Here are some informative articles related to gardening and sustainability that I’ve come across and want to share.
The problems with peat moss, by Akiva Silver. The extraction of peat moss is ecologically devastating, and unnecessary for home gardening. Here’s a nice snippet from the article:
As gardeners, our goal is often to make the world more beautiful one yard or farm at a time. How can we make the world any more beautiful if we are destroying one place to improve another?Twisted Tree Farm
I no longer use peat moss or buy peat-based potting mixes. An excellent alternative to peat moss is coconut coir. The best price I’ve found on coconut coir is from NeuCoir, which sells coir peat in bulk. The coir peat alone would work great as a soil-less potting medium, but I like to mix it about half and half with topsoil from my yard, which gives it more nutrients. Of course, I only use this mix for outdoor plants. Alternatively, if you have access to a lot of compost, then you can use a compost-based mix for your potted plants.
The problems with leaf blowers, by Huntington CALM. Most people who hire landscapers to do the “mow and blow” while they are away at work are unaware of the extreme noise and air pollution generated by crews using gas-powered leaf blowers, and the hazards they create for people who are at home during the day, including people who like to garden, as well as children playing outdoors. The “I don’t care, it’s not my problem” response from landscapers represents the very worst of our disconnect — not just from nature, but also with our communities.
Most invasive plants, by Ecosystem Gardening. Please don’t plant any of the plants on this list! The UN’s Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) recently issued a report listing the introduction of invasive species as one of the key human-caused contributors to mass extinction. I have to admit that when I started out gardening (long before the days of the internet, so I can be forgiven some for my ignorance!), I purchased some of the invasive plants on this list, including Chinese wisteria. But my biggest regret is planting English ivy. I thought it would be picturesque to have it climbing up the north-facing wall of our shed, and for a while it seemed it would take a few years just getting it to cover a single wall. But then I moved away for several years. When I returned, not only was the wall completely covered, but I came upon a nightmarish scene of English ivy running rampant. I’m not sure if all of it is from my original plant, or if other neighbors have also planted it, but I see it all over the neighborhood now, strangling trees and choking out native vegetation.
Rethinking about clover, by The Sustainability Institute. This is an article about organic lawn care, but there’s a fascinating section on the history of our changing attitudes towards clover, and how we’re generally programmed to think about weeds. Here’s a snippet:
Since the toxic formula killed the clover along with weeds, advertisers solved the problem by classifying clover as a weed rather than grass. This was achieved primarily through advertisements that told mothers that clover attracted bees that could sting children and fathers that clover lawns were unkempt. Suddenly, nobody wanted a neighbor to look over the fence and find the dreaded clover in your lawn, as TV ads portrayed. Due to the power of influential advertising, the benefits of clover were effectively forgotten within only a few years.The Sustainability Institute at Molloy College