Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

Sustainable farming, ranching and gardening in the Flathead

Tuesday, May 17th, 2016
Veggie Landscape Garden

Veggie Landscape Garden

By Catherine Haug, May 17, 2016 (Photo from Mercola (3))

Did you see the article in Sunday’s Daily Inter Lake, “Former artists now run sustainable farm,” by Kathryn Houghton, and photos by Aaric Bryan? The farm is in the Flathead’s  lower valley, and is appropriately called “Lower Valley Farm.” You can view their website at (4). See References, below, for the link to the article on the DIL website (1), or a printable pdf version of the article and photos (2). Or email me for a higher-quality pdf.

Here’s how it begins: (more…)

Event Notice: Workshop on Gardening, Feb 6, 2016

Saturday, January 30th, 2016
Bigfork/Ferndale Community Garden, 2014

Community Garden, 2014

By Catherine Haug, January 30, 2016 (Photo, right, of the Bigfork/Ferndale Community Garden, by Sally Finneran, Bigfork Eagle)

Bigfork/Ferndale Community Garden presents:

  • What: Workshop on Gardening, with MonaRae Tuhy, Master Gardener
  • When: Saturday, February 6, 2016, 10 AM
  • Where: St Patrick’s Episcopal Church, 30631 MT Hwy 209 , Bigfork MT; on corner of Hwy 209 and S. Ferndale Rd.
  • Who: Free and open to the public. Children are welcome and encouraged to participate in this fun workshop.
  • Contact: Michelle at 837-0982

About the event:

Our speaker will be MonaRae Tuhy, a 3rd Level Master Gardener and local expert on growing here in the Flathead. At this workshop we will learn:

  • Learn what to look for when ordering seeds from catalogs;
  • Address our optimum planting and maturity dates. What you read on the seed packet may not be the best directions for your garden area.
  • Learn how to make seed tapes, an easier way to plant your garden. Bring some of your own favorite seeds or we will have some available for your use.
  • By starting with your own seeds, you can be sure that your plants have been raised organically from first to last.

Toxic industrial waste in chemical fertilizers, compost, and potting soil

Saturday, December 5th, 2015
Canola Field in Lower Valley, Bigfork MT

Canola Field in Lower Valley, Bigfork MT

By Catherine Haug, Dec. 3, 2015 (photo, right, by D. Morgan)

A vast majority of commercial farms use chemical fertilizers rather than Organic methods to grow large-scale commercial crops such as potatoes, peas, wheat corn and soy. Most of these chemical fertilizers contain ‘biosolids,’ another name for “treated sewage sludge … intended for agricultural use as a soil conditioner.” Sewage sludge is the solid material that settles out at wastewater treatment plants. (1)

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have found that “biosolids can contain measurable levels of synthetic organic compounds, radionuclides and heavy metals.” (1) Where do these come from? How do they get into the sewage sludge? (more…)

Importance of Regenerative Agriculture

Sunday, November 29th, 2015

by Catherine Haug, Thanksgiving, 2015

I first learned of ‘Regenerative Agriculture’ last spring when I watched a PBS documentary (1) on the subject. That 26 minute video is still available to watch online (1).

Our modern farming methods treat soil like dirt, instead of giving it the love and respect it deserves. We don’t understand how important microbes are to the soil, that they convert nutrients in the soil to a form the plants can utilize. To flourish, they need carbon (and oxygen) in the soil, but we let the carbon escape into the atmosphere, warming the earth and leading to climate change.

Regenerative agriculture is about giving back to the soil with rich compost, humus, and biochar, to return carbon to the soil and provide microbes that connect the plants to the nutrients in the soil.

Regenerative agriculture to reverse climate change, a documentary video

Friday, November 27th, 2015

By Catherine Haug, Nov 2015

“Healthy soils are necessary to feed the world; they are also the planet’s largest carbon sink. This task is for all of us: farmers, gardeners and food consumers. Together, we can heal the earth.” (from an Organic Consumers Association email).

While burning fossil fuels sends carbon into the atmosphere, regenerative agriculture stores carbon in the soil, for a more nutritious food supply and a healthier planet. Learn more from  a PBS documentary, “Food Forward, SOS: Save our Soils” (3). (more…)

Bacterial contamination of produce, including Organic

Saturday, August 22nd, 2015


By Catherine Haug, August 21, 2015 (Photo, right, from Wikipedia)

The lifestyle blog, Take Part, featured an article today titled Your Organic Spinach Could Be More Dangerous Than Meat, by Willy Blackmore (1). At issue is contamination of vegetable crops, both Organic and conventional, primarily by contaminated animal waste (primarily from CAFOs – Confinement Animal Feeding Operations) leaching into ground water.

A classic example was a 39-state recall of E. coli-contaminated spinach a few years back, that was caused by animal waste from a nearby CAFO leaching into groundwater regularly used to water the crops. Similar recalls have involved listeria and other pathogens.

Data from the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) indicate food-borne illness is far more likely from produce, than for poultry, seafood, red meat, eggs or dairy (2).

What is the solution to this problem? (more…)