8 Useful Tips to Manage a Sustainable Urban Garden
A sustainable urban garden is an excellent way to provide yourself with healthy food to eat while making a personal contribution to the conservation of the environment. Urban gardens are growing more and more common in many cities and are often seen in parks that have been abandoned, vacant lots, and terraces maintained by neighborhood associations. If you are considering the possibility of starting your own sustainable urban garden, the following tips will help you get off to a great start.
Understand Soil Conditions
Once you have found an area to host your urban garden, a soil test will help you determine the type of soil with which you are working. You can perform this soil test on your own by purchasing a test at a local gardening center or you can opt to send a sample of your garden's soil to a laboratory.
Do not despair if the soil in the area you have chosen proves to be less than optimal for growing the crops you desire. Soil amendments and organic matter can be used to improve the soil condition. The key is making these improvements before you begin to plant in space.
Make Use of Compost
Compost is useful as more than a waste prevention method. Compost can be used as a soil amendment and mulch that is capable of improving the structure of your soil, promoting the growth of plants in your garden, and supporting nutrient storage in your soil. Studies have demonstrated that plants grown with the use of compost are stronger and healthier than plants that do not receive the benefits of compost.
There is no way to overstate the value of clean water. And in some places, the valuable commodity can grow scarce at certain times of the year.
There are a number of ways you can conserve water while tending to your sustainable garden. One way to approach this issue is by creating a rain garden or installing rain barrels. You can also adjust the mowing height of nearby grass to make less water necessary to maintain the lawn.
Use Organic Fertilizer
Environmental responsibility is a major principle for sustainable urban gardeners. One way to demonstrate your sense of responsibility to the environment is to never use chemicals in your garden. Chemical fertilizers will make their way deep into the soil and negatively affect the life forms that help to build the health of your soil.
Organic fertilizers actually work to build and prepare the soil for long-term use and not deplete the soil in exchange for a one-time yield.
Practice Sustainable Agriculture Principles
This tip may sound complicated but it simply means you should put as much into the land you are using for your garden as you take from it. This will allow the land to produce for future generations.
Techniques such as cover-cropping and applying the manure of farm animals to the area where your garden is located will ensure the nutrient content of the soil is not reduced by your actions.
No Dig Principles
Digging in your garden will decrease the nutrient availability in the soil and negatively affect its microbial ecology. Your soil will also be less able to protect itself from the potential harm that can be done by the sun.
Once your garden is in the shape you want it, you should allow it to remain that way. You only need to add mulch or other plant materials to provide your plants with the moisture they need to grow. Also, try not to walk on your soil too much as this can cause the soil to become compacted which will result in less nutritional support to plants.
Your garden will be more efficient and sustainable when you choose plants that are well-adapted to the area where you intend to garden and do not require excessive maintenance to flourish. In many cases, this will mean choosing plants that are native to your area. These plants are perfect for your project since they are currently adapted to the local weather patterns and other conditions where you wish to maintain your sustainable garden.
Whether the sustainable urban garden you maintain is located on a rooftop, vacant lot, or between two buildings, your garden represents a great opportunity for the members of your community to bond.
Urban gardening is not only effective for the growth of flowers, fruits, and vegetables that interest you. Sustainable urban gardening can also be used to help the growth of a community of people that are interested in the conservation of the environment.
Growing and eating your own healthy foods is more than enough reason for many people to give urban gardening a try. But when you add in the contribution you can make to the environment while enjoying yourself in the process, maintaining a sustainable urban garden can quickly become one of the most rewarding experiences on your list of regular activities. The eight urban gardening tips above provide a solid foundation to begin your own urban gardening experience.