How To Make Your Garden More Sustainable | Gardening tips
Ttrying to do the right thing about the environment can seem daunting. The wonderful thing about gardening, however, is that we can make a real difference. Here are some easy ways to make your plot more sustainable – and more beautiful, too.
Unlike, for example, energy-intensive power tools, some of the contributors to greenhouse gas emissions are less obvious. This includes the plants themselves which, depending on their origin, can build up a significant footprint from the greenhouses, trucks, heating and lighting involved. This is particularly the case with “disposable” bedding plants which fill garden centers each season, designed to be planted a few months a year then pulled up and replaced by new purchases.
Switching to propagating your own plants will not only save you hundreds of pounds, but will also open up options for a much wider range of species. This is because the seed catalogs contain thousands of varieties that you will never find in your average garden center. It also means that if you have like-minded friends, you can get your hands on cuttings and seeds that cannot be found anywhere else. Then there’s the fact that growing it yourself means you witness the miracle of seeds springing to life and cuttings suddenly sprouting new roots – a thrill you rarely get by choosing something off a shelf. Sticking to perennials or self-seeded annuals, rather than traditional tender perennial litter, also means you’ll have these plants for life, providing maximum enjoyment with minimal labor and minimal environmental impact.
Gardeners, of course, are in the unique position that they can not only reduce their emissions, but also help capture them. Planting trees is an obvious way to get carbon out of the atmosphere, with options like serviceberry that fit even in the smallest spaces. The benefits of hedges are also overlooked, which can replace the expense and emissions of fences or walls, with a living barrier that not only continually sucks up greenhouse gases, but also provides habitat, color and interest to wildlife all year round. Composting the clippings with the rest of your yard waste is also a very convenient way to produce your own low-emission soil amendment, especially if you are using it to replace the ecological disaster of peat. Also, keep in mind that the old-fashioned idea of regularly digging your garden has been shown to not only harm the health of the soil, but also release a significant amount of carbon that it stores. So taking a rest and leaving your floor alone is also kinder to the planet.
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