“People are growing more concerned about sustainability in their gardening practices,” says Tim Amos, a horticulture instructor at Nova Scotia Community College in Kentville, N.S. “They’re choosing to treat their soil correctly, match plants to growing conditions and work with nature instead of against it.”
Some eco-friendly trends include:
More gardeners are using organic fertilizers such as compost, seaweed and fish fertilizers. While many opt to avoid pesticides altogether, others are turning to organic formulas that control pests and diseases but are less harmful to beneficial organisms.
Watering lawns and gardens with municipally treated water is wasteful. More people are now using rain barrels. Others are converting lawn into garden, and using drought-tolerant plants such as echinacea and thyme.
Growing plants native to your area provides numerous benefits. Since they are suited to your climate and soil conditions, they often require less care and tend to be less susceptible to pests and diseases than their hybrid cousins. For more on species native to your area, visit the Wild About Gardening website (part of the Canadian Wildlife Federation) and do a search for “Native Plant Suppliers.”
Growing Your Own Food
Staff at nurseries are noticing that gardeners are becoming more interested in growing fruits and vegetables, partly because of concerns over food safety. “We’ve noticed that an increasing number of people don’t want vegetables that have been grown with chemicals,” says Britt Lawson, brand manager at McKenzie Seeds, a Manitoba-based seed supplier.
Solar-powered Gardening Aids
We’re familiar with solar garden lights. Now solar-powered water pumps for fountains and ponds, as well as solar-powered lawn mowers, are becoming widely available. These mowers are quiet and don’t spew out toxic exhaust.
This article was originally published in the March 2009 issue of Reader’s Digest. Subscribe today and never miss an issue!