10 Tips for Sustainable Gardening

Spring is calling and the flowers are in bloom. It’s the time of the year that many homeowners start spending more time in the garden. Having a healthy garden is one of the best ways to create a sustainable home and reduce your household’s carbon footprint. Here are some eco-friendly tips that will help to make your garden even more sustainable.

 

1. Compost Your Waste

Composting, which puts your natural waste to good use, is the cornerstone of any sustainable garden. All grass clippings, dead leaves, plants, flowers, and the like are rich in nutrients. By composting, you provide your garden with a natural fertilizer, free of contaminants. Not only will this provide nourishment, but it will also help to produce healthier and tastier food.

 

2. Mulching

If having a sustainable garden is your goal, it’s important to treat your soil with care. Mulching enriches the soil and ensures it’s as healthy as can be. Mulch conserves the moisture in your soil, ensuring it won’t dry out. It also reduces weed growth and naturally moderates the temperature of the soil. Mulching can cover either bare soil or freshly planted food and flowers.

 

3. Garden Design

It’s natural to want to accentuate the beauty of your garden when designing it, but the sustainable gardener will prioritize giving plants what they need. Take into consideration which plants need direct access to sunlight, which need the most space in the garden, and any special requirements a plant may need to inhabit optimal growing conditions.

 

4. Use Natural Weed Killers

One of the pillars of organic gardening is to reduce the use of chemicals whenever and wherever possible. Homemade recipes involving vinegar and corn gluten meal are effective substitutes for harmful, chemical-based weed killers. Whichever method you choose, it’s important to weed by hand often.

 

5. Use Water Efficiently

Substantial watering is critical to keeping your garden healthy, but overwatering is a common practice and leads to an unsustainable garden. Research the amount of water your plants and flowers need to make sure you aren’t overwatering. If you live in a rainy climate, rain barrels are a useful tool as their function is to catch and conserve the water from your downspouts.

 

6. Animal Manure

For a more sustainable garden and even healthier soil, consider adding animal manure. Chicken, sheep, and cow manure are all popular choices. Rich in nutrients, it can be used both as a fertilizer and as a soil conditioner. Make sure the manure you purchase is free of pathogens and ask about the recommended window of time from application to harvest before you begin using it.

 

7. Go Local

Planting natively is a fast ticket to sustainable gardening. Native plants are innately acclimated to local climate conditions, making them easier to grow and maintain. Native plants often require less water to grow due to their familiarity with the soil and rainfall in your region, which cuts down on your garden’s total water intake.

 

8. Collect Dried Seeds

Believe it or not, you can save your seeds and sow them next year. Wait until the seed is fully ripe before you collect it. It’s important to gather seeds when the weather is dry and to store them in a dry place. To produce healthy plants in the future, the seed must be completely dry.

 

9. Control Garden Slugs

Slugs are known to wreak havoc on gardens, eating through leaves and fruit, leaving a trail of destruction. There are many ways of controlling slugs in your gardens, but some may do more harm than good. If you choose to use slug bait, go organic. Many slug baits contain chemicals that are highly toxic to other animals.

 

10. Replace Your Gas Mower

How else can you reduce your garden’s carbon footprint? Replace your gas mower with a more sustainable alternative. Electric mowers and push mowers are functional and more eco-friendly replacements. For added sustainability, consider replacing your other gas-powered equipment, such as trimmers and leaf blowers.

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Buying with Gardening in Mind

Every home buyer has a list of must-have amenities that they’re just not willing to compromise on. For some, it could be an open floor plan or maybe a certain number of bedrooms. For others, that priority is a place to garden.

A garden provides a place where one can nurture the earth, feel connected to other living things, and have a positive impact on the environment. If you’re a home buyer who requires space to garden, here are a few things to consider:

 

The Hardiness Zone

When searching for a home, location is always high on the list of priorities, and for gardeners, it’s no different. If having a garden is important to you, the first thing you should do is check the hardiness zone to determine what you can realistically grow at any home you are considering buying.

Hardiness Zones are used by gardeners and growers around the United States to determine which plants will grow best in their region. The USDA uses the average annual minimum water temperature in the area to establish the zones, making it a great place to start when looking for your next garden.

Hardiness Zones don’t change by street like neighborhoods do but knowing where you are in the zones map can be a helpful guide to what to expect, especially if you’re moving to a completely new region.

 

Outdoor Space

Your Windermere agent will be able to use a combination of property metrics, photos, and land surveys to help narrow down your search to homes with adequate outdoor space for a garden.

Ask your agent about lot size versus the home size to make sure there is enough land to build and sustain a garden. Prior to visiting homes in person, check the exterior photos to get an idea of the area.

 

Local Wildlife

Local wildlife organizations have resources about the animals that might appear in your backyard. Knowing this will not only help you protect your veggies, herbs, and other plantings, but also aid in creating a wildlife-friendly sanctuary. The National Wildlife Foundation offers suggestions on how to do this and offers tips on how to attract songbirds and butterflies to your garden.

 

Infrastructure Requirements

Depending on the size of your garden, you may need to set up appropriate infrastructure for easier care, like a sprinkler system, raised beds, or outbuildings. If the land is uneven, consider installing raised beds that will help flatten the growing surface for your veggies and fickle flowers. A greenhouse can help you control humidity and light levels but be sure to consider the construction costs alongside your home loan amount.

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