Articles

A Plea for Diversity in Gardens

Apr 26, 2021

Image: adapted from Urban Farmer website–Zone 8 vegetable planting schedule

The garden which is pleasing to the eye and which makes the heart glad, is the garden in which are growing side by side flowers of every hue, form and perfume, and the joyous contrast of color is what makes for charm and beauty. So is it with trees. An orchard full of fruit trees is a delight; so is a plantation planted with many species of shrubs. It is just the diversity and variety that constitutes its charm; each flower, each tree, each fruit, beside being beautiful in itself, brings out by contrast the qualities of the others, and shows to advantage the special loveliness of each and all.

‘Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks #15 Beauty and Harmony in Diversity

May 2021, Christine Muller

Diversity is highly important in our gardens, not only because you don’t want to eat zucchini every day, as delicious as they are. Different plant species help each other grow. For example, legumes—the bean family—fix nitrogen and make it available to surrounding plants. Some plants attract beneficial insects and some deter pests. Each plant species requires specific nutrients from the soil, therefore different species don’t compete for nutrients. You can also maximize your space by growing a root vegetable and lettuce together with peas or beans that are taller. Adding a cover crop such as clover helps support the diverse microorganisms living in the soil that are essential for plant life. Planting some flowers in your vegetable garden attracts pollinators and makes your garden beautiful. A diverse garden is much more resilient to pests, diseases, and drought. Also, there are always years when some plants grow successfully and others give a poor or no harvest. With many different species growing, there will always be some that thrive!

For more information about the planting schedule for your time zone, visit the Vegetable Planting Schedules page on the Urban Farmer (usfeeds.com) website.

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Christine Muller, Piano Teacher

Board Secretary, International Environment Forum

I was interested in environmental issues already at a young age and became a Bahá’í when I was 17, which was the beginning of a life-long study of the Bahá’í Faith. As the environmental crisis was worsening, I began to systematically study climate change at a time when not much information was easily available. I also searched the Bahá’í teachings for a spiritual solution to the climate crisis. At that time, climate change was not known to most people and there were no educational materials available. That’s why I wrote Scientific and Spiritual Dimensions of Climate Change – an Interfaith Study Course, which the International Environment Forum posted in 2009. I joined the Wilmette Institute as support faculty for its Sustainable Development course in 2011 and created its Climate Change course the following year. I served on the board of RI Interfaith Power&Light for nine years and currently serve on the board of the Bahá’í-inspired International Environment Forum (iefworld.org). My academic background is in music and I enjoy part-time piano teaching and playing music. I would have done more in the area of music were it not for the urgency of climate action, but my musical training has helped me to better understand the complexity of the climate crisis. Christine’s articles on BahaiTeachings.orgSee Faculty Bio

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