12 Incredibly Simple & Green Gardening Tips

It’s great to eat more seasonal and local foods and even better to go hyper local by eating foods from your own backyard or window sill. Green gardening means taking steps to make sure that your gardening practices and approaches are as eco-friendly and sustainable as possible.

Gardening can be a great way to move closer to your green goals. But is is important to make sure you do more good than harm in your garden. To help you set out in the right direction, here are 12 green gardening tips for a sustainable garden:

1. Grow Your Own

Green gardening means making the most of all that your garden can provide. And that means that you should not just create a beautiful space. You should obtain a yield. Growing your own usually involves growing food. You can do so in a wide range of different ways.

You can grow annual and biennial food crops in beds or borders, raised beds, planters, or containers. You can even grow edible plants on a windowsill indoors – even if you have no outside space at all. You can also create thriving perennial planting schemes – such as forest gardens – which allow you to grow fruit trees, berry bushes and a huge range of other edible plants in a relatively low-maintenance way.

But in addition to growing food, it is also worth considering that when you take up green gardening, you can also grow other things that will allow you to live in a more sustainable way. For example, you can grow herbs and flowers to make your own natural cleaning and beauty products. And that is just one more way to grow your way to greater sustainability in your life.

2. Green Gardening Means Always Growing Organically

One of the most crucial things about green gardening is that if it is truly green, it always involves growing organically. In other words, it means avoiding the use of all harmful synthetic fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides.

But organic growing is about more than just avoiding these things. It is about managing fertility, pests, weeds and other problems in holistic and ecologically sensitive ways. It means working with nature rather than fighting it in your garden.

3. Protect the Soil

One of the most important jobs in a garden is protecting the soil. We rely on the soil for all that we do in a garden. Healthy soil leads to healthy plants, healthy food and, ultimately, healthy people. What is more, soil, along with trees and other plants, is important for sequestering carbon from the air.

In an organic garden, we should take steps to disturb the soil as little as possible. This means taking a ‘no dig’ gardening approach. Rather than tilling or digging beds, we instead make new beds on top of the soil surface, and keep soil covered at all times – either with plants or organic mulches.

4. Compost – Maintain Fertility

Using organic mulches is not only a way to protect the soil. It is also a method used to maintain fertility, and improve the soil over time. Organic mulches can include carbon rich materials like straw, woody matter, or dry leaves, and nitrogen rich materials like leafy greens and grass clippings.

They can also include living mulches – living plants which cover the soil surface between other crops, and cover crops/ green manures which cover the soil, often over the winter.

One of the most important mulch materials used in an organic garden, however, is home-made compost. Making your own compost at home is essential for green gardening.

5. Manage Water Wisely

As well as implementing a good composting system in your garden, another key thing to think about is water. Setting up a rainwater harvesting system is a great idea. You should also think about how water is stored in plants and in the soil. And may consider earthworks to improve matters in this regard and slow the flow of water through a site.

Managing water wisely also involves thinking about how you water the crops you grow in your garden. Green gardening often involves thinking about using drip irrigation, and other water wise irrigation methods, in your garden.

6. Choose The Right Plants For the Right Places

Once you have your composting and water systems in place, you might turn your attention to creating new growing areas and choosing plants. When choosing seeds and plants, you always have to take your location, and conditions in your particular garden into account. It is vital for longevity and success in a green garden to choose plants well suited to the locations in which they will grow. Think about climate and microclimate, sunlight and shade, wind, water and soil, and the needs and preferences of the particular plants you are considering.

7. Boost Plant Diversity

Choosing plants for a green garden also means making sure you do not put all your eggs in one basket. You should choose as many different plants as possible. The more biodiversity there is in the plant life in your garden, the more likely it is to thrive. And when you grow too few different plants, you risk greater losses when things go wrong.

When you have plenty of different plants, beneficial interactions between them bring stability and resilience to the system. When you plant too few, you won’t be able to obtain a yield from other things when certain things don’t go to plan.

8. Welcome Wildlife

Biodiversity is also crucial when it comes to wildlife in your garden. You want to share your garden with as many different species as possible. Again, greater diversity can bring more stability and resilience. But we also rely on beneficial wildlife for our gardens to produce what we want and need.

We need pollinators, soil life, predators to keep down pests, and many other creatures to make a garden grow. When we take steps, through diverse planting, and through habitat creation, to encourage more wildlife in, we will find it much easier to manage pests and garden organically.

9. Integrate, Don’t Segregate

When planning your garden, remember that in green gardening, integration is key. Companion planting is all about finding plants that work well when grown as neighbors. Polycultures are collections of beneficial plants. Companion planting and polycultures are important strategies for an organic garden. Thinking carefully about how to combine plants can increase the yields that are possible in a green garden.

10. Make the Most of Space and Time

A garden is a valuable resource, and to be as green and sustainable as possible, we should do all we can to make the most of it. Making the most of time and space in your garden means companion planting and combining plants in the most efficient and effective ways possible. It also means adopting small-space growing techniques like vertical gardening. And successional sowing annual crops to avoid bare soil and any gaps during the growing season.

11. Choose Zero Waste Green Gardening Solutions

We should also think carefully about waste, and take steps to reduce waste of all kinds in our homes and gardens. We need to think about the entire lifecycles of the products we choose, including what happens to them at the end of their useful lives. Making the right choices for zero waste living often involves reducing plastic use in the garden. For example, we might choose plastic free or biodegradable pots and containers. And wooden handled rather than plastic handled tools.

12. Plan Ahead

Finally, in green gardening, it is important to think long term. Don’t just plan for your garden over the coming year. Think about how you can continue to improve it over the years to come. For annual crops, for example, think about a crop rotation plan. And when choosing perennial crops, think not only about the climate today, but how it might change as time goes by.