GIVING THE NEW YEAR A POSITIVE START Since 2017 was a year of political turmoil and climate-related devastation across the planet, I decided that reading an aspirational non-fiction work would be a positive way to start the new year. ...by Roberta Brown-Jones
One delicious and rewarding activity to undertake is planting a garden
Read-in-Ned May 25, 2017
By Celine Cooper
Let’s face it: Our world is a bit of a mess right now. No matter where you stand on the political, religious, or scientific spectrum, there are many threats to our planet and selves. Many of us work a 9-5, or have multiple jobs or kids or families that demand our attention and time, so how do we find the energy to invest back into the world? And what can we do to make the world a better place?
Luckily, there are many things we can do (and books we can read) to help us give back in a time of uncertainty and transition. One delicious and rewarding activity to undertake is planting a garden. Gardening is something that can either be as complicated as a 10 acre plot using biodynamic and permaculture methods, or can be as simple as a single raised bed in your backyard. On an even smaller scale, planting herbs and veggies in pots can offer a fun twist to your cooking routine, and can brighten up your space and mood.
One book that is perfect for starting small is Small-Space Vegetable Gardens by Andrea Bellamy. In this easy and useful guide, Bellamy provides the reader with tips, techniques and tools to grow food in containers, raised beds, small plots, and small spaces. Although concise, Bellamy’s text would be a great place to start for the novice gardener who wants to make a difference, live more sustainably, or simply not drive to Boulder for the tomatoes your favorite recipe calls for. Full color pictures, step-by-step guides and planting charts make this text the perfect jumping-off point for your summer garden.
For the more advanced gardener/designer/landscape aficionado, Nederland Community Library offers a plethora of books on permaculture, which is the development of agricultural ecosystems intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient. One of our newer books is Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability by David Holmgren, an Australian environmental designer, ecological educator and co-originator of the Permaculture Concept with Bill Mollison. In Holmgren’s thorough and well-annotated work, readers can learn about the twelve permaculture design principles, with richly detailed descriptions of how to apply and adapt them to your own system. Graphs and flowcharts illustrate relationships between living and nonliving systems, and their relevance in the study and adaptation of permaculture concepts. Holmgren’s book recognizes the self sufficiency and sustainability of nature and the need for our society, government, and lifestyles to reflect the same virtues.
A more practical, and easily applicable option is High Country Veggies by Cheryl Anderson Wright. In this fun and illustrative guide, Wright leads readers through various gardening terms and techniques, while also giving a history of, and recipes for various vegetables that thrive in high altitudes. In addition to covering many vegetables, she also teaches the reader about soil science, plant diseases, mulch, composting and more. This book, plus Gardening Lab for Kids by Renata Fossen Brown would serve as a great lesson for the whole family in how to make gardening a fun and easily approachable activity for all ages.
So whether you are a master or novice gardener, it is worth the time, sweat and dirt to dig down and see how you can make a difference in the world- even if it is just in your own backyard.
Celine Cooper is the Children and Youth Services Coordinator at the Nederland Community Library.