Most Valuable Advice For Your Gardening Journey
Many people may not be aware that gardening can harm the environment.
- A large amount of carbon dioxide can be released by tilling the soil. This contributes to global warming.
- When you cultivate and compact the soil you destroy good fungi.
- On a wider scale fertilizers like nitrogen and manure often leach out of the soil and pollute the water we drink.
Did you know that the earth’s soil gives out carbon dioxide in the atmosphere 10 times more than all human activity? This comes from the pill bugs, microbes, fungi, and worms when they breathe, digest food and then die. Although in the past plants have been capable of absorbing carbon dioxide caused by small-scale tillages, this isn’t the case nowadays with mass farming methods.
The globe’s average temperature is increased because of the carbon dioxide the soil emits when tilled. The good news is that you can do your bit as tilling can be minimized by mulching or sheet composting. It is possible to grow a garden without tilling the soil at all by mulching heavily until the soil is soft and friable.
In untilled soil, there are beneficial fungi known as the vesicular-arbuscular-mycorrhizae or VAM for short. VAM actually forms a symbiotic relationship with plants. Their filaments increase root hairs and provide nutrients to the plant. They give out zinc, copper, potassium, and phosphorus. Plants provide carbohydrates for the fungi in return.
Smart gardeners can use this to their advantage. You can actually buy a mycorrhizal fungi to add to the planting hole before you put your plants in. The fungi grows and forms a secondary root system This helps support the plant as it’s own roots grow in to the fungi roots. The beneficial effects last a lifetime; your plants need less watering, less fertilizer and have increased nutrient take up. You get more flowers and more veg crops. I’ve been using this for the last 2 summers and it definitely helps to get plants established when you transplant seedlings or plug plants outside.
Many gardeners waste nitrogen and manures; farmers do otherwise. Farmers only need a quarter to a third of nitrogen to mix with an inch of compost, horse, or cow manure. Kate Burroughs of Sebastopol California uses the same rule for her home-grown lettuce and sweet corns. When it comes to broccoli and pear trees, farmers only need a small amount. Some novice gardeners apply larger amounts of compost and manure than farmers. Obviously, they are not only wasting their fertilizer but also their money. If you are close to a river or water course there is a danger this could leach in to the water and pollute it.
The best gardening advice that can be given to those concerned is to do all things with moderation. Keep in mind that too little and too much of something is not healthy. This is the most valuable advice one can have in gardening. So while it is true that some aspects of gardening can harm the environment it is also true that it is good for mental health and well being. Do not give up gardening but do it in a responsible way.