Gardening is one of the ultimate spring and summer hobbies that is also full of benefits. Not only has gardening proven to boost your immune system, lower your stress, and make you happier and healthier overall, but planting a garden allows you access to some of the freshest fruits and vegetables. Additionally, if done mindfully, gardening can be better for the environment as you are eliminating the use of fossil fuels to ship produce to the store from other states and countries.
Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or want to give it a try for the first time, here are some tips to make this summer’s garden more friendly to the environment:
Preparing the Garden
A healthy garden has a soil that’s full of nutrients and organic matter and doesn’t require the use of man-made fertilizers. Two ways to ensure a soil that’s suitable for successful growth includes using composted material from your compost bin (after 6 to 9 months) or worm composting (after a few months the soil is ready to be used).
Less Yard, More Garden
One of the more time consuming summer chores is mowing the lawn. While there are more environmentally friendly lawn mower options that the traditional gas powered mowers, which produce high amounts of greenhouse gases, mowing the lawn can be a seemingly pointless task. Not only does mowing take up a lot of time, but healthy lawns also require chemicals (such as fertilizers) and frequent upkeep. If you’d rather do something else than mow your lawn this summer, why not try replacing your lawn (or sections of it) with flowers, shrubs, and simple landscaping?
Consider Native Plants
One of the main goals, when planting a environmentally friendly garden, is to eliminate the use or need of pesticides, which is widely used in larger agriculture practices. While one can (and should) easily garden without the use of pesticides, planting native plants is an easy way to make sure there’s no need for pesticides. You can either incorporate native plants, which are naturalized to a specific area, into your garden or if you decide to replace areas of your lawn. Native plants are low maintenance, rarely need water, don’t need fertilizer, and they attract songbirds and provide essential nutrients for butterflies and bees, which can improve the overall production and health of your garden.
Reduce Your Need for Water Consumption
In addition to eliminating the need for fertilizers and pesticides, reducing your water consumption makes for an environmentally friendly garden. While using native, drought-tolerant plants, also known as Xeriscaping, is a good way to cut back on water usage, you can still plant anything you like, but consider using mulch in your garden. Mulch, which is made up of a variety of materials from grass clippings to cocoa shells and even rubber, keeps water in the soil and decreases the need to water your garden as often as you would if the soil around the plants was exposed to sunlight and other elements.