You’ve planted a vegetable garden great. Growing your own vegetables in a sustainable way gives you control over your family’s diet and health, and it’s also healthy for the planet. Here’s how to make your vegetable garden even more sustainable, with our seven to tips. You will be making a valuable contribution to the planet by minimising your environmental footprint
Read on for our 7 top tips on making your vegetable garden sustainable…
- Plant trees and hedgerows
Trees and hedges are a vital part of a sustainable gardens since they store atmospheric carbon in the soil. They cycle the carbon through ecosystems, resulting in oxygen being released back into the atmosphere as a by-product of photosynthesis. Trees are extra useful as they keep your home cool during the hotter months, but if you don’t have the space to plant trees, hedges are great alternative.
- Go organic
If you grow your food organically you can save water and reduce fossil fuel consumption at the same time, since you won’t be relying on transported food materials. You’ll feed the soil with natural fertiliser in order to feed the plants, which creates plant vigour. Instead of toxic pesticides you’ll be utilising your garden ecosystem to ward off pests.
Use organic pest control by encouraging beneficial insects. You can use natural pest control methods in combination diverse planting (which includes herbs and flowers), taking care of the hygiene in and around your patch, and making the environment friendly for beneficial insects.
You can also keep the snails and slugs away with a garden cloche, which looks lovely around your plants.
- Build a compost heap and use organic fertilisers
Reduce landfill and nourish your vegetable garden with compost instead of fertilisers. You can compost kitchen and garden waste, which not only helps to feed your sustainable vegetable garden, but also enlists the assistance of worms and insects. Aristotle called worms ‘the intestines of the soil’ because they burrow into it, allowing oxygen and water to reach the plant roots.
For those times when you do need fertilisers, use organic ones. One way or another the fertilisers will end up in your body if you’re eating from your veggie patch, so you’ll want to make sure they aren’t toxic. Furthermore, chemical insecticides kill all insects, not just the pests. Your patch needs pollinators such as bees and predator ladybugs to keep the pests in check, so it’s crucial to stay away from the chemicals.
- Learn how to use watering systems
A watering system is a great investment that will make sure your veggie patch keeps on giving over the summers to come. You’ll need a few things to get started, namely a timer, rain sensor, drip irrigation system and poly pipe installation. You’ll also need to work out how often to water, and to remember to do so early in the mornings.
You can also harvest rainwater with rain barrels that can trap and store water for you to use on your vegetable patch. This is a great way to reduce your energy use because you won’t need hose water, and it also limits water wastage, bringing your bills down. You don’t even need to buy a rain barrel – homemade ones will work just as well, and if you’ve got kids they will love to get involved in making one.
- Weed your garden regularly
You might need to research which plants are actually weeds in your garden, but once you’ve figured that out you can pull them out (or contain them) before their tenacious roots steal the nutrients from your vegetable garden. Although it’s more labour intensive, the most effective and sustainable method of control is manual, so you’ll need to keep on top of your weeding. You can also save time with mulch. For instance, placing a thick layer of organic mulch between your vegetable rows will keep the weeds at bay.
- Get the kids involved
It’s a great idea to involve your kids in gardening and creating a sustainable vegetable garden. They love it, and getting their hands into the soil is both healthy and educational, and it’s a real investment in their future. You’ll be teaching them a valuable life tool, and as many hands make light work your veggies will be flourishing in half the time.
- Encourage plant biodiversity
Increase plant biodiversity in your vegetable garden by learning about the plants that thrive where you live. You’ll create a wonderful garden ecosystem that attracts beneficial insects, birds and animals too. Bees and other insects will then carry pollen from one plant to another, enabling plant reproduction and making the garden climate friendly. Even by mowing less intensively (thus leaving the grass a little longer), you will proliferate plant types and numbers.
We hope you found our sustainable gardening tips useful. Hopefully it is now clear it’s relatively easy to make your vegetable garden sustainable. It simply takes a little bit of research combined with planting the right plants, growing organically, composting, weeding, putting the right water systems in place, recycling and doing your bit for biodiversity.