Gardening is good for the Earth

Gardening is good for the Earth

Spring is the season of rebirth.  The winter cold melts away into the fresh colors of spring flowers bursting out of the ground.  The baby lambs, young chicks and tender sprouts stir the nurturing instinct in my soul. Resurrection and stewardship, in my opinion, go hand in hand.  It isn’t strange, then, that Easter and Earth Day land in the same week this year. Gardening is good for the Earth and good for the soul.  Leaving your space on Earth better than when you arrived is a noble pursuit and very rewarding.

In the past, I have joked that being environmentally friendly used to be called being cheap.  My grandparents and parents never let anything go to waste.  Everything had at
least two lives.  Everything that could be was composted.  The fish heads went into the garden as fertilizer.  The plastic bread bags were reused instead of sandwich bags.  We took our lunch to school in a pail or permanent bag.  I don’t remember using paper lunch sacks.  My generation got away from that by a long shot.  We became the disposable society.  Use it and throw it away.  But somewhere in the past 10 years, sounder minds have prevailed and we are once again championing an environmentally friendly agenda.  I have begun  composting and my sister is purchasing chicks to lay eggs.  The nursery has continually engaged in recycling  and tried to maintain a sustainable approach to our business. Now, we are consciously choosing to sell more environmentally friendly products and listen to what you, our customers, are seeking.  Local plant suppliers are easy to find, as Oregon is one of the top growers of plant material in the country.  We are choosing to find US made non-living products and products that use recycled and sustainable materials.  Following are a few of these items and the reasons that we have chosen to promote them.

1.
Woolly pockets.  These soft-sided, breathable planters are made in the USA from 100% recycled materials, including post-consumer plastic bottles.  They can be used inside or out (there are different models depending on location) and are great to create a “living wall”. They use minimal packaging, recycled paper and soy-based inks for labels and signs.  Check out their website: http://www.woollypocket.com.

2.
Worm farms.  Also known as vermiposting, worm-farming can convert 5 pounds of food waste and junk mail into nutrient-rich compost each week. Garland Nursery is carrying 3 types of worm bins:  Can O’Worms, The Worm Factory and Tumbleweed Worm Farm. They all employ a self-sorting upward migration.  The resulting conversion to nutrients is odorless.  I’ve just purchased a Can O’Worms myself, in hopes of not letting anything go to waste.  I’m running out of room to do my lazy vermiposting, so I’m going to try the worm farm approach.  I’ll keep you posted.

3.
On the theme of kitchen waste…when I’m “processing” all my vegetables, I need a spot to toss my waste that I intend to compost.  It’s nice to have a convenient bin to throw everything into that looks good and won’t smell before my husband gets around to taking it outside to (soon) the worm farm. It’s great to have a kitchen compost keeper handy for just that purpose.  Mine is a green plastic model with a carbon filter to reduce odors.  We have even more stylish models available that would look great on the counter or floor.  (I keep mine tucked under the sink).  One of the fancier models is available in stainless steel.  My sister has that one.

4.
Rain barrels.  We get so much rain in Oregon and most of it goes from the roof, down the gutter and into the storm drain system.  That water then flows into the city water processing plant or possibly into the streams and rivers.  What a waste! The natural system has that water permeate into the ground and enter the natural aquifer.  Well, you can harvest and collect that water and use it, reducing your water bill, if you’re on city water.  What you need is a rain barrel.  We have had several models to sell in the past. Most are made from plastic.  We have yet to find a wooden one that is affordable. Currently, we have 2 styles that are geared to be more eye-pleasing. One looks like a rock and the other resembles a terra cotta vase.  Also available is a basic (read utilitarian) model made from 100% food-grade, recycled plastic drums.  Our supplier hails from Junction City, although they have locations in Washington and California.  Check out their website at gradybarrels.com.

5.
Organic fertilizers and soil amendments. Garland Nursery has been firmly behind the organic gardening movement for 20 plus years.  Our current suppliers are stellar proponents of this method. Kellogg Garden Products is a family-owned and operated company from California that has been selling natural and organic potting mixes and soil amendments for 85 years.  Dr. Earth revolutionized the organic fertilizer industry when he added beneficial mycorrhizae to his fertilizer blend. This year, the company added a full line of soil amendments to their family of eco-friendly products.  Finally, our newest addition to the organic line-up is Espoma.  A family owned fertilizer company since 1929, their Plant-tone product has been all organic from the beginning.  In the last few years, they have converted all of their fertilizer blends to organic with humic acid.  Their Bio-tone Starter Plus contains mycorrhizae.  They are based on the east coast, but they are committed to the environment, recently installing solar panels over their entire operation.

6.
Biodegradable Bamboo containers. Pretty and practical, Rosso bamboo containers are eco-chic!  They will last inside 3 years, outside 2 years and when composted or placed in the landfill, they decompose in 3-6 months.  No need to worry, there is no chemical component.  Made of primarily bamboo and possibly rice or corn, there’s no need to worry about your environmental impact when you plant in these colorful pots.

7.
Bamboo garden gloves.  Made from bamboo, a renewable resource, these gloves are comfortable and long-lasting.

8.
Easter Lilies.  Okay, not necessarily organic but definitely an Easter icon.  The majority of Easter Lilies originate in Oregon.  Better than chocolate.  Well maybe. Definitely healthier.

9.
Save the bees wildflower mix seeds. Botanical Interests is a family-owned seed company from Colorado that offers a full line of certified organic seed. They also have a selection of not necessarily certified organic seed.  The “Save the bees mix” is from the latter category.  If you are concerned, like I am, of the decline in the bee population, here is a solution . . . plant bee friendly wildflower seeds. Interested in edibles, Botanical Interests has you covered.  This has been a great company to work with and they have great seeds.  I’d like to promote Renee’s Garden seeds as well. Renee’s seeds are all non-GMO and primarily organic.  She has a great website (reneesgarden.com), so check it out for more detailed info about her seeds.  Great packaging artwork and information!  Of course, we also sell Territorial Seeds.  Their catalog is the best 25 cents you will ever invest.

10.
Living Easter baskets.  Tired of chocolates and other traditional, consumer oriented Easter baskets?  What about giving you special someone a living Easter basket?  We have created a springy selection of flowering baskets. To honor the holiday, the larger basket’s retail prices reflect a $10 savings.  Throw in a few chocolates just in case.  I’m all about that!

About Brenda Powell

I'm one of the owners of a family-owned retail nursery. I have a degree in horticulture from Oregon State University. I love to garden and read. My technically savvy but horticulturally challenged husband, Mitch, spends most of his time as slave labor in the garden. Thank goodness he adores me! My goal in this blog is to share my enjoyment of gardening, my love of nature, and my addiction to books. Did I mention I like to cook, too?
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