Dear Santa: Sustainable Gift Ideas For The Eco-Friendly Gardener

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Dear Santa: Sustainable Gift Ideas For The Eco-Friendly Gardener

Dear Santa,

It’s been quite the year for the garden. There was heat, torrential rain, drought, and smoke from wildfires. Climatologists said it was all enhanced by a warming atmosphere and planet, and we all need to do more to keep our world cool. I hope I made the nice list this year because I have a few sustainable gift ideas!

Good Gardening Deeds

I used my garden ollas this year to offset water usage during drought. During hot weather, I kept the ground covered with mulch and plants so the roots and the tiny microorganisms living underground wouldn’t get thirsty.

I didn’t panic when smoke from wildfires descended on the garden. I researched and learned it could have benefits. I planted in containers that I turned into hügelkultur havens so the plants they held could be nourished by living soil. I refrained from cleaning up the leaves littering the garden in the fall, and instead, I left them to decompose and add nutrients back into it over winter.

I’ve written up a Christmas wish list so I can continue with my good gardening deeds next year!

Worms

Vermicompost is the product of earthworm aerobic decomposition and digestion (aka worm poop). When worms are added to organic matter, they work to produce a rich organic soil amendment containing a diversity of plant nutrients and beneficial microorganisms that help the soil hold in carbon. The worms in my garden won’t do the job. They are soil-dwelling and won’t reproduce in tight spaces like composting bins. So, a package of red wiggler worms under the tree would be great.

Comfrey

A few comfrey plants would be very appreciated. Comfrey is a perennial herb with large green leaves and purple, pink, or white flowers. It serves as a natural fertilizer because of its high nitrogen content. The comfrey leaves can be used as mulch around fruit trees and, if spread on the vegetable garden in the fall, will decompose over winter, adding nitrogen to the soil, a building block of healthy plants.

Rock Dust

If you could ask the elves to grind some rocks into powder, that would be great, Santa. Rock dust, aka rock powder or soil remineralizer, is a natural source of minerals and trace elements. When added to garden soil, it can provide elements such as calcium, potassium, and iron, essential to plant growth and help bind soil particles together. This improves soil structure and prevents erosion often caused by cold, rain, and heat.

A Bucket Of Sand

As you deliver gifts to tropical places, please scoop up some beach sand for my garden. Sand improves drainage and allows airflow and oxygen into the soil. If I mix sand with compost and add it to my containers, it will be great for the plants that live in them and the soil.

Bags Of Coal

Finally, I won’t mind if you leave me some lumps of coal. Did you know that biochar, a form of charcoal produced from plant matter, is good for the soil and can improve its ability to retain water next summer when it’s hot again?

Thanks, Santa. I know my requests are strange and all about the soil in my garden. When plants take in carbon, it’s converted into food for billions of creatures underground who eat it and keep it out of the atmosphere. In the era of climate change, that microscopic ecosystem might save us all! It’s essential to take care of it so it can take care of us.

Happy Holidays and happy gardening!

 

Garden Culture Magazine

✿ Read More: Gardening Tips and Advice.

Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.