A garden does not need a large scale to exist and make a difference. You can have one in the backyard, in the garden of the condominium, on the balcony. Yes, domestic crops do have a positive impact on the environment, especially in relation to greenhouse gas emissions. That is because these small green islands take advantage of an already cleared urban space to produce food and prevent food from having to be packaged and transported to the table. There is minimal use of materials and less emission of pollutants.
The absence of residues is another real gain. Who needs to buy a whole package of parsley that will rot in the fridge when you can only harvest enough for the recipe? Having the habit of planting and consuming your own food, even in pots, can also transform YOUR relationship with food. It is natural that during the process, you are interested in knowing where the food that is on your plate comes from, and you go on to give preference to fairs and markets that offer items from local producers, which are grown within the city or in the surroundings.
There is a collective purchasing model called CSA (Community Sustaining Agriculture), in which a fixed group of consumers commits to cover the budget of small organic producers for one year. In return, the farmers deliver the cultivated food to the “godparents” without other additional costs in addition to those already known at the time of the agreement. It is a direct connection between those who produce and those who consume. A bond that reinforces every experience of living close to the earth, whether in the window pot, in the community garden, or on the rural property a few kilometers from your home.
If You Want To Start A Home Garden:
Plan – Observe the space where the cultivation will be. Ideally, it should receive an average of 5 hours of sunlight each day, depending on the needs of the chosen plant. The less wind, the better.
Composting – A super fertilizer can be produced at home from food scraps, with a process called composting.
Planting – Start small, with one square meter or four vases, preferably clay, 30 cm in diameter. Smaller containers are useful only for making seedlings or growing smaller species, such as green onions, parsley, and thyme. When you understand how to do it, you expand your farm little by little.
Prepare the soil – If the soil is rough and lifeless, spread a layer of about 12 inches of straw or dry leaves and twigs to form a cover and protect the surface from drying out. If you are going to plant in pots, the basic recipe is 40% soil (any), 30% sand, and 30% organic compounds.
Fertilizer – To ensure soil fertility, it incorporates organic matter. Instead of synthetic fertilizers, opt for products named after things in nature: manure, humus, bone meal, eggshell, coffee grounds, ashes. Soluble chemical fertilizer is the “fast-food” of the plant. It grows but leaves it susceptible to disease.
Water, but not too much – Use the “dedometer” to measure the ideal humidity: dip your finger in the ground and see if it really needs water. The best times to water the plants and work the soil are early morning and late afternoon.
Mix – The more biodiversity, the better. Exchange seedlings with friends, get different seeds. In crops and pots, place several mixed species.
Meet plant friends – In a healthy garden, bees pollinate, ladybugs eat aphids, caterpillars will be butterflies, carnivorous wasps help control the caterpillar population. The proliferation of some insects happens more in the first days of the garden when there is little plant and animal biodiversity. Be patient; let the weeds grow and plant flowers to attract insects. Exchange of experiences – Conversing with other people who are learning to plant is crucial. Find a group in your city or online.
From the plate to the garden
Composting turns food scraps into plant food and prevents the decomposition of organic waste from damaging the environmnt. To stop this harmful cycle, one of the alternatives is composting, which turns organic waste into organic fertilizer. In 2015, the United States composted 38% of discarded food and Europe 57%, according to Hawken.
“If all low-income countries reached the North American rate and all high-income countries achieved the European Union mark, composting could avoid methane gas emissions equivalent to 2.3 gigatons of carbon dioxide until 2050,” says the environmentalist. In India, the city of Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala, got ahead and stopped sending organic material to landfills or landfills. Citizens were responsible for separating recyclable material and composting from organic material. The experience was so successful that it led the Government to make plans to expand the decentralization of garbage management throughout the state.
According to the outcome of the United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-Habitat), solid waste and sewage contribute around 3% of the emissions that cause global warming. Half of this volume corresponds to methane emissions from landfills. “The decentralization of management is the most sustainable model: organic matter is not transported, being treated at the source. In doing so, we then save a lot of fuel and reduce carbon emissions,”said Anoop Roy, responsible for the proper garbage disposal campaign in the capital of Kerala.
The fertilizer produced in composting goes to organic agriculture in the region. “The urban population will have pesticide-free vegetables and the soil will be more fertile,” he says. The initiative in Kerala is important not only for the environment but also for raising awareness of how the action of each resident is relevant throughout the process. And home composting does not require large investments.
Most of the techniques consist of the use of three vertically interconnected containers, which can be buckets, bottles or pots of clay, soil, and dry organic material such as sawdust or newspaper sheets. Earthworms are agents that accelerate decomposition, and their use is optional but recommended for beginners.