Why it’s important to grow your own and shop locally.

If dust storms in the Sahara can reduce hurricanes in the Atlantic, can an oil spill in California cause crop damage in Millington, Tennessee

Sounds farfetched, but scientists have found a possible link between dust storms in the Sahara and the reduced number of hurricanes in the Atlantic:  Three hypothesis were formulated about how sand storms could affect hurricanes: dry air of sand storms could block the rising streams of air needed to increase the hurricane’s power; midlevel winds accompanying the Saharan air cause wind cut, preventing rising currents from growing into storms or warmth absorbed by the dust in the air can stabilize the air.

Or maybe, and probably more likely, the crop damage was caused by something closer to home, Lucite International Chemical leak in Memphis, Tennessee.   Who knows what impact chemicals being absorbed into the plant would have on the final produce.  Who knows what impact chemicals being absorbed into humans who consumed that produce would have on our long-term health, if the plants are even able to grow and produce an end product. 

Grow some of your own, buy as local as you can, know the source of the produce you do buy. 

Happy Gardening!!!

Harvest Monday_2010 Green Summit

Today is Harvest Monday hosted by Daphne at Daphne’s Dandelions.  Take a peek at what Daphne’s harvesting now and see what others are harvesting.  While you’re at it,  link up at  and tell everybody what you’re harvesting.   

 Greens, greens, greens is what I’ve got…Lettuce greens, chard greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, spinach greens.  The main lettuce bed is growing pretty well, and I did something I’ve never done.  I harvested a whole (baby) head of lettuce…    …and then I replanted the root after I picked the leaves off of it.  Couldn’t stand to see that possibly viable plant life going to the compost pile.

 But enough about me and my lettuce.            

2010 Green Summit Calendar of Events


 Southeast Chicago Goes from Steel to Green.  

 At the kick-off event for the 3rd Annual Green Summit held at the Ford Chicago Assembly Plant Training Center on Friday, April 30th, my gardening friend, Gregory Bratton, along with Peggy Salazar were presented awards for their outstanding dedication and commitment to their greening efforts, not just in the 10th ward, but throughout the city of Chicago.  

Omar (63rd Street Conga Drummers), Gregory and Peggy


 Pictured above are Angela Hurlock, Executive Director of Claretian Associates; Gregory Bratton, Intergenerational Growing Project, receiving his award; Kevin Murphy of the Calumet Stewardship Initiative; Neil Bosanko of the South Chicago Chamber of Commerce; and John A. Pope, 10th Ward Alderman.  

 A couple of the members of the Backyard Gardener’s Network were there too.   This is Emma, a reporter for the Observer, showing off the tickets for the play she won that were raffled off.   Gregory also donated fruit trees that went to four lucky participants. 



Here’s Flo, another Backyard Gardener’s Network member, with the 63rd Street Drummers.

Flo (second from the left)



This year’s Green Summit activities will be spread out over the month of May.  You can click on the Green Summit logo above to view the full calendar of events.  

***Teachers…you can earn CDPU credits*** 

More information can be found at calumetstewardshipinitiative.org  or www.clarentianassociates.org  

 or by calling 773.734.9181  


Happy Gardening Green Living!!!

Green Fest at Navy Pier

I’ve got to be honest, this was not something I would have been happy to have had to pay to attend. All the community organizations had free passes to the event and a lot of the people I’ve met through the gardening groups were going, so I went too. Of course Greg Bratton was there and Stephanie, one of the faithful volunteers for Healthy South Chicago. I saw a couple of people who were at The Green Summit (Naomi Davis and LaDonna Tittle).   Dominique Bowman, Executive Director for The Green Lots Program was there.  I got a chance to meet the proprietors of Black Oaks.

The theme was about eco-friendly products.  There were clothes made out of recycled plastics, the eco-friendly tankless water heater.  They had book signings. 

There were only a few exhbits that caught my eye.

These guys sell paper made with elephant dung, a perfect addition to any compost pile after you’re done with it.100_0154

This guy was selling yard art and plant stands made from twigs. They were actually reasonable priced too.


The best thing for me was we found some free seeds.  You know me and my free seeds.  I’ve got a fair collection of the usual seeds, so now I look for the unusual. 


41 inches long and 70 pounds.  That’s a pretty big squash.  Or maybe the company is fudging a little bit.  Gourmetseeds.com says they average 20 inches and 15 pounds, but that’s still impressive for a squash.

Anybody out there in the blogosphere have any experience with this particular squash?  How’d yours do?

Taking a day off.

Shhhh.  Don’t tell anybody, but I’ve been playing a little hookie.




I hope you can tell, but this was a nice sized cat fish.  I caught two this size one after the other.  The rest of the day their grandbabies were the only ones willing to sacrafic their lives for our enjoyment.

After I got back from fishing, I checked on the garden and saw the peas are starting to flower.  Here’s a picture I took yesterday.


Granny:  See the X…(playing theme from the Twilight Zone)

Everything’s doing pretty good in the “hoop house.”  I’ll post about it this weekend. 

After watering the garden, a task I felt compelled to do, I was 30 minutes late for the Southeast Gardeners Meeting.  When I walked in they were in the middle of a discussion.  Of course they were.  It’s a meeting.  Anyway, Dina, the moderator/leader, said they were going around the room asking what each person needed for their gardens and what they had to offer.  I had a senior moment.  Duh.  My genius answer was enthusiasm for gardening.  I’m sure they were looking for something more tangible, but it was the best I could come up with.

Greg Bratton and his friend Walter gave a summary of what they learned at their workshop on hoop houses at Growing Power in Milwaukee.  Sounds like one of the most important things they learned is not to put the plastic on on a windy day because they were almost airborne when a strong wind came along. 

They also talked about the circulating system that’s at Growing Power which has a tank that’s used to raise Talapia and Lake Perch.  The water is circulated in a continuous loop fom the fish tank up to plants that are watered with the fish water which is a natural fertilizer.  The video gives you a synopsis of what Growing Power is all about.

Will Allen is the founder of Growing Power.  Mr. Allen won a $500,000 Genius Grant from the MacAuthur Foundation for, among other things, his creative pursuits.  Hey, anybody want to be a creative farmer? 

Gregory was really impressed with the fish tank setup and said they ran into a guy that has developed an in-home version that will allow you to raise fish meat and vegetable plants for a fraction of the cost of a commercial version.

We also had at the meeting Sarah Carlson.  Sarah is a college student filming a documentary.  It’s called The Whole Health Project.


The current system of healthcare in the US is in crisis, and fails to relieve many of the contemporary illnesses plaguing people. This leaves many dependent on food and healthcare systems that fail to meet their needs.  In search of relief and armed with the guidance of peers, online resources, and the historical legacy of America’s relationship to the land, many  seek a healing path that leads us to a more direct relationship between ourselves and the food we consume, the environment we live in, and the communities we are a part of.”

Sarah was also at the Green Summit and got a lot of footage for her film.

Lastly, what meeting is complete without parting gifts?  One of the gardeners (please forgive me, I’m terrible with names) brought some wood ash to share with us and, of course, free seeds.

Happy Gardening!!!





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