Here at garvey's gardens, we have 3 pillars: local, seasonal, and sustainable.
What better day than Earth Day to publish a post all about sustainability on the farm?!
1. We grow without added pesticides and only use OMRI-certified fertilizers. Certain crops are hungrier than others and need the extra boost. Our favorite fertilizer during the growing season is neptune's harvest (liquid fish & Seaweed mix), and we love the 'Down to Earth' brand of granular fertilizers for building healthy soil after taking a soil sample.
2. We need some sort of weed suppression, so we opt to use dewitt sunbelt fabric - we burn planting holes into this super durable, yet permeable, weed fabric, so we can use it year after year. With adequate care, these weed fabric pieces should last us 10-20 years! Definitely not the typical homeowner weed fabric....
3. drip tape irrigation saves lots of watering and the blooms themselves! Overhead watering damages petals on flowers, and drip tape delivers water directly to the base of the plants where it needs it most!
4. Solar-powered irrigation timers - these save my butt! This way we can irrigate starting at 2 am, so when I wake up and go into the field, the flowers are nice and hydrated for harvesting. In addition to the solar cells being more sustainable, we also don't lose water to evaporation thanks to the time of day!
1. We harvest into salvaged buckets sourced from local bakeries. I like to think it gives character and extra sweetness to the whole process when I'm carrying a bucket of flowers to the cooler that also has a frosting label on the side :)
2. We use a coolbot for our cooler that makes sure the cooler is the right temperature without using more electricity than necessary.
3. bouquets are wrapped in kraft paper - NO PLASTIC HERE!!
4. bouquets are hydrated using either 100% post-consumer recycled paper towels ('who gives a crap' brand) OR compostable eco bouquet wraps. these wraps are then secured in a compostable doggy bag. We do collect old ones from our clients for re-use, and then once their useful life is done, we add them to our on-farm compost.
5. because we don't use any pesticides on our flowers, we can compost spent blooms knowing no bad chemicals will be added back into our farm ecosystem.
6. if we have to 'order in' flowers for a special event, we ensure they are from a fellow american flower farm that has the same values we have regarding pesticide use. Didn't know we do this? It's new - and only for events that have signed off on it beforehand. Think about it like this - you really want ranunculus for your wedding in April, and they're blooming in California, but not yet on our farm. I have flower friends around the country that can help make this happen! I will never and have never imported from another country. That is most definitely not local, and also way too detrimental to the environment and our health (didn't know this? Read Flower Confidential or Orwell's Roses.....yikes!).
I'm sure I'm missing something as I'm always trying to refine my practices and do better. As the wise maya angelou said, "Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better."
Until next time,