Happy 3rd Birthday, Landerholmstead!

Our fledgling nonprofit turned 3 this month. WOW – where has the time gone?! Can we even call it a “fledgling” anymore…? It feels surreal to reflect on all that we have accomplished in our 3 short years, and even more to dream about the (hopefully many) years to come.

In the nonprofit world, of course, things move slowly. These first few years have been essential for establishing our infrastructure, and with much of this work done we are now able to focus significantly more energy on serving the homeless and making moves towards establishing our homestead.

Here are some highlights of our greatest accomplishments during our first years:

And, equally importantly, here are some important goals we hope to accomplish in the upcoming years:

It brings me comfort and pride to consider how methodically and responsibly we have run ourselves thus far, and I look forward to leading this organization into an exciting new chapter in our development.

Happy 3 Years to my fellow Landerholmstead volunteers, supporters, and beneficiaries! Thank you for your donated time and funds, encouragement, and – above all – for your strong belief in our Mission.


By Rebeccah Landerholm

© THE LANDERHOLMSTEAD, 2019

How Botanical Sexism Agitates Your Allergies

By Elizabeth Crews

This post contains Affiliate Links.

Introduction

After years of his wife suffering with severe allergies and asthma, Thomas Leo Ogren was determined to find a solution to suppress her symptoms. What began as a singular journey to help his wife transformed into decades of research that established him as an allergy expert and the author of the most comprehensive botanical allergy books in existence. He realized that the number of individuals with allergies was increasing exponentially, although one of the causes for this suffering is simple: botanical sexism.

Male v. Female Plants in Landscaping

In The Allergy-Fighting Garden, Ogren discusses the reproduction of plants and trees, focusing specifically on those that are dioecious. These plants have distinct male or female reproductive systems. The males produce pollen, which travels  to the females to create seeds and fruit.

Male plants are most often used by cities and homeowners because they do not produce seeds or fruit like the females. Because of this, females are considered to be high-maintenance and require more upkeep, whereas the males are considered easier to manage. This practice is called botanical sexism.

Issues with Botanical Sexism

Ogren maintains that the best treatment for allergies is avoidance. There are medications and inhalers we can use when we experience reactions; however, he states that intentional planting  is the key to decreasing reactions. The males are designed to create pollen and they will continue to send the highly-adhesive particles into the air. If there are no females there to accept the pollen, it seeks another tall surface to adhere to: often people . Breathing in these sticky particles  causes trouble for those with asthma, allergies, and compromised respiratory systems. While planting male trees is often perceived as lower maintenance, the lowest-maintenance option is actually to plant females alone: they do not produce the same high rates of irritants, and without pollination they cannot produce messy seeds and fruit.

That being said, there are benefits to planting males and females together for sexual reproduction. The singular incorporation of male plants and trees has decreased  biodiversity, which increases vulnerability to diseases like the Dutch Elm Disease. It was introduced in 1930s and laid waste to male American elm trees, which were commonly used for their shade. Their close proximity allowed the disease to easily spread from one elm to the next until they were all but completely wiped out. The impressive American elm population never recovered from that devastation.

Governments have also planted male clonal trees. Groups of asexual clonal trees or plants are called colonies, and they are genetically identical and connected by the same root system. As a colony asexually reproduces, single cells multiply to create more, and mutations can occur at a higher rate than during sexual reproduction.

In a study of famous clonal aspen trees nicknamed Pando, botanists have noted that the trees’ sexual fitness decreases with age, meaning the trees do not reproduce as rapidly. If dangerous mutations occur and are asexually produced rapidly, the organism runs the risk of continuing to produce mutated cells, which make them even more vulnerable to diseases like the Dutch Elm Disease.

OPALS: The Solution

To help people plan the most allergy-friendly gardens and landscapes, Ogren developed the OPALS system. The acronym stands for the Ogren Plant Allergy Scale and it details the least to most allergenic plants in an easy-to-read scale of 1-10. It is currently the most comprehensive guide and it was met with such high esteem that branches of the USDA have incorporated it into their landscaping. In addition to landscaping with low-OPALS-rated plants, planting females to receive male pollen (especially in public spaces) will dramatically decrease human exposure to allergens. This book and the rest of Ogren’s work have made it possible to easily create a garden that is allergy friendly.

To learn more about how you can apply this to your own home or homestead, we recommend purchasing Ogren’s book! Using this link to Amazon doesn’t cost you anything, but we are paid a percentage of Amazon’s profit from your purchase!


© THE LANDERHOLMSTEAD, 2018

Landerholmstead Landscape Design Services

Now that we have acquired our WA State Business License, we are proud to launch our Landscape Design Services for the greater Seattle area!

We specialize in sustainable, permaculture designs that take advantage of your property’s existing elements and challenges. Our designers are unpaid volunteers, allowing us to maintain inexpensive rates. We are Licensed, Insured, and qualified.

We are offering discounted rates to our first 10 customers,
and we would love to work with you!

Please Contact Us today to schedule a Consultation. You can view Rates and Packages for more information.


© THE LANDERHOLMSTEAD, 2018

 

Welcome to the Landerholmstead

Welcome! If youre reading this, it means you are officially a part of a movement* to make the world a better place, one community at a time.

This movement is known as The Landerholmstead: a self-sufficient, alternative housing operation that offers homes to any individuals willing to contribute to the functionality of the homestead; individuals like students, homeless (including the outcast LGBTQIA youth), formerly incarcerated citizens re-entering society, immigrants, and anyone who wishes to live an alternative lifestyle.

We pledge to “utilize sustainable, natural practices fueled by permaculture philosophies to explore alternative living solutions and behavioral changes that encourage a resilient future for people and the environment.Learn the whole story.

This is what were working toward, and we have a lot of work to do before we get there. Rome wasnt built in a day, and a self-sustaining homestead definitely wont be either. Nonetheless, we are so excited to finally show all of you what were doing and why were passionate about it. Whos weyou ask?

Rebeccah Landerholm – Chief Executive Officer

rebeccah-landerholmRebeccah is from Seattle, Wa. and comes from a family of farmers and doctors. She studied professional writing, geography, and meteorology at Kutztown University before moving to Florida, where she worked as a Business Office Manager for a senior living nonprofit. Currently, she studies at Bastyr University in Kenmore, Wa., where she has already received her Permaculture Design Certificate. Rebeccah manages the cultivation, culinary, and design departments of the Landerholmstead.

Oliver Smith – Chief Operating Officer
Oliver Smith

Oliver was born in Essex and raised in Gettysburg, Pa. He received his B.S. in Electronic Media and a minor in business at Kutztown University. Oliver works as a Studio Op Associate at Amazon. In his free time, he streams on Twitch. Give him a follow! Oliver manages the maintenance department.

 

Dillon Stickle – Executive Administrator

dillonstickle_300xDillon is from Bethlehem, Pa. and attended Kutztown University where he studied professional writing. He went on to become a marketing coordinator for a historical nonprofit and eventually to work at a national healthcare magazine as an editorial assistant. Dillon has a strong passion for animals, the environment, and holistic practices and plans on extending his education toward those fields. He manages the animal, wellness, and administrative departments.

Each one of us wants to help make a difference; so we decided to do it together. The Landerholmstead is inspired by a natural compulsion to help save the planet, empower other people, and create a global community in which we all work together as a community rather than separate beings. We hope you follow our journey to creating our first, and most certainly not last, homestead to see our dreams turn to reality.

Be sure to catch our future blog posts where we will discuss things like agriculture, sustainability, tips and instructions, social philosophies and more. Well also give you the scoop on the The Landerholmsteads progress.

Thanks for reading. Be sure to give us a follow on Facebook. We’re excited for you to be a part of our destiny!


*While we are not yet an established corporation/nonprofit we will refer to our purpose as a movement. Here is our timeline for our goal of nonprofit status:
  • Established as a corporation in WA state – December 2016
  • Apply for IRS 501(c)3 exemption to gain nonprofit corporation status – March 2017

 

© The Landerholmstead, 2016.

Vermicomposting: Instructions for a DIY Upcycled Worm Bin Composter

Hello and welcome to the Landerholmstead!

We are excited to tell our story and share instructions for DIY projects as we experiment on the road to self sufficiency.

So first things first: Composting!

Hopefully you already know the value of compost, but if not, check out 5 Reasons Why Composting is the Greenest Thing You Can Do.

There are numerous ways you can compost, but today we’re focusing on vermicomposting: using red wiggler worms to break down organic matter into nutrient dense worm castings – yes, worm poop.

Planet Natural refers to worm castings as a “Plant Superfood”, and explains how vermicomposting “refines” your composted materials, reducing “nutrients, including minerals… to their most usable form.”

Although castings are incredibly nutrient dense, they cannot damage your plants with chemical burns (like many on-the-market fertilizers) because they are coated in a mucus that causes nutrients to slowly leach into the soil. This also means their effects will last much longer than chemical or other fertilizers!

Additionally, worms are being researched for their ability to detoxify soil, meaning you may not have to restrict what organic materials are added to your composter: your worms remove toxins and make it safe for garden use!

And one extra bonus – worm castings are odorless! So no matter how many stinky things you put into it, the final product won’t affect the smell of your landscaping.

food-waste-composting-free-natural-nutrient-rich-soil-for-your-garden-with-minimal-effort-via-everything-needs-cheese

Now, what do you need to get started??

Supplies:

    • Plastic bin, any size. Size will only affect how much you can compost at once.
      • Great way to upcycle unused and space-consuming storage boxes!
    • Drill + large drill bit
    • Red Wiggler Worms <— purchase here and you’re supporting our blog and homestead! (Read how)
    • Handful of soil
    • Newspaper, shredded in strips
    • Compostable materials (Produce scraps, eggshells, coffee grounds, yard waste, lawn trimmings, etc.)
    • Cardboard – optional
    • Helper dog – also optional

 

lolly-our-plastic-storage-container-for-a-diy-worm-bin-via-everything-needs-cheese

drill-10-20-holes-in-the-bottom-of-the-storage-container-diy-worm-bin-instructions-via-everything-needs-cheeseSteps:

  1. Drill alternating holes in the bottom of the bin. (These give the worms an escape-route in case of too much or too little heat, water, or food. Don’t worry, as long as you keep adding food to the top, the worms will keep coming back for food. This just ensures their survivability!)
    • We started with 10 holes in our approximately 12″ x 18″ x 12″ bin. After later observing standing liquid in the bottom of the bin, we increased their size and added 4 more for a total of 14.
  2. Add a handful or two of soil, just enough to cover the bottom of the bin.
    • Any soil will do for this, no need to purchase a specific type. Grab a handful from your yard and you’re good to go!
  3. Top the dirt with your Red Wigglers.
  4. Carefully add your initial compostable materials
    • Your worms will require semi-regular feeding. The more food you add, the more they will reproduce, and vice versa. For this reason, make it easy for yourself! If you know you’ll dump the day’s end food scraps in their every evening, great! Just be consistent and monitor the levels of food to worms, worms to food.
  5. Finish with a layer of newspaper and cardboard, if using.
    • If you live in an area with seasonal fruit fly problems, load up on this top layer!

red-wiggler-worms-eggs-for-vermiculture-composting-via-everything-needs-cheese

This post was originally on one of our sister sites: Everything Needs Cheese, which will exclusively share food-related posts henceforth.

Please comment below if you’ve tried this or other composting methods! 🙂


© The Landerholmstead, 2016.