Season festivities remember that the cardboard that gift came in can be put to use in our garden! You must also remember that it is much more efficient to reuse materials rather than recycle them. So don’t recycle those brown cardboard boxes, let us reuse them for you!

In addition to the cardboard, we need YOU! Gardening in Texas is year-round! We will be much more successful if you chose to lend us the labor of your hands. Once you come you will leave with fruits of your labor, FOOD! Fresh, Organic food grown and produced as the fruit of the labor of our other volunteers! We would like to include you in the list of wonderful people! Can you lend us a hand?

If you are interested in volunteering or simply making a donation you can contact our Garden Coordinator, Cavanaugh Nweze at 832-262-8019 or I am pretty sure he is looking forward to hearing from you!