Showing posts with label horticulture. Show all posts
Showing posts with label horticulture. Show all posts

Wednesday, 13 March 2019

An introduction to sustainable gardening

An introduction to sustainable gardening

Nicky Roeber is the Online Horticultural Expert for Wyevale Garden Centres, he got in contact with Madia & Matilda to share some insights for our readers & followers. Here, he outlines some ways in which you could be gardening in a more sustainable way.

At a time when we're all becoming increasingly concerned about environmental issues such as global warming and the plastic crisis, it's important to think about how our daily actions could be contributing to these problems. And, we're definitely making progress in this respect — in fact, according to Pinterest's latest report, sustainability is set to be a huge trend for 2019.

Eco-friendliness is something we should be factoring into everything from the foods we eat to the activities we partake in. For example, if you're a keen gardener, there are some steps you can take to ensure you're always doing this in the most eco-friendly and sustainable way possible. And I'm going to share some of my top tips for that here.

Use recycled pots and planters

In order to live more sustainably, it's vital that we all generally buy less and buy better. So, if you currently don't have enough pots and planters to create the garden of your dreams, consider trying to source these second hand. Car boot sales, markets, and charity shops are all great places where you're likely to find pre-loved but perfectly good plant pots. And, if you're feeling creative, you could even create your own using recycled or salvaged materials.

If you're struggling to find the types of planters you're after, you can always buy some brand new ones. Opting for natural versions like those made from bamboo, or metal styles that are going to last for years, is a great idea. As long as you’re planning to use them permanently, you could also pick out some plastic pots, as they are particularly durable. Just make sure you dispose of them in the most eco-friendly way possible if you do ever need to get rid of them.

It’s also worth remembering that you should always look to buy plants that come in sustainable temporary packaging, too. This will help to increase your green gardening credentials even further.

Give composting a go

It's a great idea to give composting a go if you're generally looking to live more sustainably, as it offers a great way of transforming your kitchen and garden waste into nutrient-rich food for your plants and crops. And, as explained in the guide to composting that you can find on the Wyevale Garden Centres website, composting your household waste not only cuts down how much rubbish you're sending to landfill, but it will also help to reduce your greenhouse emissions.

When composting, you should aim for a mix of 50% green and 50% brown waste. And, you should be able to use your compost within nine months to a year of beginning the process.

Take some steps to conserve water

According to The Guardian, at peak demand, up to 70% of our water supply can be used on looking after our gardens. So, when you're looking to make your outdoor hobby more sustainable, taking steps to conserve water is a great idea. There are a number of ways in which you can do this.

Firstly, by making a real effort to look after your soil, you shouldn't have to water your plants as much. Instead, you can add organic matter to your soil to improve its structure and help it to retain water more easily. Additionally, placing mulch in your flowerbeds and hanging baskets will help to prevent moisture from evaporating during dry spells.

You can also help to keep your plants hydrated without wasting water by checking whether they need it beforehand. To do this, inspect the soil about a spade's length below the surface. If this is still damp, you should be able to hold off for a while.

Plant and propagate food scraps

I've already explained how you can use your food scraps to make nutrient-rich compost, but you can also repurpose some of your kitchen waste by planting and propagating it. Carrots, lettuce tomatoes, and herbs can all be grown quite easily if they get the right amounts of sunlight and water.

If growing vegetables from food scraps is something you're interested in, make sure you check out Food Revolution's guide, which explains what kinds of foods you can do this with, and what kinds of conditions they all need.

Opt for organic

You might already buy organic vegetables from the supermarket, but have you considered taking an organic approach to looking after your own garden? This can apply to everything from looking after your soil to the way you control pests and weeds.

As previously mentioned, composting is a great way to provide your plants with all of the nutrients they need, but it will also ensure you're doing this in the most organic way possible. Just make sure that all of the food waste you put into your bin comes from organic vegetables.
You can also control weeds naturally by spreading a blanket of bark mulch, leaf mould, or composted straw across your soil. This will help to prevent pesky weeds from growing and breaking through the surface. You can also help to control pests by making your garden a haven for wildlife that will take care of them for you. Hedgehogs and toads will deal with slugs and snails, while ladybirds have a big appetite for greenflies. So, installing bug boxes and creating homes for these little creatures will work to your advantage.

Sustainability is becoming a growing concern for most gardeners, as we're all becoming more aware of the impact our actions can have on the environment. But, if you take these tips on board, you should be able to carry on with your gardening hobby in an eco-friendly way.