Welcome

Hello and welcome to MariLark!

This is a special place where my roots go deep.

I am the founder of the modern MariLark, but I am not the one who picked the lot, designed the home and finally built it here in what was known as Berkeley Woods. After a lot of sweat, back aches and more, the corner has been transformed to something close to its former glory. My love for gardening and eventually the thought of growing healthy food started while living here since 1996. I was seven or eight years old when I was up here for the first time in the late 1960’s. 25 Years later I moved in and for the past 20 years, I’v had my hands in the dirt in a big way.

The MariLark of today continues to build community and enrich this corner of Berkeley Woods  bringing the community together.

This website and associated BLOG is for those of you who care about traditions, about plant and animal biodiversity, urban gardening, seed saving, wholesome food and wholesome living. So, if you are one of us — the community builders and gardening fanatics, then this is for you to help build back traditions into our community. Join us and say hello below.

Chief Designer and Gardener
Charlie Costello

Common Garden Myths

Myth #1 - I need a greenhouse to start seeds!

This couldn’t be farther from the truth.  Not only do you NOT need a greenhouse to start seeds, many seeds can be directly sown in the ground. Yes, it helps to start seeds indoors when you live in a cold climate or when the winter light is short. This can be done by placing a few seeds in wet paper towel, folding the paper towel and placing it inside a baggie. If you can, reuse a baggie and hang it from a string near a window in your kitchen for seven to ten days. Once you see the roots begin to emerge from the seeds, place each one carefully in a fold it so that it  marking the baggie with the type of seed on a kitchen window seal

Myth #2: Growing Organic doesn't really matter

The reality is, chemical pesticides not only have many harmful effects on our health, they can ruin the environment and make the soil less and less heathly year after year. Growing organically can be a lot of work but it does matter both for the taste of the thing you are growing and for the health of the local community. You may not realize it, but chemical fertilizers that are often put into the soil in to replace lost soil nutrients each into the soil and often into the water table and eventually our creeks, rivers and on into the ocean. Pesticides, whether they are “organic” or not are not the answer. Building healthy soil is the answer and for home gardeners this might be as simple as rotating the spots where you grow your tomatoes or lettuce each year and planting a cover crop over the winter.

Myth #3: My home-grown tomatoes are expensive

Sometimes it seems easier to just buy the tomatoes from your local grocery store doesn’t it? When you first begin growing tomatoes. It might take a year or two to get the hang of it and might be frustrating. But once you get the bug, you have to grow the perfect tomato. You won’t be disappointed if you stick it out. I think this is nothing but a myth.

Heirloom tomatoes grown at home will not only taste better, they are more nutritious and can be much cheaper than those in the store. Be careful, after growing your own tomatoes you may never want to buy a store “grown” tomato again. Many things come into play when growing tomatoes like the sun, whether you grow in a pot or in the ground and the type of tomato plant. But when you get the hang of it, find the perfect sunny location and get the right plants, yoiu will never look back.  You probably already know that gardening for food requires certain maintenance like organic fertilizers, care if the soil and more, making most people think that you need to spend a lot of money to grow great tomatoes.

Gardening can actually helps you save money in the long run. And when you start saving seeds from your heirloom varieties, you will begin to grow plants for pennies and, I promise you, you will start growing them for the neighborhood. Your neighbors will love you! Having your own kitchen garden (or larger) at home is an not only an excellent source of healthy foods but it is good exercise and a great hobby that will bring you hours of enjoyment .

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