Rain Gardens Complement Climate Victory Gardens
Homeowner Climate Victory and Rain Gardens Improve Our Environment
For millennia, much of the earth's land was covered in plants. All was well.
Humans arrived and modified the plant cover with intentional selection and nurturing. We called it farming. When too many trees were cut down, things on earth started changing. These changes modified the earth's temperature slightly. The effect was perhaps tolerable to the humans, but the climate was different from before.
In the last several centuries, new substances covered the land and new gasses and particles filled the atmosphere. Macadam, brick, fossil fuel exhaust, and greenhouse gasses have changed the environment. All is not well.
Fortunately, everyone who owns land can make easy, small changes to improve the climate's heating, horrific storm events, flooding, pollution, and more.
Two of these changes are:
- growing some of your own food in a climate victory garden, and
- increasing the amount of rain water soaking into soil by building a rain garden.
The Eco Purpose of Rain Gardens
Besides being beautiful additions to your property and adding to the value of your home, rain gardens improve the environment by:
- Allowing the soil to naturally filter and remove some pollutants from rain water before it goes into groundwater aquifers
- Preventing/reducing flooding by decreasing the amount of rain pouring over macadam and so forth (all impermeable surfaces) into storm sewers which then flow into rivers and streams, swelling them above flood stage
- Providing habitat for birds, beneficial bugs, and butterflies
- Conserving water by reducing a need for irrigation of land near a rain garden
- Cleaning water
Sunflowers in a Climate Victory Garden
The Eco Purpose of Climate Victory Gardens
Climate victory gardens improve the environment by:
- Reducing the amount of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere
- Providing habitat for birds, bugs, bees, and pollinators upon which we are dependent for food plants
- Reducing the chances of blight that decimates one monoculture species
- Retaining moisture in the ground
- Improving soil health
- Reducing fossil fuel usage by food shippers and buyers
Climate Victory Garden Practices
How Both Conserve Water
Part of the climate victory garden method is covering all the ground surrounding food plants. This can be a layer of mulch or a prior crop's trimmed stems and leaves composting in place. The result is less water run-off and soil erosion during a heavy rain (the water soaks in), less evaporation from the soil, and consequently more moisture in the garden. So, if watering or irrigation is needed, a smaller amount of water is required.
With rain gardens, research is showing that compared to conventional grassy-weedy lawns, rain gardens absorb 30% more rain water into the ground. Homeowners with wells take great comfort from the way a rain garden collects water which then soaks into the land within hours. This process refreshes the groundwater and aquifers that feed their wells. Installing one or more rain gardens serves as an insurance policy against a well running dry.
Easy Rain Garden
How Both Provide Habitat
Both of these gardens are filled with plants.
In a climate victory garden full of food plants, the fruiting plants such as peas, beans, broccoli, and tomatoes provide nectar and leaves, stalks, and branches for feasting and living. Foods such as carrots and potatoes offer plenty of delicious leaves for bug larvae to munch as they grow. In turn, some of those plump caterpillars feed songbirds and other members of the earth's living community.
Rain gardens are neither ponds nor swamps. They are gardens. Generally, native vegetation is recommended for them and those plants fulfill the same functions described above. They provide shelter and food to birds and bugs.
By the way, rain gardens attract birds and insects but not mosquitos. Mosquitos need standing water that remains stagnant for 48 or more hours. A properly designed rain garden has drained by that time.
How Both Reduce Pollution
The climate victory garden reduces greenhouse gas pollution with its living plants. Plants inhale carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen. It's a very nice system for humans who are on the opposite side of the respiration cycle. Greenhouse gasses are also reduced because a climate victory garden uses human muscle power, not fuel-dependent machines.
Pollutants are not introduced in the soil and food because a climate victory garden is organic. Compost is good; pesticides are not.
A rain garden reduces pollution by the action of both its roots and its above-ground structure.
The rain water which has accumulated debris from roofs and roads is caught and naturally filtered by the roots and soil. Rain gardens can trap up to 90% of chemicals and up to 80% of sediment from the rainwater runoff.
A rain garden's above-ground plant parts inhale carbon dioxide and help clean the atmosphere.
How You, a Homeowner, Have an Impact
You are significant.
Your choices and your land use combine with all the choices the rest of us make.
If you think that "a single person" doesn't make a difference, think about why you vote, why you are nice to co-workers, and why you do the right thing.
References on How to Make These Gardens
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
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© 2019 Maren Elizabeth Morgan