Regular garden maintenance is vital for a healthy ecosystem. This includes maintaining a healthy soil, controlling weeds, removing debris and fertilizing.
It also helps reduce the risk of pests, such as rats and vermin, destroying your plants and flowers. It can also boost your garden’s value.
1. Maintaining a Healthy Soil
Healthy soils are a critical component of a healthy ecosystem and can improve the delivery of a variety of beneficial environmental outcomes, including increasing climate resilience, stabilizing yields, reducing nutrient runoff and mitigating climate change (USDA-NRCS).
A soil’s health is dependent on its structure and microbe populations. These organisms convert dead and decaying matter into plant nutrients, biologically suppress plant pests, maintain soil structure, and control weeds.
In addition, healthy soils contribute to a range of benefits that benefit humans, such as clean air and water. They also prevent erosion, runoff and flooding and help preserve aquifers, which are essential for our drinking water.
Soil health is often compromised by disturbance from physical, chemical and biological activities. Soil disturbed too frequently, such as frequent tilling, can destroy pore spaces and the microbial habitat that they provide.
2. Controlling Weeds
Weeds are important to a healthy ecosystem, as they provide clues about soil imbalances and composition as well as providing habitat for beneficial organisms such as worms and insects. They can also help with erosion control and topsoil retention.
As part of your garden maintenance plan, consider controlling weeds by removing them from the surface and by reducing their access to sunlight and resources. This can be done by pruning weeds, cutting down overgrowth and using weed preventers or herbicides on a monthly basis.
A multi-year, whole-farm approach to cultural weed management can also reduce weed pressure and sustain weed diversity. This involves using a variety of control tools, techniques and approaches on different sites within and between years (Liebman and Gallandt 1997; Neve et al. 2009).
3. Removing Debris
Regularly removing debris from your garden helps keep it tidy and healthy, as well as preventing pests and diseases. Dead leaves, branches and weeds can provide hiding places for insects as well as harbouring disease-causing microbes.
Debris can also block sunlight, which can result in poor growth and development for plants. It can also be a breeding ground for diseases, such as powdery mildew, which overwinters in plant debris and is blown into new leaf tissue during the spring.
The fall is a great time to remove all fallen plant parts from the garden, including fruit, flowers and vegetables. This will help reduce the risk of several diseases that can overwinter on plant debris and be transferred to garden crops in subsequent years.
Fall clean-up also eliminates over-wintering sites for some insect pests such as twig girdlers. This can help reduce insect populations as they emerge next spring.
Using organic fertilizers can help ensure that the soil is able to retain its natural fertility. They also stimulate beneficial soil microorganisms and add important secondary nutrients and trace elements that are often lacking.
In addition to fertilizers, a garden needs regular maintenance. Whether this means cutting the lawn regularly or pruning the herbs, this will ensure that your garden is growing healthy and strong.
If you want to grow healthy vegetables and fruits, the plants need the right amount of water to thrive. You can do this by watering your garden with a sprayer or hose.
You can also encourage biological diversity in your garden by planting a variety of plants. This will create a more balanced ecosystem and limit the proliferation of pests.
Lastly, avoid the use of toxic chemicals. This will keep your garden healthy and safe for you and your family to enjoy.