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climate friendly garden

Climate Friendly Garden Tips

Growing a climate-friendly garden involves using natural gardening practices to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. These practices also have the added benefit of encouraging healthier soil through improving the absorption of carbon dioxide – which also helps to reduce the issue of global warming. Whether you agree with the science of global warming or not, living more naturally by using climate-friendly garden practices can help the environment and reward you with a bounty of fresh vegetables from your garden.

What Are Greenhouse Gases?

Climate Friendly Garden Tips

First, let’s discuss the problem with greenhouse gases. While about 66 percent of greenhouse gases are attributed to fossil fuels and cement production, the rest is caused by human use of land. Greenhouse gases are made up of CO2, methane, nitrous oxide, and black carbon. One way to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere is to plant trees and plants, which use CO2 in photosynthesis and expire oxygen as a by-product.

So how can the climate-friendly gardener reduce greenhouse gases and receive a delicious bounty of those fresh vegetables? Let’s look at some ways to reduce greenhouse gasses from your gardening practices in more detail.

Carbon Dioxide

The way gardeners cause extra carbon dioxide to be released into the atmosphere happens due to not considering the habitats they’re destroying, or the unnatural cultivation of the soil using fuel-based fertilizers and chemical pesticides. Here are some ways to reduce the carbon footprint of your climate-friendly garden.

  • Peat moss – Although arguments have been made about the damage from using peat moss, if renewable harvest techniques are used, peat moss can help your garden by helping to retain moisture. Just don’t remove and burn the peat moss after use.
  • Renewable sources – Use renewable sources for building materials, such as bamboo.
  • Cover your soil – Don’t leave your soil naked between growing seasons; use a cover plant that adds the right nutrients to your soil.
  • Use human power – Avoid gas and instead use gardening tools that are human or electric powered.
  • Use rainwater – Avoid watering your garden with tap water; instead use rainwater that you catch using barrels or other containers.

Methane

Methane is of more concern to animal farmers than gardeners, but methane production can be greatly eliminated by:

  • Keeping soil aerated
  • Keeping compost heaps turned and moist
  • Getting rid of weeds properly through hand digging or natural competition
  • Keeping ponds aerobic

By doing the above, you’ll reduce the production of methane within the ecosystem of your garden, keeping it at more natural levels.

Nitrous Oxide

Gardeners cause too much nitrous oxide to get into the atmosphere from gardening practices such as by using synthetic fertilizers, working in the garden when the soil is wet causing the soil to compact, and burning garden waste. You can cut down on this by using natural practices instead, for example, by using the right plants such as legumes or clovers as cover crops to increase soil nitrogen instead of using chemical fertilizers.

Black Carbon

While black carbon is technically not a greenhouse gas, it does behave as if it’s a greenhouse gas because it absorbs heat. You can cut down on this problem by not burning weeds – or at least not burning them while they’re wet. Black carbon is also produced by transporting garden products to chain stores. Try buying locally to cut down on black carbon.

Climate Friendly Garden- 9 Tips

climate friendly garden

If you want to be part of saving the environment, these tips for the climate-friendly gardener can help. There is no reason you can’t have both a beautiful yard and a fruitful garden and still remain climate-friendly at the same time. In fact, you can improve your soil and create an almost self-sufficient garden by using these climate-friendly gardening practices.

1. Ditch Your Gas-Powered Mower – Use a manual push mower or an electric mower to cut down on carbon emissions when cutting your grass. A manual push mower is also thought to be better for grass because it cuts it longer and clips it off differently than a gas mower. An electric mower cuts down on carbon emissions because it produces none of the exhaust of a gas-powered mower.

2. Plant Trees and Shrubs – When you plant native trees and shrubs strategically around and within your garden, you can create an environment that you have more control over than you may have thought. For example, if you have a super-hot sunny area, you can plant trees to bring some needed shade so that plants don’t burn in the sun. Trees also help the environment by taking in CO2 from the air, using it for photosynthesis, and producing oxygen as a by-product.

3. Choose Native Plants That Are Adaptable – One problem with current gardening practices is the desire to grow too many non-native plants. You need plants that are meant for the environment you live in. Pay attention to how your climate is changing over time, because what worked ten years ago might not work now. You can consult local gardening clubs or the Extension Service in your area to learn about native plants that will do well in your local growing area.

4. Avoid Using Non-Permeable Surfaces – Asphalt, concrete, stone, and brick might look nice, but it’s better to use planting beds, mulched beds, gravel, and other permeable pavers so that water can be absorbed into the soil more easily, and you won’t end up with a superheated area of your garden. All these non-permeable surfaces absorb heat and radiate that heat back to the plants nearby, which may cause heat stress to the plants. Light-colored mulch or other pavers are a better option and absorb less heat.

5. Plant a Diversity of Plants – Using native choices, plant a lot of different types of plants for your needs. You can reduce soil erosion with properly placed shrubs, trees, and cover plants. You can plant pollinators, water collectors, and beautiful flowering plants that help ward off pests. Also, plan your vegetable garden according to the local climate. Check with your County Extension Service or other sources to see which choices would do well in your area.

6. Grow Perennial Plants – You don’t want to have to keep replanting each plant type every single year. Instead, plant perennials strategically so that each year at the right time of year you have new plants without messing with the soil and digging all the time.

7. Don’t Leave Your Garden Soil Naked – For your food gardens and any soil that you’re preparing, it’s imperative that you don’t leave your soil uncovered. You can cover it with natural mulch, compost, and straw. Or you can grow ground covering such as legumes or clovers which will add nutrients to the soil.

8. Think Maintenance-Free – When you are planning your garden, try to think about the type of maintenance that you’re going to have to do in order to keep the garden growing and producing. Design your garden with that in mind so that you can work with nature instead of against it. Using natural mulch is a good way to work with nature to prevent weeds while using the mulch to improve the soil. When you work natural mulch into the soil after the growing season it replenishes the soil with much-needed nutrients.

9. Conserve Water – When you work with nature instead of against it, you also naturally conserve water. For example, cutting grass higher will improve the roots so that you don’t need as much water. Collecting rainwater will help you conserve water too. If you have to water do it in the late evening so the plants and soil will have time to absorb the moisture before the sun comes up in the morning and begins to evaporate it.

Plants will grow and produce better when they are given nutrient-rich soil, the right amount of water, sunshine, and care. This happens naturally. There are 2000-year-old food forests that still produce (with very little if any intervention) food that feeds people. Nature is wonderful and knows what it’s doing. If you follow these nine tips you’ll have come a long way toward working with nature and your garden will be better for it.

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