I have this fun app that tells me ALL the holidays, important holidays like National Chocolate Day or Make Yourself a Sandwich Day. :) So when I was filling out my paper planner and saw Earth Day, I knew I wanted to share about my growing practices.
Earth Day was yesterday but here at home and at Give Joy Gardens it is everyday. I was taught to leave things better than you found them and that's my aim as I cultivate the land I own. One of the ways we do this is to amend the soil with compost and use a grass clipping mulch to preserve water and suppress weeds. My husband made a water capturing system to collect rain water in several very large totes and we pump that through the drip irrigation. I literally only "spray" when an invasive species--Japanese Beetles I'm looking at you!--is taking over and about to annihilate a crop. For those of you who don't have Japanese Beetles, they will completely defoliate a mature tree in days. I know this from experience, unfortunately. When spraying I choose OMRI listed sprays which are considered acceptable for those who grow organically. I spray after the bees go to bed and choose the weakest product that will do the job. Sometimes it is soapy water and sometimes, as in case of the Japanese Beetles, it is Pyganic (used as a direct contact killer and used sparingly and specifically). Last year I posted about my poor pom marigolds being decimated by Japanese Beetles but as I took inventory over my whole area, the damage was less. The marigolds planted this year will serve many purposes, of course I hope to gather a harvest from them, but they will also serve as a trap crop for Japanese Beetles and a repellent crop for other pests.
I grow my flowers as though I was going to eat them. I grow many native species that double as bee forage and you should just see the butterflies on the flowers during the summer. It really is idyllic. <big sigh> Oh summer-I long for your blooms and beauty.
Stewardship over what we are given is so important. See trash? Pick it up. Leave earth better than you found it. Pretty simple.
As always, if you have questions reach out. I love to talk plants. :)