When people choose to start an organic vegetable garden they may not initially think how their little palatable oasis can actually help to reduce soil erosion, reverse carbon emissions and help save planet Earth.
The Rodale Institute, a non-profit organization who is a leader among the organic farming community for more than sixty years, recently published a white paper in April 2014 urging widespread awareness of the critical need for regenerative organic farming. If given a little thought and pre-planning, even the most novice gardener with the smallest of spaces can do his or her part to help reverse climate change and move towards a sustainable future.
These proven organic methods, if implemented by enough people, could be the solution.
Cover crops. Plan for them and plant them. Check out this scary yet compelling statistic about the world’s soil depletion each and every year, found at Worldometers, a real-time, world statistics counter.
“It is estimated that, worldwide, 5-7 million hectares of land valuable to agriculture are lost every year through erosion and degradation”, per the Dimensions of need: Restoring the land – FAO document.
Planting cover crops will ensure the soil is enriched by adding nutrients, not letting them dissipate. The benefits will pay off immensely and keep crops growing bigger and tastier every harvest. Without cover crops the soil becomes barren and depleted and gardening and farming might as well start from scratch, each planting season.
Create your own compost. Be the environmentally conscious individual by keeping a compost bin. It is simple and it reduces the amount of waste we send to landfills each year. Surprisingly, the average person produces 4.5 pounds of trash a day, says ecolife, a guide to green living website. Composting your kitchen scraps the smart way, will ensure you are doing your part to cut down on greenhouse gases and emissions.
This gooey goodness will not only nurture your soil, it will contribute to sustainable practices for future generations. Teach your friends and family what to compost and what to toss. Find a great guide here, published by eartheasy.com.
Natural pesticides and organic fertilizers only. Obviously, you would not go grab your bottle of Roundup or Bug-Be-Gone and spray it in your mouth so, why would you want to eat food laced with virtually the same toxic ingredients?
It’s proven that synthetic pesticides and fertilizers are not only bad for your health but, they are extremely bad for the environment and the soil, of which we are so dependant. Although it was once considered a life saver, the industrialization of our food system has essentially put our entire conventional food supply in jeopardy by using synthetics, over the past seventy plus years. Do your part to reverse the destruction.
Take time to look at the labels before applying anything to your plants or soil. Natural fertilizers and organic pesticides help to create a sound ecosystem, which nourishes and replenishes the nutrients in the soil.
One way to be sure you are using certified organic products on your delectable delights is to look for the OMRI symbol. OMRI, which stands for Organic Materials Review Institute, is a nonprofit organization and the gatekeeper for the certified organics product lists; a list of products used for the purposes of production and processing organic food and which also fall within the USDA and Canadian Organic Standard guidelines.
Crop Rotation. Ok, so maybe you are a small time gardener with only a few containers of peppers and tomatoes and you’re wondering, “Will rotating what I plant in my containers really matter?”
Even on the smallest scale mindful, organic gardening practices can make a difference. When using containers you can utilize the soil time and time again and stave off bugs, if you simply follow a crop rotation guide.
In a small backyard garden or even on a large family farm, crop rotation is critical to building nutrients, fighting bugs and creating organic matter and microorganisms. Crop rotation and cover crops combined will result in wonderfully rich, nutrient-based soil.
There are detailed and thorough planting guides available online and in your local garden store to help you plan your crop rotation. Details such as getting to know your plant families and determining which crops are considered heavy feeders versus those that are light feeders, and what you actually like to eat,will all determine your particular strategy.
So there you have it. Easy ways you can help save Earth. If you are a gardener and aren’t following these practices, then consider being more mindful about the current soil depletion and implement at least one of these elements immediately. If you are using these practices today, then kudos to you for being conscious about the environment; now become an advocate.
Being aware of the small things, even one person can do to make a difference, brings hope in reversing the damage done.