This Week's Post: An Updated 'Moon Phase' Page for your Garden Book (repost)

This weekly blog post and its host website cover a wide variety of Fred Montague's environmental commentaries, gardening topics, and wildlife/art activities.  Please browse the website and the blog archives for topics you are interested in. 

This Week's Post: An Updated 'Moon Phase' Page for your Garden Book (repost)

It's still planting season! 

If you own a copy of Fred’s Gardening: An Ecological Approach, the page with the moon phase table (p. 72) is nearly out of date.  The original page covered 2009-2014.  A revision in 2011 provided tables for 2011 – 2016.  The updated page (below) covers 2016 – 2021. 

Feel free to download the page (right-click to save) and paste it over the old one to make the only time-sensitive aspect of the book useful for another six years.


Gardening: The 3' x 6' Garden Bed Plans

Those of you who have my book Gardening: An Ecological Approach know that I favor 3' x 6' garden beds for many garden plants.  Reproduced below is an article from Catalyst magazine, April 2011, and an additional illustration from my book.  

Now is a good time to be building these beds so that they may be installed as soon as the garden soil can be worked this Spring.


Here's a larger version of the 3' by 6' bed schematic, also found on page 168 of Gardening: An Ecological Approach.


Gardening: Harvest Rainwater

This page from my Gardening: An Ecological Approach outlines a simple method for collecting rainwater from your rooftop. In most of the western U. S., gardens require more water than can provided by our modest rainfall. Collecting rainwater, where legal, can give you a little insurance during the especially dry times.

"Harvesting Rainwater." From   Gardening: An Ecological Approach  . © Fred Montague

"Harvesting Rainwater." From Gardening: An Ecological Approach. © Fred Montague

Gardening Book: Add Some Color

Whenever I visit with friends about my gardening book, I always encourage purchasers to use some colored pencils or watercolors and make the book their own.

Some are reluctant for fear of "messing it up" or making a mistake. Here's an idea: make a photocopy of the page you'd like to color and try different approaches.

In the example below, I used colored pencils for the paths, stones, and soil, and I used watercolors for the plants. Be careful with markers, since they might bleed through to the other side.

Just have fun.

"Free Spirit Garden", excerpt from  Gardening: An Ecological Approach  © Fred Montague

"Free Spirit Garden", excerpt from Gardening: An Ecological Approach © Fred Montague

"Free Spirit Garden", colored-in version,  © Fred Montague

Gardening Basics: Testing Seeds for Viability

A good winter project is to sort through the caches of seed packets and vials that have accumulated over the years. However, depending on the variety and the age of the seeds, there may be some question whether the seeds are still viable.

Here is a simple way to determine the viability and germination rates of old seeds rather than risking making a fruitless spring planting. This hand-lettered excerpt is from my book Gardening: An Ecological Approach.

Excerpt from Fred Montague's  Gardening: An Ecological Approach . © 2009/2013

Excerpt from Fred Montague's Gardening: An Ecological Approach. © 2009/2013

Environmental Awareness

I use the term "environmental awareness" frequently in my work-- in lectures, in essays, even in the mission statement of my art activities and website.  In the introductory chapter of Gardening: An Ecological Approach I have set out to define the term:

"An 'environmental awareness' is a basic scientific understanding of the physical and biological entities, relationships, and context that actually enable us to live and thrive. This comprehension of context includes recognizing and knowing about environmental features such as our specific geographic location on this particular spinning, tilted, orbiting planet; such as the geology and soil parent materials under the soils upon which we stand; such as the history, topography and climate of our place on Earth; such as the plants, fungi, microbes, and animals that interact in the diverse ecological communities within which we have established our homes and our economic communities; such as the very human actions and artifacts that affect, for better or worse, all of these contextual elements."

"Environmental awareness acknowledges that the two transcending transactions that have maintained life on Earth for the past 3.7 billion years are the thermodynamic beneficence of perpetually flowing solar energy and the on-Earth cycling of materials that permits continual birth and renewal."

"Environmental awareness recognizes and celebrates our intimate and inextricable connection to a set of relatively stable conditions: an atmospheric oxygen concentration of about 21%, a mean global surface temperature of about 59 degrees F, atmospheric and oceanic currents that circulate energy and materials, a benign (until recently) atmospheric 'greenhouse' mechanism, etc.  This level-headed awareness confesses our total dependence on myriad ecological functions, processes, and interactions. These include, for instance, photosynthesis and the fixation of solar energy, decomposition and the recycling of nutrients, soil formation, pollination, climate moderation, water purification, the operation of critical biophysical stabilizing feedback loops, etc.  And, of course, this awareness instills in us a deep affiliation with, and respect for, all other organisms whose participation in these vital processes we can neither assume nor replace nor live without."

--From Gardening: An Ecological Approach, p. 21, © Fred Montague, 2009