LEX 350 MM article 5/3/09

For May 7 issue.

Grow Your Own Victory Garden

Sasha and Malia have their very own organic vegetable garden in their yard—how about your family? The movement to create family vegetable gardens, spurred by Michelle Obama, is sweeping the country, rivaling the World War II victory gardens that Eleanor Roosevelt launched.

If you want to reduce your reliance on mass-produced or imported food, decrease your carbon footprint, foster a sense of community and self-sufficiency, save on grocery bills, and just plain enjoy eating your own home-grown fruits and vegetables, now is the time to prepare a garden. There are so many ways to do it, from very simple planter gardens to a full-scale attack on that so un-environmental lawn.

The most satisfying garden is a sustainable garden that works in harmony with nature. There are many ways you can improve the health of your garden and minimize any negative impact on the environment. Most are easy and fun.

The best gardens are organic. You can buy organic compost and fertilizers, but better yet, you can create your own backyard compost using leaves and yard waste and household food scraps and paper so that you can turn your waste into a nutrient-rich soil amendment. Use a rain barrel to collect roof runoff for watering your garden. Organic gardeners rely on the use of beneficial insects, diverse plants, and compost to supply the soil with nutrients, rather than pesticides, herbicides, and petroleum-based fertilizers. Good compost is also available at Lexington’s Hartwell Ave. landfill location.

There is nothing tastier or more rewarding than a homegrown tomato, and nothing prettier than your own eggplants or peppers ripening on beautiful green plants. Radishes grow quickly and delight the children when they pull them up.

On June 3, at 7 pm at the Cary Library, the Lexington Global Warming Action Coalition (LEXGWAC) will present a talk by Francey Hart, a master sustainable gardener and Garden Coordinator of City Sprouts, a program that is developing gardens at city schools. Come with your questions and learn about LEXGWAC and how you can get involved. In the meantime, turn over a new leaf and some beautiful, dark soil and get ready to plant!

The most recent science tells us that unless we can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million (ppm), we will cause huge and irreversible damage to the earth.” (CO2 levels in the atmosphere are now at about 387 ppm, up almost 40% since the industrial revolution and the highest for at least the last 650,000 years.) Brought to you by the Lexington Global Warming Action Coalition (www.lexgwac.org).