Being a gardener gives you privileged access to the world of nature. Gardening with nature helps us realize how special and precious places gardens really are. By working together with nature and its gifts, you can be one with your garden. The best way to plan your garden is with the environment on your mind.
Top 6 ways to garden with nature
1. Use human power
It’s best to start by replacing gasoline-powered or electric equipment such as leaf-blowers and lawnmowers with a more sustainable alternative—yourself! By doing what you can with your own two hands, you will save natural resources.
If this seems a bit daunting, then break big tasks into smaller, regular blocks. Invite a friend or family member to help you. Gardening is a great bonding activity. And, doing most jobs manually is a great way to keep fit and stay active (Top 7 health benefits of gardening).
2. Avoid pesticides and fertilizers
Some researchers have linked the overuse of pesticides and fertilizers to many serious problems. They are also energy-intensive to manufacture. Instead, to establish long-term soil fertility, add organic materials to the soil.
You can prevent pest infestations by planting flowers that attract pest predators. This a more natural approach that can help you create a healthier, livelier garden. Furthermore, take time to develop a healthy, natural soil structure. When your soil’s biology is strong and healthy, your plants are more resistant to pests and disease (read more).
3. Compost: The best plant food
We can compost most of the waste we produce. Why bury waste in a landfill when you can use it to grow your dream garden? Composting is a natural and environmentally friendly way of improving the soil.
Not only does it help you reduce your impact on the environment, but it also helps you save money and resources. Compost also improves drainage, helps retain moisture, and increases soil stability.
It doesn’t take long to set up a compost bin. For instance, bokashi composting is quite simple and easy. And don’t worry, it won’t smell (as long as you do it right).
4. Recycle and reuse
When it comes to gardening, the origin, installation, and extractions of materials used in patios, walls, paths, and other structures is often a concern. It’s best to go green when building such structures.
Recycled materials give you a chance to incorporate some quaint charm into your garden setting, bring new character to it, and exercise some creativity. You can find everything you need at reclamation yards. If you are up for a big DIY adventure, you can even build a log cabin out of repurposed timber.
You could even build a Victorian terrace house by using old, hand-made bricks. However, if you live in a city, the reclamation yards nearby may be expensive. You can try visiting out-of-town junk shops and yards to find cheaper materials.
Don’t throw away seed containers and old pots. Wash them after each season and use them again. If you have to get new pots, always go for ones made of recycled materials.
Store your tools somewhere dry. This will increase their longevity. Make sure to sharpen old blades regularly and keep the moving parts of your tools well-oiled. Always go with low-energy, natural materials.
5. Conserve water
Water is one of the most precious gifts Mother Nature has given us. It’s precious both to us humans and our gardens. We mustn’t let it go to waste.
Do what you can to harvest rainwater more efficiently. Rainwater isn’t metered and your plants need it! You can have total control of your water supply and you don’t necessarily need anything elaborate. You can simply collect rain in a barrel. You can gradually build up on the system and configure it to supply your whole landscaping needs.
For instance, you can also install an underground rain tank. If your garden rain tank is large enough, you can even set it up to flush your toilet.
Even with a rain tank or barrel in place, it’s best to make an effort to conserve water.
Ways to reduce water wastage:
- Don’t use a sprinkler. It just wastes water on leaves. Instead, water the roots of your plants.
- Use larger pots for your plants. Larger pots don’t dry out so quickly.
- When the weather is hot, don’t mow the lawn too low.
- Check for leaky pond liners and make sure to repair them.
- You can also bring water from your shower or bathroom sink to your garden throughout the year. This is a great way to water many plants, such as shrubs and deciduous fruit trees.
6. Choose eco-friendly plants
It’s very important to choose the best plants for your garden. For a garden to be truly eco-friendly, the plants should create the perfect habitat for beneficial wildlife. It’s best to plant berry-yielding trees and plants, like hawthorn. With such plants, you can rest assured that birds and bees will visit your garden often.
To give those lovely creatures a safe haven that will protect them from predators, you can plant hedges. They are a much better option than walls. Ivy is another good choice as it provides a rich source of nectar in fall and winter, as well as protection.
When you are uncertain about what to do with your garden, always look to nature. Stick to the old gardening ethos, “Plant according to the garden, not the gardener.”
Many gardeners are perfectionists. Try not to be one. Nature likes it messy. Leave some parts of your garden untidy. Leave those piles of leaves where they are.
Don’t burn logs and branches, collect them. You’ll encourage foraging birds to visit your garden and maybe even a few friendly neighborhood hedgehogs.
By Kevin Jefferson
Kevin has gone through an extensive home renovation with his son, which he has both thoroughly enjoyed, and dreaded every morning. He is now the proud owner of half his dream house (the other half has been waiting for spring). You can read more of Kevin’s work on PlainHelp.