One could naturally assume that gardening and growing plants would be so called green activities. The reality however can be very different. Rather than use terms such as natural and organic, I will be specific. Below are the things I do in my business to reduce the impact of La Pivoinerie on the environment:
- Use web based catalogue rather than paper catalogue.
- Web catalogue designed to be useful on the screen without need for local printing (I do not provide a .pdf form of the catalogue and I encourage people to think twice before printing any of my web site content).
- Shipping is done in used or overrun cardboard boxes.
- Use biodegradable plastic bags (occasional exception for large orders which require stronger bags).
- Use only 100% post consumer recycled paper with the Forest Stewardship Council logo.
- Administrative printing is done on a printer configured for 2-sided printing.
- Use envelopes that are 100% post consumer recycled paper.
- Amend soil with compost.
- Do not use chemical fertilizers.
- Use organic mulch on all planting beds to reduce weeds and to moderate soil moisture.
- Obtain all mulch from local tree service company which provides a steady source of chipped branches i.e. I do not use plastic mulch and the mulch I use comes from a local source.
- Do not use field irrigation.
- Have not sprayed a chemical fungicide for the last seven years.
- Do not use pre emergent herbicides.
- Entire field is weeded by hand with only very occasional use of Roundup to open new planting areas or deal with a particularly stubborn perennial weed.
- Compost weeds locally and eventually reapply to the field.
- Use green manure cover crops in rotation with peony plantings.
Some of these practices have had a direct impact on the flora and fauna I see daily in my field and that is one of the reasons I make the effort. The field is alive with insects, birds, reptiles and various mammals and I see it as my job to ensure it remains that way. There is however still room for improvement as I look for a replacement of the peat moss I use in packing and a way to open new planting areas without resorting to Roundup.