Thirty Days in the Garden: Earth Day

April 22 is Earth Day, the anniversary of the start of the environmental movement in 1970. This year’s theme is #RestoreOurEarth.

Drought tolerant Salvia (Mexican Sage)

Over the past five years, we’ve made changes to our garden, adaptions that honor our fragile environment. We replaced our lawn with native and drought-tolerant plants. We installed a rain catchment system that diverts rain from storm drains, making it available for the garden. Unused rainwater can also be released to recharge depleted groundwater.

Rain catchment system (and Tessa)

I’ve always planted species that attract bees, but we make sure to have water available as well. It’s often the smallest things that create a big impact on the ecosystem around you.

I LOVE bees

I don’t have space for a large composting system, but I found a self-contained one that works wonders. Dried leaves and kitchen scraps, aided by billions of microbes and earthworms, compost scraps into rich nutrients for the soil.

Tessa likes to sit on the composter at dusk

By removing our lawn, we increased garden diversity. An expanse of lawn is a monoculture. It’s the use of land by one crop at a time. Monoculture farms can produce food in vast volumes at an affordable price but at great cost to the environment. Monocultures require heavy pesticide use. They degrade the soil, leading to erosion. Monocultures require more water, and they place a lot of stress on our pollinators. Without them, we couldn’t survive.

Bee pollinating wildflower

Earth Day is widely recognized as the largest secular observance in the world, marked by more than a billion people every year as a day of action to change human behavior and create global, national and local policy changes.

I grew up embarrassed by my vegetarian mother, only to become a vegetarian myself at 18. I’ve always loved animals, and I no longer wanted to eat them. Dairy stops me from becoming a full-on vegan, but it’s a goal worth striving for. Eating lower on the food chain benefits everyone on the planet.

Growing strawberries in the VegTrug

There is so much more to do. I’m still using more water than I should. It’s a balancing act, one that I’ve yet to perfect. Our reliance on fossil fuels is of huge concern as well. One of the unexpected benefits of this pandemic is the reduction in commutes. I hope that trend continues.

I pledge to continue to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

My garden will remain pesticide-free.

I will continue to attract pollinators and beneficial insects to my garden.

I pledge to continue my education in best gardening practices. A healthy earth begins with me.

A basket of succulents outside my laundry room window

Are you celebrating Earth Day?

9 thoughts on “Thirty Days in the Garden: Earth Day

  1. Definitely a day worth celebrating and nobody can say you’re not doing your bit Alys.
    We’re also very careful what we grow and what we use in the garden and hope we are maintaining and improving an inviting space for birds and insects.


  2. You are certainly doing your bit every day, as it should be, and as we try to. When we bought the house we inherited water catchment tanks, and our lawn is the size of a postage stamp. The amount of hanging baskets the Head Gardener puts up need a couple of hours of watering a day in high summer, so we sometimes run out of rainwater.


  3. Happy Earth Day garden girl and bravo for your commitment to our planets good health. It seems more and more people, living the urban life, are getting on board. Luckily, our yard doesn’t require much watering in our climate. It can get pretty warm in late July and early August, but being a month or so, it’s not much of a watering season. The exception is the flower baskets of course. Containing soil that drains well means they dry out fast, so that is a daily commitment. I did buy a water gauge so that I don’t water them unnecessarily, which is easy to do when the top soil feels dry. This morning, it’s snowing, LOL xoK


  4. You have done a lot in recent years with these changes to your garden and your rain collectors. Every little helps and you have set a fine example. I hope your neighbours have taken note!


  5. Protecting our Earth home is probably the most important thing we can do, and I do believe that every little thing we do counts, and it all adds up if millions more folk do the same.


  6. Happy Earth day, Alys. You always have gone the extra mile to do the right thing for the planet. It’s important that we all do every little thing possible to leave a small footprint. I think I took out my lawn the second summer I was here even though we have a bit more water, just not in the summer. Tessa is keeping warm on the composter. ­čÖé So sweet to see her. Hugs.


  7. I love that you collect rainwater, that you compost, and that you love bees.
    Have you ever taught any gardening clases at a community center?


    • I’m flattered that you would think that, Laurie. Thank you. I’ve couched many friends over the years, and I used to occasionally take in and rehab houseplants. I’m self taught, from books and from the school of life. It’s been a joy.


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