It is easy to assume that owning a garden is eco-friendly enough, but not quite! Sure, you are planting shrubs and flowers and reducing the amount of C02 gases in the atmosphere, but how are you doing it?
Some chemicals used in planting may be the very antithesis of what you are trying to achieve with sustainability. Likewise, the quantity of water on your plants; are you using too much? What about the seeds? You could be planting too many when it would be more sustainable to save some for the next season.
This post is a guide to going green while going green, so that you don’t contradict the purpose of gardening in the first place.
Why owning a garden is important
If you are yet to have your own garden, here is a brief reason to consider. Our world is currently experiencing a deforestation epidemic. This has untold effects on our overall climate change, leading to increased chances of diseases outbreaks, natural disasters and other devastating outcomes.
If every home or school or organisation decided to run a garden or partake in forestation schemes, whether in their backyard or a dedicated space, it would contribute significantly to positive change. Home gardens not only increase the aesthetic attraction of an environment, but provide sufficient oxygen for the inhabitants via photosynthesis. They are also a great way to grow food naturally, thus propagating its availability. The benefits are more than rewarding.
Now that you know why you should own a garden; here are some green ways to grow your garden.
While plants require mineral supplements in the form of fertilizers, it is always good to consider the type of chemical you use, and the quantity. It is not only cost effective to use less chemicals in your garden, it is also ecologically sustainable. Organic fertilizers are healthier for the plants and prevent the soil from having extreme pH levels either way. It is even more important to garden organically if you are growing foods for the family. Start from the ground up by developing nutrient-rich soil, add natural compost for the best results.
Mulch your landscape
Mulching is any material that is laid over the soil to cover and prevent it from things like soil drought and weed growth. It is also ideal for retaining moisture and keeping the surface of the soil cool. According to Matt, chief landscape engineer at Big Easy Landscaping, mulching is a great way to protect the soil.“Mulching your soil adds some attraction to the landscape and increases the soil fertility. Add 2 – 3-inch layer of your choice mulch to the garden beds and around the landscape plants for good measure,” he says. Some natural mulch options are cocoa bean hulls, shredded bark, grass clippings and pine needles.
Like humans, ‘natives’ are plants that are indigenous to your area. It is tempting to import exotic breeds, but they require a lot of effort and additional nutrients. The joy of sustainable farming is being able to achieve so much with so little.
With local plant varieties, it takes less work because they are already ‘home.’ This means less water, plus they flourish better than other varieties because they are suited to the soil type, climate and rainfall. The indigenous fauna is already accustomed to its food and shelter.
Reduce your lawn
I would say all of it, but for the sake of people who enjoy the beauty of their green lawns, then a part will do. Having an attractive, green, weed-free lawn takes up a lot of resources. You need lots of water and fertilizers to maintain a lawn.
Consider this, a more sustainable lawn by reducing the grass-planted area and replacing it with ornamental grasses that are easy to manage. You may also plant low growing bushes, flowers or other groundcovers.
Watch your watering
Owning a less thirsty garden is the epitome of sustainable gardening, particularly in regions where water is limited. Experts usually advise xeriscaping which is an efficient gardening and landscaping technique that reduces the need for plant watering. Do this by introducing an attractive selection of drought-tolerant plants and perennials.
To enable them to access the natural water, install a rain barrel underneath one or more of your gutter spouts. A rain barrel is simply a neat method of collecting water from your roof during a rain and storing it for planting and other domestic needs.
Manage your seed usage wisely. It will surprise you to know there is an actual economics to planting seedlings in different seasons. It helps you maintain a sustainable harvest each cycle. Similarly, practice growing your own food at home. This is one of the joys of home gardening; to be able to see the fruit of your labour, literally.
If you have young ones, involve them in the planting process. It is not only a handy skill, but a great way to learn about eco-friendly habits from an early age.