How To Create A Sustainable Garden That The Environment Will Love
Sustainable gardening is all about gardening in a smart and eco-friendly way, it means giving back to mother nature by using fewer chemicals and adopting greener alternatives. Food grown in a sustainable garden is often better tasting and has more nutrients!
Here’s how to create a sustainable garden that the environment will absolutely love.
What Is A Sustainable Garden?
A sustainable garden is often a smaller area that avoids wasting unnecessary resources and minimises environmental impact. Sustainable gardeners don’t use large amounts of precious water, toxic petrochemical fertilisers, expensive fuel, transport, masses of material and land like their corporate counterparts.
Creating a sustainable garden is increasingly important to improve air quality, the survival of wildlife, and other environmental issues.
Why Create A Sustainable Garden?
There is an endless list of benefits to creating a sustainable garden, but our favourite benefits include:
- Plants naturally clean their surroundings – We all know plants produce oxygen through the process of photosynthesis, but they also remove chemicals and bacterias floating around in the air, providing an overall healthier environment around them. Not only this, the plant’s roots uptake chemicals and heavy metals within the soils and groundwater, creating healthier soil.
- Growing your own food reduces your carbon footprint – If you grow your own foods you won’t have to make a trip to the supermarket to buy what you need, plus the foods you buy have often travelled around the world to get to you. By gardening, you save on wasted energy, time and money.
- Replenishment of nutrients in the soil – Leaf litter and other organic materials that fall from plants create topsoils, and this is what replenishes the nutrients your plants crave. After harvesting, your dead or decaying plants, especially annual vegetation, provide materials that fix certain nutrients into the ground and reduce the use of synthetic fertilizers.
- Supports beneficial birds and insects – We know wildlife is drawn to greener spaces, but pollinators, in particular, need all the support they can get, and your garden will provide more than just a much-needed food source. Your garden will provide protection from predators, weather, and give them space to complete their life cycles. You also provide a place for birds to nest, as they spread vegetative seeds which are a food source for other wildlife. They also protect against unwanted predators and insects.
Eco Garden Design
When you’re starting your sustainable garden it’s a good idea to consider resource-conserving practises in order to protect your plants and soils. There are a wide range of water conservation and soil preparation practises you can incorporate to make your garden greener and reduce its environmental impact.
The biggest consideration you need to make is thinking about the different plants you want to grow – the shadow-loving plants should be planted in the shade of taller vegetation, sun-loving plants need to be planted in areas where they can enjoy full sun, and plants that crave water should be planted in the moistest areas of your garden so they can remain healthy.
When planning your garden consider what kinds of animals and insects you’d like to provide a habitat for. Bees and butterflies are attracted to a wide variety of wildflowers, with bees preferring white, yellow, and blue flowers, and butterflies preferring flat, open blooms with big petals for easy landings. Birds prefer bright, vivid colours such as red, orange and white. If you’re a fan of hedgehogs, add small 13 x 13cm holes in your walls and fences so they can roam throughout the night, they also appreciate a wild corner of the garden for shelter.
By planning your garden you can conserve resources whilst creating a garden that both you and the environment will love.
How To Create A Sustainable Garden
Make Your Own Compost
One of the easiest sustainable gardening practices is composting – the recycling of your food and natural waste to be reused as organic fertiliser, returning nutrients into the soil. It also saves you the time and petrol you waste going to the local tip.
You can compost both food scraps from your kitchens, such as all vegetable and fruit wastes, cooked or uncooked grains, tea bags, coffee grounds, eggshells and old bakery products, and garden scraps such as dead leaves, flower heads and grass clippings.
If you need to buy compost, as you cannot produce enough, or you don’t have enough room to do so, always choose peat-free compost. Peat is sourced from lowland raised bogs, a rare habitat in the UK and across Europe, they are also an important carbon sink, meaning if we destroy them we contribute to climate change.
Native plants are plants that grow naturally in your region. It’s much easier to grow and sustain these plants because they are already suited to your rainfall, soil, and overall climate in your region.
They require less effort and often less water to maintain and grow. If that’s not enough, you will be helping in the preservation of local birds and insects by providing well-known food and shelter for them.
Avoid Single Use Plastics
Often plastic pots are unable to be recycled, meaning they’ll end up in landfill and take centuries to decompose. Avoid throwing them into the recycling bin if you’re unsure, as they can contaminate the other recyclables and cause the whole lot to be thrown into the landfill. If you can’t avoid single-use plastics, such as pots, then do reuse them when you can for new seedlings or cuttings.
You can buy some plants in biodegradable plant pots, choose those when you can. Other garden centres offer second-hand plastic pots, or you can get in touch with a local gardening club to see if anybody has spare pots.
Try to avoid other single-use garden plastics when you can, such as the pots plants are housed in when you purchase them, compost bags, or fresh bulb packaging. Some garden centres do offer recycling systems so watch out for these when you can.
One super simple swap is using wooden lollipop sticks or shaved twigs as your seedling labels instead of the plastic ones.
Say No To Pesticides, Herbicides and Other Chemicals
Instead of using chemical herbicides in your garden, you can use organic methods to control your weeds and pests. Using chemicals to kill off pests will affect both beneficial insects and the environment around them.
You can handpick your weeds and remove unwanted insects by hand too, or you can try some natural pest control, such as spraying your plants with a castile soap solution. If you have plants in pots, you can apply petroleum jelly or copper tape around the edges to deter slugs from eating your plants. Avoiding chemicals is not only great for the garden, it helps the local wildlife, especially animals such as hedgehogs as they will often eat poisoned slugs and end up unwell themselves.
Wildflowers are flowers that have not been genetically manipulated, generally, they can be grown without human aid. They improve soil health, prevent erosion, and improve water quality, they are also incredibly easy to grow and bring beneficial insects, bees, and butterflies to your garden.
They also provide pollinators and other insects with food from their leaves, as well as pollen, nectar, shelter and places to breed. Wildflowers are also incredibly easy to plant, you can buy Seedballs that just need to be thrown onto soil or compost in the spring or autumn, and it will grow once the ball becomes moist enough!
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