Mother Earth Living

Garden to Make a Difference

Try these eight simple steps to garden more responsibly.
By Joe Lamp'l
July/August 2009
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Try these eight simple actions to make a difference through gardening.
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By eliminating products and plants that pollute our environment and require large amounts of water, gardeners have a tremendous opportunity to protect and preserve our planet’s health.

Gardeners have witnessed the impact of climate change in recent years. Higher-than-average temperatures cause plants to leaf earlier, birds and butterflies to breed and migrate earlier, and many wildlife species to move to higher elevations and farther north. Climate zone maps are being redrawn as data confirms that warmer zones are migrating north.  

As temperatures increase, invasive plants and pests overtake native species and destroy fragile ecosystems. Climate change is exacerbating weather extremes around the world. Conditions range from excessive rain and potential flooding to severe drought. 

As gardeners, environmental stewardship is our responsibility. Consider the following list of eight simple actions you can do right now.
Try these simple actions

1. Use rain barrels to capture roof runoff.

2. Catch problems early. Proactive detection makes controlling pests and diseases easier and more eco-friendly.

3. Buy locally (compost, mulch, topsoil and plants). The miles products travel to market can negate other benefits. Plants native to your geographic region are adept at surviving with what nature provides.

4. Use natural nutrients. Rather than synthetic fertilizers, try organic nutrient sources such as grass clippings.

5. Use certified soil and mulch. Mulch is the solution to so many gardening problems. Buy it free of dangerous chemicals.

6. Get a soil test. When you know what your soil needs, you can create a healthier environment for plants, which translates into fewer pests, less water and less work later.

7. Water only when needed. Plants don’t need as much as we think to survive. Toughen up plants and save a valuable resource.

8. Compost for healthy, living soil. Simply the best soil amendment you can add, compost provides nutrients, promotes pest and disease resistance, and improves soil. Compost keeps yard debris and kitchen scraps out of the landfill, too.

Excerpted with permission from  The Green Gardener’s Guide  by Joe Lamp’l (Cool Springs Press, 2008)

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