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How to Create and Maintain a Sustainable Garden

Spring is in the air! And it’s not too late to learn how to create a sustainable garden. We’re excited to share a special guest post from our colleague, Marjorie McMillan. You can read some of Marjorie’s other pieces here! If you’ve tried to make a garden in the past and failed, keep reading for some great tips for a successful gardening season!

Creating a sustainable garden is not only simple, but it also helps you to save resources. And did you know that a well-kept garden can also improve your home’s valuation by maintaining year-round curb appeal? What’s more, growing your own food can reduce the number of trips to the grocery store, thereby reducing emissions.

All of these benefits and more are true, so follow these tips to help you make this beautiful garden happen. If you are starting from scratch, simply follow the steps below. If you are upgrading your garden, pick and choose whatever suits your needs. Read on for some pointers from Made to Sustain.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Borba via Pexels

Make Choices for Conservation for a Sustainable Garden

The National Audubon Society emphasizes the importance of using native plants in your garden to reestablish local biodiversity. In many cases, this also decreases water usage and erosion. To keep your garden’s beauty high and consumption low, follow these steps:

  • Go Native: As native plants are accustomed to your local climate, they require minimum upkeep to remain healthy. Additionally, local perennials are a great option as they have long lifespans and can survive winters with ease.
  • Embrace Xeriscaping: This involves planting drought-resistant plants, as they require limited water and can survive harsh conditions. Popular choices include Beavertail cactus, California Fuschia, and California redbud. 
  • Use Mulch: Adding mulch will improve your soil health by reducing water loss, preventing weed growth, and protecting the plants from weather changes, whether it be hot or cold.

Practice Water Management for a more Sustainable Garden

According to Reuters, drought conditions have been reported throughout 99% of the western United States. This is an alarming statistic that signals the need for effective water management, and the need to implement more sustainable gardening practices. Try using the following methods:

  • Harvest Rainwater: Don’t let the water runoff from your roof during the monsoon, install rain barrels or collection tanks in your backyard to collect rainwater for future use. 
  • Use an Irrigation System: Sprinklers can be time-controlled and are effective in watering large areas of the lawn effectively in a short period. Come winter your plants won’t need much watering, hence, set your system to water less frequently. 
  • Fix Leaks: According to the EPA, a leak the size of a dime can waste more than 6000 gallons of water a month. Proactively check your equipment and make prompt repairs when needed.

Conduct Periodic Maintenance

To ensure your garden remains healthy, you need to maintain it. Checking the garden can be a great opportunity for the kids to learn about water conservation and landscaping, so even if you’re busy, let them help. You can guide and teach them about sustainable gardening using the following steps:

  • Adjust the Layout: If you notice your flower beds aren’t receiving ample sunlight, opt to relocate them to a part of your garden where they will receive the required nutrition. Good gardeners learn to read their plants, and want to address their needs in order for them to thrive. You and your family can learn to “speak plant” by paying attention and doing some research.
  • Mow Correctly: During winters, it’s advised to mow your lawn on days when the temperature is above 40° F and the grass is dry. Additionally, set your mower blades high and cut only one-third of your grass’ height.
  • Clean Up Debris: Although fallen leaves are beautiful in the fall, they can kill your lawn quickly. Get the family involved in raking – and perhaps a few leaf pile frolics – to keep your yard and your lawn in shape.
  • Set a Pruning Schedule: Many plants that require regular pruning to be at their best get ignored in gardens. Don’t be one of those people who lets their plants go untrimmed. Learn what needs to be pruned and when, and stick with that schedule throughout the year.

Having a beautiful, sustainable garden takes work, but it is worth it when you see your happy flowers and shrubs out your window. And with sustainability at the forefront of many people’s minds, it’s important to take a few extra steps to ensure your yard is beautiful and eco-friendly. By following these steps, you’ll be doing your part towards creating a healthy environment and having a beautiful garden. 

The Made to Sustain blog provides you factual, reliable, and digestible information that can help you make smarter food choices. Contact us today to learn more! 

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