As sustainable gardeners we are probably relying quite a bit on commercially sourced compost, manures and mulch to help promote healthy plant growth. But do these products reliably do that? Over the last decade or so there have been problems worldwide with contamination with substances that harm seeds and plants that we want to grow and eat.
In order to walk around your garden, or to have open spaces for table and chairs, you might be seeking to install a surface that is firm, attractive and needs little care. Or you may want something with similar characteristics to use as a mulch alternative. There are many suitable materials available from garden centres. But how do the different products stack up with respect to their sustainability? There are many factors to consider in addition to their appearance.
If you are reading this your food supply is probably currently quite secure. Even if you don’t grow much of your own food, the fact that you have email, a computer, time to garden and probably the money to buy seeds and other gardening requirements means that you are not worrying about feeding yourself or your family. However, this is not the case for an increasing number of people. On the other hand, it is being realized that we all need to think about increasing our food security. What can gardeners do to improve the situation?
You may have heard how eating red/purple/blue fruit can improve your health. Most focus has been on cherries, black grapes (and, therefore, red wine) and a range of berries. Health benefits have been ascribed to the antioxidant properties of the anthocyanin pigments that they contain. But let’s not forget that there are also many other fruit and veggies that contain anthocyanins and other health-promoting pigments such as betacyanins and carotenes and that many are easy to grow.
If we live in city suburbs we are now used to seeing old houses in established gardens being pulled down to make way for new large houses, dual occupancies or apartment blocks built with very little garden and few trees. Maybe we sigh and wonder what the world is coming to, but there are some moves in the opposite direction. Vision 202020, started in 2013, is an attempt to increase green space in Australia’s cities by 20% by 2020 to future-proof them so they can cope with a warming climate and pressures of modern living.