Let’s talk sustainability! Sustainability is defined as “the avoidance of depleting natural resources in order to maintain ecological balance.” Put simply? It’s meeting our needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
When we talk about impact, we’re talking about reducing food transportation costs and water runoff, curbing carbon emissions and waste production related to packaging, reducing noise pollution, and supporting local birds and insects (especially bees).
Whether you already have a garden and want to make it greener or you’re starting a garden and want to ensure it does the best and most for your land/space, take some time to read our sustainable gardening methods and then put them into practice.
Start by combining all the organic matter from your kitchen (not meat scraps or bones) and all the weeds and leaf cuttings from your garden in a compost bin or pile. Let it cure for a few weeks until it’s dark and crumbly (like soggy dirt) and add it to your garden to fertilize and condition your soil instead of using synthetic/store-bought items from a box store or chain.
Planting things that are local to your region means less work and less water. Native plants also do better overall because they’re already used to your climate. They also provide appropriate food and shelter for local birds and insects.
Upcycle or recycle
Instead of buying garden supplies, consider how you can use what you already have on hand. Shredded newspaper and fallen leaves can be used in place of store-bought mulch. Old Amazon boxes (or any cardboard) can help reduce weed growth. Egg cartons and empty toilet paper rolls can be used to cultivate indoor seedlings. Plastic bottles can be used as watering cans.
Water is a valuable resource. But in order to effectively practice sustainability, we should try to use less of it whenever we can. That means only watering plants when they need it and trying to use water that would otherwise not be used (like rainwater). Even if you don’t have a rainwater collection system (like a rain barrel that collects water from the base of a home downspout), there are ways to recycle water. Consider collecting all the water from unfinished water glasses and bottles or placing a bucket in your shower as the water warms and then use this (cooled) water to water the garden.
Use your hands
A lot of gardening can be done without machines and chemicals that release harmful gasses into the air or soil. Use a shovel, rake, small hand tools, and a little elbow grease to till and dig soil, place seeds, and move ground cover. Pull weeds with your hands as opposed to spraying a chemical to kill them.
Collect seeds from the vegetables you prepare then dry and store them. You can plant the seeds in your garden next year without paying for additional seeds.
Whether you use all of these tips, or just one, you’ll be contributing to a healthier, happier planet (and you). What are you doing to practice sustainability in your garden? We’d love to hear about it in the comments.