As you all know by now, the Grow Appalachia program is designed to help families grow more of their own food; the goal being healthier food and the ability to stretch the family’s food budget. To that end at St Vincent Mission we are teaching not only how to grow the produce but how to save money doing it.
It seems to me that we spend an awful lot of money in our country buying new things when we have plenty of perfectly good used stuff laying around. Like dirt. Each spring we run to the big box store and plop down our hard earned cash for plastic bags of dirt, also know as potting soil. Now I know that just any old dirt isn’t the best thing for sprouting seeds and nurturing baby plants but really, do we have to go buy special dirt to do those things? I think not. And by the looks of the many hits I got online when I searched for “making your own potting soil” neither do a lot of other folks.
My favorite lesson was an article in Mother Earth News by Barbara Pleasant because it not only taught me the process but also told me why I should do it. “Potting soil self-sufficiency is good for your pocketbook, your plants and the planet…” It ends up that the components of “most commercial potting soils are based on some combination of peat moss, perlite and vermiculite—all of which contribute to land degradation and pollution as they are mined, processed, packaged and shipped.”
Last week, several of the Grow Appalachia participants came to the mission to learn how to make dirt. It was a fun time of sharing and met the need most of us were feeling to get our hands in the dirt. Teresa, one of the women who came, pointed out that “gas is gonna get to $4 a gallon again this summer so we need to know how to save money any way we can”. Making potting soil, reusing household containers instead of buying “seed starting kits” and saving seeds from one year to the next are ways that our Grow Appalachia families are using to make their lives healthier and more stress free. Not to mention protecting our planet, one batch of potting soil at a time.
|The Dirt Making class in action.|