New Scientist’s Wild Life (19 April 2022) provided its readers with tips for establishing a low-carbon garden to help lower the environment impact of gardening.
Horticulture and back-yard gardening consume energy, materials, and consumption practices as we strive for our own personal green spaces. Some tips for going low carbon, low energy, and low impact include the following :
- Plant more, especially trees
Plant a tree or two, and/or plant more perennial plants. Grow herbs and plants indoors on your window sill.
- Reduce peat compost
Especially in the United Kingdom where 30% of the compost purchased in 2021 was peat from the carbon-rich, but diminishing, peatlands in the country, there is an opportunity to reduce peat use for home gardening, indoors and outdoors.
- Use eco-friendly fertilisers and soil improvers
People can make their own fertiliser, and reduce the purchase of chemical fertilisers. Natural fertilisers can be made from leaf litter from your own garden, or from compost made from kitchen food and vegetable waste. Or the purchase of free-range chicken manure pellets.
- Reduce digging
Digging improves the aeration of soil, but large-scale digging can release stored carbon. People are advocating ‘no-dig’ or ‘low-dig’ gardens which can improve nutrient content – and reduce back-breaking work!
- Reduce and save water
By collecting rain water in containers (instead of using mains water), water consumption can be reduced. Another option is to choose some dry-agricultural plants, such as cacti, succulents, and snake plants that need less water.
- Propagate from seed
More people are collecting seeds from their own plants and growing the next crop from seed, or purchasing packets of seeds, instead of purchasing seedlings and mature potted plants. It is not convenient or appropriate for everyone, but it is cheaper, particularly for herbs, vegetables, and indoor plants.
- Reduce the use of petrol power tools
Petrol power tools and equipment emit carbon dioxide, so electric or hand tools are the preferred options for a low carbon garden. Have less grass, or cut the grass less often.
The campaign for May in some countries, such as the United Kingdom is NO MOW MAY.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
MARTINA NICOLLS – MartinaNicollsWebsite