Out & About with AOLCPs
Growing Plants and Gratitude Inside Prison WallsBy Kathy Litchfield
PROVIDENCE, RI - Kate Lacouture didn't set out to spend several days a week locked inside towering stone walls, planting basil, rosemary and zucchini alongside maximum security inmates without parole.
Yet she has found that throughout her 20-year career as a landscape architect in San Francisco and her native Rhode Island, working with groups and teaching them to grow food has proved one of the most rewarding things she's ever done.
"I feel like these are important life skills that seem to have been lost to this generation of kids and young adults. A lot of my
inmates remember gardening with their grandmothers. And the women that leave prison are all excited about starting their own gardens and that makes me so happy," said the Yale graduate who earned her master's in landscape architecture from
the University of Virginia in Charlottesville in 1994.
Tours on May 27th & June 3rd
Click HERE for more Information
New For AOLCPs!
NOFA OLC is excited to announce new online educational tools that will be available to AOLCPs 24/7!
Podcasts: AOLCP Bernadette Giblin will be posting a weekly podcast featuring AOLCPs in the field that you can listen to whenever you're free. Each Wednesday Bernadette will post a new podcast to her blog, Finding Safeground.
Coming Soon: AOCPs and future accredited professionals will soon be able to take the full Organic Lawn Care Course online! Professionals will be able to take the full or selected presentations from the course at their own pace and around their own schedule.
Standards Revision Rescheduled
Due to our full event calendar, we are postponing the revision of the Standards so we may carefully and thoroughly review and study any changes to OLC's core document.
We continue to invite your suggestions and ideas, which will be compliled via our online form. Two areas which we plan to address are the Emergency Non-organic Rescue Treatment - should it stay or should it go?- and defining qualifications for high-quality organic compost.
to fill out the online Standard Revision Form
NOFA Standards Review
This month, we'll focus on Planting.
Planting Bed Preparation
Planting beds are prepared differently when an organic approach is used. The well-being of the soil always comes first. The kinds of plants grown, the site conditions, and the desired outcome dictate the method or methods of preparation. If a soil test indicates the need for amendments, they should be incorporated into the soil whenever possible. A soil bioassay may indicate what plants will do well with the existing soil biology or ways to adjust the soil biology to suit the desired plants.
Although many variations exist, there are two basic approaches to preparing the soil in a planting bed. The first is to not amend the native soil at all. This requires great care in selecting plants that match the soil types and site conditions on a property. Foregoing the conventional amendment process requires fewer inputs and is less expensive, but requires more knowledge. The second approach is to amend the existing soil with compost or organically approved minerals and nutrients. This approach may result in more lush growth, and may require additional inputs to maintain that growth. Highly amended soil may be too rich for some plants, making them prone to problems and requiring higher maintenance. Excessive nitrogen and phosphorus may also cause pollution.
Whether the soil is amended or not, choosing the right plant for the right place will yield consistently good results and will help to ensure the long-term health and sustainability of any planting.
- Preserving desirable existing native vegetation whenever possible
- Choosing plants that match existing site conditions
- Using soil found on site, as available and appropriate
- Manually removing (stripping) unwanted vegetation and roots in areas to be planted
- Composting unwanted vegetation on site
- Smothering unwanted vegetation with old natural-fiber rugs, layers of cardboard, or organic matter
- Using amendments per soil test recommendations
- Incorporating amendments into the soil
- Mulching with organic matter (e.g., shredded leaves or compost-see Mulches on page 49)
Click HERE (page 42) to read more on the allowed and prohibited methods of planting.