Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
March, 2007
Regional Report

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Preserve nature by growing greener! Every little bit helps.

Green is Good!

We belong to a video rental service that delivers one or two movies to our post office box every week. Instead of the usual comedy or musical we usually select, this week we received An Inconvenient Truth, a documentary by Al Gore. The subject of the film is not political. Quite the contrary, it is an informative documentary that addresses the subject of global warming and provides scientific facts about how, and why, it is happening. Make no mistake, if we do not reverse our present levels of carbon in our atmosphere, life as we know it will change drastically over the next decade. More importantly, the film states clearly that it is not too late to change our evil ways.

I am so inspired by Mr. Gore and his agenda that I wanted to share some easy ways for us gardeners to help save our beautiful planet. It was stated again and again throughout the documentary that every tiny step toward salvation should be considered a giant leap. So, here are my humble contributions:

1. Recycle all plastic nursery flats, cell packs, and gallon cans. I keep a few of these on hand to plant my seeds. But if you are like me, you have way more than you can ever use. They make nice homes for spiders under the nursery benches, but they could be put to better use at the recycling plant.

2. Cover every open area of your garden soil with mulch. Not only will mulching reduce the amount of water you use, it will also prevent weeds from growing by shading the surface and thereby decreasing the amount of herbicides needed.

3. Disposing of partially used garden chemicals, paint products, and solvents safely will help preserve ground water quality for future generations. Most counties have a special disposal program for these items. Call your local public works department for information.

4. Plant a tree if you have room in your garden. Trees convert carbon dioxide to oxygen. Planting a tree is a step toward creating a healthier environment for your children.

5. Use hand tools instead of power tools. A shovel will provide you with much more exercise than a rototiller, and a hand saw is far more nimble than a chain saw in those tight spaces between branches. Mow your lawn with an electric mower, or better yet, one of the old push mowers. They aren't nearly as bad as you remember. Keep the blades sharp and you will be surprised at how easy they are to push through a small lawn area. All gasoline-powered garden tools put out harmful emissions that can be eliminated by using the manual equivalent.

Aside from gardening solutions, there's much more we can do. Switch to a hybrid car, if possible. Take public transportation whenever feasible or convenient. Turn your heater down a few degrees. Try biodiesel in your diesel-powered machines. We have used this earth-friendly fuel in both our boat and our cars, and it's fun to know that you are part of the solution, not part of the problem.

Finally, and probably most important of all: spread the word about what we can do to curb the effects of global warming. Make a difference for the future of our beautiful planet!

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