Can Gardening Be Greener?

Yes, gardening can be even greener.  Maintaining a garden is a sustainable idea by itself:  Grow what you eat; travel a few steps to pick out dinner; connect with the food cycle.  Whether container gardening on a patio, or a raised bed in the backyard, growing your own food sustainably is achievable.

A few trends from for a more sustainable garden follow:
  1. Lifecycle and Environmental Impact - How much energy was consumed in a plant or product's transportation and if any recycled materials were used?   How much water was used in the production of a product?  What kinds of chemicals are used and how do they affect the soil, air and water?
  2. Water-wise Landscapes - Use drought-tolerant plants, and install drip irrigation systems instead of using conventional watering techniques.  Visit Springs Preserve for ideas.
  3. Plants for Wellness - Garden for the betterment of mental health, nutrition or fitness.  
  4. Mixing it Up - Maximize square footage with a mix and match approach--edibles with ornamentals is one example.  Learn more about Square Foot Gardening...
  5. Vegetable Gardens - Grow edible gardens, which include vegetables, berries, fruits, and herbs. 
  6. Less Lawn, More Flowers and Shrubs - Water-wise landscapes are essential in our desert.  
  7. Native Plants - Native plants, or "naturescaping" emphasizes plants that naturally grow in a given locale.  Since they're evolved to grow in those conditions, they require little artificial water or fertilizer, and are highly disease resistant.
Home Farming, or Urban Farming, aren't new ideas, they extend back to our human beginnings.  However in in the past five years or so, the concept has resurfaced in an organized fashion.  Organizations promoting the concept focus on education, hunger relief, and health and wellness.  More community gardens are popping up to provide food for individual families, food banks, and those unable to garden for themselves.  Here in the Las Vegas Valley, we have a couple of urban farming organizations: Project Angel Faces and Tonopah Community Garden.  Individuals can contribute excess crops, or manpower to their efforts.

As we enter the month of Earth Day, give home farming or community gardening a shot.  It's fun and delicious!


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