GARDEN ECOLOGY

I have been so excited about my garden lately that I have failed to write much about being ecological and frugal. While my garden is both of those things, I think I need to put more of an emphasis on the how it is both, and also what other things I am doing that meet those two criteria.

First lets look at what I am doing and experimenting with from an ecological point of view. I carved my food garden out of a corner of my lawn. Only grass has grown in that spot for years. If I had been younger, I would have dug the area with a spade. That would have been more ecologically sound than hiring a person with a small tractor to till the area which is what I resorted to doing. That step used fuel in both getting here and running the tiller in the garden area which is not good for the earth. Since making that step, however, I have really worked at practicing more earth friendly habits. I had to fence the garden to keep the hungry wildlife (mostly rabbits) from eating my food plants.

When I purchased my little home, the former residents left behind a fence of steel posts and panels from around their above-ground swimming pool. Those panels and posts have been used in many ways: to make a lattice for my blackberries, to fence an area for my dog, and the posts at the corners of my garden fence. That saved me money and used something that had already been manufactured and used before (recycled). I put chicken wire around the garden posts (much of which I had purchased earlier for another project).

The area where I live was once a large buffalo wallow, which means the land is flat and doesn’t drain from rain. So my goal became to grow food and build up the soil both with nutrients and height. The garden was planted late because I had to wait for the soil to dry. By the time the soil dried enough to work, grass had started growing back in my garden area. I put down a layer of recycled cardboard between the rows and have been putting grass clippings over the cardboard every time I mow. The mulch has held in the moisture as our weather has become drier, as well as is adding volume physically to the soil.

I raise red wiggler worms, feeding them kitchen waste, and their castings get added to the mulch and soil to build fertility and volume in the garden. Additionally, I spread my crushed eggshells and used coffee grounds over the garden which add fertility to the soil and keeps them out of the landfill.

I also bought two 50 gallon barrels, installed them on concrete blocks, and attached them to the house downspout to catch the rainwater from the roof. This rainwater is gravity fed to water the garden when the soil needs watering. The water still goes to the soil but is going where it is needed rather than just on the ground from the downspout.

I can often be found in the heat of the day searching the internet for more ideas on ways to improve my footprint on the earth. If you have additional ecologically friendly ideas that I can frugally adopt, please send them to me. All of our brains together are better than one!

Until next time, may you be blessed with peace …

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