Sustainable gardening can be a fun way to get your family outside and eating fresh fruits and vegetables. It also helps reduce your food bill, provides a home for pollinators and lessens your pesticide use.
The first step to a sustainable garden is to avoid using chemical herbicides and pesticides. Instead, follow organic weed and pest control methods.
Choose Drought-Resistant Plants
Choosing drought-resistant plants when growing your own food at home is an important step to help you reduce the impact of climate change on your environment. Drought-resistant plants can help you save water and money by not needing to be watered as often, which in turn saves energy costs and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
Many plants are naturally adapted to dry conditions, storing excess moisture in their leaves or deep tap roots. They may also have water-reserving structures built into their anatomy, such as cacti, succulents or bulbs that can absorb water in the soil.
Luckily, there are some easy-to-find perennials that are especially suited to hot climates and drought. Some, such as sedum (sedum vulgare), are so forgiving that they even thrive in bad soil and poor sun. This drought-resistant plant is easy to grow and will provide years of blooming interest for your garden.
When growing your own food at home, it is important to encourage pollinators. These include bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and other animals that help plants reproduce.
Plant a wide range of flowers in your garden to attract these creatures. Consider perennials that bloom year after year and offer a good supply of nectar for pollinators.
Keep dead leaves and twigs in your yard, as they provide shelter and habitat for pollinators. Avoid raking your yard too much in the fall, as this can disturb the nests of insects.
Instead, let some areas of your lawn grow a little longer before mowing it. This will allow natural-occurring flowers like dandelions to flower.
It is also a good idea to encourage pollinators by placing small drifts of flowers together. This encourages them to travel from one plant to another, rather than searching for a single flower.
Plant Fruit Trees
Fruit trees are one of the best ways to grow your own food at home. They provide a source of fresh, healthy produce for you and your family while also improving the environment and supporting the local economy.
They are easy to plant and care for, so they can be a great addition to your yard or garden. They require little time and effort to maintain and will produce a plentiful crop of fruit over the years.
If you plan to grow your own fruit, be sure to purchase well-grown, heavily rooted, one-year-old grafted plants from a reputable nursery. This will ensure that your new fruit trees are free of pests and diseases, and will become long-term garden residents.
When planting your fruit trees, be sure to choose an area with good soil that is well drained and has plenty of sun exposure. The best time to plant a tree is early spring, after the ground has thawed.
Seed saving is an important skill that can be practiced by anyone who wants to grow their own food at home. It is a tradition that has been practiced for thousands of years and it can help you preserve certain plant varieties.
The first step is to choose the type of plant you want to save seeds from. Annuals, like tomatoes, peas, beans and peppers, produce a large amount of seed within a short period of time.
They are easy to save and you can often find heirloom or uncommon varieties at Seed Savers Exchange.
Regardless of the plant you choose to save seeds from, it is essential to store the seeds properly so they will remain viable for years after you have saved them. Ideally, seeds should be kept dry and cool.