Earth Kind is not what I first thought. It’s not an over the top, radical plan to save planet Earth in an over the top, unrealistic, unsustainable plan.
Earth Kind it turns out is a common sense approach to feeding your family home grown healthy food while protecting an enhancing out environment.
Texas Cooperative Extension has implemented the EARTH-KIND program[#1]. This program combines the best organic and traditional gardening principles to create a new horticultural system, a system based on real world effectiveness and environmental responsibility.
The environment we live in is in a big part the environment made by us, you and I. Each of us is and should be responsible for our own landscapes and gardens. If we do our fair share and practice environmentally responsible landscaping and gardening techniques, a major step will be taken toward ridding the world of the polluting effects of waste and contamination.
Here are a few Earth Kind plans that can be easily implemented in your existing garden landscape.
* Mulch – adding and maintaining a three-inch layer of plant-derived mulch, such as native hardwood, will significantly reduce the amount of water required in the landscape. This is especially true when drip irrigation is placed underneath it. Mulch also helps prevent weeds and erosion, modifies the soil temperature, and serves as continuous supply of organic matter for the soil beneath.
Mulch can easily be added to an existing landscape and may be available free from municipal or utility sites.
* Integrated Pest Management (IPM) This is a balanced approach to pest control that focuses on using cultural, biological, and mechanical control measures.
Under IPM, chemical control is used only as a last resort. Strategies include using pest and disease tolerant plants, preserving pest’s natural enemies, and excluding or physically removing pests.
Chemical treatments are selected carefully and used only when pest populations warrant such measures.
In the case of chemical control, select the product that is least toxic, but yet still effective, and avoid using broad-spectrum insecticides that also kill
* Composting can convert yard waste such as leaves, grass clippings, and pruning waste into compost, rather than paying to have it removed and added to a land fill.
A properly managed compost pile can produce a valuable soil amendment in one to three months and often without disagreeable odors.
Compost is derived from once-living material so it contains most of the nutrients that plants need in a slow-release form, it improves soil structure, and best of all it is free.
* Preparing your planting areas. Preparing the soil properly can drastically reduce the need for fertilizers in both new and existing beds.
It can also reduce disease problems and the amount of water required.
Incorporating at least 3 inches of finished, plant-derived compost into the soil will improve the nutrient and water holding capacity in sandy soils and improve drainage in clay.
Compost supplies nutrients slowly, encourages beneficial soil microorganisms, and allows roots to penetrate deeper for greater water uptake.
Raised beds approximately 12 inches high and crowned in the center will greatly
improve plant performance where soils drain poorly.
[#1]Earth-Kind Gardening Index This is an extensive and in my humble opinion a must have Gardening Reference Document.
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