Organic Techniques for Sustainable Urban GardeningDownload Audio Version
Urban gardening is the practice of planting and growing organic fruits and vegetables in a city or town. There are many benefits for homeowners, including healthy food, improved energy efficiency, and less carbon dioxide emissions. Various organic techniques are used, with plants grown in the garden and in containers and pots at home. Some people also practice foodscaping which is a combination between agricultural techniques and landscaping.
Sustainable Gardening Methods
There are different organic techniques such as rain water recovery systems and management, compost piles, conservation polls, organic pest control, and others. Sustainable techniques involve practices such as:
To make a lasagna garden, lay scraps, manure, hay, leaves, grass clippings, and newspapers over the grass in fall. You can use trimmings, spent blooms, pine needles, weeds, tea leaves, and peat moss as well. This is how you make a planting bed. If you do it in the early spring, make sure you add topsoil or peat. Planting is the next step. Then water and weed as you normally would. There are many benefits to lasagna gardening, and one is that the soil is loose, fluffy, and easy to dig. Other benefits include improved water retention and fewer weeds.
Organic pest control is also a great way to reduce soil pollution and grow healthy produce. Attract natural predators such as bats, moles, and lizards. Bats, for example, eat hundreds of insects, including mosquitoes. What is more, they pollinate some fruits. Snakes prey on insects and rodents, and most species are not poisonous. Frogs and toads are also your friends because they consume worms, spiders, snails, and insects. The good thing is that snakes will keep their population under control.
You can try wildlife gardening as well. Use log piles to attract worms and lizards and ponds to provide shelter to toads, newts, and frogs. Nest piles can be used to attract hedgehogs, bees, bats, and different bird species.
In addition to natural pest control, you may want to use organic fertilizers such as compost, organic and green manure, and biofertilizers. Artificial fertilizers are harmful for the environment. They contain substances such as magnesium, calcium, potassium, and nitrogen. The problem with synthetic fertilizers is that they destroy beneficial bacteria and other microorganisms. In the long term, this leads to water pollution and increased toxicity levels. Health effects include higher risk of large intestine and prostate cancer, lymphoma, and brain tumors. Long-term exposure to herbicides, fungicides, and fertilizers should be avoided. If you use synthetic fertilizers, keep pets and kids away from your garden.
The main benefits of using organic fertilizers are that they supply vital minerals and other nutrients and preserve soil health. They are biodegradable and safe to use. While chemical fertilizers contaminate soil and water, organic waste minimizes environmental pollution which is the main cause for the extinction of many insects, animals, and plant species. You can either make organic fertilizers by yourself (e.g. composting) or buy from local farmers. There are different types of dried and undried manure such as swine, horse, poultry, sheep, and cattle. Compost can be made using leaves, lawn clippings, straws, seaweed, tea bags, and food scraps.
This is another organic technique and a form of eco engineering. Homeowners use different practices such as:
Rainwater harvesting, for example, involves the collection and storage of rainwater for irrigation and other uses. Some people also use it as drinking water. Gray water from bathing, washing, and other activities is also collected and recycled to be used for plant irrigation.
Other Organic Techniques
Homeowners also use other organic techniques such as weed control, succession planting, and square foot gardening. Other techniques to try include pollination management, no dig gardening, and companion planting. The latter involves the planting of companion plants such as potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, and fruit trees. This group of plants repels cabbage worms, carrot flies, slugs, and rabbits. You can also plant herbs and hearty greens such as mint, radish, dill, spinach, and rosemary. Some people also practice organic farming, forest gardening, and biodynamic gardening and farming. Growing neglected crops is also a good idea. They contribute to biodiversity and improve soil health. Many of these species are adapted to marginal areas and are grown by traditional farmers. There are different vegetable and pulse crops, nuts, and fruits such as durian, jackfruit, common fig, and pomelo. Finally, you can use other organic techniques such as multiple cropping, intercropping, and water wise gardening. The method of choice depends on different factors such as climate and weather conditions, the size of your garden, and the type of soil.
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