There have been a few times throughout history where non-sustainable gardening and farming practices have destroyed the soil and prevented later generations from working the same land. Perhaps the most famous example is the American dust bowl that swept through the southern plains in the 1930s, when unsustainable wheat farming practices left the land dry and barren, unable to support even a simple kitchen garden.
Today, we are able to farm and garden on the same land that was affected by the dust bowl not more than seventy years ago. But concerns still remain: will we be able to irrigate this land forever? How do we care for the soil in a way that will allow us to grow crops for years to come?
To prevent your home garden from turning into a mini dustbowl situation, heed these sustainable gardening practices. This will ensure a happy, healthy garden for years to come, and will allow future generations to enjoy gardening on the same land.
What is sustainable gardening?
Sustainable gardening refers to any gardening practice that respects the land and seeks to improve soil quality. It includes following organic gardening practices to limit your impact on the land, to grow native plants to your local area so as to not disrupt the natural ecology of your area, and to use renewable resources for the garden, including watering your plants with collected rain water.
How to Plant and Grow a Sustainable Garden
Want to be a friend to the land? Follow these 3 simple sustainable gardening practices to get started on your earth-friendly garden.
Chances are, your family generates table scraps that end up going right in the trash, which means these food scraps end up languishing in a land fill. It’s best to put your table scraps to use! By putting kitchen scraps, animal fur, wilted flowers, coffee grinds, and other organic products in the compost bin, you’re creating what gardeners call “black gold”: rich fertilizer for your garden.
According to Glacier Farm Media, “Compost…improves soil structure so that soil can easily hold the correct amount of moisture, nutrients, and air. It improves the texture of both clay soils and sandy soils, making either type rich, moisture retentive, and loamy.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves!
- STICK WITH NATIVE PLANTS TO YOUR AREA AND PROMOTE DIVERSITY
We all love the smell of honeysuckle, but did you know that honeysuckle is an invasive species to Ohio, dominating the forest floor and choking out any other vegetation? We must be careful to not introduce non-native species into our backyards and gardens, because it could end up damaging the surrounding plant life.
Not sure if a plant is native to Ohio? Check out the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Native Species Lists to find out.
Another important consideration is to promote diversity in your garden and landscaping. If there’s a lack of diverse plants and animals in and around your garden, your garden is not part of the ecosystem. Encourage birds, butterflies, and pollinators to enjoy your garden by planting flowers and trees that attract them. Add a water feature. Add a bird house, bat house, or bee hotel. Does your property only have maple trees? Consider adding Birch, Ash, or Oak.
- CHOOSE SUSTAINABLE GARDEN DESIGNS, PRODUCTS, AND PRACTICES
Be a friend to the land by being mindful of your garden design, products, and practices. Be sure to always use organic pest control products. If your home is zoned for it, add chickens and other livestock to help you till and de-weed the soil. Minimize lawn space for diverse, pollinator and bird-friendly landscape design. Save rainwater so you cut down on city water use.
These are just a couple of ways to start out with sustainable garden practices, but if you employ these three methods, your garden will be healthier for it.
Helping You Grow A Healthy, Sustainable Garden In the Miami Valley
Here at Stockslagers, we love helping our neighbors and customers grow the healthiest gardens possible. That’s why we’re always here with a friendly face to answer your questions and to help you problem solve and discover helpful information. Stop on by today for healthy Ohio plants and big sales of the season.