You know that typically, when you’re planting a garden, you’re in some way nourishing the earth. Planting fresh veggies, for instance, means that you’re adding nutrients to the soil near your home; it also saves on the gas used and emissions created when your vegetables travel to you via the grocery store (with a garden, they’re right in your backyard already!).
However, it’s easy to negate these positive effects by gardening in a non-sustainable manner. Golf courses, for instance, keep their lush grassy appeal thanks to gallons upon gallons of water – water that, in places like drought-ridden California, is desperately needed for drinking. Dousing your garden with chemical-laden pesticides also isn’t ideal; these chemicals can eventually dry out the soil, making it nearly impossible to plant anything there in the future.
Luckily, there are some really easy ways to green your garden and give your thumb the “green” title it deserves! How can you start?
- Catch water – in more ways than one. Place a large rainwater barrel in the back of your home to catch and save the water that falls naturally, then use that to water your garden when it’s needed! You can do the same with water inside your home that goes unused (say, the water you use when you’re waiting for the sink or shower to warm up). Lastly, save the water that you lose through evaporation by watering your plants in the early morning rather than in the afternoon when the sun is hottest. Try plants that don’t need a lot of water – like rosemary – to conserve even more!
- Save the bees. As you may have heard, bee populations are dying down due to climate change and habitat loss, but they’re an absolutely vital part of our ecosystem – especially for the survival of the flora and fauna we enjoy. Bees serve to pollinate plants, letting them grow and thrive. In order to help bees flourish, avoid pesticides in your garden, which can kill them along with all the other little critters you’d prefer to avoid. Plant bunches of flowers close together all around your yard to give bees plenty of space to live and pollinate.
- Use native plants. If you live in Arizona, for instance, use various forms of dry-loving plants like cacti around your garden. Native plants like these are easier to grow and maintain in their natural habitat, meaning that they need less fertilizer and water to thrive. They’re also better at fending off the area’s pests.
- Avoid conventional, store-bought pesticides. There are plenty of other organic techniques you can use to keep your soil flourishing and your garden free from pesky critters. Start by using all natural compost (make it in your kitchen using food scraps or purchase it at a health food store) in your soil to beef up its nutrient properties. Diversify your garden with a wide variety of plants to keep bugs out the natural way. Know how different plants thrive; while some may prefer the parts of your garden with the most shade, others may naturally grow best in the sun. When gardening without pesticides, it’s important to know and take advantage of your plants’ natural strengths and weaknesses.
Overall, it’s easy to make your garden green – in more ways than one. What techniques do you typically use to make your garden more sustainable? We’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below.