Sustainable gardening has become a buzzword within the environmental community in recent years. But what does the term actually mean? Essentially, sustainable gardening is a concept which revolves around the creation of physical, psychological and visual sustenance and nourishment using natural resources without disrupting existing ecosystems or increasing carbon footprints. The resources can come in the form of land, water supply, seeds, fertiliser and much more. The guiding principle behind sustainable gardening is sustainable production and respect for the environment. Whether you’re a wannabe sustainable gardener, or just contemplating joining the movement, we’ve compiled several tips and environmental hacks below that would help you get started on the right path.
Chemical herbicides are like cheat codes for computer games – they seemingly remove pests and insects from targeted areas at no cost. However, if you look a little closer, the negative side effects will make you very afraid. The toxicity of chemical herbicides can manifest themselves in humans over the medium and long term. The side effects include, but are not limited to, developmental neurotoxic effects, cancer, impaired fertility and dermatitis. Even the plants themselves are not spared from the harmful effects. Many plants demonstrate stunted growth, chronic defoliation, malformation and desiccated tissues after prolonged exposure to herbicides. Some of these effects are manifested in their offspring!
Faced with this knowledge, are you prepared to continue using chemical herbicides for your sustainable garden, or would you be willing to use organic methods to help manage and protect your garden against weeds, pests and insects? Here are some options for you to try out.
- Mulching: Mulch is arguably the best form of weed control. Simply spread a three-inch layer of grass clippings on targeted areas and watch them keep the weeds at bay.
- Biological control: Predatory animals and plants can be used to target pests and weeds. Biofungicides such as trichoderma provide excellent defence against pathogenic fungi and bacteria by inducing metabolic changes in host plants. A comparatively larger example is the citrus ant (Oecophylla smaragdina), which attack pests on orange trees. Search online for the best biological control agent for the pests in your garden.
- Acetic acid: Better known as vinegar, acetic acid is a powerful herbicide and pesticide which cannot only kill pests, but also be used to create invisible barriers and boundaries in gardens.
Obviously, even organic herbicides have negative side effects if used incorrectly or excessively. However, the risk level is infinitely lower when used correctly and in moderation.