The word “sustainability” gets thrown around a lot, but have you ever taken the time to understand what it truly means? At the root of the definition is the idea that you continue to utilize and maintain what you have without unnecessarily depleting resources. In other words, you provide for yourself. And isn’t that exactly what sustainable gardening is meant for?
Keep Gardening Green
From the outside looking in, it would seem like all gardening is green…but this is far from the truth. If you want your gardening to be more sustainable, you have to make a concerted effort. Here are some specific things you can do:
Use Your Own Compost
If you’re still buying your gardening soil from big box stores or local nurseries, you need to reevaluate – composting is the way to go. With composting, you not only reduce your household’s waste, but you also get increased nutrient content. When the organic material in your compost decomposes, it breaks down into the soil food web.
One of the principles of sustainable gardening is to avoid chemicals. While pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides are designed to kill pests and weeds, they also kill off helpful insects and birds. Furthermore, they pollute runoff water flowing out of your garden and can introduce carcinogens into the foods you grow.
Thankfully, there are plenty of alternatives to harmful chemicals. Things like insecticidal soaps, horticultural oils, and even coffee grounds can be used to solve most problems. And as the old gardening saying goes, “The best fertilizer is the shadow of the gardener.” Spend more time in your garden, attending to its needs, and you won’t experience as many issues.
Use the Right Tools
Sustainable gardening extends beyond the plants and soil. If you want to reduce your footprint and limit your impact, you need to use less of everything – including gardening tools and equipment.
You don’t need dozens of different tools to be successful. Sometimes a simple, versatile tool like the Hori Hori Garden Knife lets you get more done with less. Instead of spending a bunch of money on expensive watering equipment, a homemade drip irrigation system could possibly do the trick.
Water Less Frequently
Speaking of watering – smart watering habits are very important (especially in hot and dry climates). In addition to knowing when to water, you should look for ways to conserve and reuse water. Some ideas include:
- Collect rainwater in barrels or a gutter runoff system and then use it to water the garden every so often.
- Save water that you use in the home, such as water that was used to boil vegetables. Not only does it hydrate plants, but it also contains powerful nutrients.
- Cleaning out your fish tank? The water from a fish tank is high in nitrogen and phosphorous, which is good for plants.
Make Sustainable Gardening Your Priority
There’s more to sustainable gardening than avoiding chemicals and using the right types of seeds. You have to think about everything from compost and mulch to the tools you use and watering habits you keep.
Make sustainability your priority and you’ll not only produce a healthier yield, but you’ll also reduce your footprint and play an integral role in bettering your local community.
Article Submitted by Community Writer.