I wrote some garden resolutions a few years ago for our local newspaper and the ones regarding sustainability are still relevent. We hear the word “sustainable” referring to buying food grown close to home, using less energy, and generally, demanding less of the environment in our daily life. Sustainability is not a new concept. In the 60’s many of my generation gave up luxuries for a more natural existence. My family had a milk goat and I baked all our bread. Decades before us, people had victory gardens and did what they could to survive a depression and world wars. While maturity has increased my appreciation for “creature comforts”, I still look for ways to “live more lightly” on the planet.
In 2012, I am going to make my garden more sustainable and less labor intensive. I know, I say that every year, but this time I mean it! I want to make it more drought-tolerant and more naturally beautiful. I want to grow food but not so much as to be wasteful and to make my life more difficult.
Our hens have played a large role in helping us be sustainable. They supply us with fresh eggs and their fertilizer keeps our compost bins cookin’. No kitchen scrap goes to waste. What the chickens don’t eat, the worms in my worm bins process, providing me with “black gold” (food for plants).
I make garden resolutions each year, which really means that I think about how to improve my immediate environment. These are my garden resolutions for the coming year. As you can see, they have a “sustainable” twist.
- I will continue to replace “cottage garden” plants with “drought tolerant” plants.
- I will use my vegetable beds year-round by practicing successive plantings of lettuce, arugula, and winter greens. I will continue to experiment with cool season vegetables.
- I will use potted plants for seasonal color rather than planting entire beds of labor-intensive plants. This one is hard for me as I love color.
- I will compost all garden clippings except those with diseases (which sadly, amounts to a large percentage).
- I will remember to turn my compost pile to speed up decomposition.
- With every planting, I will improve the soil with composted materials (and the earthworms will love me for it).