|Etlingera elatior, edible Torch Ginger flowers|
While displaying April's blooms from my garden, I shall also write down some of the things that I have been doing and plan to do towards a sustainable lifestyle.
|Can you see a couple in love???|
(a) I REFUSE to use harmful and toxic chemical pesticides and herbicides in my garden. I'd rather use natural remedies such as soap/organic/neem sprays, vinegar, coffee grounds, etc. to combat plant diseases and pests (2 legs, no leg to many legged creatures).
(b) I REFUSE to use energy powered machinery in my garden. I can use my hands to do the weeding and watering. I have selected 'pearl' cow grass for my lawn. This compact, short grass seems to grow horizontally with little room for weeds and I have not mowed the lawn since the day I started my garden 7 years ago. Hence, I have never used and don't need a gasoline powered lawn mower or grass cutter. Any muscle power will be welcomed here ;-)
(c) I REFUSE excessive and unecessary packaging. It is better to buy refills and in larger quantities. I can buy direct from growers and farmers markets. This applies to produce, seedings and fertilizers.
“5Rs To A Gardener's Sustainable Living 2011 and April 2011 GBBD”, a copyrighted post, was written for My Nice Garden blog by Autumn Belle @ http://www.mynicegarden.com/ on April 15th, 2011.
|Portulaca grandiflora cultivars (single petal)|
I can REDUCE trash and uneccesary packaging by:
(a) Sorting my rubbish. Some items such as plastic spoons, containers and party cups can be reused in the garden. I print only when necessary and use both sides of the paper, first writing with a pencil, then with black pen and finally with red pen before I dispose off the paper. Even confidential records can be shredded down before sending off to a recycling centre. Gardening records are kept in spreadsheets and soft copies in the computer. Metal, plastics, paper, clothes and used batteries are first sorted out and later sent to recycling centres, any income generated can be donated to charities. Sorting also prevents toxic substances e.g. paints, inks and thinner from being leaked to the public drains, rivers and sea. It also reduces the amount of trash that goes to landfills.
(b) Kitchen waste such as fruit peels and cut vegetable parts are dumped into my compost bin. Bamboo stem cuttings can be used as support for vines and climbers.
(c) I plan to grow more plants from seeds leftover from the cooking process. Chili seeds, tomatoes, pineapple crowns, tropical fruit seeds and discarded stems can be used to start new plants. Similarly, expired potatoes, gingers and onion bulbs can be planted.
Plastic spoons can be reused as plant labels while the cups can be used to germinate seeds. Old kitchen wares can be reused as flower pots. Water used for rinsing and washing vegetables can be used to water my plants. Old furniture like the wooden coat hanger, shoe racks, stools can be used to display plants.
Due to lack of space, I do my composting in containers. My compost bins are actually large flower pots where I dump my kitchen waste such as fruit peels and cut vegetable parts. Then I cover it with burnt soil which is strerile and can be purchased from the local nurseries. I apply the layering technique. This compost rich soil will later be used to grow my plants.
|"Kunyit" the grasshopper has finished up all the leaves of my tumeric ginger plant.|
To keep up with the needs of a changing world and the environment, I need to recreate and also change my way of thinking. My garden need not be landscaped with manicured lawns and perfectly lined borders and paths. I have let it become my canvas where I create my own masterpiece. Hence, my piece of garden artwork is always changing and evolving.
- I try to learn more about permaculture and practice its methods.
- I have planted more native plants in my garden and write about them in my blog.
- I shall learn more about the indigenous plants and wildflowers in my country and try to grow them in my garden.
- I wish to grow more vegetables in my garden and I can grow them in reusable containers.
- I try to eat and buy more local produce.
- I have made my garden wildlife friendly.
|Spider on my Torch Ginger flower|
These are the simple steps we can start with.
Like the Japanese method of Kaizen ( a philosophy for continuous improvement),
we can take small steps, each new step better than the previous one.
There is no need to spend a lot of money. In fact, we even save money in the process.
I may be outdated in my approach and I welcome your sharing of ideas.
To participate and join in the fun, click on the links below:
1. Annual Gardeners' Sustainable Living Project 2011 at Thanks For Today - here.
2. April 2011 Garden Blogger's Bloom Day at May Dreams Gardens here.
3. Fertilizer Friday at Tootsietime, here