Reducing waste with your garden

We need to be reminded of the importance of our environment and how irreplaceable it is should we destroy it

Oct. 15 to 21 is Waste Reduction Week across Canada.

We need to be reminded of the importance of our environment and how irreplaceable it is should we destroy it.

This program has done much since its inauguration in 1984 to raise awareness of how wasteful our consumption has become and how it translates into our environment. People are sorting their garbage and redirecting items such as organics, plastic, metal and other materials away from the landfill.

Reports show that recycling is reclaiming almost 40 percent of what used to go to the dumps. This translates into an extended lifespan of our landfills and that is good. But we still cannot see the forest for the refuse piles yet. We could do better.

One place to look for help in improving our carbon footprint is in our gardens. And you do not have to be a fanatical gardener or have a large garden to participate. Postage-size patio and balcony gardens can also help to reduce waste.

We should be turning our kitchen scraps into compost. Grass clippings are also good for the compost pile.

By adding leaves, woodchips, sawdust, cardboard and/or newspaper you will generate a good balance of nitrogen (green materials) and carbon (brown materials) in your compost. A little moisture and allowing air into the pile will add heat and greatly speed up the whole process of turning your “waste” into good enriched soil for the garden.

And it does not take long. Following this recipe, our latest batch only took four weeks from waste to friable soil. Well, OK…we had a tarp on it and August was definitely hot, although our compost bins are sited in almost complete shade.

Using compost to top-dress the borders, fill our pots and enrich the vegetable garden will give you healthy plants, save you money and cut down on emissions.

No need to buy soil or amendments and have it trucked in. The expense of pest management becomes non-existent because healthy plants do a good job of warding off pests by themselves.

The BC Recycling Council estimates if we all compost our organics, we can potentially divert 225 kilograms per person of material from the landfills each year.

Which leads us to water conservation. How are we doing in that sector?

Not good, according to Environment Canada. They claim, per capita, Canadians rank amongst the highest for water usage…in the world.

With the demand for water on the rise and water tables shrinking through increased and prolonged periods of drought, we are gradually whittling away at our water resources. And let us not forget how much pollution is impacting on the safety of our water supply.

In the garden, we can conserve water in a number of creative ways. Mulching the borders around the plants cuts down on the need to water. Incorporating native plants used to our particular growing conditions is another way. And we should all be collecting  rain water off our roofs.

If you must have some water-hog plants in your landscape, install a drip line that will deliver water right where it is needed. An inverted milk jug with a finishing nail-size hole in the lid also makes a good water supplier, especially if you are going to be away for a few days.

This is only the tip of the iceberg in how we can recycle in the garden.

What ideas do you have on reducing your waste in the garden setting? Think about it. Our environment and natural resources are important…we cannot replace them once they are lost.

Leslie Cox co-owns Growing Concern Cottage Garden in Black Creek. Her website is at www.duchessofdirt.ca and her column appears every second Friday in the Record.

Just Posted

Mark Henderson’s exhibit, “Bikes and Barbies,” is now showing at Artful : The Gallery on Cumberland Road in Courtenay. Photo supplied.
New exhibit at Courtenay art gallery

Artful : The Gallery is showing art by Mark Henderson until Saturday,… Continue reading

Charles Hawkswell, Commander, of the Cape Lazo Power and Sail Squadron, presents a $1,000 cheque to the Comox Valley Marine Rescue Society. File photo
Comox removing moorage fees, hydro for Comox Valley Marine Rescue Society

Last year, the unit and society responded to more than 50 rescue missions in the past year

A Saanich man received almost 10 years in Supreme Court in Courtenay for a shooting incident from 2018. Record file photo
Shooting incident north of Courtenay nets almost 10-year sentence

Richard Daniel Vigneault was arrested without incident and faced 16 counts

Dr. Aref Tabarsi, a general pathologist at the North Island Hospital Campbell River Hospital Medical Laboratory, spoke about the issue of service in the region at a meeting in February 2020. Black Press file photo
Comox Strathcona hospital board wants pathology service back

UPDATED: Board supports move for chair, vice-chair to engage with Island Health on issue

Danielle Egilson has been awarded a $40,000 post-secondary scholarship with The Cmolik Foundation. Photo supplied
Student from Courtenay’s Vanier Secondary lands prestigious scholarship

Cmolik Foundation provides opportunities for youth who’ve experienced adversity

While the route to get there is a little different, downtown Courtenay is open and accessible right now. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Bridge — and downtown Courtenay — are open, say businesses

Incoming BIA president Sean Ferguson says parking is available

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The following is a list of restaurants offering take-out and patio dining. ADOBE STOCK IMAGE
List of Comox Valley restaurants offering take-out, patio dining options

Restaurants in the Comox Valley continue to adapt to government-imposed restrictions in… Continue reading

The only access to 5th Street bridge heading east (toward Lewis Park) is via Anderton Avenue. Photo by Terry Farrell.
Single lane alternating traffic controls on Courtenay bridge now in effect

Single lane alternating traffic on the 5th Street Bridge is now in… Continue reading

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is seen at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 22, 2021. Dr. Ben Chan remembers hearing the preliminary reports back in March of blood clots appearing in a handful of European recipients of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Science on COVID, VITT constantly changing: A look at how doctors keep up

While VITT can represent challenges as a novel disorder, blood clots themselves are not new

Poached trees that were taken recently on Vancouver Island in the Mount Prevost area near Cowichan, B.C. are shown on Sunday, May 10, 2021. Big trees, small trees, dead trees, softwoods and hardwoods have all become valuable targets of tree poachers in British Columbia as timber prices hit record levels. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne.
Tree poaching from public forests increasing in B.C. as lumber hits record prices

Prices for B.C. softwood lumber reached $1,600 for 1,000 board feet compared with about $300 a year ago

The warm weather means time for a camping trip, or at least an excursion into nature. How much do you know about camps and camping-related facts? (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Are you ready to go camping?

How many camp and camping-related questions can you answer?

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

Most Read