Sustainable gardening, a method of gardening that meets present needs and seeks to protect the continuation of gardening is becoming a large part of the horticultural discussion today. Two practices that encourage the legacy are conserving water resources and soil protection.
Let’s take a look at those.
Conserving Water Resources:
Fresh, clean water is an abundant luxury that we still have in Alberta. Being good stewards of our resources is to not take it for granted and to employ methods that protect it. Here are some ideas to help conserve water in our gardens.
• Using rain barrels to collect rain water
• Mulching – reduces water evaporation and decreases water consumption
• Using drought tolerant plants
• Grouping plants with similar water needs together
• Incorporating shade trees and windbreaks
• Decreasing the quantity of impermeable surfaces decreases the amount of water runoff
• Including swales to catch rain water and divert it into your garden
• Using a mulching lawn mower
Soil Protective Practices:
Finding methods to maintain and improve soil health will encourage sustainable legacy
• Employing preventative & alternative practices with the goal of decreasing use of herbicides and pesticides such as:
o Hand weeding
o Using Safer Soap
o Employing diatomaceous earth for deterring slugs and other soil borne pests
o Using other home remedies for bugs & weeds
• Mulching – builds up the soil & protects it from running off in heavy rains
• Composting – enriches the soil
• Using a mulching lawn mower and cutting the lawn at a higher height – builds up soil
• Rotating crops in a vegetable garden – promotes nutrient enhancement & prevents nutrient exhaustion
• Maintaining supple, malleable soil – promotes nutrient & water absorption
Stay tuned for part 3 on Sustainable Gardening design & growing of food.
Looking for a good, practical hands-on guide? Check out this article written by North Dakota State University. https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/plantsci/hortcrop/h1600.pdf