Tuesday, February 02, 2021

Defining My Starting Point


I have a goal of 70% productive plants in my yard. 

To have the impact I'd like this to have, my definition of 'plants' needs to include my non-native lawn

On the advice of ecology's rock star Doug Tallamy, I am focusing my energy on reducing my lawn above all else. Only after I establish the new beds in my front yard will I return my attention to the rest of my gardens and begin 'weeding out' the non-native plants and replacing them with natives*.

To understand where I am starting from, and how far I have to go, I am taking some simple steps many gardeners might enjoy, some of which I've been meaning to do for years.

Step 1Complete: map all of my gardens. Thanks Google Street View.

Step 2: assign square footage to each bed - this one I've been avoiding even though I am quite curious.  It's not like I dislike math, but this task has lingered... and lingered.

Step 3: put a percentage against the amount of native plants in each bed. 

Step 4: calculate the total square footage and %-per-bed to get an overall % for my property.

Steps 3 & 4 I will repeat on an annual basis, giving myself a 'report card' of sorts on progress towards my goal. 

To help measure the success of my plans I will also continue using iNaturalist to document the fauna in my yard since ultimately my goal is about defending biodiversity. I've already seen an increase in life as I have moved towards natives and want to have concrete documentation to back up my anecdotal experience.


*I sometimes use "productive" and sometimes "native". What gives? While I will generally look to use native plants, if there is documented proof a plant can play an ecological role in my garden, such as Globe Thistle which is beloved by pollinators, I am open to including it.

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