Ways to be more sustainable in your garden

Gardening can be a key step in living a more sustainable way of life. But are you gardening in the most sustainable way possible? Good gardening practices can be put in place not only to provide food for you and your family but also to solve many of the global problems we face. Here are some tips for more sustainable gardening that should help you make a positive contribution, no matter how big or small! 

Reuse and recycle gardening materials 

Reusing and recycling materials is a great way to save money while also helping the environment. Many gardeners chose to start seeds indoors before transplanting them outside to get an early start on their gardening. Using egg cartons for seed starting is a cheap way to repurpose old egg cartons and save money by avoiding plastic trays. As the seedlings grow, the cardboard will disintegrate into the ground.

Simply collect egg cartons and fill them with seed-starting mix, making sure to poke holes at the bottom to ensure proper drainage. Window frames, which can be found in antique and junk shops, can be used as row covers. Old planks of wood can also be used to create posts. Make sure to use untreated wood, as treated wood can contain chemicals that prohibit plant growth or leech into the soil.

Make your own compost

If you are not already making your own compost, then this is something to consider right away! Making your own compost is crucial both for organic gardening and for sustainable living. When you compost food scraps, garden waste and other biodegradable materials at home, you will reduce waste. You can read our previous blog all about what materials you can and can’t compost, and the best practices when doing so, by clicking the link here. 

Go peat free

For years, environmentalists have been pushing for a ban on the sales of peat in the UK, citing peat’s high carbon emissions as well as the ecological importance of the peatlands it comes from.

This may now soon happen, with the UK government announcing in December plans to ban sales of peat to gardeners by 2024

Peatlands are the world’s largest carbon store on land. They provide valuable ecosystems for plants and animals and act like sponges, reducing the risk of flooding.

When we take peat for our gardens, carbon is released and habitats are damaged. Keeping peat in bogs, not bags, is a crucial part of the fight against climate change. Our planet’s billions of acres of peat hold more carbon than all the world’s forests combined.

Choose native plants 

As the weather warms up, many of us are deciding what plants to grow in our garden. When choosing which plants to grow, you should consider purchasing native plant varieties, including trees, shrubs, flowers, and ornamental grasses. Indigenous to the area, they are not only suited to the climate and low-maintenance, but they also attract beneficial wildlife to the garden by providing food and shelter! 

Since they are compatible with local conditions, you do not need to worry about the soil quality, fertilizer, or watering schedule as much. They also help reduce air pollution and act as erosion controls. In areas where water is scarce, choose drought-tolerant plants to minimize watering. A butterfly garden consisting of native flowers is a popular way to attract butterflies and other pollinators to your garden.

Harvest Rainwater 

The way that mains water is so easily accessible to us, means that we don’t think all that much about what it takes to bring it direct to our taps. In a garden, we can reduce the negative carbon impact associated with excessive water use. 

One of the best ways to do this is by making the most of… you guessed it, the rain! Collect the rainwater that falls on the roof of your home, from polytunnels, greenhouses, sheds or other garden structures too. 

Water butts with homemade guttering systems are the easiest way to do this, there are a wide range of different options out there, so shop around and find one that best suits your needs. 

Attract other garden wildlife, not just pollinators!

​​To make your gardening as sustainable as possible, make sure you do not just plant for wildlife. Attract wildlife to your garden in other ways too. For example, you might create a wildlife pond, or other habitats to attract and aid a wide range of different creatures. Consider installing bee hotels, bug habitats, hedgehog houses, bird boxes, bat boxes and more. Keep extending a helping hand to all wildlife and that wildlife will certainly help you too.