This was an interesting article from a horticulturist at Cornell.  It's fairly Northeast - centric, but that's expected since it's a talk to a group in upstate NY.  Still it touches on the topic in general 


He also doesn't say that much about exactly what gardeners should be doing to adapt.  A little.  He does discuss that gardeners like to experiment, and will be important in learning what will grow where, as climate patterns change in an unpredictable world.


Despite the title of the video, he doesn't talk that much about sustainable gardening.  A bit, but it's not central to the talk.

Other sources.


Sustainable Gardening Blog.  Nice sidebar about what gardeners can do to reduce their role in climate change.


Her list includes  -


Use less gas-powered yard tools and products that require fossil fuels.  That can include less mowing, a big factor.   Chemical fertilizers require fossil fuels.  As noted in the video, it's not that clean cut, but is a start.


Compost leaves - and yard waste - and kitchen scraps - not sending them to landfill.


Grow your own food.


Use a clothesline instead of power dryer for clothes.  That's not really a gardening practice.


Choose trees and shrubs that do well across many temperature zones - I want to add, trees from nurseries and big box stores are often all the same clone.  Or one of only a few clones.  There is almost no genetic diversity, so adaptation is not optimal.  I want to encourage people to start trees from seeds.  It takes longer, but even then not as long as one might think.  And we plant for future generations.  I have a maple that I moved from a volunteer seedling last fall.  It was 2 feet tall.  Now it's 12 feet tall, on its own roots.  The nursery-grown maple in the same yard added a couple of inches of growth, due to the loss of roots in the nursery-preparation process.  Most trees lose 75% to 90% of their root mass, so it takes much longer to take off and grow, compared to a seedling on its own roots.  Growing trees from seeds gives much better genetic diversity, and therefore better capacity for adaptation.


A lot could be added to that list.

The video mentions using mulches.  An organic mulch - compost, straw, newspaper, others - conserves water, reduces weeds or need for herbicides if one is so inclined, and makes the soil more spongy and fertile.


Choose more plants that require less maintenance - less annual, more perennial, more shrubby or trees, more bulb growers, plants that shade the soil.


The video mentions planting trees.  He gives a precaution, that isn't everything and to make up for one's carbon footprint, it requires planting a lot of trees.  But it is the process of a zillion steps, not just one, and tree planting is a laudable practice.


Decrease tilling.  Tilling causes organic matter to break down faster, adding to CO2 in the atmosphere and damaging the soil's sponginess, requiring more fertilizers and other interventions.  Instead, mulching, again, is a good practice.  Till where needed.  Raised beds reduce the need for tilling, once prepared.


Be adaptable.  I've been reading about plastic mulches to warm the soil for garden plants that don't do well in early spring or cooler climates, like mine.  Clear plastic is the best at warming soil, black is pretty good.  But there's the "plastic" issue.  Then again, I probably have some plastic drop cloth waiting for the next pain job.  Maybe I could use that.  There are biodegradable clear plastic mulches.  Those also make some use of petrochemicals, but would reduce water use and make for a longer harvest / harvest of plants that I might not be able to grow otherwise.  Not sure yet what I think about that.


Save Seeds. With consolidation of seed genetic diversity into a few corporate hands, there is less diversity for us to adapt to climate change.  The individual gardener can save seeds for their locally adapted varieties, which adapt gradually as the climate changes.  If you save your best performing bean seeds each year, for example, then the genetic sorting and mutations that result in the best beans for your climate will be perpetuated.  Darwin in the garden, to help  us adapt.


There is also "My Climate Change Garden" blog. 


And "Global Gardening . org


Thoughts and ideas?


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Replies to This Discussion

Here's another article from National Wildlife Federation,

"Gardeners Guide to Global Warming"

They recommend -

Use more energy efficient tools and appliances (gardening or not that makes sense)

Use less gasoline powered tools and more human powered tools.  (raking is not that difficult)

Use fewer "invasive" plants.  (I don't know whether I agree - today's 'invasive' might be tomorrow's 'adaptation'

Use a diversity of native plants (I think a diversity of plants, period, is good.  But I understand their point)

Improve water management - mulch, rain barrels, drip irrigation, xeriscape, have a rain garden.

Compost kitchen scraps and garden trimming - I agree.

Establish a green roof, with vegetation on the roof.  I always like that idea.

Plant lots of trees to absorb CO2.  They make the point, ". If every one of America’s 91 million gardening households planted just one young shade tree in their backyard or community, those trees would absorb around 2.25 million tons of CO2 each year."

This article was in the direction of how gardeners can reduce their impact on climate change, but there were some aspect of adapting to the challenge.




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