When combating climate change, it’s easy to feel that individual contributions are meaningless, but nothing could be further from the truth. You can take action to reduce your carbon footprint.
If you have a green thumb, employing sustainable gardening practices is an easy way to help fight climate change. Here are some of the best and easiest ways to create an eco-friendly garden.
Reduce Your Lawn Size
Having a healthy green lawn is a high-maintenance task requiring resources such as fertilizer and water and using a lot of energy by mowing, trimming, and leaf blowing.
For an eco-friendlier lawn, replace some or all of your grass with groundcover plants like periwinkle and catmint, low-growing shrubs like dwarf hydrangea, and perennial ornamental grasses like a fountain and switch grass. You’ll have a beautiful, sustainable garden and less lawn to maintain.
Use Manual or Electric Lawn Care Equipment
Unlike gas-powered devices, manual and electric lawn care tools do not give off emissions that pollute the air. Replace gas-powered equipment like lawnmowers, leaf blowers, and gas trimmers with electric or manual devices. Pulling weeds by hand before mowing the lawn prohibits their regrowth.
Choose Indigenous Plants
Adding indigenous or native plants to a garden is another eco-friendly gardening practice. Native plants flourish in their natural climate, are easier to maintain, don’t need as much water as non-native species, and are a source of food and shelter for native animals, birds, and insects.
Grow Your Own Food
Growing fruit, vegetables, and herbs is a cornerstone of sustainable living and gardening. Plant your fruit, vegetables, and herbs according to the appropriate growing seasons to optimize growth. Being mindful of growing seasons for specific plants can prevent your crops from going bad.
Make Your Own Compost
Composting is the recycling of organic products into a nutrient-rich fertilizer. Instead of buying commercial fertilizers for your garden, make your own compost using certain kinds of food and household waste like eggshells and shredded newspapers, and yard waste like dried leaves, grass clippings, old flowers, and weeds.
Practice Organic Gardening
Organic gardening is an eco-friendly practice with numerous benefits. Forgoing the use of herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, and synthetic fertilizers helps to eliminate water pollution, soil contamination, and poisoning that can kill native animal species. It also minimizes the level of chemical deposits in food.
Use Less Water
Using less water in the garden is a sustainable practice that’s easy to implement. Establish a rain barrel system to collect rainwater for lawns and plants. Decorate your garden with shrubs and perennial plants that need very little water and can tolerate dry conditions.
Save Your Seeds
You can regrow flowers with seeds from the previous growing season. When annual flowers stop blossoming and start fading, collect the seeds. Dry, store, and replant the seeds the following spring.
Harvest the seeds for produce like beans, peas, peppers, and tomatoes when they reach peak ripeness. Dry, store, and replant the seeds the following spring.
Mulch Your Garden
Mulching goes a long way toward keeping a sustainable garden. A few inches of mulch aids in soil moisture retention, inhibit soil erosion and runoff, and suppresses weed growth. Eco-friendly mulch can include pine bark and needles, cocoa bean shells, leaf litter, and newspapers.
Planting perennials is cost-effective and sustainable, as they rejuvenate in spring for several years. When shopping for perennial plants, verify they are suitable for growth in your region.
This originally appeared on Planet Natural.
Melissa Pino is a biologist, master gardener, and regular contributor for Planet Natural. Melissa's work focuses on promoting environmentally-friendly practices, helping people create healthy gardens and finding ways to achieve overall health and wellness.