Master Recycler Program – Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District

Its been a while.  High growing season and urban agriculture’s call tend to leave blogging in the dust.  Forgive the pun. However,  shorter days and cold crops starts are upon us.  I must share with you my new love….

Master Recycling.

This traineeship will allow me to serve as a resource for my extended community.  With my knowledge base I will be able to blaze a trail for handling those new recycle cans we all have gotten.


We’ve had our first lecture and tour.  Each has been quite eye opening about the progress made and yet to be made.  The potential to save and make money for both businesses and municipalities. I must tell you they were down right exciting! Watching all that house demo material (called C&D construction and demolition) be processed & recycled got my cohorts wheels a-spinning.

So stay tuned for the details.  And  check out the link. This is the first class of Cleveland s Solid Waste district. And I’m tickled. ..ahem pink & green.

“Soul Food Junkies”

“Soul Food Junkies”

Byron Hurt’s Independent Lens film about the traditions and values of “soul food” within the larger body of American culture examines just how important food choices and availability is to all. He examines how growing one’s own food can be a critical factor in maintaining a good health status.
This is a great film. For more information check out

We love to grow for the sake of growing! Therefore we promote a community of gardeners before we promote the community garden.  When you grow your own food, you tend to value it a bit more, I think.  It also can taste that much better!  But the question on everyone’s mind is: how do we ameliorate (bioremediate) urban soil?  This is what we are actively working on.  So please be patient with us.  We will answer this question shortly!  But it is soon planting season and we must get to the fields.  Any comments or suggestions are greatly appreciated!

Mo & So

5 Things know about Montessori

Good overview for those who always ask, “What is that anyway?!”

little house of montessori

Here are five facts about Montessori schools to bear in mind when exploring preschools and primary schools for your child.

There are over 8,000 Montessori schools in the U.S.

Most Montessori schools belong to the American Montessori Society or the Association Montessori Internationale which was founded in 1929 by Dr. Montessori herself. Depending on which association a school belongs to, if it belongs to one at all, it will also have regional and/or state associations available to it of which it may be a member.

Not every Montessori school is the genuine article.

Dr. Maria Montessori never trademarked the name ‘Montessori’. As a result anybody can call their school Montessori if they so choose. But does that mean the school adheres to Dr. Montessori’s principles and methods? Not exactly. You will only learn if it is the real thing if you know what to look for and what questions…

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Maria Montessori would be proud!

Arroz con Gandules -with Recao / Culantro

Arroz con Gandules -with Recao / Culantro (Photo credit: Emily Barney)











English: Portrait of Maria Montessori

English: Portrait of Maria Montessori (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


“So” as we call her is the 18-month old, urban farmer.  At three months old I walked past some soil and coconut coir that I was using to start seeds when she leaned forward and was riveted. On yes dirt. Or growing substrate.  She does not need my permission to take care of the “twees and fwahwurs”.  She is learning to grow and always lets me know when one more seed has germinated.  All of this reminds me that Dr. Maria Montessori knew that there is great potential in every human being in spite of and in light of his or her circumstance and context.  She too worked with the little ones of the Rome’s urban neighborhoods.  She knew about them what others could not know about them–that they were capable.

We young farmers are capable. We do and have been doing.  We are learning to do more!  Production and marketing. Crop selection.  Mycology. Speaking of mycology, I will be preparing for Kai’s Cultured mushroom workshop this weekend and Adam Montri’s workshop at the BridgePort Cafe of  CornUcopia Place next week.  All the time, I will be focusing on cultivating the elusive morel!

Honestly?  I still scream in terror when she stirs up my flats of seedlings containing plants like the  hard to start sprouting culantro (recao).  She must be  imagining that she is helping.  Yet when she sees my face,  she is able to say “gentle” softly while giggling at my apprehension.  Of course she is a wonderful help!

mo and so grow

Biochar, The Secrets Out

We at the MaS Grow company are always looking for ways to help our depleted or tainted urban soils! We need more info like this!

Doowans News&Events

Biochar: What is Biochar?

We Doowans LOVE to bring you the latest and greatest in gardening. and other news. we spill the beans. If you know what I mean.,,,

Biochar the secrets out. Some gardens have heard of Biochar. Those new to gardening may not have heard, the secret to a prolific garden. The short answer, Biochar is like steroids for your garden plants.

The long answer, Biochar is a name for charcoal when used for particular purposes, especially as a soil amendment. Like all charcoal, biochar is under investigation as an approach to carbon sequestration to produce negative carbon dioxide emissions.

Biocharthus has the potential to help mitigate climate change, via carbon sequestration. Independently,

Biochar can increase soil fertility, increase productivity and provide protection against some foliar and soil-borne diseases.

Furthermore, reduce pressure on forests, though the degree to which results offer long-term…

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Fish Emulsion or Compost tea?



We all remember our grade school curriculum about Native American’s agricultural practice of the Three Sisters. Corn, squash and a bean planted together for symbiotic (for lack of the specific biological term) support.  And then, we were told about the dead (& ideally rotting) fish placed at the mound of plants. This is where, I am imagining, fish emulsion has its origin.  Maybe not.  The story, however,  is a lot more romantic than the gooey sticky gunk of unimaginable funk.  (Can we say that?)  These days fish emulsion comes in a deodorized version that seems to work as well as my old standards, like Ferti-Lome’s brand.  These old-fashioned types are  the kin of my Grandfather’s old cod liver oil, Fletcher’s Castoria or ye wonderful Father John’s.  All throwbacks that,  hey!…..worked pretty good in spite of their tortuous form.  In fact, I am trying one deodorized brand now,  Atlantis Fish Fertilizer.

After all is said and done, there is nothing better for neonatal plants (a.k.a seedlings) than this stuff. Yeah, you have got to pour it out into some measuring utensil, try not to get it on you or your floor when the viscous stuff spills.  Then you  gotta try to neatly dilute it & turkey baste the weak stinky juice on your wittle nursery babes with none on the baby underfoot.   Forget that futility!   It will happen and you will have “the touch”–the fishy grade school kind.

Risk to Benefits Ratio

But!  Watch your seedlings (feed your seedlings a weak fertilizer only after they have one/two sets of true leaves)  almost utter the words, “Thank you, Master Gardener”!   They almost purr after a little bit  of some dark-rest. This is how I do it.  Maybe 6-8 hours of no light after transplanting  in order to give the leaves a chance to rest while the roots find their way.  And remember– not before the sets of true leaves are on the plant, lest they become frozen in the wake of a paralyzing gravy train called an overzealous farmer.

Is fish emulsion organic?

And, yes, as far as I know fish emulsion is also organic!   But wait.  Are plants vegetarian/vegan? Mmmm.  Noper.  Nothing on that. Is there a vegan non-animal based fertilizer out there that compares to fish emulsion?  What about compost tea you ask?  Trick question.  Compost tea is not a quite a  fertilizer, actually.  Fish emulsion is though, providing an NPK rating of about 2-4-0.  According to Master Gardeners of Oregon State University, compost tea is a source of microorganisms and stuff the plant needs outside of  what fertilizers can measurably provide.  Fertilizers usually deliver in terms of three elements : N (nitrogen)-P(phosphorous)-K(potash/potassium).  Those are the three numbers we see on bags of lawn feed all our lives is a  measurement in terms of percentage of the element in the fertilizer’s weight.  Nitrogen is for the leaves, phosphorous is for the stems and roots, potash is for the flowers and the fruits. Now you must know that more or higher is not better in this matter of fertilizers.  You must trust me and understand that young seedlings do not need as much fertilizer as adolescent plants or mature plants.  Moreover, you will want to keep those NPK numbers lower for the baby plants.  Too strong off a fertilizer may burn and just plain kill your treasured nursery.

Compost and composting

No compost is not what we use to get these elements in predictable amounts.  But compost is what we use to make the soil alive and feel like home to the plant–kinda like how you feel when you sleep in your own bed, versus an airport terminal.  Soil is in fact, alive and active and not concrete or sand.That being said, M & S Grow company composting is what we do as foot soldiers.  We teach others in our world around us how to enliven and help the soil around their homes and gardens and farms.  Purportedly, we owe our modern,  American composting methods to scientist George Washington Carver’s efforts to do the same So says Doris Walker in the Beginners Guide to Organic Gardening & Composting.   We also take our compost to market.  In the following weeks we will share our composting methods and endeavors to transform ours into a community of gardeners, not just a community garden.  If you see something you like or will try, join us!  If you need to take us to school, by all means, do so!