As promised (albeit a bit late), I have some gardening resources for you today. Whether you only have the time and space for a small pot in your windowsill, or you want to go all out and turn your entire yard into a food-producing oasis, gardening is one of the best ways to go green.
Don’t just take my word for it; listen to Michael Pollan (you’ll need to sign-in to read the whole thing):
The idea is to find one thing to do in your life that doesn’t involve spending or voting, that may or may not virally rock the world but is real and particular (as well as symbolic) and that, come what may, will offer its own rewards. Maybe you decide to give up meat, an act that would reduce your carbon footprint by as much as a quarter. Or you could try this: determine to observe the Sabbath. For one day a week, abstain completely from economic activity: no shopping, no driving, no electronics.
But the act I want to talk about is growing some — even just a little — of your own food. Rip out your lawn, if you have one, and if you don’t — if you live in a high-rise, or have a yard shrouded in shade — look into getting a plot in a community garden. Measured against the Problem We Face, planting a garden sounds pretty benign, I know, but in fact it’s one of the most powerful things an individual can do — to reduce your carbon footprint, sure, but more important, to reduce your sense of dependence and dividedness: to change the cheap-energy mind.
A great many things happen when you plant a vegetable garden, some of them directly related to climate change, others indirect but related nevertheless. Growing food, we forget, comprises the original solar technology: calories produced by means of photosynthesis. Years ago the cheap-energy mind discovered that more food could be produced with less effort by replacing sunlight with fossil-fuel fertilizers and pesticides, with a result that the typical calorie of food energy in your diet now requires about 10 calories of fossil-fuel energy to produce. It’s estimated that the way we feed ourselves (or rather, allow ourselves to be fed) accounts for about a fifth of the greenhouse gas for which each of us is responsible.
So here are some fun gardening tricks and tips that I’ve come across lately:
- We’re making some new tomato cages this year. Check out this link for the directions we’re using (I’ll report back with how we do it). Or check out this video for other staking options (watch out with the video – you’ll get sucked into all of his great videos!).
- We have a VERY local seed company! I can’t believe I just now discovered them, but be sure to check them out soon – they have tons of heirloom seeds varieties + starts grown from their own seeds.
- Urban Farm Seeds also had an amazing website full of tons of step-by-step directions and tips.
- Some great organic gardening tips for beginners. And some easy-to-grow varieties to start off with.
- Five major mistakes that beginner gardeners make
- Some beginner composting tips that I found really helpful. If you’re just starting, I recommend a very easy bin along these lines.
- Some great container gardening ideas for stuff you have already laying around the house.
- And I just had to share these – what a neat idea, especially for small spaces!