Guest post by Ali Lawrence
Are you a member of the going green bandwagon? It’s true that sustainability is all the rage these days, but there are a great many advantages to deciding to do so, especially for a home garden. So what is sustainable gardening? A sustainable garden isn’t just organic – it’s also about being smart with the materials and techniques you use. It’s about being in harmony with nature and making sure your impact on the planet is positive instead of negative.
Now it’s easier than ever to bring those sustainable ideas to your own backyard – or even your balcony. All you need are a few tips and tricks that can help you maximize space, get the right materials and modify how you garden.
1 – The Design of Your Space Is Key
Whether you have a sizable yard in the country or a small space in your walk-up apartment, having a sustainable garden is still possible. You can make use of reclaimed wood to build a raised bed or bin for your compost pile. If you’re in tight quarters, you can try out an innovative and cool vertical garden – which you can add your own personal touch to.
Check out this slide deck for a few ideas on sustainable garden designs.
2 – Make Sure to Test Your Soil
Once you’ve nailed down your idea, you need to see what kind of dirt you have to work with. Don’t worry: This isn’t a complicated task, you can buy an inexpensive test kit at your local garden store. Why is testing your soil important? The alkalinity or acidity of your soil will dictate what kind of natural fertilizer and compost your garden will need to thrive.
Certain plants, like blueberries, prefer acidic soil, while others grow best in a pH-balanced environment. If you’re vertical gardening, it’ll be more important to know what plants you want, so you can fill your planters with the right type of potting soil.
3 – Look for Low-Watering Plants
Conserving and using less water is another way you can be more sustainable and reduce your carbon footprint on the planet. One way to translate this in your own garden to choose plants like a honey bush or Monterey Cypress that don’t require a lot of water to live comfortably.
4 – Find Some Companions for Them
The main goal of your sustainable garden is to work in harmony with nature. To best achieve this, you’ll want to create an environment where the plants complement each other. Research companion plants for your low-watering choices, and build your garden from there.
5 – Invite Pollinators
Bees, butterflies and some birds help pollinate your plants. When picking flowers and vegetables, choose plants that attract pollinators. It’s important to also have a supporting habitat for them with water (like a bird bath) and at least one plant that will be in bloom during each month.
6 – Utilize That Compost
Having your own compost pile will help you maintain the equilibrium of your garden. You can use food scraps, leaves and other items from outside, either through vermicomposting or by backyard composting. You’ll be able to return much-needed nutrients to your soil and cut down on food waste.
7 – Top It All Off With Mulch
This might seem like a small thing, but mulch actually helps your soil retain its moisture, cuts down on weed growth and also protects the delicate roots of your plants. These requirements might change a bit depending on the type of space you decide to utilize for your sustainable garden.
With just a bit of thought and planning, you can put together a garden space that will not only feed you, but also have a positive impact on the environment for many years to come.
BIO for Ali Lawrence: Raised in Alaska, Ali was taught from a young age how to live off the land. She enjoys fishing, gardening and long hikes in the mountains. Read more of her articles at Homey Improvements or talk with her on Twitter.
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