Good to be Green
It’s Good to be Green focuses on local, healthy and sustainable ways we can get our food, which is good for our bodies and our community.
The warm April air stirred many to begin thinking about their gardens, and more specifically, when to ready the soil and begin planting seeds. Most of us used the warm May days to plant a nice variety of seeds, with hopes of someday enjoyng a very bountiful and enjoyable garden.
If you’re not the garden type, or you have a very small yard (as many in Euclid do), you can still enjoy the benefits of growing and enjoying your own vegetables, herbs and flowers. One way to do that is by container gardening. The Nature Conservancy suggests the square foot garden, which uses a window box of sorts, placed anywhere, from a backyard to an apartment patio, that receives at least six to eight hours of sunlight daily. Ideally, you would place a garden box in a 4×4 foot space. The garden box is just 4 boards, some nails, and a barrier at the bottom to keep the weeds and grass from growing through. The quality of your soil doesn’t matter because you mix your own with supplies from a local garden store.
If you are new to gardening, you can ask the experts at the garden store for help on mixing a good garden soil. For those who compost kitchen waste, use the compost in equal parts of vermiculite and peat moss. Divide the box in four, using string or other material to create one-foot-square plots. You are ready to start planting your own organic garden.
Select seeds that will mature into smaller plants, particularly if space is very tight. You will see that this box design reduces work because once your seeds begin sprouting and growing, weeding and thinning become unnecessary. Your garden can be incredibly productive. According to The Nature Conservancy, just one 4×4 box can produce up to five times the produce that a traditional garden of the same size would yield, while using 90 percent less water and 95 percent fewer seeds.
And the best benefit? It’s free of pesticides and fertilizers that harm sensitive environments. You can use any large container to grow your garden if you don’t want to build a box. You can even have fun and experiment by recycling old shoes, colanders or plastic tubs as growing containers. Just ensure there is a way for water to drain from whatever you use for your garden.
Another way to enjoy fresh flowers and produce is to become part of a community garden. There are many benefits to a community garden, among them:
- Improvement of the quality of life for people in the garden
- Serves as a catalyst for neighborhood and community development
- Stimulates social interaction
- Encourages self-reliance
- Beautifies neighborhoods
- Produces nutritious food
- Conserves resources
- Provides opportunities for intergenerational and cross-cultural connections
Euclid has one community garden now, on East 279th Street, but that garden is full. Anyone interested in participating in a second garden located at Memorial Park can contact Kathy Wills, firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on container or organic gardening, please visit The Nature Conservancy at http://blog.nature.org/2010/03/go-chemical-free-square-foot-garden/. To read more on community gardens, visit the American Community Gardening Association at http://www.communitygarden.org/ .