• IvyShepherd

How we should be gardening for the environment

What we can do to protect our natural world

The climate is warming. And our climate is changing because of global warming.

With the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide, this causes the climate to warm and change. The ice caps melt, the sea levels rise and we start to experience severe weather.

So how can gardening help to mitigate the onset of climate change?

How can we protect our own little corner of the planet? By working in our gardens, we are actually doing our bit for the environment.

We all know that plants and trees take in carbon dioxide, a harmful gas in the atmosphere, and replace it with the clean oxygen that we all need. But as well as taking in these harmful gases, plants also take up chemicals leached into the soil through their roots.

So gardening not only improves the air quality, but also the quality of our soil too.

There are so many small things that we can be doing in our own back yards. Small things that will actually make a big difference to our environment and our planet.

Planting for the environment

Small things like planting flowers, shrubs or trees in our back yards can make such a positive impact on the environment. This will improve the quality of the air by filtering out the toxic gases in the atmosphere and replacing them with oxygen.

Growing your own food is a great way to reduce food miles, thereby decreasing the impact on the environment, as huge amounts of food are imported every year.

Why not try growing your own fruit and vegetables? It is not only satisfying, but is also sustainable and a healthier way of life too.

Conserve water

In these times of climate change, we are experiencing both droughts and periods of heavy rainfall. By changing the way we think about water and how we use it, we can make a huge difference just in our own back yards.

Mulching not only improves the soil, but it can also help to retain moisture too, meaning that we actually need to water less. Mulches such as home-made compost, leaf mould, bark or manure will all help towards saving water.

Why not install a water butt to collect water from downpipes. This means that we can collect water in times of heavy rainfall and save it for when we need it to use it most.

Water is a valuable resource in our gardens, as we need it to grow and look after our plants.

But there are drought-tolerant plants that we can grow that will mean using less water. Plants such as Hebes, lavender, heucheras, Verbena bonariensis and so many more.

Soil management

Gardening is highly beneficial to the quality of our soil. Plants will take up harmful chemicals in the soil, but did you know that they contribute to the decrease of erosion?

A network of plant roots helps to join the soil together, which minimises the impacts of flooding, keeping the soil in one place.

Sowing seeds like annuals actually contribute greatly to soil health after they die and decompose, because they put nutrients back into the soil for plants to use next year.

Going peat-free is another small way to help. Peat extraction for use in composts has a major impact on the environment. Peat bogs are very useful as carbon sinks and the extraction of peat has a detrimental effect on the landscape and also to habitats.

By recycling our green waste material in the form of compost or mulches and putting it back into our gardens, this will stop it ending up in landfills, which are very bad for the environment. These landfills emit huge amounts of methane that causes global warming.

Protect wildlife

Giving nature a home in our gardens not only benefits them, but it also means that we can benefit too.

Planting for wildlife, such as bees, birds, butterflies and other insects, provides them with food, nectar, water and shelter.

Giving wildlife a helping hand brings them into our gardens, meaning that we get to enjoy them, but it will also increase the biodiversity. A natural food chain in our back yards.

Why not try planting borage, cornflowers, nasturtiums, sunflowers, nepeta and salvias, to name only a few. These flowers will not only make your garden look lovely, but they will certainly bring all the pollinators to your yard.

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