Grow A Sustainable Garden: Part 1

by Adam Dziewa, Education Intern

Sustainability is the key to our survival on this planet and will also determine success on all levels. ~Shari Arison

I hope everyone was able to enjoy Earth Day a few weeks ago! From the Garden’s mindset, we celebrate Earth Day year round by educating the communities of Northeast Wisconsin. We especially like to raise awareness about the importance of environmental sustainability through our actions and goals. These sustainable actions have allowed Green Bay Botanical Garden to become Travel Green WI certified! Meeting over 75 requirements that include reducing energy usage, utilizing organic fertilizers and promoting a recycling program, the Garden is a role model for other organizations striving for sustainability. Not only are we committed to educate children and promote earth-friendly choices, but also to raise awareness of our goal to preserve the environment for future generations.

Our sustainable practices began in the garden, concentrating on necessary components plants need to survive.

Water

Automatic water systems can be difficult to adjust to specific plant needs. This often leads to plants being over or under watered. To avoid this, Garden staff and volunteers use watering wands and cans to allow the right amount of water per plant. This reduces run-off and water waste.

Soil

We continue to encourage a healthy soil ecosystem by concentrating on using natural methods of fertilizing our soil. The Garden uses turkey litter fertilizer from Sustane Natural Fertilizer, Inc. and compost from Purple Cow Organics to enrich our soil in various parts of the Garden. Purple Cow Organics is a Wisconsin company, and Sustane is produced close by in Minnesota. The Garden also creates some of its own compost, not only from yard waste and weeds, but also through our lunchroom compost program to reduce organic waste in landfills.

Weeds

As most gardeners know, weeds are inevitable and the Garden is not immune to them! We handle weed growth not by using harmful chemical or tilling practices, but by using self-motivation and determination to pull out weeds using our bare hands.  Our horticulture staff and numerous volunteers keep our beds looking clean and neat.

Stop back next week to learn about our Sustainability efforts related to lawn maintenance and native plants!