There’s something about the idea of creating a sustainable garden that leaves me feeling confident and responsible. Creating anything sustainable has got to be good right? But what is a sustainable garden and how do I start creating one?
Sustainable gardening can be defined as a method of gardening that uses less water, generates less waste and makes better use of resources, space and time. A waste not want not approach to a beautiful landscape. A garden that can be enjoyed over and over again with minimal restart costs or additional materials makes a sustainable garden a wise choice for economic and environmental reasons.
But what does it require?
- It starts with a high quality compost topsoil.
- Use native plants. And buy locally. Native plants are better suited to your environmental conditions and are more adaptive to the needs in your area.
- Mulch to cover the compost and protect the conditions of the soil. Mulching adds another layer of organic matter to the compost and will help suppress weeds, retain moisture, prevent soil runoff, keep soil temperatures down and help keep the soil from becoming compacted from rain.
- Water from sustainable sources such as a rain barrel or an underground cistern that can capture and store rain water. Pretty old fashioned but I know it was the way my grandmother always watered her garden and she had some of the most beautiful flowers and biggest tomatoes I have ever seen! If these options are not convenient for you, you can still conserve water by choosing drought resistant plants based on your planting zone. You should always water only when needed and keep the focus on the area where it is most beneficial – the plant root zones. Drip irrigation options are also something to consider when thinking about a sustainable garden.
- Be sure to add more compost during the season to continue to feed your plants vital nutrients. This will help insure the root systems are well fed and healthy.
- We recommend organic soil amendments and applications including organic fertilizer and compost tea as well as safe and effective organic solutions to other possible pest and disease issues. This will help to keep the soil healthy and allow root systems to thrive with the proper balance of nutrition.
Sustainable gardens are in many ways a thing of the past. The way my grandmother used to grow her garden, gathering water in a rain barrel, reusing a natural resource that is often wasted today. But in many ways, sustainable gardens are a thing of the future. Call us for more information on how we can help you design and install a sustainable garden in your landscape!