In a world suffering from climate change and all sorts of harsh environmental impacts, it’s critical to do everything we can to protect the earth. Practicing sustainable gardening helps preserve natural resources while reducing your environmental footprint.
Simply put, gardening sustainably means gardening in a way that is environmentally friendly and helps the ecosystem thrive. Doing this, however, might seem difficult or time-consuming. Thankfully, taking a few steps toward sustainable gardening is easier than you think.
To help you get started, five easy ways to practice sustainable gardening are listed below.
Composting is one of the most important sustainable gardening efforts you can make. It enriches the soil, helps stave off pests and plant disease, and reduces the need for harsh chemical fertilizers. Plus, composting food scraps and yard waste reduces the amount of waste being sent to landfills and the harmful greenhouse gases they release there.
A compost pile contains two key ingredients: brown materials (such as branches, twigs, and dead leaves), and green materials (such as fruit and vegetable scraps, grass clippings, and yard trimmings). Check out two helpful lists of what to compost and what not to compost on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website.
Water is a vital, life-sustaining resource which will help the garden grow and thrive. Therefore, it’s important to water responsibly, especially in drought-susceptible areas. Over-watering can kill some plants and it wastes water. So, water plants only when they need it. Also, be sure to set sprinklers and hoses so water won’t run off into the street and use organic mulch to retain moisture.
Choose Diverse Plants
Choosing a diverse array of plants for the garden helps the ecosystem thrive by enhancing biodiversity. It also creates a natural habitat for different kinds of birds, animals and insects. When selecting plants, make sure they easily adapt to the local climate zone. Also, picking plants that don’t require a lot of water (such as succulents, Russian sage, and California poppies) conserves water usage.
Natural Pest and Weed Control
It’s important to keep harmful pests out of the garden while minimizing the number of chemical herbicides and pesticides being used. Practicing Integrated Pest Management (IPM) helps accomplish both.
Some easy IPM tips include introducing beneficial insects like ladybugs and praying mantises into the garden and using vinegar and corn gluten meal as natural weed killers and natural herbicides. Global Healing Center lists ten different organic insecticides including soap, orange citrus, mineral oil, eucalyptus oil, a mix of onion and garlic spray, and more.
Reduce Power Tool Usage
Given their convenience, it’s probably easy to forget the impact that mowers, trimmers, and other power tools can have on the environment. However, using an electric mower instead of a gas-powered mower reduces harmful greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, mowing less often, using an energy-efficient mower, and downsizing your yard also conserves power and reduces your lawn’s carbon footprint.