Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Obsessively Green Gardening

Something in the air on this gorgeous September morning has me thinking gardening. I love fall gardening. So much neat stuff to do...

Which has me thinking again about the concept of "obsessively green gardening." I see "green" in the titles of lots of lawn care and landscaping businesses, but what does it look like to take a no-BS approach to green and really obsess over green gardening...

I am thinking more of existing properties than new construction.

Here are some characteristics as I think of it. Maybe you could add to my list.

- Low to No Emissions, as in equipment, which means manual mowers, raking, edging, etc. I am not sure electric powered or battery powered equipment would qualify since the production of the electricity is far from green...I am not sold on no-til gardening but the thought of working this red clay soil without a tiller is daunting.

- Native Plants as much as possible. Native plants are more able better to bear up to the vagaries of our weather, and thus require less water and less overall maintenance...

- NO herbicides or pesticides or chemical fertilizer. None. Zero. Hmm. Would Roundup qualify since it is broken down so quickly in the soil? Tempting, but I think not.

- Water Conservation - major focus, both from a usage and a waste standpoint. Rain barrels a must, rain gardens where possible. Cisterns are very expensive. Native plants would help reduce water use. No chemicals would make for less polluted run off.

- Lawns - developing a new outlook! They need to be smaller, and where possible use more native grasses, and tolerate more weeds. What is with our obsession with lawns?

- Biodiversity - promoting more of it, as in more species of plants, insects, and animals. Choosing plants that invite more bees and birds and butterflies - especially plants that provide food in the winter in terms or berries and nuts. Reducing chemical use will allow for increased microbiological diversity in soil which will mean healthier soil and healthier insects and thus healthier birds

- Recycling - yes, this means compost bins or compost heaps - why waste all the leaves and clippings and biodegradable waste products? New compost technology reduces odors. And using recyclables, as in using recycled or recyclable gardening products as much as possible - plant containers, landscaping boards, lawn furniture, mulching materials, etc.

- Food - growing more of it! Whether in a dedicated garden or mixed in here and there organic fruits and vegetables can help with grocery bills and spice up many a recipe, or given to the local food bank!

- Vehicles - what about the vehicles used to get to a site?

So what would you add to the list?

Would you want to hire an excessively green gardener to work in your garden?


Joan said...

We gave up having a green thick lawn several years ago when our area had a bad drought. We have an underground sprinkler system and well water but felt trying to maintain the lawn was irresponsible. We use to try to seed in the spring. It works for a while but always ends up like we are fighting nature. Now we do most of our maintenance in the fall (a little in the spring) using organic, environmentally friendly products. I can't say they work as well but I'm content with the trade off.

Aaron Brown said...

Interesting post. I've thought alot about this. I'm not completely green, but I've read alot over the past few years. No till gardening def works-after you've built up your soil and have a plan to keep layering with mulch/compost etc. Pure red clay doesn't exist up here. Check out I don't have time to see for myself but if you can view the May 2009 issue it was good. I have a copy I'll mail you if you can't get it. Also it's free to subscribe to. Also look @ the permeable pavers concept. Belgard, manufacuered right there in Gso, is a very forward thinking hardscape company. If you're in the area let me know.

Carole said...

Great article, Joel. We all need to learn to conserve natural resources, manage our land sustainably, and create welcoming habitats for wildlife in our gardens. If we each take responsibility for managing our own land following your suggestions, the world would be a much better place.

Garden seeds said...

Thanks for the post mate you have written it very well.