By Tim Longueil for SUST 210 online
Gardening in our communities has taken a huge upswing in the past few years. Sustainable gardens can be very beneficial to our local ecosystems by providing biodiversity and beautification while being able capture our planet’s natural energy and divert it back to the health of your garden without additional chemical inputs. These self-sustaining gardens can grow food for you to eat like fruits and vegetables as well as herbs and spices.
One thing to keep in mind when designing a garden is finding ways to keep maintenance time/costs down. Learning the basics of when to plant, how to water or fertilize is extremely important to your plants’ health as well as to the environment. Water is an extremely limited resource and we must do whatever we can to minimize use and save as much as we can. Gardeners can start by capturing rainwater in barrels and using that to feed their gardens — or water can be collected and stored underground in a tank to use for many tasks like laundry, washing the car, watering the garden, or even filling a pool.
Fertilizers also cause problems because they can pollute our water sources. Runoff occurs when the unused product gets washed away during a rainstorm and joins our local water supply. Consider using local-sourced organic fertilizers as opposed to synthetic ones that are produced by fossil fuels and shipped across the globe.
This recent article from the Daily Herald’s website describes new gardening trends for your home: “Besides beautifying our homes and gardens, plants play a vital role in our health and well-being. They elicit powerful positive emotions, revive neighborhoods and influence everything from what we eat to life’s milestones.” The article further discusses how to inspire community efforts toward gardening and agricultural projects, as well as how to harvest rainwater for our plants and gardens. We must start thinking “green” when it comes to gardens and local agriculture.
Submitted 23 April 2012