Sustainable and edible landscapes capture our attention and our creativity. As previously mentioned sustainability means we conserve resources and protect habitat. We are in need of rethinking our lawn and landscape. What’s the difference between the two?
- Soils are compacted. This restricts water flow and decreases plant growth.
- Soils need water and air. Compaction limits both.
- Soil is home to many hundreds even thousands of organisms. They cannot easily thrive in packed down earth.
- Exposed soils are exposed to the elements such as rain, sun, and wind which places undue stress on the health of soil.
- When we remove grass clippings, or leaves we remove healthy organic matter that helps rebuild and sustain soil.
- Soils in this condition need help. Amendments are often added and necessary to foster growth. Chemical fertilizers are often used rather than natural mulches. Chemical fertilizers denature and deplete the soil in the long run.
Sustainable Gardens: The photo above demonstrates clear paths which prevents soil compaction in the planting areas, beds for easy weed control and how water flow supports plants not drowns them.
- Soil, healthy organisms forming healthy ecosystems sustain air and water flow that supports the plant. Soils are 25% air and 25% water plus millions of organisms.
- These organisms provide essential nutrients for plant growth and helps them thrive.
- Mulch provides protection from intense heat. When they decompose over time, they add nutrients back into the soil.
- Plants are selected on the basis of soil type. When submitting a soil sample to your local extension office make a note on the type of use for that plot. For example, blueberries require a more acidic soil than vegetables. When the testing is performed you will receive specific information on the condition of your soil and what amendments are recommended if any for the use of that area.
- Provides a habitat for a wider range of species. Mono crop farming diminishes habitat, depletes the soil and while we don’t want our crops to be easily destroyed diversity helps tackle that problem.
- I saw a beautiful backyard garden where the owners used raised beds.The owner planted marigolds around the outside perimeters of the vegetable bed. She had no problems with pests. While that is a broad statement she saw results. The marigolds provided beautiful color through late summer and early fall when the vegetables finished.
“Marigolds’ greatest claim to pest control fame is their effect, documented in numerous studies, on nematodes, which are a kind of worm that in some cases is destructive to plants.
Like other members of the daisy family, marigolds also do their share in feeding nectar to beneficial insects, such as syrphid flies, who prey on aphids and other insects that attack garden plants. Members of the daisy family do not yield nearly as much nectar as flowers of the parsley family — dill, for instance — but daisy family flowers keep the nectar flowing longer.”
Happy planting. Enjoy.