Saturday, March 19, 2011

Balls of Fury: Update

We've learned that the Charlotte Tennis Academy received the litter complaint and will have a landscaping crew clean it up by the end of the month.  Unaware of the extent of tennis ball debris, they are looking for ways to work with the public to keep the area clear.  This is a great opportunity for a Boy/Girl Scout group and/or the Huntingtowne Farms and Spring Valley neighborhoods to come together for an ongoing project.

Well done, CTA.  We thank you for taking the appropriate steps to keep your corner of Charlotte beautiful.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

WTF, Facebook?

Notice anything different?

Our Facebook badge is missing because Facebook decided to shut our page down, citing a "code of ethics violation".

Yeah, we didn't get it either and can think of two reasons for this to happen:
  1. Our "I am an Urban Homesteader" icon
  2. Facebook stated their pages must represent "individuals" and cannot use it to promote a business.  Now, we're definitely not a business, but if Facebook wants pages to be for individual people, why the hell do they have the option of creating pages for businesses, organizations and various groups?  If Charlie Sheen's Tiger Blood Energy Drink can have a page, why can't we?

Monday, February 28, 2011

Seed Bombs: 101

If there was to be a symbol that represents the Guerrilla Gardening movement, the seed bomb just might be it.

Easy to make, transport and plant, we can think of no better way to use old and excess seeds.

But first, a few rules:
  • DO NOT use seeds from harmful, poisonous or invasive species of plants and flowers.  We want people to embrace the surprise, not be pissed they now have a vine-covered wall, tree, etc.
  • DO NOT inflict damage when planting your bombs.  Public parks, established landscaping at businesses and your neighbor's yard should be avoided.  Look for places that need it: alleys, little patches of dirt, neglected window boxes, etc.
  • Stay organic!  Please refrain from using chemical fertilizers or genetically modified seeds.
We understand that trespassing may be part of the deal, but please do not go out breaking any serious laws.  Don't be an ass; show the people that your trespassing was worth it.

Let's get started.  Items needed:
  • Good quality, organic soil
  • Compost
  • Non-toxic air-dry clay (we prefer powder)
  • Seeds
A note on seeds: It's best to stick with low-maintenance flowers or herbs.  Sunflowers, bee balm and various wildflowers are our favorites and we like to use up our "old" seeds (harvested/purchased 3+ years ago).  Edibles are generally avoided unless you plan on tending the garden regularly; please do not let the food rot or go to waste.

1. Mix: In a large bowl or bucket, mix a 1:1 ratio of soil and compost.  Add enough water so the mixture will hold form when squeezed in your hand.  Add clay, small amounts at at time until mixture just begins to have a clay-like feel to it.  You will probably need to add more water during this step, too.  The clay will keep your bombs from falling apart; too much and your seeds will never be able to germinate.

2. Shape: Scoop up a small handful of your mixture, add some seeds and shape yourself a bomb, about the size of a golf ball.  Try to keep the seeds in the center of the bomb.  Some people will add all of the seeds during Step #1, mixing everything at once.  This is fine for larger, visible seeds, but it may be difficult to guarantee all of your bombs contain seeds if using ones that are tiny and dark.

3. Dry: Place your bombs on a counter top or out in the sun to dry.  Clay usually needs 24 hours to cure.

4. Plant: Package your bombs up and get to work!  If you're worried that too much clay was used, crumble the bomb by hand instead of planting whole.

5. Enjoy: Take note as to where you planted and visit often.
    If you're in Charlotte and know of a place that could benefit from a bomb or two (or ten), send us an email.

    Have you planted seed bombs?
    Add your photos to our Flickr group!  We'd love to see them.

      Tuesday, February 22, 2011

      Balls of Fury: Charlotte Tennis Academy

      Letter and photos reprinted with Jessica's permission.

      February 21, 2011

      Charlotte Tennis Academy
      PO Box 471392
      Charlotte, NC 28247

      To Whom It May Concern:

      My property is adjacent to the grounds of the Charlotte Tennis Academy (CTA) and I cannot help but notice the large number of discarded tennis balls in and around the wooded area south of the tennis courts and east of Birmingham Drive (please see map for reference, red indicates the area of concern).

      Given the various degrees of decay, these tennis balls have been left for quite sometime and I am interested in learning about CTA’s clean-up protocol.

      I am greatly concerned about the environmental impact of this debris, especially since tennis balls can now be found on the west side of Birmingham Drive, near the bank of Little Sugar Creek.

      Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help.




      As we are quite familiar with this neighborhood, we can attest there may be close to one hundred tennis balls rotting in the woods and no doubt contaminating Little Sugar Creek where waterfowl and turtles can be spotted on a regular basis.

      Need more proof?  Check out these photos and a video found here:

      We eagerly await CTA's response!

      Monday, February 21, 2011

      A Day of Action!

      How appropriate that our inaugural post is about taking back the term "Urban Gardening" since it was trademarked by the Dervaes family (no, there will be no link to their site as they do not deserve any additional publicity).

      We all fail to understand how one can trademark a lifestyle.  A movement.  A community.

      But they did.

      What can we do?

      Keep growing.  Keep raising livestock.  Keep striving for healthy, sustainable ways of living.

      And never mention them again.

      Join the wonderful Facebook group to 
      Take Back Urban Homesteading here, where you will also find 
      links to the other Day of Action blog posts.