Nine Tips for The Climate-Friendly Gardener
What is a climate friendly garden? How do you make your garden more climate friendly and harvest loads of healthy, delicious vegetables? These 9 tips can help.
If you want to be part of saving the environment, these tips for the climate-friendly gardener will help. There is no reason you can’t have both a beautiful yard and a fruitful garden and still remain climate friendly at the same time. In fact, you can improve your soil and create an almost self-sufficient garden by using these climate-friendly gardening practices.
1. Ditch Your Gas-Powered Mower – Use a manual push mower or an electric mower to cut down on carbon emissions when cutting your grass. A manual push mower is also thought to be better for grass because it cuts it longer and clips it off differently than a gas mower. An electric mower cuts down on carbon emissions because it produces none of the exhaust of a gas powered mower.
2. Plant Trees and Shrubs – When you plant native trees and shrubs strategically around and within your garden, you can create an environment that you have more control over than you may have thought. For example, if you have a super-hot sunny area, you can plant trees to bring some needed shade so that plants don’t burn in the sun. Trees also help the environment by taking in CO2 and producing oxygen as a by product of photosynthesis.
3. Choose Native Plants That Are Adaptable – One problem with current gardening practices is the desire to grow too many non-native plants. You need plants that are meant for the environment you live in. Pay attention to how your climate is changing over time, because what worked ten years ago might not work now. You can consult local gardening clubs or the Extension Service in your area to learn about the native plants.
4. Avoid Using Non-Permeable Surfaces – Asphalt, concrete, stone and brick might look nice but it’s better to use planting beds, mulched beds, gravel, and other permeable pavers so that water can be absorbed into the soil more easily and you won’t end up with a superheated area of your garden. All these non-permeable surfaces absorb heat and radiate that heat back to the plants nearby, which may cause heat stress to the plants. Light colored mulch or other pavers are a better option and absorb less heat.
5. Plant a Diversity of Plants – Using native choices, plant a lot of different types of plants for your needs. You can reduce soil erosion with properly placed shrubs, trees, and cover plants. You can plant pollinators, water collectors, and beautiful flowering plants that help ward off pests. Also plan your vegetable garden according to the local climate. Here in Florida some vegetables don’t do well in the summer due the heat and humidity. However, planting in late winter and early fall, you can harvest a bountiful crop due to the different weather conditions at those times.
6. Grow Perennial Plants – You don’t want to have to keep replanting every single year four times a year. Instead, plant perennials strategically so that each year at the right time of year you have new plants without messing with the soil and digging all the time.
7. Don’t Leave Your Garden Soil Naked – For your food gardens and any soil that you’re preparing, it’s imperative that you don’t leave your soil uncovered. You can cover it with natural mulch, compost, and straw. Or you can grow ground covering such as legumes which will add nutrients to the soil.
8. Think Maintenance Free – When you are planning your garden, try to think about the type of maintenance that you’re going to have to do to keep the garden going. Plant and design with that in mind so that you can work with nature instead of against it. Using natural mulch is a good way to work with nature to prevent weeds, while using the mulch to improve the soil when you work it into the soil after the growing season.
9. Conserve Water – When you do work with nature, you also naturally conserve water. For example, having higher grass will improve the roots so that you don’t need as much water. Collecting rainwater will help you conserve water too. If you have to water do it in the late evening so the plants and soil will have time to absorb the moisture before the sun comes up in the morning and evaporates the water.
Plants will grow when they are given nutrient-rich soil, the right amount of water, sunshine, and care. This happens naturally. There are 2000-year-old food forests that still produce (with very little if any intervention) food that feeds people. Nature is wonderful and knows what it’s doing. If you follow these nine tips you’ll have come a long way toward working with nature and your garden will be better for it.