Grow for the planet

There are some very simple ways everyday you can contribute to preserving and conserving the planet.

Start with the basic recycling of your food waste – compost. This is about as basic as it gets. You simply take your food waste and bury it about 18 inches below the surface in your garden. By doing this you are replenishing your soil with nutrients by feeding the underlying ecosystem with organic material. They ingest your food scraps and turn it into compost. Second, by not putting your food scraps in the trash you are eliminating landfill space being taken up. Total cost to you, zero, so you are ahead of the game and the benefits of recycling your food waste is tremendous.

Next, grow your favorite vegetables. It doesn’t matter if you have a traditional garden, a raised bed garden or you simply grow plants out of pots. By growing the vegetables you love to eat it and having that ability to prepare them in your own kitchen at a moments notice has been shown to reduce drive time to restaurants and supermarkets. That helps reduce the amount of fuel you use in your car. Far fetched? Hardly! Studies have shown that if people have food on hand they are less likely to go out. Throw in learning the art of canning or preserving your vegetable harvest and you can have vegetables all year round grown right from your own backyard.

You can also harvest rain water through the use of a rain barrel eliminating the amount of water you use to water your vegetable plants. A rain barrel can be anything that holds water. It can be a plastic container, a garbage can and so on. Just make sure you drill a hole to add a spigot so you can use the water by filling up a watering can or getting even more advanced and attach a garden hose. All you do is divert the water from your homes down spouts into your barrel and every time it rains you reduce the amount of water your are taking from the municipal supply.

Home vegetable gardeners have been using green techniques for years and long before the green revolution. So before you spend a lot of money on trendy green things, start off small with the things you can do in your own backyard to reduce your carbon footprint. Cartons and containers make perfect potplants. Before you grow take time to plan think about where you live – review the where you live checklist [tools and planning}below so you can grow according to the resources you have i.e. space, light, etc.

  • Consider what you like to eat, what’s in season and ask for local advice on what grows well in your area right down to the varieties for example there is wide variety of cucumbers to grow from seed to suit every culinary purpose. For instance the ‘Long Green’ is wonderful for slicing thin for sandwiches while the ‘Salad Bush’ is good for small gardens. If you have trouble digesting cucumbers, try the ‘Richmond Green Apple’ which is low in acid, or the burpless varieties. If you fancy pickling your own to enjoy over the cooler months, there are several gherkin types which are excellent for conserving and preserving.
  • Cultivate your skills joining a community garden or visit your local Council website for advice as this will save you considerable time and help you with additional resources and local growing.
  • Learn about permaculture or organic gardening – Councils and Community Gardens, TAFE and local business are increasingly hosting workshops and courses
  • Save seeds – Heirloom seed varieties help preserve the biodiversity of the planet. Join Seedsavers and learn more about how you can save seeds These seeds are free of pesticides and chemicals and keep their genetic structure intact which means they are more resistant and productive. Saving seeds also saves you money.

Otford permaculture farmer Greg Cook demonstrates his method of tomato-seed saving as a means to growing better fruit and vegetables.

Watch this clip on Seedsaving

Pick Your Growing Options

Sustain Food

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