Sustainable gardening uses only some basic gardening techniques alongside a little know-how and organic practices.
In return, you can grow fresh and healthy vegetables that are free from pesticides and other dangerous chemicals.
As well as being good for you, this will help you save money as well, since you will be relying on supermarkets less.
Raised Vegetable Beds
Raised vegetable beds offer a number of vital advantages for any garden. First of all, they let you access your beds without having to get your knees dirty.
This is vital, considering that many vegetable plants are quite low to the ground, so why not bring the entire soil up to a more appropriate height?
This can be with sustainable materials, such as wood, or even upcycling old barrels and containers. Just ensure there’s enough depth for your plants to take root.
Additionally, raised beds help to keep the various soil patches away from each other. Different plants have different criteria in terms of pH levels, moisture and nutrients.
Separate beds allow you to control the different soil climates more efficiently.
Monitoring The pH Levels
As any gardener knows, the most nutritious and thriving vegetables come from those with the right pH soil.
While most vegetables appreciate a pH level between 5 and 8, there is actually quite a variance in this. To get the best harvest, you should be willing to fine tune the soil.
Your typical potato, for example, enjoys something between 5.3 and 6 pH – a mild alkaline soil, while an onion enjoys anything between 6 and 6.7 pH.
If you want the optimum values, you should plant these seeds in different beds, as already mentioned.
Many of the techniques discussed shortly will offer some great, sustainable ways to control the pH of your soil. Don’t use pre-made fertilisers, as these are full of dangerous chemicals.
Sustainable Composts And Mulch
One of the best ways to fertilize your soil, while keeping your garden sustainable, is to make your own compost and mulch.
You can use a wide variety of materials for this. If it’s biodegradable, you can find a home for it.
Compost is a vital fertilizer in any garden and you can use grass clippings and food waste to create this.
If you monitor the acid or alkaline qualities of what you put in there, you can control the pH level of the compost, which is a great way to adapt the soil your plants are in.
Mulch, similarly, can use thicker materials, such as rotten plants, dead leaves, wood chips and more. This will protect the topsoil, retaining the moisture further down.
Not only will this provide nutrient-rich fertilizer for your garden, it also increases your sustainability. Dead organic matter produced from your garden can go straight into composting, helping to reduce the amount of waste produced.
Maintain A Sustainable Focus
While the tips above are great for setting up your garden, it’s also important to maintain a sustainable focus.
It’s already been said that many commercial pesticides and fertilizers have dangerous and unsustainable chemicals, but what about your water?
You should use rainwater for a number of reasons. First of all, it’s a free resource. As long as you have a good rainwater tank pump to direct what you collect, you can water your plants with a natural refreshment. This, in turn, also reduces your water dependency and reliance on tap water.
Likewise, rainwater is clean and you don’t have to worry about preservatives such as chlorine or fluoride hiding in your water, as can often be the case with tap water.
In any case, it’s what wild plants use, so harvesting some spare water gives you a reserve for the occasional dry spell.
Aside from rainwater, compost and mulch, there are a few more sustainable supplements you can use to enhance your garden.
If you need calcium, you can create bone meal from leftover bones. Likewise, fish emulsion converts left over fish remains into a great source of nitrogen and phosphorous.
If your home doesn’t generate enough of these remains, you can often find businesses (such as butchers) that will happily give you their excess waste.
Start A Seed Bank
Finally, just to make sure you’re prepared for anything, you should start a seed bank once you start harvesting your crops.
Since many plants produce plenty of seeds, you can easily spare a few from each plant and keep them safe.
This adds extra sustainability to your garden, as it prevents a local infestation or severe weather from leaving you with nothing.
You can use the seeds to replant and start again. Of course, you can also use these seeds to help out others, swap with fellow gardeners or even contribute to larger sustainability projects, such as national seed banks.
Start Gardening Sustainably Already…
With a little preparation and knowledge, these points will help you start your own sustainable garden, producing fresh and chemical-free plants that can help you save money, get close to nature and stay healthy.
As it’s your garden, you can grow as little or as much as you want. Just start with a comfortable amount and have fun!