Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Compost

Okay, in the interest of self expression (see the post 'Infidel,' to which I would like to add that my art is a form of self expression in which I do not hold back), I would like to state that I am a fan of the earth. The wind in the trees, or on water, or along grasslands, draws me inward towards peace and upwards towards god. As an individual I feel a responsibility to do what I can when I have knowledge and the strength to do it, to make choices which reduce my negative, hurtful impact on the earth in order to assure wind in the trees, on the water, or along the grasslands for many generations to come. I grew up on a farm, which nurtured a love for the earth but also bred a realistic view of nature--a Thoreau type regard tempered with some Melville type respect for its indifference and power. However, being a rural family, we did no recycling, some burning, some herbicide and pesticide use, etc.
Now I live in a townhouse, which precludes much of a garden, but situates us near recycling facilities and bus routes...interesting to me how moving away from a rural setting, which is closer to nature, empowered me to do more for it...
As a ten year old I had a teacher who was a real hippie, granola bagger type, who didn't shave her armpits and wore those hideous dress jumpers with the shapeless skirt and buttons down the torso. I loved her. Well, she was the first environmentalist I met and she educated us about the issues of the day, which included landfill overuse, plastic and styrofoam properties and overuse, overpopulation, and pollution. One of the things she taught us about was cloth diapers. A testament to the power of a teacher in a child's life is that I grew up determined to use cloth diapers. Now, I know the environmental impact of cloth is not nil. The washing and drying of diapers uses electricity, which contributes to pollution and certainly the hydro dams in b.c. have an environmental footprint. When Ayden was 2 and still nowhere near interested in pottying I discovered a store in town that sold phosphate free, fully biodegradable laundry soap for not too expensive, so I bought that and used it on the diapers to reduce phosphate soap pollution as a result of those diapers. Also, when Ayden was 8 months old our washing machine died--ironically on a load of poopy diapers--and we bought an energy star water saving front loader appliance to replace our 20 year old klunker, further reducing the impact of those diapers. As you learn new information, you can do new things.
Recently I have been bothered by the iridescent blue 'miracle grow' flower food I put in my flower beds. It always kind of bothered me, but without it my flowers don't bloom. Also, the pesticides keep the bugs out of my plants. Recently I've learned more about chemicle free gardening, which I'm fairly excited about. Learning new information! Doing new things! Something which I learned that I never thought of before was that plants native to your area are hardier and have natural defences against local insects, fungus, etc, and so are wiser to use in your garden if you want to stay away from the pesticides. And compost is the perfect fertilizer for plants, including flowers...hmmmm...I have not yet been able to cultivate native plants in our garden because you can't 'begin' a garden in June, but I will be planning for next year (if we're still here...if we move elsewhere I may have a bigger garden to work with...). In the meantime, I was bummed because our townhouse common yard area really wouldn't allow for a big compost bin, and we would have trouble filling it. A few weeks ago there was an ad in the paper for a 'worm composting bin' workshop put on by the Langley Environmental Parnters Society, aka LEPS, and apparantly these worm bins are perfect for apartment dwellers and townhouse owners. The bin is small, the worms quick and efficient, and the bins don't smell or attract flies if properly maintained. So, off I went.
We have had our worm bin for a week and a half now. We've attracted a few fruit flies so I did some research and discovered that I wasn't burying the food deep enough in the soil of my bin, so hopefully we can rectify that. In a few months my worms will take my garbage and munch and poop it into nutrient rich dirt that I can add to my garden. How perfect is that? A step closer to eliminating those iridescent blue flower crystals, and the pesticide spray in my garage. Plus, some of what would go to the dump now goes in my garden.
This weekend I learned about 'zero impact' gardens, where you plant a garden that you don't need to water...not so sure about that one...maybe a rain barrel would be better? Not sure if our strata would like a rain barrel any more than they would like a compost bin, though.
There you go, an opinion expressed and examined. Hopefully nobody will reject me :p (see earlier post).

3 comments:

Roboseyo said...

environmentally friendly gardening? I don't want you reading my blog anymore, mel. (hehehehehe)

Roboseyo said...

but seriously, good for you. i'm trying to find a way to train monkeys to clean my apartment. that's being eco-friendly too, right?

Louise said...

We love our compost too. It's amazing how little garbage you produce when half of it goes into the compost! By the way, I love hearing when a teacher makes an impact on a student, she def. sounds unique:)