What does a sustainable garden mean? A simple definition could be a garden where our needs are met today without jeopardising the future generations ability to look after their needs. Another definition could be a garden where the energy needed to maintain it is able to be consistently given without burning ourselves out. Who wants to spend their whole Saturday mowing lawns.
There are many ways you can choose to be sustainable in your garden. Below are 7 ideas.
Learn to compost
Composting reduces the amount of food scraps going to landfill. Food scraps in landfill will break down but they way they break down produces methane gas. Methane gas is not great for our environment.
Composting will give us fertiliser to use on our gardens and enriches our soil. Those scraps will be transformed into garden gold – saving us buying fertiliser.
There are many ways to compost. Cold composting, hot composting, trench composting, even worm farms can be considered a way to compost. Learning the best way to compost for your situation will produce the best results.
For more information on composting methods, check out this article by Compost Junkie.
Buy quality garden tools
Investing in top quality garden tools that will not break after a short time saves resources. The energy that is put into making cheaper tools can be saved if there is no need to buy them in the first place.
Quality garden tools will last you a lifetime if they are looked after. By using these tools, you are reducing the impact that multiple purchases of cheaper tools has on our environment.
The Bulldog range of tools are designed with quality and longevity in mind. We have had calls from our customers saying that they have their grandad’s old Bulldog spade or fork and are still using it in their garden.
Getting Seed from Local Seed Savers or Save Your Own Seed
This way you getting seed that is best suited to your area. The plants grown from this seed will be adapted to the conditions in your garden. Being suited to the conditions in your garden will mean less babying and plant loss.
Seed savers often have hard to find variety or heirloom seeds. If there is a local seed savers and you purchase your seed through them you are ensuring the continued survival of varieties that may not be there for future generations. Diversity in food crops is wonderful and will see future generations not relying on a limited food crop genetic pool.
For further info on Seed saver network or tips on saving your own seed, check out Seed Savers.
Think Outside The Box
Growing perennials will see the time you need to spend on plant maintenance reduced. Annuals can be hard work and they only last a season. Choosing perennials will see you spending less time pulling out plants that have come to the end of growing season and then needing to plant something in their place.
Planting natives will also help with the sustainability factor. These plants like your local conditions. So there isn’t that uphill battle.
Most of the local bird and pollinator life will like native plantings as well. Most areas have seen habitat areas in decline – by giving wildlife an area that they can be happy in you are helping keep important habitat space.
Mulch It Up
Nature loves to fill a bare patch of ground – usually with weeds. Mulching bare areas in the garden will help suppress those weeds. Meaning less time spent by you finding a way to remove those weeds.
Mulching also helps to reduce water use in the garden. Water is a precious resource. The soil underneath mulch is protected from the sun, stays cooler and won’t get a chance to get cracked and dried out. When soil is cracked and dried out, it makes it harder for water to soak right in meaning you use more water. Mulching also reduces moisture loss from the soil again less watering needed.
There are many types of mulch out there. To find out what mulch is the best for your garden situation, check out ‘How To Choose the Best Type of Mulch’
Learn to Preserve Your Harvest
When there is a glut of zucchinis, tomatoes, lemons…whatever there may be, transform these into yummy treats that can be enjoyed later on. Jams, chutneys, ferments, pickles – most fruit and vegetables can be preserved. These treats also make great gifts!
Extending your harvest in this way means there is little waste. An afternoon can be set aside to prepare these goodies in bulk meaning time saved further down the track. It also has the added bonus of enjoying a fruit or vegetable when they are not in season. Freezing mangoes is one way I can enjoy the taste of summer in winter.
For tips and recipes, borrow a book from your local library, ask a friend or search online. Once I learnt how easy it was to make sauerkraut and kimchi, I haven’t needed to buy it.
Add a Clothes Line
Many gardens don’t have a clothes line. If you have room in your garden, add a clothes line. If you already have a clothes line, use it. Reducing or even not using a clothes dryer saves the energy that is needed to power this appliance. Harness nature’s energy through a clothes line to dry the clothes.
So there you have it – just a few ideas on how to make your garden more sustainable. There are plenty more. What do you do in your garden?
For more ideas check out Mother Earth’s 82 Sustainability Gardening Tips.