5 Tips for Starting a Sustainable Vegetable Garden
Growing your own sustainable vegetable garden is a great way to enjoy fresh produce, save money, and contribute to a healthier planet! Here are 5 tips for getting started.
There are lots of reasons for growing your own vegetable garden. Many people start a garden because they want to save money on fresh, healthy produce. Some want more control over their food supply. Others simply love the satisfaction that comes from watching a garden grow, and harvesting the tasty results!
Whatever your reason for gardening, after a while, you may come to want a bit more for your garden.
You may want to feel that your garden is actually nourishing the environment, and contributing to a healthier ecosystem. Instead of depleting the soil with chemical fertilizers, or polluting the environment with pesticides and herbicides, you may decide to choose more sustainable gardening methods.
It’s not difficult to garden more sustainably – in fact, it’s easier than you may think!
With just a few simple changes, you can create a sustainable and nourishing source of healthy and nutritious food for your family.
Try these tips for growing a sustainable vegetable garden in your own backyard:
Create Ground Level or Raised Vegetable Beds
From a practical point of view, beds make the growing patch easier to reach, but separating it from the ground soil actually has its own benefits. As I’ll explain shortly, each vegetable has its own requirements, including the pH level of the soil. Using different beds, you can create different environments for each respective plant without cross-contamination.
Regulate pH Levels
Speaking of pH, you always need the right pH level for each plant. The level will either be acidic (below 7) or alkaline (above 7), and you’ll find that plants thrive in the right pH conditions. Potatoes, for instance, require a light acidic bed with soil between 5.3–6 pH, while carrots prefer a range of 6–6.5 pH. When plants are in their optimum pH range, they receive the right balance of healthy nutrients and benefit from a stronger immune system. If the pH level isn’t right, plants will struggle to get the nutrients they need. In some vegetables, this can cause blossom-end rot due to a lack of calcium.
This is why it’s useful to make separate growing beds. You can use compost, mulch, and other additives to lower or raise the pH level as you require….
Make Organic Compost and Mulch
When it comes to creating a sustainable vegetable garden, compost is an easy first step. Simply gather into a pile any organic matter that you have. This includes garden cuttings, dead leaves, and even raw food waste from inside the home. If you monitor what you put into the compost, you can create a nutrient rich meal that will alter the pH levels of the soil….
Maintain an Organic Focus
Other than compost and mulch, you can also create your own bone meal. This is a handy replacement for calcium powders and makes good use of the bones your local butcher or abattoir are more than happy to get rid of—give them a call and ask! It will likely be free or cost very little, and it will allow you to grow your garden without sacrificing your organic objectives.
When it comes to other natural and organic fertilizers, you can also create fish emulsion from leftover fish remains. Did you know you can even use ground coffee beans? Even used beans are great at bringing down the alkaline values of the soil….
Create Your Own Seed Bank
When you begin cultivating and expanding your garden, always keep some spare seeds in a secure location….
Most plants produce an ample amount of seeds, so you’ll have plenty to both save and use in your garden. Furthermore, by storing them in a safe location, you can always help a friend in need and maybe even donate to a national seed collection once you have a good number of reserve seeds. Part of sustainable vegetable gardening is involving yourself with a wider community, and seed banks give gardeners a way to help each other out in times of need.
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