To garden sustainably includes gardening techniques that help to replenish the land rather than just take away from it. Your garden doesn’t have to suck up all the nutrients in the soil or create any kind of waste for it to feed you or anybody else.
Instead, your garden can feed you, and the earth, and it can continue to do so indefinitely. That’s what sustainability is all about. Here are a few tips to get you started with a sustainable, organic garden:
1. Start Small, Think Big
When it comes to starting your organic, sustainable garden, you may have to go through a lot of experimentation to find just the right balance for your garden. It takes time to figure out what will grow best with your soil and which plants work best when grown alongside one another.Take it slow and start small.
Don’t think that you need to have a sweeping garden space and luscious flowing pathways to get into gardening. You don’t have a big plot of land. You can garden indoors with just an old dresser full of drawers, some water and windows. Start with what you have and move forward. Create a goal for your garden by envisioning what you would like for it to eventually become and start working on it a little at a time. You need to figure out how to garden sustainably before you start planting various types of disparate plants. Start with a patch, maybe a square foot.
2. Test Your Soil for Balance
One thing that can help you get started is a simple soil test kit. Knowing what kind of soil you’re dealing with can help you figure out what kind of plants will grow best in it.
Knowing the balance of your soil can also help you figure out how much mulch or compost you will need to get the soil ready for planting. Even if you don’t test it for pH, you should check for moisture content and aeration.
3. Get to Know Your Local and Native Plants
A big part of sustainability is not forcing the land to do what it doesn’t normally do. You shouldn’t grow plants that aren’t native or those that aren’t meant for your climate. You should avoid plants that take extra care or non-native plants that may take nutrients from other plants.
4. Learn Composting Methods
You know what soil loves? Organic materials. One of the best [and most sustainable] things you can do for your garden is to compost. That way, all of your garden waste can become raw materials for enriching and rejuvenating your soil.
By composting, you will save money on the purchase of chemicals and growth materials. By recycling raw materials, you will also help the environment by renewing these materials without sending waste to a landfill.
5. Find Ways to Water Your Garden
Water conservation represents a huge part of sustainability. If you have to constantly water your garden with your home’s water, then you’re not conserving. There are a few ways to introduce and recycle water for your garden. One way is with rain barrels. You place rain barrels below your gutter spout and collect rain runoff.
Alternatively, you can use an efficient sprinkler solution like a drip system. Another way to cut back on water usage is to use local plants, as previously mentioned. They rarely require a lot of water. There are also plants that are more drought resistant than others.
If you must water from the tap or hose, try to keep it to an absolute minimum. Drought resistant plants can help you do that.
6. Do Some Research
Many of the tips already listed require you to do some research. This is important. You won’t have to go through a lot of trial and error if you already know a little about what you’re getting into.
Even if you have no idea where to start, the information is out there just waiting for you. There are likely local workshops, classes, and groups that can help you as well. Start with these tips, then dig a little deeper.
Paisley Hansen is a freelance writer and a full-time mother. As a nature enthusiast, Paisley focuses much of her writing on eco-friendly ways to improve home life. When she isn’t writing, she loves spending time with the family. Check her out on Twitter.