We’re been hearing a lot about Victory Gardens lately, as people are understandably concerned about food supply chains, or may not be thrilled about waiting in line to enter grocery stores full of other people we’re supposed to be avoiding at the moment. The Victory Garden movement began during WWI and picked up again during WWII, and it seems to be having a resurgence amidst the coronavirus pandemic. We’re hearing that new or resurrected gardens have been popping up so much on Maui that it’s becoming difficult to find seeds! So, West Maui Kumuwai is here for you with some tips on how to make your garden more ocean-friendly. And we’ve compiled some resources below for those who would like to explore more. Growing a garden is a great educational activity for one, and aside from the obvious benefit of producing food, it will get you out of the house, even if it is just your own yard!
Being ocean-friendly is all about how we use water as well as making better choices about what ends up going into the water we do use, because that water can end up in the storm drains which empty into the ocean.
Here are some general tips to follow to make your garden more ocean-friendly:
• Choose fertilizers and pesticides that are less harmful to the environment
The nutrients and chemicals typically in fertilizers and pesticides can harm coral reefs, but there are some better options out there. West Maui Kumuwai has compiled a list of ocean-preferred products on our website, here.
These brands were selected based on EPA guidelines for toxicity and environmental hazards, posing the lowest level of risk. Many comply with USDA’s organic standards as measured by OMRI (omri.org), the Organic Materials Review Institute. We also considered the products’ mobility in soil; those that have fewer active ingredients that can leach out of the root zone will contribute less to water pollution.
Look for these when you’re out shopping for your Victory Garden!
• Use less water
Using less water not only conserves water (obviously...), but less water means less runoff, and less runoff means less pollutants get picked up and washed into storm drains, ultimately ending up in the ocean. If you overfertilize your lawn, the next time your sprinkler goes off it could carry that excess material into the nearest storm drain. Think about those greasy oil stains in your driveway or the ones you’ve seen in the shopping center’s parking lot. Next time it rains, or when a sprinkler sprays water in that area, that toxic junk could get carried into the nearest storm drain as well. Not to mention garbage and other forms of debris that can end up in drains too. Our stormwater runoff is not treated, and in many places in West Maui it is carried from a drain to the ocean rather quickly and efficiently. Next time you’re out on a walk, see if you can figure out where the storm drains that you encounter go, and where they discharge via pipes along the shoreline. Visit our Water Smart Outdoors page for tips on reducing your water use.
• Choose the right plants
Choose native or drought-tolerant species of plants, and choose the right plant for the right place. It is not only culturally-appropriate to choose native plants, but it will save water (and money) as they are already adapted for the local habitat. More tips and links can be found on West Maui Kumuwai’s Plant Pono page.
BONUS! The first four Maui households who send us a photo of themselves with their garden (that we can share on our website & social media) will receive $25 gift certificates to Ace Hardware in Lahaina, to help you get the ocean-friendly supplies you need!
Just email your photo to us (feel free to share it on your own social media too, using #MauiEarthMonth2020) and include the name of the person who will be going in to Ace to pick it up and do the shopping. Ace has special hours at the moment (8 am - 5 pm) and is limiting shoppers' access to 10 at a time. Many thanks to Manager Martin Hussey and his team for all the support over the years, check them out with their PPE ready to socially-distantly help you!
Gardening and gardening-related curriculum:
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