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E-Garden Almanac: What a Spring It Has Been

E-Garden Almanac

The E-Garden Almanac is the push-button, real human journal of Kelly D. Norris. All errors, grammatic grievances, and opinions are that of the author. Kelly is a freelance writer and Master Gardener from southwest Iowa. His passion and obsession with horticulture, plants, and gardening embodies nearly every function of his life. The E-Garden Almanac serves as the web extension of his columns, articles, and lectures.
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Location: Iowa

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

What a Spring It Has Been

Indeed! My absence from posting is perhaps evident of exactly what kind of spring it has been. Flooding rains and teasing warm temperatures in March followed by a bitter cold spell in April spelled disaster for my Iowa garden. Our nursery, Rainbow Iris Farm also took a hit and we lost many irises this spring as well as the traffic of people who come to enjoy them.

The spring of 2007 certainly won't go down with fond memories but the lessons it has taught us about gardening in an ever turbulent world should prove to be invaluable. We live in a world that is in a constant state of environmental flux. "Green" and "eco-friendly" are two of a gamut of hot button words that we hear on a daily basis. But how do these practices relate to gardening? How can you be more "green" in your backyard?

These are questions that I explore on a daily basis. I often struggle with the answers (which are often in the form of more questions) and continue to evaluate and change those practices that are not in accordance to this style of thinking. I already avoid the use of herbicides and chemical fertilizers when possible (but I'm certainly not against it if the situation warrants it). I allow many things to go to seed to provide a food source for wintering birds and am increasing the number of shrubs that I'm installing in my yard for additional shelter.

I could show improvement though in how we mow our lawn. We still use a heavy-duty, large scale lawn mower to get the job done mainly because of the size of our property. We use an outdated, gas and oil guzzling push mower for trimming jobs that itself melts half an ice cap each time we fire it up. We burn more than we compost. Our daily trash gets bagged and thrown into a burn barrel in the backyard.

The struggle for most is the realization that a near drastic call to change is necessary if you're committed to doing your part to preserve the quality of life on our planet. Critical evaluation of our current life practices (in and out of the garden) is necessary if we have any hope of moving towards a more environmentally secure world. Don't back away from the computer with the idea that I'm preaching doom and gloom. The planet will still be here and most likely the human race will be here for a long time. But the world we live in is going to change and we're going to have to adapt. We've changed the earth and it's responding.

It's been one hell of a spring here in Iowa. But I have an uneasy assurance that we've got more where that came from.


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