Sustainability is on everybody’s minds right now, and with good reason! As climate change starts to show its true colours, many of us are realising how fragile our ecosystems are and want to alleviate pressure by changing our lifestyles.
A popular way to do your bit for the environment is by growing your own vegetables. Instead of relying on the supermarket that gets them shipped from far away, you can eat seasonably, locally and safe in the knowledge that your consumption is not harming the planet.
As Deborah Wood, Marketing Director at Premier Polytunnels, says: “If you’re looking for ways to limit your impact on the environment and lead a more self-sufficient lifestyle, then a sustainable garden is a great place to start.
Growing your own fruit, vegetables and herbs not only reduces your yearly food bill and puts you in control of how much pesticide is used, it also allows you to feed your family healthy, delicious meals straight from your garden. Sustainable gardening is food for the soul too – spending time outside can take you away from daily stresses and help you express your creativity, and it’s also a great form of exercise!”.
So, to make the most of your garden, it’s important to adopt sustainable practices, some of which are highlighted below.
Use fruit cages
It’s tempting to pour harmful pesticides over our plants the minute we see pests nibbling away at our hard-earned fruit and vegetables. However, such chemicals inevitably harm the local wildlife, especially if ingested by birds and other mammals, and can get into the same veggies which you then eat!
Instead of using chemicals, you can use fruit cages which protect your crop from slugs, birds and the like without harming them in the process.
Choose native plants
It’s also very tempting to choose the most colourful, eye catching blooms to plant in your garden. However, due to the climate in the UK, it’s likely that your rhododendrons, Japanese knotweeds and poppies aren’t native to UK and actually exclude much of the native wildlife in the process.
Native plants, on the other hand, will attract plenty of pollinators that will ensure that the flowers live to see many more generations. Native blooms also provide vital sustenance to bees which are in short supply right now.
Keep an eye on the weather
Ensuring that your flowers, veggies and fruits survive the hot summers is thirsty work; not only for you but for the plants. If there’s a particularly dry spell, many of us turn to our hoses to keep the garden looking lush and alive, but this is actually an unsustainable practice, especially if there’s a nation-wide water shortage.
Instead, stay up to date with the weather. If it’s predicated to rain, wait patiently and put off watering the plants; this way you’ll save water. It’s also a good idea to install some rain bins which fill up surprisingly quickly. This way, you’ll also drastically reduce your water consumption.
Improve soil health
Trying to get plants to grow in unhealthy soil is like flogging a dead horse, i.e. pointless. Soil is the life source of a flourishing garden. It also boasts countless sustainable benefits like trapping and storing carbon and providing a home for the billions of microorganisms and creatures that keep the plants healthy.