As climate change and sustainability issues continue to garner global attention, you may be looking for ways to reduce your own carbon footprint. One of the latest eco-friendly gardening trends to gain momentum is climate conscious gardening.
Climate conscious gardening allows you to modify your gardening techniques to improve sustainability and reduce its impacts on the environment. By making small changes every year, you can eventually create a garden that is carbon neutral or even carbon negative. Here are five climate conscious gardening techniques you can use to reduce your carbon footprint.
#1 Grow Native Plants
Planting the right plants in the right place can easily make your garden more sustainable and eco-friendly. Native plants are the holy grail when it comes to reducing the negative impacts that gardening can have on the environment.
Native plants have adapted over thousands of years to the local environment. They will grow healthier and stronger than non-native plants without much intervention from you. This can reduce their need for watering, pesticide applications, and soil amendments like fertilizer. Reducing water usage and chemical inputs is better for the environment. Plus, it will save you money.
Native plants can improve ecosystems because they provide wildlife habitat to the native fauna in your area. The obvious beneficiaries of native plants are pollinators and birds. However, native plants create homes for small mammals and reptiles too. They also support the native microscopic organisms living in the soil, naturally improving the soil health in your garden.
#2 Purchase Locally Grown Plants
Purchasing plants from a local nursery helps reduce the carbon footprint of your garden. When you buy plants from a big box store, they’ve likely traveled a long way to get there.
The farther plants travel before making it into your garden, the more greenhouse gasses their transportation adds to the environment. Reduce this environmental impact by purchasing plants from a locally owned nursery that produces its own plants.
#3 Grow Your Own Food
Another way to reduce your carbon footprint while gardening is to grow your own food. Produce often travels a long distance before reaching your local grocery store. Growing your own fruits, veggies, and herbs reduces greenhouse gas emissions. The plants themselves will also sequester carbon dioxide from the air further reducing your carbon footprint.
Where you live and how much gardening space you have can limit your ability to grow certain produce. The expectation here isn’t to grow ALL of your own produce, but to simply reduce the amount you have to purchase from the store. When you purchase produce at the grocery store, try to opt for organic produce which has fewer negative impacts on the environment.
#4 Utilize Energy-Efficient Landscaping
Strategically placing plants around your home can help keep it cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Plants can improve your home’s energy efficiency, saving you money and reducing your carbon emissions.
Planting deciduous trees strategically in your yard can help heat and cool your home. Their leaves provide shade which will keep your house cooler in the summer. Since they lose their leaves in winter, they won’t block the sun allowing it to help warm your home. It’s best to plant trees on the south and west-facing sides of your home to block the summer sun.
Shrubs can also be used to create windbreaks around your home. If you live in a colder region, plant shrubs on the north and northwest sides of the home to block the cold winter winds.
#5 Go Electric With Gardening Tools
Gas-powered tools like tillers, cultivators, string trimmers, and lawnmowers all burn fossil fuels adding greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere. Switching to electric tools will reduce your greenhouse gas emissions. Plus, you won’t have to make a trip to the gas station for a gas refill, saving you time and money in the long run.
Understandably, replacing all of your gas-powered tools at once may not be within your budget. You can make the move to electric tools as your gas-powered tools need to be upgraded or replaced.
When it comes to climate conscious gardening, remember Rome wasn’t built in a day. Making small changes each year to your gardening techniques will add up over time to reduce your carbon footprint. The main point is to be conscious of how gardening can impact the environment and strive to do better moving forward.