Sustainable Gardening

garden-bedsMore and more home gardeners are using organic practices with excellent results.  The next logical step in gardening is to strive for sustainability.  This is a philosophy aimed at the preservation of both healthy soil and precious resources. You want to grow organic crops that are good for your family, but you also want to take responsibility for the wellbeing of your land, whether it is the soil in a tiny container garden, a series of raised beds, a large stand alone garden, or even several acres that you may have under cultivation.

Here are some simple practices that you should follow in an effort to become more sustainable.

Water Conservation

One cannot overemphasize the importance of water preservation around the world.  It is a dwindling commodity and every bit of conservation at the local level is very helpful.  Get involved by utilizing rain barrels at home.  Rainwater caught from your roof will fill a 50 gallon barrel very quickly during a mild rainstorm.  Try to hand water in order to avoid waste.

Compost

Everyone should be composting!  It is easy and inexpensive, but above all it is highly beneficial to the health of your soil.  Site your compost pile in a sunny location and simply begin by piling

compost-pile

up leaves, grass clippings, garden waste,etc.

 You should also be adding kitchen scraps and most leftovers (no meat products), and do this throughout the year.  Occasionally you will have to turn your pile over with a pitchfork in order to aerate it and allow the soil to really “cook” in the sunlight.  Before you know it you will have buckets of compost for spreading nutrients back into the soil.  If you live near the ocean, gather up some seaweed and add this to the pile.  As it breaks down, it also serves as a great way to aerate your soil allowing tender plant roots to really take hold.

Compost bins are also worth considering.  They are available at any good garden center or home
water-collectionimprovement store and make composting easy and neat.

Spread the Word

Sustainable practicing gardeners (especially old ones!) are a wonderful source of knowledge.  Most love to talk about their successes and failures and what they have learned along the way.  As you learn about composting, crop rotation, pest and weed control and many other sustainable techniques, it is up to you to pass this knowledge on.  Join the locally grown organic and sustainable movement and we will all be better off in the long run.