Monday, April 9, 2012

Salvage in the Garden

Salvage is something gardeners can sometimes carry too far.  The woods around the community garden are dotted at irregular intervals with little piles of treasure stored there by enterprising gardeners over the years: orange snow fences, large straight sticks of all sorts, old beat-up tarps, broken storage totes.  Junk-looker that I am, I certainly can't throw any stones.  Yes, those are milk jugs holding down a protective net covering made from the crinoline of my wedding dress.  (It just made it too bulky to store, okay?!)

Community garden plot

In one respect, however, garden hoarders are far ahead of their time: the use of leftover, excess, and unwanted food materials to enhance the soil.  It really makes me sad to think how many people will get up tomorrow and make coffee for themselves, throwing yesterday's grounds into the trash.  I can't escape the thought that some portion of the materials used by the coffee plant to make those beans came directly from the soil and will now end up locked away in a landfill.  How long can this continue before we have to start digging this precious stuff back out?

Gardeners know better.  My local Starbucks bags their coffee grounds and filters separate from the trash and leaves them out back for a guy who comes every day to pick them up.  Where does your food waste go?

A beautiful Valerie lettuce plant, with scattered coffee grounds on the right

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