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Archive for the ‘gardening’ Category

We hope they will. The New York Times says growing food at work is a real trend. And it’s one our editor called for in his own town just the other month.

Will it last though?  There are so many reasons for it not to: liability worries, managers facing pressures to keep employees at their desks, disillusionment when things don’t grow, bugs.

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Or so Honda would have you believe.  Their newest Lexus campaign hitchhikes upon positive environmental developments in the world and links them to the latest Lexus hybrids.

An ad for the campaign — built around the slogan ‘Good things are happening today’ — in this month’s Wired features four newspaper clippings.  Two herald advances in environmental science, another trumpets a deal to preserve a part of the Amazon basin and the last is one of the many recent reports documenting the rise in popularity of guerilla gardening.  ‘The same spirit that drives these,’ says the ad of the news reports, ‘drives these,’ meaning the new autos, one of which has a base retail price of $105,000.

Nice try.  And, sure, hybrids are better than non-hybrids.  But it’s a mighty jump from greening blighted urban landscapes at the cost of a pack of seeds to gathering, shipping and processing the enormous volume of materials that go into even the greenest of cars.

It reminds us, as we’ve said before, that the greenest form of consumption is to avoid consuming wherever possible.

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Ah, now here’s an idea to warm (or perhaps wet) an ecologically-minded gardener’s heart: Rain Gardens.

Rain gardens, I guess, aren’t exactly new concepts.  But they are making ever more sense.

What are they?  Areas where you direct the runoff from your non-permeable surfaces (like your roof and asphalt driveway), essentially.   The idea is to stop potentially toxic runoff from racing into your local storm drain system.  Instead, you provide a place where it can pool temporarily and flow back into the underground aquifer.   So it’s an environmental win-win.

What the gardener gets is a rainy season wet area that, with the right planting ought not to become a mosquito breeding ground.  Instead an area that should support native meadow plants (which are used to wet and dry seasons).

If the idea intrigues you, here’s the place to go for more: www.native-raingarden.com.

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The ‘Victory Garden’ idea is getting a lot of play these days.  We’ve already noticed appeals for us to ‘eat-like-there’s-a-war-on.’

Now the UK Independent is excited by the same idea — hooking its version of the story on a new exhibit, ‘Dig for Victory: War on Waste,‘ at the Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms.

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“This year, 39 percent of people with backyards told the Garden Writers Association they planned to grow vegetables,” the Christian Science Monitor tells us.

Recent spikes in gas and food prices this spring are turning many in the USA to home-food production, it seems.

We welcome that, of course. We’ve been excited about the whole ‘eat your lawn’ trend for a while now.

The struggles we’re having with our own EarthQuaker garden (much of the plum tree just collapsed thanks to heat and too many plums), also have us looking forward to the renewed appreciation all this home farming should bring the people who do it professionally.

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Reuters journalist Kate Kelland gets excited this week about guerrilla gardening, writing a way-over-the-top article about the phenomenon keyed to a new book on the subject.

“They work under the cover of night, armed with seed bombs, chemical weapons and pitchforks. Their tactics are anarchistic, their attitude revolutionary.”

And that’s just the start in a story full of ‘enemies,’ ‘attacks,’ ‘troops’ and ‘a win-win war.’

Partly, Kelland just gets stuck belaboring her (already hokey) metaphor. And she’s trying to be funny — reflecting a common journalistic inclination to belittle anything to do with gardening.

But is something else going on, too? In the eyes of mainstream journalists, does gardening — or anything else for that matter — need to be so conflict-ridden that it actually becomes warfare for it to be deemed interesting to their readers?

Maybe the people acting as guerrilla gardeners really see themselves in martial terms. If they did, that might be interesting. But there’s no evidence of that in Kelland’s piece. She certainly doesn’t question them about the need to see gardening as fighting. Instead, the need seems to be hers.

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if we want to encourage people to produce their own food, here’s a great idea:  tax breaks for gardeners!

It’s the idea of Maine gardener and sustainability advocate Roger Doiron.  He says:

There are different breaks that local, state and federal governments could offer home gardeners. Sales taxes on seeds, seedlings, fruit bushes and trees could be removed. Better still, an income tax break could be administered as is done with home offices where people measure and deduct the square footage of their houses used for business purposes. The bigger your garden, the better the tax break. Those with no yard could deduct the rental fee for a community garden plot.

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