Here in central New York, we are getting ready to think about planting a garden. But we don’t get in a real hurry because we know there will be one final snow storm. And besides, on our hill, frost can still come for another five weeks.
Farmers, food and the environment get a lot of attention these days. And that’s understandable. We are becoming much more environmentally minded as a nation. However, it’s only fair to remind ourselves of the old saying, “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander”. When it comes to the environment, we each have our own effect on it. Just because I may be small in size doesn’t excuse me from using my sprays, fertilizers, and other products….organic or inorganic….in an environmentally correct manner. I can recall an article I recently read that estimated that homeowners sometimes apply up to over 20 times the labeled rate of some products that come in those handy ready to use squirt bottles of weed killer, bug spray, and the like. We wouldn’t like it if farmers did that would we?
Take fertilizer and raised garden beds. Here in our cold environment, they are a great way of getting an early garden planted in some warmer, well-drained soil. Kind of hard to use a little hand help fertilizer spreader in such a tight area, isn’t it? How about using an old plant container that has those nifty drain holes in the bottom? You can keep track of how much fertilizer you use and the holes allow you to shake it on the ground and get a real even coverage. The root hairs on your tender transplants will thank you for not overdosing them with too many nutrients! Your fruit trees and berry bushes will thank you, too. It may not seem like a very complicated thing. And that’s my point, many successful farmers and gardeners have never gone to college for such things. Farming and gardening are two areas where common sense and ingenuity to solve problems can really pay off.
I worked for a little while for Scotts Fertilizer as a merchandising assistant. It was a fund job that took me back to the basics of Lawn and Garden retailing. If there was one thing that it reminded me of it was that the homeowner can have a tremendous impact on the environment just like the farmer. And I can say that many of use can quickly fall into the trap of “if a little is good then more must be better, especially when it’s my weeds and my lawn”. So please, read those bottles and follow those labels. The manufacturer spent a lot of money with the EPA and others to put it on that bag of fertilizer or bottle of garden spray.
Here is to a great season for all our Green Thumbs! Thanks for reading!