Blazing hot weather one day, foggy the next – our summer is turning out to be a particularly hot one. The last two winters saw more than the usual freezing weather. If weather tells us what clothes to wear, then climate tells us what clothes to buy. Is all this proof of climate change?
Our planet has always experienced heating and cooling cycles. A warm period from 300-1300 AD allowed the Vikings to fish and farm Greenland. They were frozen out after 1300 when the Little Ice Age changed Greenland’s climate. A 20 year drought starting in 1276 probably drove out the cliff dwellers in Utah, Arizona and New Mexico and the Mayan culture collapsed about the same time as an extended drought occurred in Mexico and Central America.
People who cultivate plants have always taken climate change more seriously than most. Many tomatoes stop setting fruit when daytime temps stay above 90 degrees. Higher levels of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, have been accelerating weed growth. Our best defense as gardeners is to choose wisely what we plant in the garden and how we water.
- Start with smart design by evaluating how the space will be used and what plants will thrive with minimum of care and pruning. Select the best trees and place them to shade the south side of the house to reduce cooling costs.
- Supplement the soil by making soil health a priority.
- Examine your irrigation system and watering plan for efficiency and minimal waste.
- Reduce, recycle and reuse whenever possible. Simple ways include reusing plant containers and composting organic waste and fall leaves.
We can all become stewards of the land by using these sustainable landscaping tips.