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  • Writer's pictureHive Mendocino

A Better Garden for 2020

The new year brings with it an abundance of new possibilities. It’s an opportunity to start anew, to try alternative methods, and to work on ourselves as cultivators. This year, we want to focus our development in the garden, working to find ways to weave sustainability and community involvement in our everyday routine. With our focus on working with the natural elements, we want to expand our motivation outward so that others feel compelled to do the same. We welcome you to come along on our journey to oneness with our earth by implementing these following resolutions in your gardening practices.

1. Use non-toxic means to rid our garden of pests.

We understand these pests have a purpose here on earth as much as we do, but we gently want to send the message that they are welcome only outside the walls of our garden. We will continue to exclusively use natural, chemical-free pest management methods, such as essential oils and bio-insecticides, as well as encourage a population of beneficial insects and predatory bugs that will keep unwanted pest populations at a minimum. We can combine these methods with proactive grooming of our garden and surrounding areas to limit potential real estate that is attractive to the pests we want to keep at a distance.

2. Strengthen water conservation methods.

The strategic placement of irrigation lines throughout a garden is a great way to counteract the possibility of over-watering. These systems give more precise control over how much water is used and to what areas that water is directed. Laying these lines down out of the way of working feet will prevent excessive breakage, but regular inspection of these lines is still a necessity. Natural wear and tear is to be expected, and leaks in your irrigation lines will be adverse to your water conservation efforts.

We have also implemented the use of water meters on our farm, measuring the moisture content of the soil before deciding how much water is needed. Properly amending the soil will help with water retention, and in turn, lessen how often your plants request a watering. If the soil is arid, overly porous, or lacking in microbes, water will not latch on to the medium efficiently, and your water usage will increase. If the law allows in your area, setting up a rainwater collection system to use for watering your garden is a great way to limit your personal water usage and overall footprint as well.

3. Ramp up the composting.

Composting at home is a way to give back to the earth while also limiting the amount of waste material we send to the landfill. We can then use this compost to rebuild garden soil, creating a rich mixture that has ideal water retention. The additional nutrients composting can add to your soil creates a medium that not only promotes plant health but also boosts the activity of micro-organisms living in the soil.

4. Better soil = a better crop.

Giving Tree Farms sends out soil samples between every harvest to receive a big picture of where our soil health stands. Where we see it is lacking, we can add amendments before the next planting cycle. As mentioned above, using compost to add nutrients to the soil leads to a vibrant, robust housing for our plant’s roots to prosper. With the notion that excellent soil is the foundation of a successful harvest, we put an importance on starting things off right from the get-go.

5. Encourage pollinators with native plants.

Native plants are low-maintenance additions to your garden that attract beneficial pollinators to your area. These plants preserve the natural ecosystem around you and bring life to your garden and community. It’s best to do some research so that you avoid invasive varieties. They can be tough to control, inadvertently causing more harm than good.

6. Cultivate more for personal use.

We can significantly reduce our footprint by growing our own fruits and veggies at home. If we overproduce, we can sell the surplus at a local farmers market, trade with one of our neighbors, or donate to the local food bank. Not only do we put our prana and organic rituals into the crops we grow on our own, but we also limit transportation emissions, take support away from farm corporations that use unsustainable methods, and provide opportunities for our community to support itself.

7. Share more knowledge. Absorb more knowledge.

We accomplish feats of success more efficiently as a collective unit, highlighting the significance of sharing our knowledge with others. We can learn of new possibilities, encourage experimentation, and feed the community beneficial information. Inspiring the youth to get involved in their neighborhood garden or local conservation group is a proactive way to instill selfless service and a love for nature into the future of our society. Local libraries offer education assistance through the use of shared books, and local meetup groups/online communities present a setting where everyone can exchange their ideas freely and creatively.

Working together and building each other up is ingrained into the Hive Mendocino Cooperative culture. We know a sustainable future is only possible through a united effort and aligned appreciation, so by standing strong together, we can set goals and reach them, sharing the many successes along the way.

Photo by: Markus Spiske on Unsplash

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