Sustainability in the home extends to the outdoors – and it’s not just about planting more trees. Why not turn your #iso calendar into an urban renewal project, starting in your own backyard?
Native plants are great, but not vital
Native plants are likely to thrive in our environment and they cut down the need for maintenance. But, having said that, many believe the perfect garden has a mix of both natives and exotics.
If you want a set-and-forget approach, natives and indigenous plants will suit your needs – but this takes all the joy out of gardening. Some of the fun is in planting things that are a bit more of a challenge, such as roses or lavender.
Overwatering is the main issue when it comes to water use, so it helps to do your research and figure out how much water your plants actually need. For instance, if you have a lavender or rosemary plant, once it’s established you’re basically done with watering. However, if you’ve done your due diligence and you’re still muddled, a good rule of thumb to follow is give every garden four litres per square metre, per week in the middle of summer.
Starting a compost bin is relatively easy and even better, it will reduce your landfill waste. The first thing to consider is the type of compost bin you need. Remember, the bigger your garden, the more compost you’ll need. Also, not all ‘natural’ waste can go into your compost. For instance, meat and dairy are big no-nos.
The next most important thing to remember is to turn the compost frequently to ensure it aerates and breaks down properly. After a certain period of time – anywhere between a few weeks to a year – it will be ready to go on to your garden as fertiliser.
Reduce your chemical use
Many products that will help your garden grow have reduced their use of nasty chemicals. But, there are also plenty of home remedies or organic brands you could seek out. When it comes to home remedies, try bi-carb for a fungicide or canola oil for a pesticide.
One common garden chemical is weed killer, but a bit of preparation and manual care can help you avoid resorting to the toxic stuff.
If you’re in the suburbs and surrounded by houses, once you get your weeds down to nil, the incoming weeds are very low. So, if you have well-prepared soil, mulch it and keep it clean and neat, weeding will become really easy and essentially take only 10 minutes out of your day once a month.
Start a vegetable or herb garden
Your very own vegetable garden is an incredible resource, especially when you’re restricted going to the supermarket. First stop should be the local nursery, where the experts can help you understand the climate conditions and what plants will suit.
It’s also important to ask yourself what is worth growing, compared to what is simply easier and cheaper to buy. Herbs for example, are well worth growing. However, do your research before planting. For instance, you can plant your parsley and oregano together but you can’t mix it with mint because mint likes the wet, whereas the others like it dry.
And remember to think seasonally when planning a layout. You may wish to replace your summer veggies or fruits with winter ones during the change of seasons.