Until lately I haven’t done much to follow the progress of conservation efforts. I think having a child now and also having a little plot to cultivate yearly has really given me a sense of perspective about the future of the planet. That’s pretty much why I wanted to start this garden blog in the first place. It’s not only to share my gardening progress, trials and tribulations, but also to share information about how we can daily help improve the future of the planet. Through conservation, using organic items, encouraging biodiversity when we garden, etc. are all things we can do to help. We need this and our children will benefit.
The other day at Wal-Mart (whom my husband calls the evil empire) I saw signs all over the place for Earth Month 2008. Being the largest retailer in the world it would make sense that they should offer their customers products that do not overtly harm the environment and encourage the millions that shop there to be more ecologically responsible. If you are a budget conscious shopper it is sometimes difficult to buy these certified organic products. Stores like Wal-Mart and Meijer (in the midwest) are coming out with natural and organic products that are cost effective for most any consumer.
If you can have your own garden in the summer try to grow some easy crops like salad greens, potatoes, green beans and tomatoes. Being able to harvest fresh food from your own land or container without it being contaminated by pesticides or herbicides or hormones is something of which you can feel proud. With the rising cost of food because of fuel prices being able to go a season without having to buy these things could save you some serious cash and add peace of mind.
In zone 5 we have about 5-6 weeks before the last estimated frost which gives us enough time to start tomato seeds indoors. You could also wait until the end of May and buy some tomato seedlings from your local garden center – buy heirloom varieties if you can and save seeds once you harvest. This will encourage biodiversity and give you and your friends seeds for good juicy fruit next year. It will cost you the same as buying 2 lbs. of tomatoes but will yield at least 10 times that before the growing season is over. Salad greens, lettuce, spinach and carrots can be planted outside right now; the sooner the better. Once it starts to get warmer the greens and lettuces will get bitter tasting and the plants will bolt (go to seed). Green bean seeds can be planted directly in the garden once the danger of frost is past – probably the last week in May/first week of June.
As a matter of fact, today I planted 20 varieties of greens, herbs and root crops. My earliest harvest will be in mid-May. I could resow every 2 weeks for continuous harvest or leave the space clean after harvest for summer and fall bearing fruits and veggies.