Sustainable Gardening

It’s easy to walk into a big box store–or even some garden centers–and get very discouraged by the bewildering array of chemicals and synthetic fertilizers. All you need to do is approach these aisles and you can smell these products. And generally, they are not good smells.

With all of that going on, then, it’s hard to remember that we’ve come a really long way since that first Earth Day over 50 years ago! More than ever before, people are indicating an interest in growing organically and growing their own food organically.

And more than ever before, people are listening when you tell them, please don’t spray this–or please don’t spray now–because you will endanger our pollinators. Those sorts of things really are resonating with a majority of people in a way that they might not have 10 or 20 years ago.

In fact, I have even had people tell me that the word “sustainable” is too out of date. I am not sure what the current word or term or phrase might be. I kind of like “sustainable.” To me, it indicates something that’s going to be around awhile. Isn’t that what we’re aiming for?

The other thing that’s almost mainstream these days is native plants. Even the box stores are carrying them. They may not have big signs screaming “Get Your Native Plants Here!,” but they will have some tough, hardy natives that grow well in almost every region available.

Part of this has to do with planting for pollinators. Part of this has to do with planting for unpredictable weather–natives seem to cope with that much better than other plants (once they are established, of course). And part of this has to do with the fact that natives are just nice plants to grow–many of them bloom for a long time, or produce berries or have lovely fall color–all attributes of other ornamentals that might be harder to grow or fussier in other ways.

Back on that first Earth Day, almost no one was growing natives–or if they were, their neighbors were looking upon them with suspicion as “long haired hippies”, no doubt.

And those first Earth Day chemicals? Names too terrible to mention. So we really have come a long way.

4 thoughts on “Sustainable Gardening

  1. tonytomeo May 3, 2018 / 2:51 am

    A problem now is that sustainability has become a fad, which brings in all sorts of non sustainable commercialization, as well as a bunch of hooey!

    • gardendaze May 3, 2018 / 8:46 am

      I think you are probably referring to things like “green-washing” and all those companies who try to jump on the “sustainable” bandwagon and who are really doing nothing helpful for our planet or the earth. And when it comes to that sort of nonsense, I couldn’t agree with you more. I have no patience for any of that! There’s no point in trying to live the life style if you’re just a bigger part of the problem.


      • tonytomeo May 3, 2018 / 10:03 pm

        YES! Exactly! When the ‘urbanite’ (recycled concrete) became popular, so did the technique of pouring thin slabs of NEW concrete, breaking it up, splattering it with mud, and selling it as recycled!

  2. gardendaze May 4, 2018 / 5:25 am

    That sort of “commercialism” very sadly infects too much of everything. You see the same thing every October (& who knows how many other months?) when retailers paint everything pink for breast cancer. You really have to research to find out how much those same retailers are donating–sometimes it’s fine, other times, not so much.

    With this green washing, I have never seen so many claims made in the name of “environmentally friendly” ( that’s what we get out here) that really aren’t.. I have even seen it used for rubber mulch because supposedly the costs of trucking it in are less–& of course, it’s recycled.

    So sure, as with all things, the traps for the consumer are far too many!


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