Vegetable plants need not just fertilizer, but a lot of these fertilizers in the high quantities. These fertilizers are Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (p), and Potassium (k). Except for nitrogen and phosphorus other required nutrients are mostly available in the soil. But tends to get depleted over time as the plant grows.
What is a sustainable garden?
Sustainable garden. For ages, we have been gardening and farming, evolving our processes and equipment along the way. Our earliest forefathers in the Neolithic Age commenced sustainable garden activity with little external help, depending solely on the indigenous materials available to him in his surroundings. His primary intention was sustenance or sustainable garden. Not surprisingly, the intent remains the same even today; we farm to sustain ourselves. Sustainable garden, on the other hand, is an extension of our farming genes, targeted more at aesthetics than at sustenance. Somewhere along the way, both these requirements of man – sustenance and aesthetics – started overruling those of Nature. We pumped in unnatural resources like steroids into our grounds, tilling them and spraying them till nothing could harm our crops and plants anymore.
But like all things unnatural, all this development comes at a cost. The over-tilling of the soil and the constant recycling of the nutrients leaches the earth of its vitality, causing it to burn out eventually. This is how the concept of sustainable gardening comes into play. The essence of this concept is sustenance; viz. we need to direct our activities in a twofold way. One would, obviously, aim to give superior results to our gardening efforts, and the second is to do it in a way that not only enriches the soil but also keeps it ready for use for subsequent generations.
Why is the sustainable garden is so important?
Resources are few. But the good news is that most of them are renewable, at least the ones that go into gardening and agriculture. Our gardening practices should transcend our generations. The land and the resources should be available for subsequent times. Considering the immense potential of our landmasses, it is not impossible for several generations hence to reap benefits from the same.
However, without the requisite resources – minerals, organic matter, and water. Understandably, with the ever-increasing population, the demands on the soil have been increasing too. But at this rate, we are endangering the future.
At this point, it is important to preserve, restore and improve the arability of land, so that it can be used to develop an eco-system which is mutually beneficial to both humans and other organisms. The form of symbiotic existence is crucial for the sustenance of the human race.
Practicing sustainable garden is easy
Sustainability is inbred in Nature. Regeneration in the general aim of natural processes; natural extinction is also, in a way a step in the evolutionary process of organisms. Either way, Nature never exhausts, she always refills.
Sustainable gardening is thus a very simple concept in the sense that all a gardener needs to do is to mimic the ways of Nature. In other words, instead of using complicated contraptions and strong chemicals, sustainable gardening can be achieved by little, cost-effective steps like drip irrigation, using homemade, organic forms of insect repellents and replenishing the nutrient content of the soil.
They will ensure that the land and the resources remain productive longer.
sustainable horticulture and its benefits. Sustainable horticulture must provide a fair and reasonably secure living standard for farm families with minimum harm to the environment. It should maintain basic ecological resources such as healthy soil, clean water, and clean air.
Sustainable horticulture must enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole.
What is Sustainable Horticulture?
Growing fruits, vegetables, and flowers (Sustainable Horticulture) is a common hobby for many of us.
For the actively enthusiastic, the rewards lie in the bloom of the plant. Unfortunately, not all seasons are alike, nor are all years.
There could be situations when the produce of the plant fails to meet the breeder’s expectations. This could be due to any number of reasons like inappropriate temperature, diseases, and pests, and so on.
Under such circumstances, the most expedient solution is to resort to supplements. Strong chemicals and artificial means of boosting growth yield instantaneous and miraculous results.
But in the long term, these methods only lead to exhaustion of the soil and leaching of its nutrient content. Each subsequent growing season is thus dependent on external help. Sustainable horticulture is an old practice.
This encourages the breeder to take care of Plant health. To boost its growth using natural remedies and supplements. Rather than the use of chemicals.
Sustainable Horticulture is a way to replenish the earth’s natural resources
The booming horticulture industry depends on the availability of healthy, land, and plenty of other resources. Resources like minerals, nutrients, and water.
All these components are renewable. Modern horticulture methods, however, pay little attention to the pace of the depletion of these resources.
The continuation of these practices would result in fallow lands and limited natural supplements. Consequently, the costs of raising plants to bear fruits, vegetables, and flowers will escalate. This will make the industry unsustainable in the long run.
Sustainable horticulture is the surest way to replenish the resources of nature. We can protect and recharge nutrients of the soil by judicious use of water and organic supplements.
The landscape thus continues to remain arable. Maybe even more so, when the relatively erratic natural processes are followed more systematically manually.
Sustainable Horticulture includes several activities
Maintaining a sustainable garden is a three-step process. Developing a suitable landscape, maintenance of the same, and greenhouse management are the three steps.
Maintaining a suitable landscape is the first step toward sustainable gardening. A healthy soil, with negligible chemical intervention, is the strongest base to grow plants.
The next thing is the regular maintenance of the landscape so as to maintain the quality of the substrate. This also entails ensuring that diseases and pests do not inflict the plants or the produce.
This can be achieved by way of regular manual monitoring and using organic solutions like compost to build resilience in the plants and eradicate pests.
While Nature herself incubates and propagates flora species.
Maintaining a dedicated greenhouse is a good way to ensure the longevity of certain breeds. A greenhouse is a protected space, wherein rare and young saplings are nurtured.
These plants can also be then employed for various cultural practices such as creating a verdant roof or wall.
An important component of sustainable gardening is continuous care of the flora. One can do it by a way of pruning, trimming, cutting, and transplanting.
This enables propagation beyond the premises. This is a healthy way to increase the reach of sustainable horticulture.
Sustainable horticulture is still a budding subject. It is witnessing several continuous developments.
The ultimate aim is to plow the soil. Also, to derive its resources in a way that is beneficial to both the plants and the soil. This thoughtfulness towards posterity is critical in protecting our ecosystems.
How can horticulture be sustainable?
Here are 6 ideas that you can practice to do your part for sustainability
- Conserve water. Water plants only when they need it.
- Reduce the use of fossil fuel
- Reduce or prevent contamination from garden waste to the environment
- Select plants that are more drought-tolerant grasses that require less mowing
- Reduce the size of your lawn
- Do a soil test, before you add fertilizer to your garden. Over-fertilizing can lead to excess plant growth which can be more susceptible to diseases.
A garden refine and rejuvenate the atmosphere
A pretty garden, irrespective of its size, generates a very calming air. In bustling cities, space is always a constraint. A small balcony is all a resident might get to keep a few plants. Yet that little island of greenery is an oasis of peace and
calm. Full-fledged gardens are a site in themselves. Civilisations through centuries have established elaborate gardens and parks. This underlines the importance of these structures in the culture of societies. However, gardens, besides looking pretty, serve a much more vital purpose towards the environment. The gardens are the vital part of any ecosystem.
A garden can help to clean the air and also regulate the ambient temperature
Gardens are similar to forests. They purify the ambient air. The basic process of photosynthesis allows the plants to absorb the carbon dioxide from the air and release oxygen. This reduces pollution to a great extent. For residents and users, this translates into the cleaner breathable air. Plants in the garden provide clean air and it works better than an artificial air-conditioning system. Besides, a thickly gardened plot is also capable of cooling the atmosphere by virtue of evapotranspiration. It happens especially during the daytime. No wonder, deforestation is one of the key reasons for the global warming in recent decades.
A garden can repel bugs and mosquitoes
You can choose specific sets of plants. There are certain plants which repel harmful bugs and insects like mosquitoes and flies. Very common plants like marigold, lavender, and basil are very effective in keeping bugs out of premises. Additionally, their scent can be very refreshing (citronella, for instance). You should remove unwanted foliage and weeds from premises. So that gardens do not become breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
Garden can prevent soil erosion
The extensive root systems of plants in the gardens hold the soil particles together. This prevents them from being washed away in a downpour or being swirled up in high winds. By holding the soil together, plants prevent the leaching of nutrients and valuable minerals from the land. In the absence of a plant cover, soil loosens. If the premises are secured by retainer walls, loose, unattached soil can exert continuous pressure on the walls, causing them to eventually collapse.
Garden offers sustenance
Green grounds can produce not only flowers but can also yield fruits and vegetables. From a sustenance point of view, this can be useful for residents. Besides personal consumption, the products can also have commercial uses. Generating bloom in plants is not a cumbersome process. In fact mimicking natural processes are enough to bring about excellent results in garden plants. In this regard, it is always advisable to avoid the use of chemical-based pesticides and insecticides.
Meaning of a sustainable landscape
Sustainable Landscape. The definition is pretty simple. A sustainable landscape is a developing of any land for habitation. And to use in a way that minimizes intrusion in the ways of nature. Hence, the premise remains available for
use for subsequent generations. Short-sightedness is the bane of humankind. In a bid to impress today, a man often takes steps that ultimately prove to be detrimental in nature. This completely defeats the concept of success. This is true in all aspects of life. Let it be business or administration or even as basic as self-development. There are proponents of “you live in the present”. But it is not sure if they fully realize that without an eye on the future. The present can sometimes be quite wasted.
From an environmental standpoint, the lack of understanding about sustenance is one such example. Sustenance is a practice that permeates every act. Strangely, however, very few actually revere the import and necessity of the concept. Let us pick one such aspect of our living, where sustenance can leave a deep impact.
One of the elementary ideas behind sustainable landscape is to limit additional inputs. Left to itself, land adapts itself to the surrounding circumstances. It grows vegetation and supports fauna typical to those properties. This allows things to run at its own pace. Whatever develops by way of evolution is hardy and resilient. When a land is inhabited or used, it is crucial to treat it like a living organism. Drastic changes may yield miraculous results. This is visible in a single generation.
The key to the sustainable landscape is to minimise the application of supplements to as much as possible. Organic materials are always available to the soil. You can use them to boost its productivity. Chemical supplements, on the other hand, stress the soil, by way of excess utilization of its resources, causing its ultimate exhaustion.
Protect and preserves what exists
The soil is a treasure-cove of resources: water, minerals, and nutrients. In a bid to accelerate the growth of flora, breeders tend to over-utilize the existing resources. Water and nutrients cannot be sustained indefinitely. This is a common problem that many of us are already facing. Deepening of groundwater table and leaching of minerals is rampant. For sustainable landscape, it is important to practice activities that ensure that the resources are not used indiscriminately.
How is this different from existing practices?
Currently, we use methods that yield instant results. Plants yield bountiful blooms and fruits are larger and juicier. They are also available throughout the year. We use chemical supplements in copious quantities. In order to keep the produce coming all year, the soil is tilled continuously. This leads to excess utilization of water and nutrients. Soon the soil begins to lose productivity. This loss of vitality then causes us to use more supplements.
Sustainable landscape ensures that the land remains naturally endowed for longer. Flora and fauna adapt to this kind of soil and continue to thrive on it as always. We may not get extraordinary results, but good enough. The plus side is that the product will keep coming for longer, with fewer inputs. Sustainable landscaping and gardening is the most prudent way of coexisting with nature. If we do not take care of the limited resources, there will come a time when even supplement will fail to deliver results.