Considering the state our planet is in, it was high time we started living healthier and caring more for our environment. Thankfully, from green buildings and ENERGY STAR-rated appliances to using more eco-friendly transportation options, more and more people are implementing various ways of sustainable living. However, you can take it one step further by growing your own food. With that in mind, this article is here to show you the benefits of sustainable gardening and give you some tips on how to do it. Take a look.
What is sustainable gardening?
When we talk about a sustainable garden, we are talking about a garden that does not deplete natural resources and harm the environment, as it is able to sustain itself. Seeing as how it is organic, there is no use of outside resources, herbicides and pesticides. The soil composition, pH levels and nutrients are all improved in natural ways.
Benefits of sustainable gardening
The health benefits of sustainable gardening are similar to those of conventional gardening, including getting some vitamin D and exercise while taking care of our plants. Gardening is also known to reduce stress and have a positive effect on our mental health. However, you should also be aware of all the potential dangers of pesticides. These chemicals have been linked to everything from depression and ADHD to infertility and cancer. By deciding to grow your own organic food, you will avoid these risks and always have a source of food, which also means that you will have to spend less.
We cannot neglect the importance of sustainable gardening for our planet, of course. Pesticides cannot differentiate between types of insects, meaning that they kill both the harmful and beneficial ones. Fertilizers and herbicides are also affecting the quality of our groundwater and soil, which has an impact on all species. Moreover, there is no need for using excessive amounts of land, materials and fuel for transport.
Tips for growing your own food
Take care of the soil
Once you’ve decided to start a sustainable garden, your first step should be testing the soil in your garden. You should determine what you are working with and whether it is acidic or has a high alkaline content. You can do this on your own, by purchasing a test kit at a plant nursery. Depending on the type of plants you wish to grow, you can add fertilizer and compost in order to adjust the pH of the soil. Moreover, you should cover the ground with mulch, dry leaves and grass clippings, which will provide the soil with nutrients and moisture. While improving the soil without any chemicals requires a bit more work, knowing that your food is toxic-free makes it worth it.
Decide on the right plants
When choosing the plants you will grow, it’s important to consider your climate and soil. Also, native plants are always more likely to succeed. You can opt for perennials as they do not have to be replanted annually. Moreover, save your seeds for next season, as that will save you money and maximize the use of your plants. Make sure you include herbs and flowers as well, as diversity creates a healthy environment for both plants and various beneficial insects.
You should know that traditional and sustainable gardens are not planted in the same way. For example, you should plants veggies and fruits next to herbs and flowers as that can enhance their flavor and protect them from various pests. By mixing everything together, you will repel harmful insects and pests but still attract pollinators.
You should look into ways of collecting rainwater as it can help avoid soil contamination, reduce erosion and provide healthy growth. Moreover, it means that you will not have to rely on the local water supply. However, if you do decide to use it, you can harvest gray water in order to conserve water and reduce the costs. Ensuring your soil is aerated and permeable is another thing that will help utilize water to the max.
Compost is a great eco-friendly way to improve your soil, seeing as how it acts as a natural fertilizer and it also reduces waste. It is nothing complicated – you can use your kitchen scraps and green waste.
Even though growing your own food takes some time and effort, experiencing all the health benefits and knowing that your work is helping our planet is bound to inspire you to give it a go. So, what are you waiting for?