April 20, 2012

Green Gardens for Earth Day!

A green sustainable garden can be achieved by incorporating several ideas into your design or simply becoming more aware of what can negatively affect our environment. When we talk about a sustainable garden we are referring to a garden that is able to maintain long-term well being, for both humans and the environment, and at the same time its resources are well managed to minimize consumption and obtaining the most out of them.  As we all know, we need to eat, including wildlife. By hanging feeders or introducing native shrubs or fruit/nut trees, your garden will become a five star restaurant for wildlife, that’s if you enjoy the presence of wildlife. One of the best ways, probably the least expensive yet most ignored way to make your garden more sustainable, is by conserving water. Other ways your garden can become more sustainable is by reducing resources and or using renewable ones, taking responsibility of your gardening practices, reducing the amount of chemicals used in a garden especially when nature can solve the problem, and by growing your own organic foods.
                Water can be conserved in many ways. Having clean access to water is a privilege and not many people in the world enjoy such privilege. Although some ways of conserving water may require more effort than others, the intention to conserve it is worth it because water is not an infinite resource and it may not last forever like many of us think. For example, instead of using a hoe to clear out your driveway use a broom to conserve water. Reducing resources and using renewable resources also helps reduce the impact in our environment and makes our gardens greener. Not all plants are created equal and not all plants are able to survive in the same medium, since soil composition tends to vary. By informing yourself on plants needs and requirements, you can pick plants that prefer the type of soil that’s already available in your garden, at the same time you are reducing resources. When using plastic in a garden, try and use high recyclable plastics with low VOC. Some plastics leech chemicals into the environment and using plastics with little or no VOC’s helps reduce environmental pollution.  Creating a sustainable garden may also involve responsibility. Taking responsibility of your garden practices is also important if your goal is to create a sustainable garden. Some positive gardening practices may include collecting rain water in rain barrels in order to use that water to water your garden. Rain water tends to be better for plants and you are also helping to reduce run off which tends to wash pollutants into your local water shed, not to mention you are also conserving water. As a responsible owner you can take on more responsibility by finding ways to avoid the use of harmful chemicals such as herbicides and pesticides, alternate ways such as implementing biological pest management practices. Growing your own vegetables and fruits will also make your garden more sustainable and at the same time save you money.