5 Sustainable Gardening Practices
Amid the climate crisis, sustainability should be at the core of every action. If you’re a gardener, you might assume that the work you’re doing is already green – but that’s not necessarily the case. From the plant pots you use to the source of your soil, every part of your garden matters.
To help gardeners become even greener, here are five steps towards more sustainable practices for your lawn, plants, and garden visitors.
Our top 5 sustainable habits for gardeners
Avoid mowing your lawn in May
Try not to mow your lawn in May. The Countryfile No Mow May campaign is championing efforts to ask Brits to keep their mower stowed safely away for the month to give flowering plants a better chance to thrive.
As spring plants start to grow, more pollinators will be attracted to your garden too. This could make your lawn a safe haven for bees, butterflies, and the garden birds that feed on these insects too.
Some of the most common garden flowers include daisies, dandelions, and buttercups, which not only create an abundant and colourful carpet but play a vital role in producing pollen and nectar sugar for your lawn.
Nurture your crops sensitively
Ditch the fertilisers and growth agents and try to protect your plants with physical means instead. For example, fruit cages make a brilliant alternative to strong chemicals that could potentially harm the ecosystem in your garden.
Avoiding pesticides not only keeps pollinating insects and visiting animals safe from harm but could also protect the biological foundations of your lawn and the soil beneath it. Furthermore, if your plants are protected by a greenhouse, polytunnel, or similar structure, you can feel more confident that they won’t turn into a snack for a caterpillar.
Make your own compost
Soil quality is crucial for a healthy garden. But buying soil-improving compost in garden centres could actually be worse for your plants and for your pocket. What’s more, the environmental impact of the plastic packaging used certainly makes it the less sustainable option.
Luckily, you can counter this problem by making your own compost at home: you can even use some of your own food waste and garden plants. All you need to do is build a container, bin, or wooden storage unit into a quiet, shady area of your garden.
Then you’ll be ready to start composting: aim for up to 50% soft, green materials and 50% brown waste such as cardboard and twigs. Common household composting materials include annual weeds, fruit and vegetable peels. You can learn more about composting with the RHS.
To save water, you can use a water butt to collect rainwater. This simple yet sturdy device collects the droplets falling onto your roof and enables you to store it safely and effectively.
From there, you can use a watering can or hosepipe to make sure you’re not relying entirely on mains water. Watering your plants with rainwater is the most natural approach too: where tap water may contain certain chemicals to make it safer for human consumption, rainwater is pure enough for your plants.
Planting through the year is one of the best things you can do for your garden, allowing it to become a habitat, an energy source, and a refuge. Protecting garden birds and pollinators is one of the best ways to become a sustainable, ecological gardener.
If you have the space, planting a tree is one of the best things you can do for the environment. These carbon-storing powerhouses give us oxygen, support the soil, and give vital shelter to wildlife and insects too. In fact, trees support over 200 species of animals and plants in the UK.
Feeling motivated to get back in the garden? If you have any of your own tips on sustainable growing, feel free to share them in the comments section below.