There are a few things that a sustainable gardener does to improve the soil. One of the most important practices is to create and use compost made from garden, yard, and kitchen waste. I have a designated area for my compost pile sectioned off by logs from trees that had to be taken down. A fancy bin or barrel is not necessary nor is boards or plywood that is only an added expense.
At the Back Forty Garden, we seldom use pesticides or herbicides for our lawn/grass so we cause no harm to drainage and water sheds by collecting the grass in bags and empty them into the compost pile. This grass is also used as mulch. I am surprised that animal and birds have left my pile alone.
Another important sustainable practice is to rotate the crop. We avoid planting the same type of vegetables in the same areas year after year. Some crop such as potatoes, tomatoes, and corn has a tendency to deplete the soil and need to be replenished by compost. Some of the insects and pests are creatures of habit and the rotation will confuse them. They have to tackle new items on the same ground.
Water conservation is another method of carefully sustaining the garden and a way of life. If I don't have enough mulch from the compost pile, I use the fresh grass collected in the lawn mower bags. I simply put them close to either side of the vegetables to retain the water and keep the weeds down.
Having a garden, sustains our bodies and souls. It provides us with exercise, fresh air, and healthy foods. It keeps us from using our vehicles to travel to the grocery stores and buy vegetables and fruits shipped from faraway places and stored for a long time before shipping. I supplement my vegetables by buying at the Farmers' Markets.
To enjoy gardening and reaping its benefits while improving the environment is a sustainable way of life. We live it.
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