Soil, compost, mulch and water are the main elements behind a sustainable garden. Focusing on improving and utilizing these elements will not only make your garden more productive, but ultimately allows humans and nature to exist in harmony. Making your garden sustainable will help reduce waste and also provide the foundation for the next generation.
Growing our own foods is on an upward trend in the USA and around the world. Many people are reaping the benefits of gardening and this includes both the physical and mental benefits. Alongside the upward trend in growing our own food, is this upward trend and interest in sustainable gardening. The 2020 Garden Trends Report emphasized that regenerative gardening will continue to grow in popularity.
Basically, growing sustainable food can be considered a form of organic growing; farmers and homegrowers alike use organic materials and biologically natural methods in farming. Some cultures may consider sustainable growing very natural and traditional. Whereas for many in western civilization the clock is turning back to the more enriched and valuable methods of sustainable farming. Consumers are moving away from artificially enhanced crops and foods to more natural produce.
With the growing interest in sustainable gardening, more and more people see the value of organic growing; from the health benefits, to less waste, and reduced chemicals, which ultimately leads to cleaner air and waterways, and a much healthier environment.
The practice of organic growing is definitely a much preferable method and also more humane for the environment. The main reason for this is because sustainable gardening does not use any pesticides, insecticides and even synthetic fertilizers. Organic and sustainable growing means you are getting 100 percent natural, organic and safe ingredients.
Conventional growing uses pesticides, insecticides, weed killers and other artificial materials to kill any negative substances that may hinder the full growth of their plants. Studies show that over time weed killers and other non-organic materials reduce the quality of the soil. It becomes less productive over the years.
However, with sustainable growing, the home grower focuses on natural and organic amendments. They make sure their plants receive the necessary fertilizer ingredients, NPK plus the necessary trace minerals. Clearly, it is true that sustainable growing methods are much safer for both the environment and the people, since the materials and ingredients used are purely sustainable and natural.
The issue then may rise with the competition between sustainable food and conventional products. Cost can sometimes be a factor. Sustainable and organic food may cost a more than conventional products. Consider shopping weekly at your local farmers market is a worthwhile outing. The differences are noticeable. Close your eyes and enjoy the taste of organic produce, breathe in the fragrance. Plus, your body will thank you as you reduce your intake of chemicals. Many farmers markets have strict rules about the growing methods of their vendors.
Moreover, the positive health aspects is complemented with the nutritional value. Since organic food is made from all natural methods and farming, it is thus apparent that it is much more nutritious. The products are proven much fresher and known to have undergone only minor processes; thus, you can be assured that indeed, organic food is safe and nutritious to eat.
Here are 7 easy things you can do to become more sustainable.
Easy to start. The easiest method to compost is to simply bury kitchen waste deep in your garden. If you have green waste from your yard there are many compost options from vermicomposting, to burying directly in the soil, a simple chicken wire cage to an enclosed system. Composting is a great start on your sustainable gardening venture.
Over time the green waste breaks down. If you have a yard with trees and a garden, you may want to search Amazon and invest in a small home shredder or chipper, or you can use scissors and cut it manually. This will speed up the decomposition greatly. Also, buy a thermometer – the 3 foot variety. A composting story here.
Compost is humic and fulvic acid, which is the final breakdown of plant and animal matter and will add bacteria, funti, protozoa, earthworms and other microscopic creatures when mixed with the soil. These organisms are essential for plant growth and vigor and help convert organic matter into vitamins, minerals and other beneficial compounds and nutrients for the plants.
A native garden drastically reduces your water use, need for fertilizers and maintenance.
Skip the chemicals. You will be surprised at how your garden will improve when you go organic and incorporate more sustainable practices. Organic matter is rampant with microbes and other organisms unseen and unknown to us, but you will see the benefits within one season.
Organic and sustainable gardening will also help retain topsoil, reduces toxic runoff, reduces death of insects, critters and birds, increases beneficial soil organisms and reduces pesticides, herbicides and fungicides.
The most important benefit of organic gardening is that vegetables and herbs are grown on rich, high-compost, well-mineralized soil. Food taste will be enhanced, your harvest will be nutrient rich and much higher in antioxidants and phytonutrients.
Ensure your family eats the best possible fruits and vegetables.
Plant trees or vegetables that can be ornamental as well as edible. No need to waste any space. Did you know that you can eat daylilies? What about dahlias? There are a number of common garden ornamentals that are safe and delicious to eat. The edible nature of these plants is often overlooked because they are known for their ornamental qualities, but they can bring a kick of flavor to your table as well as add beauty to your garden. Fold these plants into the soil at the end of the season and let the fungi and micro organisms break down the matter for you.
One of the major efforts in making your garden sustainable is giving up the grass. Children do need grass, but if you can replace the grass and need for watering, weeding and fertilizing and let it go natural. No more Sunday lawn mowing, or paying to have it done. If you cannot possibly giveup the grass, then try to to let your grass grow a little longer, be more tolerant of weeds.
Find a plant swap group online. If you have additional native seedlings or plants, or maybe cuttings, see if you can trade, donate or swap. These swap groups are also popular for trading succulents which are wonderful for any sustainable garden. You will save $$$$$.
Harvesting rainwater is emerging as a popular sustainable effort, in both residential and commercial properties. Rainwater is free or inorganic contaminants. A local municipal water department tested for 93 contaminants, 92 were allowed in the water supply.
Plants LOVE rainwater. Given that much city water contains a vast number of chemicals, your plants and soil will thank you if you can extend the life of rainwater. Watch your plants thrive with this popular sustainable activity.
Sustainable gardening does require more time and effort, but if done correctly the benefits are worthwhile with bigger and healthier plants, which you and your family get to enjoy.