Tuesday, June 5, 2018

5 Eco-friendly & Organic Gardening Steps Fauji Wives (and anyone with a garden) Can Take In A Snap

We military/fauji folk often live in green areas with sprawling gardens, prolific backyards, and lush surroundings with trees and abundant fauna. The air there is clean, the skies blue (sans a film of smoke) and the opportunity to tend to the Earth, bountiful. But even though most of us like to get our gardeners to create immaculate gardens and plant rows upon rows of vegetables and flowers, not many of us actually take eco-friendly steps.


Military areas might look lush green and soothing to the eye, but in reality, how green are our gardening and lifestyle practices? Hey, don’t turn this off already – read on to find some super simple ways that you can maintain your garden, enjoy the vegetables & fruits you’ve grown, and still make the whole experience richer for you and Momma Earth.

1. Don’t let your gardeners spray pesticides in your garden. Time and time again I’ve seen that the local gardeners (most of them are untrained) insist on spraying down flowers and vegetables. They don’t really ask for permission to do this (as they think this is a perfectly normal practice), so it’s wise to speak to them beforehand and tell them not to get the chemicals in. Instead, learn about eco-friendly ways to deal with garden pests and pass on the info to them for implementation.
Green go-to tip: In my experience, using neem oil and Panchagavya, and planting garlic and calendula around veggie gardens often keeps pests away.


 2. Don’t allow the use of chemical fertilizers. They may seem to help grow lush gardens, but in the long run, it leeches the soil of its nutrients, seeps into the vegetables that you’re growing (and eating) and contaminates the ground water.
Green go-to tip: Instead, encourage the use of cow manure, Panchagavya, seaweed extract and eco-friendly gardening practices like crop rotation, growing a cover crop and mulching. I also recommend homemade compost – its black gold and favorite plant food that nourishes those green babies like no other.

3. Ban weed-killing chemicals .This is a favorite with local gardeners, and often because we don’t know of natural ways to control weeds, especially after the monsoons, we let them use it around our house. These chemical weed killers will not only poison the soil with chemicals, but will seep into the air you breathe and into the ground water.
Green go-to tip: I’ve sprayed neat vinegar onto excess weeds to zap them, and it worked just fine.


4. Don’t burn those dry leaves; instead compost them in a pit in your backyard. All through my fauji wife life, I’ve seen piles of dry leaves being burnt behind houses. Most of us think that that’s an easy way to get rid of excess leaves, but honestly, it isn’t. It might look simple right now, but it causes all sorts of health issues in the long run. Burning leaves releases carcinogenic pollutants into the air, which finally enters our lungs and also tarnishes the air.
Green go-to tip: So, ask your gardener to dig a large pit in your backyard and dump leaves in it. Over time, it’ll decompose (no, it doesn’t stink) and you can plough it back into the garden. If you’re in any position of power (senior ladies, this one’s for you), you could also get community leaf composters installed in living areas, where gardeners can dump the dry leaves.


5. Don’t throw away your kitchen waste tied up neatly in a black plastic packet.
Green go-to tip: Compost your kitchen waste and then, use it as an organic ‘fertilizer’ in your garden. With huge gardens or tonnes of house plants to take care of, we fauji wives have the perfect excuse to dump our veggie and fruit peels into a composter or even a bucket with holes punched in. It’s not rocket science and is so much simpler than thinking up a menu for the next party or choosing a sari for that welfare meet. Yet, I find that most of us hesitate and dither when it comes to composting. We might even find it pointless. But think about this – if you can turn your kitchen waste with just 1% effort into delicious food for your plants instead of tying it up in black garbage bags, that will land up in landfills and finally pollute this earth that we’ll pass onto our kids – why wouldn’t you want to give it a go? And no, composting doesn’t stink or attract flies. So, it’s perfectly safe.

DIY Composter: Check out my post on how to make a composter with a bucket (when we were posted in a small place, I couldn’t buy a terracotta composter; so, turned a drum into a DIY composter and it worked just fine).

For more information on composting, head over to www.dailydump.org.

Ladies, if you’ve been giving organic gardening a go and have a tip to share, or if you haven’t been doing organic gardening + have a question to ask, do leave a comment behind.

Call to action: Are you a fauji wife/ military spouse? Please share this article via your social media, so other ladies might give organic gardening a shot! Also, do try these eco-friendly gardening methods - I promise, this will be a healthy experience for your family, community and the Earth.

Till then, Happy World Environment Day! May we each do something every day of the year to make Mother Earth a cleaner, greener and healthier place. We only have one planet - let's not f*ck it up, please!

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Learn more about green living & women’s wellness at Gorgeous Girls Go Green.

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