All this talk about living a sustainable lifestyle makes me nostalgic. We hear the word “sustainable” referring to buying food grown close to home, using less energy, and generally, demanding less of the environment in everything we do. Sustainability is not a new concept. In the ’60s, many of our generation gave up luxuries for a more natural existence. We drove VW buses and baked our own bread.
Decades before us, people had victory gardens and did what they could to survive a depression and world wars. Maturity has increased my appreciation for “creature comforts,” but I still look for ways to “live more lightly” on the planet.
This year, I’m making my “garden resolutions” relative to living a more sustainable lifestyle. In 2010, I am going to make my garden more sustainable and less labor intensive. I want to make it more drought-tolerant and more naturally beautiful. I want to grow more of our food.
Husband Don and I have already made progress with moderate changes over the past few years. We grow much of our own fruits and vegetables. I preserve zucchini pickles, applesauce, and applebutter in glass jars, and freeze apples and berries for pies.
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Our hens 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 replace many “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 experiment with cool season vegetables (which have never grown for me before).
• I will use potted plants for seasonal color rather than planting entire beds of labor-intensive plants.
• I will compost all garden clippings except those with diseases (which sadly, amounts to a large percentage).
• I will experiment with composting materials such as cardboard and newspaper.
• With every planting, I will improve the soil with composted materials (and the earthworms will love me).
So, wish me well on my lofty plan for a more sustainable garden. In return, here’s wishing you abundance in the garden, and a healthy, sustainable 2010.
E-mail suggestions and questions to Lee Oliphant at firstname.lastname@example.org.