Sunday, May 23, 2010

A forever gardener

If you live in a rental or find yourself in a residence which is other than your own, is it possible to view the land there, as a forever garden? Probably not, but some people still plant regardless, hoping their efforts will carry on for the following generations to enjoy. This is not a bad philosophy to follow. In fact, if you consider yourself any kind of gardener at all - even just starting out - you have the ability to see yourself as a forever gardener.

A lot of people give-up after a few attempts gardening. Especially if a lot of money was involved initially, and the vibrant plants suddenly die. Let's face it, plants aren't cheap if you buy them retail. But it's often where you have to start, before seed germination and propagation skills become second nature to you. Let me give you a little tip though...everything hinges on the soil. Don't ever underestimate the power of dirt!

Forever gardeners needn't become soil scientists, or even start with a-grade topsoil. You just have to acknowledge that dirt can be your guide, in any condition you find it. Dirt, soil, earth, or whatever you want to call it; is not going to hurt you. It isn't so insignificant either - not as you may have first been led to believe. Just because you walk all over it, doesn't make it worthless. Seeing it everywhere is a sign that you need it. In fact, imagine a world without dirt?

But let's not forget what makes soil so important. Carbon storage and fertility supply. They make it possible for plants to grow and for micro-climates to develop. The air you breath, food you eat and the plants which affect climate, all comes from healthy soil.

That forever gardening philosophy, is starting to look a lot more important now. It makes you wonder why we ever stopped paying attention in the first place. As if there was something more important to attend to than our ability to breathe and allow life to continue? This isn't a lecture about philosophies however. It's about the power of knowledge and belief. A forever gardener learns to live with failure and trusts that planting is still a good endeavour to pursue.

Even in the face of dwindling water supplies, plants are our only hope. Did you know that plants do more than just use water? They are worth their weight in water, because they actually do hold water...they also keep salinity levels in check, and when planted near rivers, ponds, lakes, etc, they purify water. They encourage precipitation, and when you think about a foggy morning, imagine all the leaves in the world that will drip dew when the sun finally rises.

A forever gardener learns to appreciate the inherent value of the sources of life. They will see the value in any patch of dirt, no matter how degraded. They will also see the value in weeds as a temporary moratorium on soil erosion and nutrient loss. A forever gardener, most importantly, never believes that it's too late to grow water where a patch of dirt lays bare.

Did I just write, grow water? When you understand the lifecycle of a plant, you may think twice about removing them during your life time. Plants influence climate change in a very big way. They deal with the elements of life we are only just beginning to scratch the surface of. They make it possible for water to fall from the sky, they also catch what little moisture is in the air and dispense it to the soil underneath. It all connects. They control the flow of water on the surface, underneath the surface and they also purify water and stabilise soil. It all connects to make an ecosystem, which all life is based upon.

While there are times for making other plans; please still consider yourself a forever gardener in life. It does make a difference in the end. When you decide to grow plants instead of concrete, you're making a direct investment in the eco-system which supports you. Never underestimate the power of green-thumbs - or even brown ones for that matter. It all goes back to feeding the soil with carbon and fertility.

If you're a carbon based life-form, doesn't it make sense to invest in your carbon based ecology?

While you can still plant living vegetation, you will always be a forever gardener.