By Lucy Johnson, Freelance Writer and Sustainable Gardener
In Texas, recent pushes towards sustainability and conservation across the state are opening up new possibilities for eco-friendly gardening. San Antonio benefits from a long growing season and strong local interest in hobby gardening, making it an ideal place to implement sustainability practices in landscapes across the city. Integrating eco-friendly strategies into your gardening routine helps protect local ecosystems and wildlife, while encouraging sustainable land practices in the community.
Choose Native Plants
Opting for plants native to your local area helps ensure that invasive species do not throw the local ecosystem off-balance. Native wildflowers are easy to grow and maintain, and are often more resistant to pests than non-natives. Generally speaking, native plants will attract friendly creatures, such as birds and butterflies, into your garden as wild species are more likely to consume plants native to their local area.
Take Advantage of the Sun
San Antonio’s warm, humid climate makes the sun and solar-powered energy ideas a vital component to practicing sustainability. Professional gardeners and landscape designers nearly always orient their gardens to face the sun, with an eye for knowing how much sun flowerbeds will receive before they are planted in the ground. You can re-adjust to maximize on natural (and free!) sunlight by making a sun map that charts how much sun plots of land in your garden receives seasonally.
Use A Compost Pile
By adding compost solutions to your garden, you can introduce beneficial microorganisms to help prevent the spread of plant disease, aerate the soil, break down material to promote plant growth, and retain moisture in your garden. Composting is also environmentally beneficial in a broader sense: as it reduces the amount of waste incurred from gardens and cooking within your family home. You can use compost solution as a natural fertilizer that won’t harm local ecosystems or infest your garden with pesticides needlessly.
Keep it Bird-Friendly
Birds are a vital component to local ecosystems, especially flowering plants which they help to pollinate. To attract native bird species into your garden, add features such as a bird feeder or bird bath. Bird baths are also great for adding water to your scenic display, which helps restore proper water balances ecosystems need to flourish during drier seasons.
Grow Your Own Food
Lastly, emerging data on gardening practices suggest that produce gardening saves an average of $550 annually per 600 square feet. Growing fruits and vegetables in a garden reduces waste along with reducing the costs your family spends on produce at the grocery store. It’s also a great idea for teaching children about ecosystems, food sustainability, and healthy gardening practices.
The future of hobby and domestic gardens relies on sustainability to keep local ecosystems in check during times of high pollution and changing weather patterns. In a local sense, hobby gardeners can take advantage of easy opportunities to make their gardens more sustainable for future land practice.