What is a sustainable plant?
Sustainability is now becoming a much-discussed term. Growing a sustainable plant can be a very effective first step towards sustainability. After centuries of rampant use, we have reached a stage when resources are getting depleted faster than we can replenish them. The loss of nutrients is causing us to resort to all kinds of artificial methods. These are not only costly but also harmful to the environment.
We have over-tilled our lands to the point of exhausting them. Then we have moved on to newer patches and destroyed much of the native vegetation to grow crops and plants more useful to humans. All this has been happening at a much faster rate than that needed for the environment to adapt. This has led to depletion and leaching of resources, necessitating further harsher measures. This is a vicious cycle. Unless we consciously break away from it, soon we will have more fallow land than arable ones.
Sustainable gardening is the surest way to avoid such a future. It is the process of growing plants in a way which minimises inputs, so as to allow the existing ecosystem to support vegetation. The way of Nature is always the best way. One of the key aspects of sustainable gardening is to plant a sustainable plant.
Choice of the right kind of vegetation, appropriate to the soil conditions
Whenever we move into a new piece of land, our first step is to raze the existing foliage. This is mostly done from an aesthetic point of view. Native species are often ignored in favor of exotic ones, especially when it comes to gardening. This is a wrong step. Not all plants grow comfortably everywhere. The vegetation of a place will have adapted itself to the existing soil conditions over years, maybe even decades. A new plant species will take almost as much time or maybe even longer to get used to those soil conditions.
Introducing new species may also sometimes backfire. Their propensity to turn into weeds can be extremely detrimental to the local ecosystem.
This is a cost-effective method of gardening
Resorting to chemical supplements is a costly affair. Often these are associated with side-effects Solving these supplementary issues involves more supplements. This leads to an escalation of costs. Following the natural way of growing plants is the safest way to garden. Sustainable plants, as discussed previously, are already well-adapted to the existing soil conditions. These are hardy and resilient. Hence they require minimum care.
A sustainable plant is thus a local variety, which is easily available and hard to kill. It will have developed resistance to the pests and diseases. Their sustained presence in the land enables an extension of the root system, which holds the soil together. This prevents soil erosion.
A sustainable plant can far outlive the new plant species. In the long run, this will prove to be a more practical solution to our gardening and farming woes. The sooner we understand that, the easier it will be for us to treat the land accordingly. We owe our future a lot, considering what our forefathers have already left us. Sustainable gardening is one of the many ways we can achieve that.