The more we learn about the damage we are inflicting on Mother Earth, the more we want to change our everyday habits. You probably have switched to organic gardening practices, getting rid of chemical herbicides and pesticides, but how can you contribute to a healthier garden and cleaner living?
Here are some tips to help you navigate sustainable gardening and preserve, conserve and regenerate the environment:
Use native plants. They are adapted to the micro-climate in your area and often require less maintenance than exotic species.
Provide a habitat for wildlife and pollinators by planting native flowers.
Collecting rainwater in a barrel is a great way to utilize a renewable resource that nature provides.
Compost fruit and vegetable scraps, along with tree leaves to add nutrients to your soil and enrich its health while reducing waste.
Choose low voltage and energy-efficient LED bulbs for your landscaping lighting.
When building paths, fences or decks, look for recycled, reused or eco-friendly materials.
Get involved. Join local organizations, attend a sustainability talk, spread the word.
Using edibles as ornamental accents for the garden has been trending for a while. For some, it’s a way to a more sustainable living while for others it’s a relaxing hobby, but why not do it for both its nutrimental and aesthetic value? Using vegetables and herbs in the garden for both food and ornamental appearance actually makes for a tougher and healthier garden with less need for pesticides and fungicides.
You don’t need much space to grow an eclectic mix of some of the most popular edibles. Shallow-rooted edibles like lettuce, radishes, peppers and herbs only need a container about 8 inches deep in order to thrive. While beets, carrots and onions require a bit more room, they can still grow perfectly in a 5-gallon pot, and strawberries can even do well in hanging baskets. If you want a vertical garden, try tomatoes, peas or cucumbers.
As in any other form of gardening, it’s effective to combine heights, textures and colors. Don’t forget to consider the overall look of each plant, and group together those that complement one another as well as those that share the same growing requirements.
As you probably know, perennial plants can live for at least three years and reappear year after year, while annuals are planted and live for only one season. One of the best things about perennials is that with just a little extra care they grow bigger and better each year. Here are a few tips to keep them performing well.
When buying perennials look for fresh, healthy-looking plants that appear ready to grow. Choose plants that are a good size and have no obvious foliage diseases.
Water plants early in the morning to avoid losing water to evaporation.
Regular deadheading (cutting the faded flowers off your plants) encourages repeat blooming.
Prune off any dead tops in late winter or early spring.
Stake tall plants before they reach a height of 2 feet to prevent wind damage.
Many perennials will start to crowd themselves out if they get too big. Every three or four years (preferably in early spring and fall) dig the plants out of the ground and split them into smaller chunks.
If you have rich soil, simply adding compost on a regular basis should be enough to feed your plants. Poor soil requires a bit more help, and a general-purpose garden fertilizer can be beneficial in promoting growth.