In essence, sustainable gardening is not a new term, but the practice has started gaining traction recently. What gardening sustainably means, what does the process involve, and what makes it so important today?
What is Sustainable Gardening?
It is vital to make one crucial distinction. Cultivating fruits, vegetables, and flowers in your garden without the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers is organic horticulture. When you add care for the environment to this basis, you get what is considered sustainable gardening. Throughout this process, you are minimizing your impact on the environment and encouraging its regeneration.
How to Reduce Pressure on the Environment
Sustainable horticulture or gardening does not come with a strict set of rules or a guideline, although it has its tenets. To follow these principles means to adopt and apply certain practices.
Management of garden waste
Gardens generate a regular flow of organic waste that can be put to good use. A hotbin mini composter is a quick and efficient solution that produces compost for use in your garden. Instead of sending your branches to a landfill, create mulch with the help of an electric chipper-shredder and battle weeds in an eco-friendlier way.
Set up a rainwater barrel to collect water that would otherwise evaporate or use drip irrigation and low-angle sprinklers. Also, a sufficiently thick layer of mulch helps the soil retain moisture and structure and improves drainage.
Eliminate the use of fossil-fuel tools and appliances
You can reduce your ecological footprint by using electric tools only when necessary. Or, you can keep your tools close to the place where you use them. In case you need to pack the toolshed for relocation closer to your farm or allotment, make tools and other equipment ready to go by preparing them carefully. This involves cleaning the tools and removing any oil or fuel they might contain.
Dedicate to garden maintenance and design
Take the time to plan and design your garden. Battling garden pests and diseases is easy if you plant natural repellents such as rosemary or plants that attract useful insects.
Importance of Sustainable Horticulture
Once you get familiar with the ways it can reduce your impact on the environment, you realize how powerful it is.
Captures atmospheric carbon
Instead of burning plant-based waste and releasing carbon back to the atmosphere, it is much better to turn it into compost or mulch. Sustainable horticulture captures atmospheric carbon and locks it in the form of stable humus, sequestering it in the ground.
Sustainable gardening preserves the biodiversity of native plants and wildlife
Native plants are well adjusted to local climate factors, soil properties, as well as typical pests. By planting various vegetables native to the region, you are helping preserve their genetic diversity. If you desire to grow exotic plants and show off your garden, think twice. You might be introducing an invasive species or attract a host of new pests or diseases your plants are unaccustomed to.
Also, you might be inadvertently endangering valuable and helpful wildlife. By encouraging wildlife gardening, you help maintain the overall biodiversity of your area and even help your gardening efforts and yields.
Establishing the right mindset for future generations
If you ever stood in front of a market stall looking at fruits and vegetables and wondered why they look so good but lack any natural fragrance, you have likely stumbled upon a realization. Those coming after us may not even know what quality produce tastes and smells like. Through sustainable gardening, we are providing future generations with the means to grow their own healthy sustenance.
Julia Thatcher is a journalist who has dedicated to sustainable horticulture and organic gardening once she got married and moved to a rural area to join her husband. The environmental awareness is strong in this one as much as her love for organic smoothies.