While millions of people need to be reminded to stop and smell the roses, literally and figuratively, gardeners are able to celebrate Earth Day on any day of the calendar. We live the environmental awareness and appreciation that Senator Gaylord Nelson envisioned when he proposed the concept in the late 1960s. For gardeners, nature and all it has to offer is in our blood and sweat.
I mowed the lawn for the first time this year. Recent wet snow and warm temperatures seemed to increase the growth of the grass dramatically and it was long and shaggy in sections. Even with a mulching mower the grass clippings were too long to leave on the grass, a practice I highly recommend to return nutrients to the soil. So I bagged the clippings and added them to my compost piles to help kickstart them into action.
I brought out plastic sheets and built hoophouses in my garden, but not because it was Earth Day. I'm about a month away from my last frost date but I want to get some tomatoes in the ground. The hoophouses will help warm the soil and in a week I'll bring out the season extenders, my Wall-o-Waters. Last year I had good success planting tomatoes a few weeks early and I'll do it again.
Yesterday was the first time I spotted new asparagus spears. I planted 20 crowns last year and they did well until the snows came. I've been a little worried that they didn't survive the winter, but they did and I can relax about their fate. They didn't know it was Earth Day; they emerged when they were ready.
I call that mindset being a gardener. I think it would be great if everyone were a gardener, every day. That won't happen, but I can do my part by spreading the word and encouraging more people to become gardeners. Earth Day highlights the concept and shows what is possible when people devote time and attention to the idea.
To me the best way to celebrate Earth Day is to make it a continuous event. Treat every day you're in the garden as if it were special, one worthy of media attention. Strive to make others aware of your environmental activities and hope to ignite the gardening spark in just one other person; and then repeat that over and over.
Whether you mow your lawn, turn your compost pile, raise chickens, grow trees, worry about your plants' progress, or not, get involved in your environment. Get outside and live April 22 every time you get the opportunity.
Today I'll continue my work to gopher proof my garden; deer proofing comes next. Trees will be planted. Plants will be watered. Weeds will be dealt with. The list of gardening chores will get longer. And I'll finish this blog article.