On the surface, gardening would seem to be an environmentally friendly pursuit. Tending to the plants and vegetables that grow in your garden, making sure they are fed and watered and that any nasty pests are kept firmly at bay. However, UK experts from the University of Reading, the University of Sheffield, and the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) created a paper in 2012 titled: The Domestic Garden: Its Contribution to Urban Green Infrastructure. It explores the notion that gardening is eco-friendly and uncovers some truths about the effects modern gardening has had on the environment. We can see how we can make changes to the way we garden in order to help make a difference to the environment.
Tips For Gardening in an Eco-Friendly Way:
There are a few simple gardening tips that you can put into efffect right away, such as changing your lawnmower if its petrol, turning your sprinklers off – shockingly lawn sprinklers can use up to 1,000 litres of water an hour. A family of four would use this amount of water in a full day. Harvesting rain water in a water tank is a great way to combat the lack of sprinklers, and instead re-use the water you’ve collected. There are other changes you can make which may take a bit more time but are definitely worthwhile if you want to be as eco-friendly as possible.
One major problem is to do with commercial potting soil. Most types of commercial soil contain peat, which is a non-renewable resource and is only found in certain parts of the world. Once peat is harvested, it’s very hard to grow back and as it’s used as a source of energy it really is a resource that shouldn’t be lost. The harvesting of the peat also causes a large amount of carbon emissions each year. An alternative material for soil is coconut coir. It’s a natural byproduct of the coconut industry that would otherwise be wasted, and is great at cultivating plants. It’s best to see what other options are available at your local garden centre, but it’s definitely worthwhile investigating.
The use of chemicals and pesticides in gardens is another big problem when it comes to the environment. They are most commonly used in order to manage and get rid of pests, but there are other methods you can use to prevent your plants from being destroyed. The “Integrated Pest Management” strategy is recommended by scientists and involves a variety of different methods, one of which is the removal of pests by hand. Another thing you can do to help manage pests is to encourage birds into your garden by setting up feeders. This will naturally lead to them eating other pests in your garden. Encouraging “good insects” like ladybirds and spiders is another option, as they will also get rid of the other nasty pests. Setting up a “wild” section of your garden whereby you leave it to grow naturally will also help to encourage this.
So when you’re starting to prepare for this year’s gardening plans, it’s definitely worth taking all these gardening tips into consideration to ensure that we are doing everything we can to help the environment.
Danielle is guest author who is an enthusiast about the environment alongside home and garden improvements, writing on behalf of Tiger Sheds, an online shed retailer.