How green is your garden?

ZolaStarred Page By Zola, 11th Aug 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/1nmj8gix/
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Gardening>Organic

Times are changing. Create a garden that sustains itself and give a little extra space for nature. Adopt these "green" garden ideas.

Green living

Until quite recently, it was normal to use chemical fertilizers, weed killers and many different kinds of pesticides in gardening. Farmers used even more. This is now changing, because the idea of creating a beautiful garden at the expense of the environment no longer feels right.

Being a "green" gardener involves making choices about how to garden but also how to live in a way that reduces your carbon footprint. The green lifestyle covers many areas of life, but it makes sense to start from a garden.

List of how to "green" your garden can be very long and detailed, so start with only couple of issues, the ones that feel doable and affordable.

Green issues

Conserve water: Scientists warn us that wars fought in the future will be "water wars". Even countries which are not short of water will feel the consequences because of growing urbanized popullation. The less we use, there'll be more to go around. Therefore, fix leaking taps, install a more efficient irrigation system if you have a big garden, harvest rainwater. It would also help to reduce your lawn area because lawns are always thristy. Instead, you could plant ground covers, indigenous grasses or even a meadow mix of flowers. Also, the smaller the lawn the less petrol and electricity you'll need to mow it.

Cut out pesticides and insecticides: Many beneficial insects, as well as birds, butterflies and bees are killed by garden poisons. Why not plant marigolds, nasturtium, calendula and parsley instead, as these plants are known to deter insects. Or, try to increase the number of insect-eating birds. Besides, being toxic to the environment, many chemical fertilizers can destroy soil nutrients and affect underground water supplies.

Encourage biodiversity: The greater the variety of plants, the easier it will be for the garden to support a healthy ecosystem. Go for indigenous plants as they are better adapted to local conditions, which makes them easier to grow. However, this seems to be a difficult thing to do. I know many people who try hard to be "green", yet refuse to give up on exotics. And, it's a sad fact that with so many new hybrids coming up every year, it's becoming more difficult to come by indigenous or endemic plant seed.

Keep your soil healthy: Healthy soil produces healthy plants, which make for healthy people. Make your own compost and use it to regenerate the soil. The little creatures who live in the compost (the decomposers) eat the things we don't want (kitchen scrap and weed). And they in turn are food for someone else. Why use expensive chemicals that take a lot of energy to produce to provide nutrients for plants, when there are decomposers wanting to do the job for us? If you are serious about gardening, start a wormery. You can even make use of dog droppings, in which case you should use it only on flowers, not on anything edible.

Think of others

Garden wildlife: Depending on the size and location of your garden, set aside an area for wild flowers and plants. Or simply, create space where fallen branches and leaves can rot. Scatter a few logs or make a pond. Don't mow grass there, don't prune the hedges. Put in bird or bat boxes. In other words, allow a portion of your garden to go wild. You'll have many grateful visitors.

Reduce, reuse, recycle: By reducing consumption you'll create less waste, and subsequently less pressure on landfill sites. Be creative, reuse whatever you can. You'll be surprised how many people will want to copy your ideas.

No one knows for sure what will happen to our climate and how the climate change will affect us in the long term. The best any gardener can do is make an effort to be environmentally friendly by adopting as many of the green ideas as possible.

Ideallly, everyone who owns a piece of land should try to create a garden without toxic chemicals, provide some home-grown food and tune-in with nature. It's hard work at first, but will pay off in the long term.


Image credits: "Dreamstime".

Tags

Biodiversity, Carbon Footprint, Ecosystem, Environment, Garden, Gardening, Green Gardener, Green Lifestyle, Green Living

Meet the author

author avatar Zola
Nature-lover, free-lance consultant, environmental activist.
I have many interests, which include travel, health, Eastern philosophies, astrology.

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Comments

author avatar cnwriter..carolina
11th Aug 2013 (#)

i agree with so much written here...thank you Zola....blessings...

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author avatar Nancy Austin
9th May 2015 (#)

I know a lot of times human nature doesn't want to tolerate the wilderness in the garden. It makes perfect to sense though to be a green gardener. Organic is the way to go for nutrition and health of the people, planet and animals. I'm glad to read this article. Thanks for sharing your beautiful ideas.

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