Sustainable gardens are those that respect the natural cycles and the biodiversity of each region. In addition, they are characterized by making responsible and efficient use of natural resources. To reduce the environmental impact, the use of pesticides and the introduction of invasive species are avoided. These principles can not only be applied in large spaces, such as public squares. You can also put them into practice in your backyard.
In addition to preserving the environment, these green spaces have the advantage of being low maintenance. This implies lower costs in terms of plant replacement and less water use. At the same time, they can be kept in perfect condition if the owner has to be away for a few weeks. Follow these tips to transform your garden into a sustainable one.
1. Choose an irrigation system that allows you to save water
The most efficient way to save water is to collect rain. To do this, you can install a system in your garden, although you will also achieve it if you place a bucket or other container in the patio when there is a storm. Then, you can use the accumulated for irrigation. Click here to learn how to build a rainwater collector.
Another good practice is to water in the mornings, before the sun is hot. Thus, the earth will be able to absorb the water before the sun evaporates it. In this way, the deeper layers will be hydrated and you will be able to let more time pass between each watering.
2. Replace impervious surfaces to make better use of water
To take advantage of rainwater and favor its absorption into the ground, you can also limit waterproof surfaces to the smallest possible space. Replace these materials with craft paths made of logs, rocks, bricks, or cement tiles spaced an inch or two apart. This will allow the soil to absorb rainwater.
Here you will find instructions to create decorative tiles with pieces of broken crockery.
The trunks will also be very nice.
If you don’t have logs, you can use wood chips, like the ones below.
3. Plant local species
The indigenous varieties are not usually the most popular. However, implanted plant species can be highly invasive. In addition, because they are not adapted to the characteristics of the region, they usually require more care and are more affected by pests.
For their part, local species have the advantage of adapting to the region’s own soil and climate, which significantly reduces maintenance costs. At the same time, they are more resistant to pests and attract useful fauna, that is, pollinators. They also promote biodiversity, which allows the garden to be more resistant to the negative effects of a flood or drought.
4. Reduce the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides
To preserve the health of your crops and keep your garden always green, use natural fertilizers and pesticides. Here are some options:
– Drive away wasps with sugar traps
– Use broken up eggshells to keep slugs away.
– Click here to learn how to prepare a garlic-based insecticide
– Here you will find instructions to make natural fertilizers with banana peels, coffee grounds, nettle or wood ashes.
Although it is linked to the previous point, composting deserves a special section. This serves as organic fertilizer and helps improve the soil. It also allows plants to better absorb food and promotes better biological activity in the soil.
50% of the garbage generated in an average home is compostable. If you set up a good waste sorting system and compost organic matter, you’re not just taking advantage of a bunch of valuable nutrients that would otherwise end up in landfill. You will also be greatly reducing your volumes of garbage.
Learn everything you need to know to make homemade compost by clicking here.
There are different possibilities to choose from, depending on the space you have available and the time you have:
Of surface: on land, less than 10 cm of organic material is spread, without being buried or wrapped. Thus, its decomposition and gradual penetration into the soil is allowed. It is necessary to place new remains so that the process is continuous.
In piles or heaps: a pile is simply created with the organic waste. Layers of dry and fresh materials are formed up to a meter and a half in height, watering between each addition.
In drawers: this method is ideal for closed places. Click here to learn how to make your own.
With worms: It is an option that will allow you to make high-quality compost quickly. Here you can learn how to do it.
6. Improves the quality of the substrate
If you have good soil, the conditions for which the plants grow will be suitable and you will not need to use fertilizers. In addition, you will promote optimal absorption and natural purification of water. At the same time, you will create biological activity in the subsoil, something essential to oxygenate and fertilize the land.
The substrate must be composed of a mixture of earth, peat, resaca and vermiculite. The amount of each of these elements will depend on the requirements of the plants you are going to place. Regardless of the specific proportions, this mixture will give the species you grow an adequate level of acidity, good porosity and the necessary nutrients.
Using a layer of organic matter on top can protect the soil from the sun. This will prevent the evaporation of water and provide nutrients to the plants. In addition, it will hinder the growth of weeds. You can create a 2 to 10 cm thick blanket with straw, compost and leaves. Thus, you will be able to save up to 60 percent of water.
If you have flowerbeds, you can cover them with geotextile, newspaper, and bark chips or dry leaves. The first two will serve to stop the growth of weeds. The latter will reduce erosion caused by water and wind. At the same time, they will help retain moisture.
7. Practice edible gardeningGrowing your own food will not only give you satisfaction on a personal level. It will also have its positive effects on the family economy and will allow you to ensure that you consume fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables free of toxic chemicals. Let your food go from the garden to the plate, and from the plate to the garden. There are numerous plants that you only have to buy once. You can then grow them from their waste. Some of them are basil, garlic, romaine lettuce, carrots, and cilantro. Learn how to grow them this way by clicking here.
8. Group trees and plants according to your needs
Group plants and trees according to their light and water needs. You should also take advantage of aromatic plants that help keep insects away from the garden.
9. Grow your own remedies
70% of the medicines we use today have been developed from natural sources. You can retrieve this from your own crops. Some options are:
- aloe vera
Sources:Sustainable gardening10 keys to sustainable gardeningHow green is your yardSustainable gardensSurface compostHow to make a compost pile