Thursday, April 2, 2009

Personal sustainability? Time for a victory garden

It's April, the dogwoods are in bloom, so are the azaleas here in Georgia and I'm figuring out what to do about my garden.

Why? Groceries can be expensive and if not careful, can be a budget buster especially in these days of cut-backs and reductions. So this posting is about personal dirty footprint where 'dirty' is a good thing (garden --> dirt, get it?) . It's also about personal sustainability and in times like these, the more personal sustainability that we have the better off (financially) we are.

Notice that I am tying sustainability to $ savings. Aiming for sustainability whether from an industrial, retail or personal level should run hand-in-hand with cost savings. I am not so open minded about sustainability that I let my brains fall out. If done properly (and with some creativity I might add), sustainability IS cost saving.

Gardening example of $$ saving sustainability
Swap seeds with friends

Buy organic seeds from boutique retailer
(I have yet to hear a viable reason for a non-certified gardener to spend the extra money for organic seeds)

Find a horse stable and ask to take a few loads of manure off their hands (and compost it) or find a local composter who sells bulk compost. Or if you want a small garden beg some good dirt from a friend with a garden. The nice barista at the coffee bar in my old office would give me her days worth of coffee grounds last year. Works great in the garden and kept it out of the landfill.

Buy bags of compost from the local big box.

Plant your upside down tomato's in those 5 gal buckets folks are happy to give away. Drill hole in the bottom for the plant. Takes up no space on a sunny patio or (if you have one) clothes line posts.

Buy those 'as seen on TV' upside down tomato plant hangers

Yes (here's my favorite)
Grab those cold-cut party trays, you know the ones, black plastic bottom, clear plastic top that inevitably show up at luncheon meetings at the office (or the broiled chicken containers from Costco--eat the chicken first). Use those as seed starter green houses.

Buy the same concept from the garden center of your local big box.

I think you get the idea. A little creativity goes a long way.

Oh, and if you don't have room for a garden, some companies are allowing employees to start community gardens at their sites as an employee perk. Worth asking about. Some communities have community garden space available.

Imagine if everyone planted a garden, whether big or small, instead of relying on someone else like the fast food take-out at your not-so-local mall. Local food, reduced transportation costs, fresh air and exercise, and that little-used term these days, self-reliance.

A footprint in the dirt instead of a dirty footprint. Sweet!