In recent years there has been an uprise of all things sustainable – fashion, architecture, energy, even finance. But what does it mean? In simple words, sustainability is when you use a certain resource to create something without depleting and wasting the resources. For example, recycling fabric in fashion makes it sustainable – they can create new clothes reusing old materials and preserving precious resources that are usually wasted in the creation.
So it makes sense that sustainable gardens exist and are steadily growing in popularity. People are becoming more conscious about the future of the planet and the fact that we are indeed a very wasteful species. And even if the term sounds a bit complicated, it’s actually compromised of many simple changes people can do to their routine and habits in order to be more sustainable.
In this article, we will take a look at some great ways everyone can make a difference and create a garden that thrives without harming the environment. So grab your gardening gloves, and get ready!
No-dig gardening embraces all the ideas of sustainable gardening – it doesn’t harm the soil, it doesn’t disrupt the natural ecosystem in the earth and preserves all the living organisms while providing you with great crops every year.
The name gives it away – it’s a gardening technique that doesn’t require digging the soil. It also saves you from a lot of other back-breaking and time-consuming activities such as ploughing, troughing, tilling, and constantly weeding your garden.
To explain simply, it works by creating layers on a certain base – it can be soil or grass, but it can also be concrete. You start by putting twigs, sticks, and leaves at the bottom, to help with drainage, and then you cover the area with cardboard. Once you have laid the foundations, put 4 inches of straw, water it; then put a layer of compost or manure, and water it again. You repeat this process until you have a thick enough layer to plant your seeds or seedlings.
Experts from Fantastic Gardeners Melbourne recommend that you make your own compost. This brings us to our next point:
Build your Own Compost Pit
Just as any other living thing, your garden needs good quality food in order to thrive and provide you with amazing crops. You can buy liquid food and compost from the store, yes, but they are often not locally produced, which means a lot of greenhouse gases are wasted to bring them to the store. So instead of going to the store, looking for local products, save some money and effort and make your own.
A compost pit is just a hole in the ground that you use to put natural waste such as leaves, animal faeces (if you have pets), twigs, dried flowers, vegetable and fruit waste, trimmed grass, and whatever else you have, basically. Once you have all of that natural waste piled up, wait for it to decompose naturally, until it’s ready to be applied to your gardening soil.
And if you think it goes against the no-dig gardening philosophy, it’s not really the same. You only dig your compost pit once and then you just use it forever. You don’t have to constantly disturb and overturn the soil as normal gardening does.
Learn about Companion Planting
Companion planting is the process of strategically placing compatible plants together in order to save space in your garden, help them grow stronger and faster, receive more crops, encourage natural pest control and evade the chance of competitiveness between them.
For example, tomatoes grow really well with basil, onions, and carrots, but if you plant them close to cucumbers, they will compete for food resources and neither will reach its full potential. You can take a look at this useful chart in order to see which plants live together in peace and which ones can’t.
It’s a great way to get the most of your garden and let nature do its thing. If you already have an established garden, you might have to rearrange it. Use this opportunity to relocate your plants in areas where they can thrive and be happy. And if you’re feeling confident enough, you can even make your garden in a different shape.
Choose Native Plants
It’s only logical to go for native plants if you want a sustainable garden. After all, it’s the best way to encourage and enrich the local environment and wildlife. An added bonus to that is that you will already have the perfect conditions to grow those plants. Of course, if you’re growing a vegetable garden, you’ll go for greens you want to eat. However, if you just want a beautiful flower paradise, make sure you choose native plants that will work in your favour.
It can be very frustrating trying to grow shrubs and flowers that are just not meant to be in this weather or location. You can make your life a lot easier if you go for fauna that already thrives in your home area. Not only they will make your garden look breathtaking but they will also invite local wildlife, which is the main point for our next tip.
Embrace Natural Pest Control
Many people don’t realise that some insects and bugs can be extremely beneficial to their garden and even help out with the actual harmful pests. For example, most species of spiders are actually great exterminators because they take care of mosquitoes and flies, which are a real nuisance.
Other examples of beneficial insects are stink bugs, ladybugs, wasps, honeybees, ground beetles, green lace wigs, and much more. Honeybees are obviously extremely important for our ecosystem because they pollinate the majority of plants on this earth, something that wasps also do, despite not being very well known for it. The larvae of lace wigs, on the other hand, eat caterpillars and aphids, which are extremely harmful to plants and seedlings.
Research the native beneficial insects in your area and different ways to attract them so they can help you out in hunting the really dangerous pests.
Switch your Gas Mowing Equipment
It probably goes without saying that gas lawn mowers are very harmful to the environment because of the gases they release. Consider switching to either electric mowers or manual ones – both very eco-friendly versions that will do a great job.
If you go manual, it might take more effort but it’s great exercise and unless you have a huge lawn or you mow daily, the difference is not that great.
As you can see, these are some simple things every person can try out to make their garden more sustainable, whether they have a whole vegetable patch or just a few flowers around. Every year it’s becoming more and more urgent to take those little steps in order to help our planet because every great change starts with a single action.