Size Doesn’t Matter

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.

Your pocket book, garden plants, lawn, bees, worms, and all those important critters that make your soil healthy will thank you for doing so!

Here is to a great season for all our Green Thumbs!  Thanks for reading!

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3 thoughts on “Size Doesn’t Matter

  1. This is a well written, well intended essay. My farm is organic. It was bought by my great great great great grandfather in 1845. It’s still in the family but what was once a 40 head dairy of 185 acres is now conservation land. We simply couldn’t compete so the farm lies fallow and empty for the past quarter century. I went to college for music and was employable only in the. Ity. Nine generations have been in this house which, since 1948, has been a summer home. In 1986 the cattle was sold and the stockman had to be let go.
    Your essay spoke of the small specialty farms, but here in the Finger Lakes most of these farms are now ghost towns; wooden buildings melting into the ground. Taxes sky high and maintenance costs outlandish. The farm house contains every personal item going back many generations to 1845 but the cost to hear it makes living there prohibitive. We live in the head stockman’s house and the main house looks a cross between a museum and a Shirley Jackson haunted house.
    This is more and more common ss capitalism and corporations drive us out of business. Is this a national issue or specific to New York?

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