Writing, traveling and speaking; since my last blog entry, that seems to be about all I’ve been doing. In fact as I write this, I do so from my room at Disney in Orlando, Florida. Specifically, I’m at Epcot to speak at their Flower and Garden Festival over three days. This is a wonderful annual event, and I hope you find time to visit soon.
Tonight, I finally found time to sit still long enough to make another, long overdue blog entry.
The recent release of my new book, The Green Gardener’s Guide; Simple significant actions to protect and preserve the planet is my biggest news of the year so far. It’s been out for about a month now. The media interest is high, and the feedback has been very good. What excites me most about this new book is the opportunity it presents to tell such an important story to gardeners across the country.
Yesterday I was a guest on The Martha Stewart Radio Show. They asked for my list of the top five things to create an eco-friendly garden. In my book, I shared 10 simple, yet significant, actions in the first chapter. I realized during speaking presentations on the same subject that I only had time to talk about seven of the ten over the course of an hour. It stands to reason that – when I have less time to talk – I need a shorter list. Hence, I’ve narrowed it down to the top five. Here they are for you as I presented them yesterday:
Right plant-right place – Putting the right plant in the right place allows plants to thrive in their preferred growing environment. When plants are sited properly, they are naturally healthier and hardier. That enables them to be much more resistant to pests and diseases and reduces or eliminates the need for supplemental pesticides and fertilizers.
Feed the soil, not the plants – Healthy soil is the essence of creating a healthy growing environment that promotes plants not dependent on supplemental fertilizers and chemicals to keep them looking good. The soil has a life of its own, with billions of microorganisms all working together to support and promote what grows there. By adding soil food – such as compost and other organic matter – we enrich the soil. That, in-turn, helps plants thrive. Conversely, chemicals in the form of synthetic fertilizers (which are largely made of salts) desiccate soil life and leave behind excess nutrients that can leach into ground water and wash into watersheds.
Make compost-use compost – Compost is the single best amendment we can add to any soil. Even better, we can make it ourselves for free from kitchen waste, shredded paper, lawn clippings, and yard debris. Compost is not only the best source for creating healthy, living soil; it also keeps a significant amount of waste out of our landfills.
Conserve, retain and use water properly – According to the EPA, we waste about half of all the water we use, and a lot of that applies to outdoors – watering our lawns and gardens. We tend to over-water and water at the wrong times. As a result, we lose much of it to evaporation and runoff. As water runs off our properties, it carries with it sediments and contaminants which ultimately make their way into nearby watersheds. More problems occur there as a result. In a nutshell – fix leaks, water at the right time and at the soil level, capture and retain rainwater, and use mulch.
Be proactive, not reactive – Stay ahead of any developing problems. Pay attention to your plants. Keep the garden free of weeds and leaf debris, and if you do see a developing problem, know the most eco-friendly way to deal with it. By catching problems early, you can prevent a larger problem and eliminate the need to take more drastic measures.
Certainly, there is much more to this story, and you can find plenty of other ideas in my book. But that’s enough for now and certainly plenty to read. I’ll be back in touch soon.