By Jasmine Anderson
Starting your own garden comes with multiple benefits, from experiencing health perks to having food for your family. Many people also choose this hobby in order to help the environment. However, there are some gardening practices that are not the best for our planet. So, if you really want to do something good, you should look into ways of growing and maintaining a sustainable garden. Luckily, that is exactly what we are talking about below. Take a look.
Look for native plants
In order to have a sustainable garden, you should look for sustainable plants. These are the species that are native to your region. They require less work and less water and are able to thrive because they are already suited to the climate you live in. What is more, indigenous plants provide food and shelter to native birds and insects. If you are looking for veggies to plant in the fall, consider kale, lettuce, cauliflower and radishes, for example.
Opt for perennials
Another tip in terms of plant selection is that you should choose some perennials as they live longer and you will get more from them. Buy small ones if you are short on money; don’t worry – they’ll get bigger each year. You’ll have to divide them after a couple of years but that will only enlarge your garden. Perennials you can plant in the fall include shallots, potato onions, asparagus and rhubarb.
Remember to plant some flowers
Unless you are working with a tiny garden, you should not focus only on vegetables. You should look for a way to include flowers in your garden as well. Not only will flowers add interest but they will also help with pollination, improve biodiversity and reduce pest problems. Species like sweet alyssum, cilantro, California poppy and calendula are all great choices. When looking for blooms to plant this fall, consider pansy, mums, hyacinth and tulip bulbs.
Collect the seeds
Once the growing season is over, collect the dried seed heads from your annual plants and keep them in a dry place until the time for planting arrives. That way, you will save a lot of money as you will not need to purchase any new seeds next season. Beginners can start with sunflower, marigold and morning glory seeds, as they are easy to gather.
Develop the best watering practices
How you water the garden also plays a big role in its sustainability, which is exactly why native plants are a great option seeing as how they require less water. In case water in your area is scarce and you go through plenty of droughts, you have to find a way to preserve it. For one, you should look into drought-tolerant varieties that will still meet your needs. Then, you can consider using rainwater for watering your plants by implementing a collection system. Also, find quality garden watering products that are easy to turn off and will not be wasting unnecessary water. Finally, have you thought about toning down your landscaping? Perhaps you don’t need a huge lawn and you can replace it with artificial turf, groundcovers or some ornamental grasses that don’t need too much water.
Learn to make your own compost
You surely don’t want various chemicals in the fertilizers or pesticides to affect your soil, which is why you should look into composting. This method of turning organic waste into your own plant fertilizer is a great way to approach sustainable gardening. You can save all the organic matter from your garden such as leaves and weeds as well as all organic kitchen waste (except for meat) and place it in a composting bin or pile. Learning more about composting will tell you when it is ready to be applied to the garden. It will not only reduce the need for synthetic plant food but it will also improve the soil and reduce your waste. Plus, as leaves will be falling off and various plants will be reaching the end of their life, fall is a great time to start your composting pile.
There are many sustainable techniques to prevent weeds from sprouting. For example, you can plant small shrubs and groundcovers to shade the soil from sunlight as weeds need the sun to thrive. Then, you can mulch the ground with wood chips and stones. There is no need to use chemical herbicides.
Use manual or electric cultivators
Finally, when cultivating your garden, you should turn to manual or electric tools. It’s best to avoid gas-powered machinery as well as chemicals as these release harmful gasses into the soil and air and are not good for the environment.
These eight tips are really easy to implement when starting a sustainable garden. There are no special requirements and this is something all of us can do to really help the planet. So, look for the best plants, limit your water usage and avoid using tools that harm the environment.
About the Author
Jasmine Anderson is a lifestyle blogger based in Australia. She is an incurable daydreamer, who finds inspiration in little, everyday moments. Spending time at her cozy home office with her two cats, writing her blog, is her favorite thing in the world. Follow her @AnderonJess_AJ
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