First off I want to wish my fellow Canadian readers happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone was able to get together with family and friends for an amazing meal. I know I’ll be enjoying leftovers for the next few days.
It’s hard to believe that the summer is over and fall is officially here. As much work as the garden was this summer, I’m kind of sad to know that I won’t be outside tending to it again until May. I have to admit that this year was probably my best when it comes to the garden. I don’t know what it was exactly, but the combination of weather and starting plants indoors at just the right time created an amazing garden this year. I had endless numbers of zucchinis, peas, beans, and tomatoes, not to mention lettuce, carrots, radishes, and onions. The tomato plants grew to be taller than I am. Although I’m definitely not an expert, I thought I’d share a few ways that I made my garden environmentally friendly this year.
First off, I used seeds instead of already grown plants. Getting seeds shipped is a lot easier than trying to get grown plants shipped (not to mention significantly more affordable). It takes a lot to ship plants out to stores. Not only do they have to be temperature controlled (not too hot or too cold), but they also have to be kept moist. In addition seeds take up a lot less room than plants do, and I can get significantly more seeds for a lower price.
I’ve bought my seeds from Baker Creek for quite a few years now. They sell heirloom seeds and have quite a variety to pick from. This means that I can pick the types of vegetables that are more suited to the climate that I garden in. For example, I bought watermelon seeds that grew smaller watermelons and were good for milder, shorter summers. If I were shopping for seeds at a big box garden store I wouldn’t have nearly as big of a selection.
I probably haven’t mentioned it very much, but the only thing that I add to the soil in my garden every spring is compost. We have a relatively small composter out in the backyard that we add leaves, grass clippings, and scraps from the kitchen to. It adds a lot of the nutrients back into the soil that are used up every year when the plants grow, including nitrogen and carbon. For the basics on composting, this site has some good information. I choose not to use pesticides or fertilizers.
Instead of using the hose to water the garden, I use a rain barrel. I’ve also had it for a few years now and it’s only gone dry a handful of times that I can remember. For the most part there’s always water in there that I can use. While it’s definitely more work to use a watering can, I also find that watering is one of my favorite things do in the garden. I get to spend some time checking out how everything is growing and simply enjoy the plants.
Do you have any gardening tips? Share them in the comments, I’d love to hear them.