Happy Earth Day
Since 1970, April 22nd has been globally recognized as Earth day, a time to reflect on the implications and potential mitigation of humanity’s environmental footprint. The date, which falls directly between spring break and final exams, was chosen by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson in an effort to combine the momentum of the anti-war movement (largely student based) and the environmental movement that had emerged in the aftermath of conservationist Rachel Carson’s groundbreaking work Silent Spring.
We’re proud to admit that conservation and sustainability have been a consistent theme for us at Floral and Hardy and so this blog centres around some of the steps we can take to make our own gardens more relevant to what Carson referred to as ‘the balance of nature’.
We love to cook with fresh produce in our house and were concerned by the amount of green waste we sent to the bin man every fortnight, so we decided to start a compost bin. Then it became apparent that one was not enough and we started another. We now find that instead of a box full of food waste going to the council every week, we are only sending one small bag and that only because its meat or fish waste which we can’t compost down. The benefits of composting are two fold in that it not only reduces our overall waste output, but also recycles said waste into usable compost with which we can enrich our own garden. The practice also deepens our relationship with our garden since we now know exactly where its feed came from and what it is composed of.
Rain barrels or water butts are a simple and yet extremely effective method of water conservation and similarly to a compost heap their work is passive, their size and complexity can be scaled to your needs and they are a one-time investment that will both preserve your wallet and relieve the planet’s water systems. A water butt can easily be attached to a downpipe on the house or to guttering on a shed to catch rainwater, which is also better for your plants than chemical tap water.
Another passive method of water conservation is the rejection of lawn grass. Grass is perpetually thirsty, requires inordinate amounts of moisture to hold its colour, especially in the summer months, and can easily be replaced with artificial alternatives that look and feel just like the real McCoy.
Grow your Own
You may have guessed where this article was headed for its conclusion given the topics that have proceeded this one, since growing your own food is probably the single most effective way to diminish our impact on the planet. Establishing a compost bin (or several) and a water retention system already provides two of the three essential ingredients in raising produce and since we don’t know how to directly harvest sunlight for agriculture they must suffice. The easiest way to grow produce is in raised beds, as it prevents you having to stoop too much and also makes for easier digging. Of course there are a huge variety of crops to choose from and you can choose what you most like to eat, but in the meantime we recommend mixing the topsoil in your beds with some of your homemade compost (or shop bought if you want to get started sooner) and/or well-rotted manure and plant your crops up in rows. Don’t forget to label!
Happy Earth Day fellow green hands, enjoy the fruits of past labours and remember that the greatest gift you can give our planet is your time and attention in either restoring her former glory or ensuring her future beauty.