An intact environment is a gift, in the garden we can do a lot to protect our nature, promote biodiversity, avoid waste and conserve resources. Here are tips for sustainable gardening.
Anyone who is an enthusiastic sustainable gardener is probably also gardening quite ecologically. Nevertheless, sustainable gardening is not about implementing strict “textbook” rules, and it goes far beyond the fruit and vegetable garden. It’s a process that you can gradually realize without feeling overwhelmed. And it can be done on any piece of land, whether it’s a balcony, roof terrace, front yard or home garden.
Sustainable gardening – This is how it is done
Water is the source of life and you can help to use it wisely. Rainwater that you can collect is ideal for watering. There are special rainwater flaps for downpipes on gutters that channel the valuable wet directly into the barrel. Even more effective are cisterns, which can store large quantities of rainwater. Water consumption should generally be kept within reasonable limits.
Use hand tools
Reach for the hand tool more often when pruning, whether cutting the shrubs or trimming the trees. Hedges, for example, looks less disheveled after using the hand shears, and shrubs can be brought into shape perfectly well without cordless shears. Refrain from using plastic tools with a short lifespan. It is ideal to purchase more expensive, larger equipment such as garden shredders, which are not used regularly, together with the neighbors.
Make your own compost
Own compost is the “king of fertilizers”. It improves the soil and provides valuable ingredients for plants as they grow. This means that a lot of kitchen waste ends up in the garden instead of in the residual waste. Compost containers made of wood or stone are more environmentally friendly than plastic products. The amount of purchased garden soil in waste-generating plastic bags is also significantly reduced by using your own substrate. If you do buy soil, make sure you use peat-reduced or peat-free potting soil.
Be honest: It is not uncommon for the garden shed to be piled high with plastic pots or boxes that are no longer needed or are broken. More environmentally friendly in production are pots made of clay or planters made of wicker. When buying plants, some nurseries also offer so-called “bring-back deposit boxes”, which can be returned after flowers and co. have been transported home.
Remove weeds without chemicals
Herbicides, i.e. chemical weed killers, should no longer be used in the garden at all. Regular weeding and loosening of the soil, on the other hand, protect the soil life and increase the water storage capacity of the soil. Dense planting in the beds gives weeds no chance, and pretty joint fillers such as the tread-resistant plants prevent undesirable weeds from establishing themselves.
Encourage beneficial insects
If you look closely, you’ll notice that many beneficial insects are making their homes in our gardens. Some species of wild bees, which are among our most important pollinators, lay their eggs in tubes. A so-called beneficial insect or insect house/hotel is very easy to make yourself: Drill holes ( 5 to 10 centimeters (2 to 4 in) deep, 2 to 10 millimeters (0.1 to 0.4 in) in diameter) in the long side of wooden blocks or bundle reeds to make valuable dwellings. Piles of stones or brushwood also provide shelter for beneficial insects.
Masses of aphids on plants don’t stand a chance if enough songbirds feel at home in our gardens. They make chemical sprays unnecessary. We can support these industrious pest exterminators by offering them nesting boxes. There are variants for different bird species that are hung in trees or on the wall of a house.
Use degradable nets and foils
Vegetable protection nets are often indispensable. But there are alternatives to film and plastic nets: Tarpaulins made of organic cotton is suitable for frost protection as well as for repelling pests. The net can be used several times, is compostable and leaves no residual waste. Instead of foil, garden mulch paper can also be used, for example, which is simply buried afterwards. Also recommended is biodegradable tunnel or mulch film based on cereal flour.
Choose furniture made of local wood
Materials made of wood are more environmentally friendly and sustainable than products made of plastic. For ecological reasons, avoid woods of tropical origin such as teak or bangkirai, but choose furniture made of equally durable and domestic wood such as larch, sweet chestnut, oak or Douglas fir. Homemade brand furniture is also popular. Do not use old railroad planks containing tar oil.
Recycle old objects
Recycling used materials not only conserves our resources, but also enables creative design. A cold frame, for example, can be easily built from bricks and an old window. The bricks are simply stacked on top of each other on level ground in the dimensions of the window as a border. Thus, a cold frame becomes an eye-catcher in the garden, much nicer than the ready-made version made of plastic.
Also at flea markets you can often find true treasures that beautify the terrace, balcony and garden. Pretty containers from grandma’s cupboard or milk cans as vases save many a trip to the garden center.
Make your own growing pots
When growing and sowing plants, you need large quantities of small pots. Instead of using plastic products, there are many environmentally friendly alternatives. For example, fold newspaper into small growing pots or fill cardboard rolls of toilet paper with growing soil. Seed pots made from fully degradable plant fiber as well as jute pots are also available for purchase.