Sustainable Gardening For Healthy Living

Image: DXT_91
Image: DXT_91

The more we learn about the damage we are inflicting on Mother Earth, the more we want to change our everyday habits. You probably have switched to organic gardening practices, getting rid of chemical herbicides and pesticides, but how can you contribute to a healthier garden and cleaner living?

Here are some tips to help you navigate sustainable gardening and preserve, conserve and regenerate the environment:

  • Use native plants. They are adapted to the micro-climate in your area and often require less maintenance than exotic species.
  • Provide a habitat for wildlife and pollinators by planting native flowers.
  • Collecting rainwater in a barrel is a great way to utilize a renewable resource that nature provides.
  • Compost fruit and vegetable scraps, along with tree leaves to add nutrients to your soil and enrich its health while reducing waste.
  • Choose low voltage and energy-efficient LED bulbs for your landscaping lighting.
  • When building paths, fences or decks, look for recycled, reused or eco-friendly materials.
  • Get involved. Join local organizations, attend a sustainability talk, spread the word.

The Key Ingredients For Edible Landscaping

radishes
Photo: skitterphoto.com

Using edibles as ornamental accents for the garden has been trending for a while. For some, it’s a way to a more sustainable living while for others it’s a relaxing hobby, but why not do it for both its nutrimental and aesthetic value? Using vegetables and herbs in the garden for both food and ornamental appearance actually makes for a tougher and healthier garden with less need for pesticides and fungicides.

You don’t need much space to grow an eclectic mix of some of the most popular edibles. Shallow-rooted edibles like lettuce, radishes, peppers and herbs only need a container about 8 inches deep in order to thrive. While beets, carrots and onions require a bit more room, they can still grow perfectly in a 5-gallon pot, and strawberries can even do well in hanging baskets. If you want a vertical garden, try tomatoes, peas or cucumbers.

As in any other form of gardening, it’s effective to combine heights, textures and colors. Don’t forget to consider the overall look of each plant, and group together those that complement one another as well as those that share the same growing requirements.

A Pot by Any Other Name

Whether you have a large garden or a small veranda, you can always be creative with how you bring “green” into your home. One of the best ways to do this is to use potted plants. They are easy to maintain; they beautify, and most importantly, they give life to any space. Remember with plants that many factors come into play while caring for them-moisture, light, soil mixture, temperature, humidity, fertilizers, potting and pest control.

Here are some fresh, fun and easy ideas for container gardens. Create charming, little spaces that are easy on the eyes and fun to craft.

Face It

Use an old bucket and get a sticker of your favorite celebrity or your kids printed on vinyl. In place of the hair, change their looks by giving them funky hair dos as the plants.

Use Shoes

From gumboots to old crocs, used shoes are a great way to brighten up your garden and outdoor spaces. Once you put your plant in a pot, pop it into the shoe and let the leaves gracefully fall out. Remember to take the pot out of the shoe when watering, especially if you choose to go with a gumboot.

Shape UP

Different shapes of terracotta pots assembled together look great! Place them on a garden ladder or some garden stools to show off the plant. Stick to simple colors to keep it looking stylish.

Tire mix

Get some used tires and paint them in different colors. Place them on top of each other and line the bottom with some wood. Take your potted plant and place it on the wood and have the foliage fall over the tires. Most people use blooms for their container flowers, but foliage is an excellent way to fill your containers with outstanding or rather distinctive visual interest.

Buggy

Get creative and let your imagination run wild. Plants will grow anywhere, provided they are given the right light, soil, water and nurturing. Think about the idea of a car as a pot that makes a nice back drop for your home and will be a great piece to talk about when you host your garden parties.

Plastic Fantastic

Take some used plastic bottles and cut open the sides, put in some holes on the top and thread through some rope. Use these as pots to hang on your veranda or outdoor garage.

Teapots

Using tea pots and old kettles is a creative way to pot plants. Keep them in a cluster in a sunny corner to brighten up the garden. Keep these at arm’s length as kids playing in the garden can cause them to break.

Try out edible plants

Combining ornamental and edible plants is by no means a new idea. Nor is the concept of the kitchen garden. In the past, gardens were both decorative and productive, but for a while, we seemed to lose sight of this, regarding gardens as something pretty to look at or chiefly somewhere to entertain. This idea is currently shifting. So, why not try a few edible plants on your hanging or potted ‘gardens’?

Whatever you choose, your garden will always look great if you give it the care it needs.