Sustainable gardening has become a buzzword within the environmental community in recent years. But what does the term actually mean? Essentially, sustainable gardening is a concept which revolves around the creation of physical, psychological and visual sustenance and nourishment using natural resources without disrupting existing ecosystems or increasing carbon footprints.The resources can come in the form of land, water supply, seeds, fertiliser and much more. The guiding principle behind sustainable gardening is sustainable production and respect for the environment. Whether you’re a wannabe sustainable gardener, or just contemplating joining the movement, we’ve compiled several tips and environmental hacks below that would help you get started on the right path.
You don’t have to put on a dungaree, adopt a Southern American accent or chew tobacco to grow vegetable, fruits or berries in your own backyard. Heck, depending on where you live, you might not even need a backyard – you could create a thriving ‘farm’ with just some pots. Regardless of whether you’re planning to grow produce in the garden, kitchen or even balcony, the key lies in having good soil and a conducive species-specific climate. As such, before commencing on any planting project, perform an inspection of the soil to determine its pH level. While most resources would suggest balancing acidic soil down to 7, there are some plants, such as parsley and blueberries, which thrive in acidic soil. Next, investigate the existing gardens and farms in your area to determine the most successful crop for the climate. Don’t simply rely on written literature when choosing your plants, because not only can climate change, microclimates are very real – the area you’re living in could have its own unique climate where only certain plant species can grow bountifully.
You should also focus on enhancing the nutritional level of the soil. An effective shortcut to increase the nutrient and nitrogen content of the soil is by spreading livestock manure on it. Bonus points if the ground has been tilled in advance to ensure the manure goes deeper. A slower, equally effective and less smelly approach is by using organic fertilisers or compost and mulch. The latter two are actually preferable since they will be able to mimic the role that leaves and branches play in the forest – they provide protection and insulation for the soil. Otherwise, the soil is exposed to the risk of wind and water erosion. Once you’ve completed these basic preparations, your sustainable garden’s chance of success will grow exponentially.