Capturing Rain From One of Our Sheds

Capturing Rain From One of Our Sheds
These copper rain gutters are beautiful and help harvest rainwater!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Gardening is on the rise...

with the local food movement growing. But gardening can have more of an impact on those who practice it than just the harvest at the end of the season. Most who garden, will express a deep connection with the earth. They are drawn to gardening because tending to the soil is calming, because feeling the earth in your hands is playful, and this type of "work" can replace an aspect that is  missing in our technological lives today. As James Jiler, the founder and executive director of Urban GreenWorks says, gardening  "allows people to connect to this primal state". Gardeners of all ages and backgrounds can tell you this pastime creates a beautiful connection with our Earth!

Besides this relationship, there are many other benefits to gardening that seem to be a little more tangible. Gardening has been found to reduce stress, even better than other leisure activities in many studies (CNN Health). It provides an outlet and allows our mind to wander in "effortless attention" rather than being pulled in a million ways at once. This aspect has been tied to relieving symptoms of depression and other mood disorders. As you might have guessed, gardening is also a form of exercise. It gets your blood flowing and you could even work up a sweat! You also have the added bonus of being outdoors in the sunshine which is always a mood booster.

Finally, it comes full circle. As gardening allows us to connect to our Earth it allows us to build a strong connection with the food we eat. "When you commit time, effort and money to caring for your plants, you naturally feel a stronger connection to the food they produce than something you just plucked off a grocery store shelf" says Mary Mazzoni, Assistant Editor of Earth911. This goes a long way to improving our nutritional values and our everyday food choices. Not to mention the fruits and veggies that will grow in a home garden will often taste better and be packed with more vitamins than those from the store.

Gardening is an all around good! It gets us in touch with our Earth and lets us enjoy the fruits- and veggies- of our labor, while promoting a healthy lifestyle.

Here's to wishing you a happy harvest and the motivation to get out and garden!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle...

 the "3 R's" of going green. At A Place to Grow we focus heavily on the reuse part of that saying. By finding a way to re-purpose materials from other buildings, houses, or commercial stuctures is a great way to lessen our environmental impact and add a special touch to the structure being built.

A large part of our recycled greenhouses is the wood we use to construct them. In our case we have chosen to "reuse" and build the greenhouses from reclaimed wood. Reclaimed wood is a great option and even better, allows us to stay true to our pledge of sustainability. So what exactly is reclaimed wood? It is any processed wood that is taken from its original implementation and used for some other purpose. This is where our job gets interesting. We search for pieces of barns, warehouses, or our special favorite, wine flavor sticks in an effort to build our greenhouses!

There are many advantages to using reclaimed wood. First and foremost, it lessens our negative environmental impact. This is achieved because it lessens the demand for new lumber, slowing deforestation. It decreases the amount of material sent to the landfill and there is less energy used to create new supplies. Secondly, reclaimed wood is usually harder and better quality because it has been harvested from an old growth forest instead of young trees. This aspect is great for building because it results in strong, reliable structures. Thirdly, is the look. Reclaimed wood normally has a worn, antique look to it that is very hard to come by with new lumber. This appearance allows for a very unique creation with each added piece. Finally, reclaimed lumber can come with a special story attached. Whether it came from an old ship yard, a family home, or a winery the story passed along with the material gives it character that you cannot come by any other way.

Reclaimed wood is an easy and fun way to build sustainably, and we can't wait to hear more of the stories that these pieces tell!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

This year...

as we rush toward the holidays, the time seems to be going faster than ever. There is the overwhelming feeling of constantly having to play catch up just to stay in the same place! It can be exhausting! In the midst of all this hustle and bustle at the start of this November, I was struck by just how important it is be full of thanks. All too often, Thanksgiving day only serves a small reminder once a year for us to remember what we're grateful for, when really is it so important to remember how much we have everyday!

Author Melody Beattie sums it up perfectly, "Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.  It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.  Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow."

This has inspired me, as I hope it will you to move forward practicing gratitude. Practicing gratitude, while seemingly tedious at first, has been found by multiple studies to be linked with more creativity, a healthier immune system, and even a stronger heart! It can strengthen your relationships with spouses, family and friends. Practicing gratitude can bring focus onto priorities and help you thrive.

Even though it may seem like this week has been particularly hard, or you are not where you want to be, or that no one else could possibly have it worse than you do, it is important to stay grateful. Because whether it is as big as the new job offer you just received or simply the fact you were able to get out of bed this morning, everyone can benefit from practicing gratitude everyday.

A Place to Grow is thankful for our opportunity to offer our services to the community while learning and sharing these experiences with everyone we meet! What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Fall is upon us...

you can feel it in the air! This year it seemed that summer kept us bathed in sunshiney warmth until late October, but with daylight savings time rearing its head, the chill and the colder temperatures are back.  However, as it turns out, fall and winter are excellent times to begin a flourishing vegetable garden!

Fall and winter gardening is an easy and productive way to replace essential nutrients that have been used up in the soil. And of course in a few months you'll have your hands on some delicious vegetables! So what are the best crops to plant this time of year?

Early Maturing Crops: (Mature after about 30 days)
-Broccoli, Mustard, Spinach, Leaf Lettuce, Chives, Radishes

Mid Season Crops: (Mature after about 60 days)
- Leeks, Turnip, Winter Cauliflower, Perennial Flowers and Herbs

Late Maturing Crops:(Mature after about 90 days)
-Carrots, Parsnip, Rutabaga, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbages

Listed here are just a few examples, but there are many vegetables that thrive during this season!
A key to the success of your fall/winter garden is to plant at a time when the roots can become established before an intense frost can occur. This can vary greatly, depending on where you live or even year to year.

There is no time better than the present to begin your fall and winter vegetable garden. Not only does this technique benefit the soil, it allows for color and diversity in your garden. As Robert Frost puts it simply, in his poem Blueberries, "Who cares what they say? It's a nice way to live, just taking what nature is willing to give"

Happy growing!