Southampton Volunteer Group supporting the environment

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SOUTHAMPTON, Mass. – The Southampton Good Earth Gardeners are working on gardens across the city with the aim of creating alternative ways to support the environment.

“I put the cardboard on the grass, like that,” co-chair Susan Seybolt said. “There’s the cardboard down, then I just took the line here and turned it around.”

The group of volunteers formed last year after noticing the negative effects of drought and daily gardening on the environment.

Seybolt said using cardboard under plants is a way to support the ecosystem because it allows the same soil to be used multiple times, which creates more opportunities for native plants.

She said native plants are grown at home and are important because many insects need crops they know to survive.

“We often use too much fertilizer, Seybolt said. “So you end up with more nitrogen in the soil than you want and your crops suffer.”

Seybolt said fertilizers containing pesticides and herbicides cause direct damage by killing weeds as well as healthy plants and insects in the process.

Co-Chair Cindy Palmer said bagged mulch, which is wood shreds, especially worm-free, is another alternative for saving consumers money on fertilizers while building a stronger garden.

“This one is natural hardwood mulch,” Palmer said. “It’s just regular wood that will decay in the garden over time. But the value is that it helps retain weeds and retain water.”

Seybolt understands that maintaining a more eco-friendly garden might not please everyone’s eyes, but hopes educating people about the benefits of creating healthy gardens will slowly change opinions.

“We hope overtime will change the aesthetic of gardening,” Seybolt said. “So it’s less, really less about controlling nature and the environment, but about providing, it’s both beauty and nourishment”

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