When it comes to sustainability, condition 2 states that, as a society, we must reduce and eventually eliminate our contribution to the systematic accumulation of substances produced by society. When I read this system condition, I automatically think Unity Gardens. But Why?
Cardboard + Grass Clippings + Mulch – No, No, No Pesticides. What do these actually mean? True Sustainable Gardening! When I first walked onto the huge Pick-for-Free at LaSalle Square, I was wondering how/why green plants (at that time they all looked like plants/flowers to me) were growing around what seemed to be dead grass. Being a city boy, I had a lot to learn about how to run/grow a successful garden, and for those who don’t know, here’s how it goes
- First you decide whether you will plant directly in the ground or will you construct a raised bed in which you will grow your garden. Whichever option you choose, the following steps for a pesticide free sustainable garden will follow in the same order.
- Now you have to get some cardboard. Buy why might you ask? Several reasons! First, the cardboard keeps the weeds down, which means less manual labor in the end. Second, the cardboard breaks back down into the environment which feeds both the soil and the worms that eat and live inside of the soil. Now that you have the education on what the cardboard does, let’s use it. You must wet the cardboard with water to start the process. The water helps the cardboard break down as well as it helps nourish the roots that are growing from your plants.
- If you have a raised bed, you will place dirt (topsoil) onto the cardboard and fill the beds to the top which is based on how deep you constructed the beds. If you not using a raised bed, cut an X into the cardboard where you want plants to go, use a little garden shovel to dig some of the dirt out, and then place your plants into the dirt.
- Now you take grass clipping from your yard, your neighbors yard, or wherever you can get them for as cheep as possible and place them around your plants. You want to place a nice thick layer down because it keeps the ground and your plants from drying out and dying as fast because it cools the land around your plants.
- Now you want to mulch around your raised beds or in the lanes around the plants that you have placed directly into the ground. The mulch helps with aesthetic beauty, it keeps the weeds down, and the mulch also breaks down into the land. Because of this, if you have a garden that isn’t inside of a raised bed, when you go to plant the next year, you just turn the mulch over into the land and it acts like nourishment for the land for the next couple of years until it breaks all the way down.
Like Mrs. Reagan had her Just Say No to drugs Campaign, sustainable farmers must say no to pesticides. Pesticides kill bugs, harm/ pollute your final product, and they degrade the land which IS NOT sustainable. This internship has been a positive experience because before I came here; I knew nothing about farm style gardening, urban gardening, or even herb gardening in your kitchen, but now I can take my knowledge with me to educate and empower others on what it means to be truly sustainable.