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Posts Tagged ‘gardening’

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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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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Here’s more on the trend that we’re calling ‘super-micro farming.’

Firstly, Fritz Haeg has now published his “Edible Estates: Attack on the Front Lawn.” You can find an except from it here.

But why stop at your lawn? Ruben Anderson, over at The Tyee, suggests that we plant the parking spaces in front of our houses. If everyone with a driveway actually used it, he argues, that would free up a ton of new public space. He imagines his own street:

“let’s make it a one-way street, one lane wide, with a couple of pullouts. This maintains access for emergency vehicles, taxis and mini-buses for wheelchairs. We could also throw four spots for visitors into each block. At one end we can put a half-court for basketball, street hockey, skateboarding or rollerblading so once again shouts of “Car!” will mean the players get a short break. For the rest of the block, I propose gardens.

If you can’t imagine your neighbors (or your city) going for the concept, you might be glad to know that elsewhere ‘asphalt gardening’ is already a reality.

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There’s nothing like a passion for gardening to sharpen your awareness of environmental change.

Gardeners need to know when the last frosts end; the number of ‘cooling days’ available to fix their apples; when the soil will be warm enough to plant the summer vegetables – and plenty more – if they’re to garden in any kind of traditional sense.

Here at EarthQuaker we admit to such a passion, although not without a little discomfort. To garden, after all, is to deliberately alter nature.

Gardeners help save plant species and heirloom varieties and offer wildlife sanctuary, to be sure, but they’re also a major conduit for invasive plants, bugs and pathogens. And the desire to grow varieties that your local climate wouldn’t support without added water and fertilizer is all-too hard for the serious gardener to resist.

That’s one reason why we admire radical ungardeners, who appreciate nature but do very little to alter it.

It’s also a reason why some gardeners seem to be looking forward to global warming with what could only be described as relish.

Take the January issue of the Royal Horticultural Society’s magazine, the Garden. Its theme is ‘Gardening in a Changing Climate.’ While the issue devotes much space to the negative impact of climate change on native British plants and animals, its editors are also clearly interested in exploring the ‘upside’ of Global Warming. Along with ‘possible losers of a changing climate,’ the magazine lists possible winners that it knows its readers are itching to grow — beautiful bougainvillea, striking agave, tasty figs.

So here’s another reminder that while climate change is destabilizing, it will also benefit some people in some concrete ways.

And with that comes the realization that any efforts to seriously slow that change must convince those ‘winners’ of the need for change as much as those of us it devastates.

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