Green Gardening........

Tonight I am teaching a class on green gardening......... Hopefully, people will find this interesting.

Green gardening is different than organic gardening. Green gardening is different than sustainable agriculture but it contains parts of both.

Green gardening embraces the environmental mantra of Reuse-Reduce-Recycle. Green gardening asks us to walk on this earth with a light step. We need to take care in what we do and what we use to leave this world a better place than we found it.

Gardening can be full of expenses for fancy tools. I often think how easy some jobs would be with a new mower or a fancy trimmer. But green gardening makes me think twice about using gas-operated tools and spending money unnecessarily. I would love a Mantis tiller for one small spot in our gardens. $300 for a 50 ft row and maybe twice a year use........ not a green use of money! So can I rent a tool ..... can I borrow from a friend .... or can two or three of us jointly purchase one?

I really try to think first about what I am doing in the garden. Am I creating a space that is not natural for my property? Does my space fit the landscape? Do I have to use mega-chemicals to maintain it?

I can not create a tropical garden on my property. Tall palms and banana trees and tropical flowers don't fit the landscape of my 115 year old property. And the winter demands of storing such plants are not within my green budget.

Roses are something I never plant now and will not replace. I love roses but now, with Japanese beetles invading Iowa in mass (!!!) I will not use the chemicals necessary to have beautiful roses...... and I don't find the chewed flowers and the skeletal leaves attractive!!!!

We could use Sevin to control Japanese Beetles but it kills our lady bugs and praying mantises that we want in the gardens. So I continue to eliminate plants that are attractive to the beetles and not vital to our lifestyle. The old grapevine is gone..... the raspberries, still here. I will continue to drown the beetles and feed them to the chickens....... my perfect revenge.

Green gardening asks us to consider what we are using for fertilizer. Was it derived from oil or is it natural like chicken manure? How are we building our soil instead of depleting it of its natural components? Are we composting ...... are we using manure tea ........ do we use natural mulch?

Are we decorating our gardens with re-purposed items? Do we repair garden furniture or do we send it to the landfill and replace with new?

We as Americans spend millions every year on gardening. It is not big business...... it is HUGE business. And often, we don't think "green" when working in the greenest industry of all.

I am pleased to see more solar lighting on our garden centers..... more furniture made from recycled two-liter bottles ..... but we need to do more. Recycle your plastic pots..... take care of our tools and equipment .... compost, compost, compost.

Forgive a few holes in the leaves..... plant for diversity..... encourage wildlife throughout the garden ..... or fight against it (deer population) naturally.

We have been given this beautiful place to live and work and play. I just want my great-grandchildren to enjoy the same opportunities.


Amen,Great post! That was really inspiring!
Teri said…
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Teri said…
Great post Cathy! For my part this year I am re-purposing all those plastic kitty litter buckets we have for my vegetable garden. Since I'm using all the fenced in space this year for the flowers, I figured why not? They've got a nice coat of fusion paint on them (ok- not so green) and are ready to go. Less weeds to deal with and certainly less stress on the back from being raised up. Wishing you great luck with your class!
Barb said…
Alas, here in Wisconsin we have rose chafers....such awful critters that breed while eating my roses and peonies. Then just to be spiteful, they poop on my clothes that are hanging on the clothes line. Do I spray? No, I just pick them off the flowers until I realize it is hopeless. Had my hubby put up two retractable clothes lines on the screened in front porch. I just can't bring myself to use spray. Unfortunately, the chickens detest the rose chafers as much as I do...sigh.
Anonymous said…
Cathy - do you know that there is an ad posted by Google for high fructose corn syrup on your blog page - I thought it was a joke, but it isn't - don't know that you have control of their ads, but it really isn't right....ME
Anonymous said…
I like this post a lot. It's "beyond organic" as Joel Salatin would say, right? Or frugal gardening for those of us who want to garden partly to save money.

This year I saved used yogurt containers, sour cream containers, once used plastic cups (that I will recycle when all is said and done) to start seeds in. Last year I bought the plastic trays with the supposedly compost-able fiber thingies. You know what I mean? Anyway they were a waste of money so I'm glad I didn't do that this year.

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