We know that having a garden is good for you – but do you know what sustainable gardening is, and the many perks that come with this lifestyle choice?
Along with boosting your Vitamin D intake (hello sunshine), gardening has been proven to reduce stress, depression and anxiety through “horticulture therapy”. Although it might not always feel like it, let’s not forget that spending time in your garden also counts as physical exercise.
It’s therefore not that difficult to make the transition into sustainable gardening – but why should you?
What Is Sustainable Gardening
The concept is simple enough: go about your day, but cause as little impact to the earth and its inhabitants as you can. We talk about sustainable business, sustainable fashion, sustainable tourism – it’s become somewhat of a buzzword. Gardening in a sustainable way that provides nourishment with minimal damage to the environment, is simply tweaking what you most likely already do.
Nick Sell, our local Agronomist says, “when considering sustainability, think of how you can benefit from an economic, social and environmental aspect, also referred to as a triple bottom line”. For example, is it affordable to continue to use organic products? Nick says “in this case yes, as a healthy soil ecosystem is a more productive one, especially on a small scale.
Some examples of sustainable gardening practices can include:
- Composting – Recycle your food scraps and organic waste into nature’s greatest fertiliser. Introducing compost to your garden beds will help to retain moisture, protect plant roots, fend off diseases, and ultimately make the soil nutrient rich to produce better plants.
- Go Native – Whenever possible, embrace your climate and create an ecosystem. Relatively easy to grow, native plants to your region are already accustomed to the rainfall, soil and climate that surrounds where you live. You’ll also encourage the locals to swing by, including birds, butterflies and bees (nature’s best pollinators).
- Be Water Wise – Large portions of Australia is currently in drought. By harnessing rainfall via tanks and other storage solutions, you’re not only cutting down on your water bills, but you’re also ensuring that your garden receives the good stuff organically. There’s no risk of added pollutants or letting the sprinkler run for too long.
Of course, the big one that comes to mind when we think of sustainable gardening is the use of synthetic or chemical based herbicides and pesticides. While sometimes you may be in need of a “quick fix” – it’s important to keep in mind that this is ultimately what it is.
For long term solutions to keep your garden pest and disease free, there are plenty of organic and chemical free options on the market in Australia. The use of plant probiotics is rapidly gaining traction for its wide range of benefits, effectively reducing the need for that cupboard hidden in the laundry or shed used for storing the “nasties”.
According to Nick “a healthy garden also attracts wildlife and using biological and natural fertilisers helps to capture and use nutrients that would otherwise be lost to the outside environment”.
What Are The Benefits Of Sustainable Gardening
Apart from essentially giving Mother Nature a big high five, sustainable gardening will keep your plants in tip top shape without making a dent in the ozone layer. You’re also creating a safer environment for you, your pets and your family to spend time in – particularly if you have plants that you intend on consuming, like fruit, vegetables or herbs.
So what are the pros of making the switch to sustainable gardening?
- Reduce Carbon Emissions – By using your food scraps and organic waste as compost, you’re encouraging “good” bacteria and fungi that helps the soil to absorb carbon faster than synthetic fertilisers and helps the soil to retain it. With less digging required you’re essentially “locking up” the carbon, and keeping it underground.
- Reduce Invasive Weed Spread – Plant seeds travel. If you’re using native species this is great, but not so good if there’s weeds or foreign plants present in your garden. It’s also particularly important if you live close to or near national parks or habitats, as invasive species can rapidly choke and destroy native plant life.
- Reduce Pollution In Waterways – Chemical based or synthetic fertilisers and water inevitably produce run off, which always ends up back in our natural rivers and oceans one way or another. If you’re going to unwillingly “give back” to the environment around you, then take care that it’s only the good stuff that you’re passing on. Regular use of garden probiotics also drought proof your plants which means less water usage and lower water costs.
- Safer For Wildlife, Pets and People – It’s important to remember that there’s many living things that call your garden home. This can include native birds and insects, but also your pets and children. If you can reduce or eliminate the use of pesticides and herbicides that are chemically based, then others can’t be exposed to them.
If you’re considering making the switch to sustainable gardening, remember that it doesn’t have to be as simple as one or the other – there’s a whole grey area in the middle, with many different minor changes you can make to improve the “eco-friendliness” of your garden.