Whether you have a natural green thumb or not, there are plenty of benefits to having a garden. You can stay active, give your mental health a boost, and help out the planet with your efforts.
Gardening, in general, is typically an eco-friendly activity. However, if you want to have a garden year-round, you might think you have to make choices that aren’t exactly good for the environment. For some, that might include using pesticides in the summer. Or, you might turn toward chemically-laden soils and “boosters” to help plants grow in cooler temperatures.
Can those things help? Absolutely.
Are they good for the environment? No.
If you want to maintain your garden and enjoy it all year, there are things you can do to keep it going that won’t harm the planet in the process. Let’s look into how you can get started, even if you’re just getting into gardening for the first time.
Think Like a Farmer
Sustainable agriculture has become a hot topic across the country as the effects of climate change are becoming more apparent. Some of the practices include:
- Using renewable resources
- Reusing resources whenever possible
- Planning ahead
You can use some of those practices and techniques in your home garden, too. One of the easiest ways to practice sustainability is to switch out your plants based on the season. Farmers do this by switching out the crops they plant every other year. It helps to keep the soil healthy without depleting its nutrients. That’s why you might see corn planted in a field one season, and soybeans the next.
You can do that on a smaller scale quite easily. By planning ahead, you can decide what to plant, where, and when. Even things like companion planting can support biodiversity and keep your soil rich with nutrients.
If you’re still worried about the health of your soil, consider giving yourself a bit of “insurance” by composting. It’s a great way to make use of food scraps and yard waste. Adding compost to your soil will keep it moist and nutrient-dense no matter what season you’re in. Composting requires a bit of research to make sure you know what you can use and how long it takes for the matter to be viable. But, it’s a worthwhile project if you plan on keeping up a garden.
Clean, Green Care Techniques
Keeping up with your garden is important if you want it to flourish year-round. If you’re willing to put in the work, you can create a backyard retreat – even on a budget. One way to make tending your garden easier on yourself and to make it more eco-friendly is to use a “rock garden” mindset.
Rock garden landscaping looks great, it’s easier to maintain than filling those areas with plants, and xeriscaping with rocks can reduce water use by 50-75%. When you’re able to use less water, you can also focus on the water quality you’re providing for your plants.
Water quality is highly important when irrigating your garden. The pH balance in your water can affect the acidity of your water, and while that changes the flavor of your water, it can also either dry our or overwater your plants. Make sure you do your research before you water your garden to give it what it needs from your daily watering habits. You might want to consider using rain barrels to collect water and use that on your plants. It requires little to no extra work, and it’s a great way to ensure your flowers and vegetation are getting exactly what they need.
With a few simple tips and techniques, you can enjoy a garden year-round, while doing your part to help the environment. Keep these ideas in mind for a thriving garden every season.
Luke Smith is a writer and researcher turned blogger. Since finishing college he is trying his hand at being a freelance writer. When he isn’t writing you can find him traveling, hiking, or gaming. You can keep up with his writing on his Twitter.
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