By Jesse Eastman, Owner & General Manager
As a lifelong plant enthusiast, it’s easy for me to forget that for many people, gardening is not a lifetime dedication, it’s a hobby. Perhaps you make sure your landscape looks decent, maybe grow a few veggies (with varying degrees of success), and you do what you can to keep a handful of houseplants healthy. We’ve certainly got our fair share of die-hard plant fanatics in our midst (look for sunbaked skin, dirty fingernails, and a subtle but ever-present smile), but most people don’t consider themselves to be “gardeners.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve mentioned to someone that I own a garden center and heard “Oh gosh, you’d hate me then. I can barely keep a cactus alive.” In reality, though, by engaging in only the most basic of plant-related rituals, you are not only a gardener, but you’re doing immense work to keep our planet healthy, and that makes me smile.
Consider this: According to the North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension Office, a single tree can sequester up to 1 ton of carbon dioxide over a 40 year lifetime. That means that even if you only planted a tree in your front yard to keep your homeowners association happy, you contributed to over 2,700 tons of carbon dioxide sequestration, just from trees sold at Fort Collins Nursery, and just during 2014. If you purchased a tree from us in the last 5 years, that number jumps to nearly 12,000 tons of carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere by the year 2054.
Carbon dioxide sequestration is far from the only benefit you provide to the planet when you engage in gardening. Let’s assume, conservatively, that a single vegetable plant will produce one pound of produce. If you bought a vegetable start from us this last year (this doesn’t include anything you grew from seed), you contributed to over 33,000 pounds of locally grown produce that was not shipped from a farm to a grocery store to your home – it was just right there in your yard, waiting for you.
This brings me to seeds. We were thrilled to introduce two fantastic new seed companies to our lineup in 2014: Seed Saver’s Exchange and Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co. Both companies are dedicated to providing high quality heirloom seeds, and thanks to their hard work, many of you got to try some truly wonderful and unique plants that could otherwise have faded away into obscurity. Add this to the many great seed companies we already work with, and we find that during 2014, you collectively took home over 25,000 packets of seeds. With a conservative estimate of ten seeds per package, that means you brought life to a quarter of a million flowers and vegetables. In one year. Wow.
These are some awfully big numbers, and there is a really important message behind them: You don’t need to be a hardcore gardener to make a big impact. Playing with plants has a lot of benefits for you: beauty, exercise, home air purification, shade, food, etc. But if you’re convinced that your contribution to gardening is insignificant, think for a second about the part you play in the big picture. Remember the tree your HOA wanted you to plant? It will help us all breathe a little easier in 2015.