What if I told you there was a method to boost gardening yields and prompt sustainability without using conventional fertilizers or pesticides? It might sound like a marketing gimmick, but it’s not; it’s increasing harvest with sustainable gardening. Not only are these gardening methods sustainable, but they also allow for a bountiful harvest.
In my opinion, a “sustainable” way of living means utilizing what you already have to benefit your short-term and long-term goals. Being a sustainable gardener involves deliberate decision-making on your choices and being able to use available resources while restoring natural systems rather than just exploiting them for profit.
In this article, I’ll look into the following practices that ensure a bountiful harvest without damaging the environment.
1. Garden Location is Everything
Garden location, like real estate, is everything. Before devoting all your time and money to building a garden, you must ensure that the area is suitable for producing vegetables. Most vegetables need at least 8 hours of direct sunlight daily. Even the most excellent gardener’s efforts will be thwarted by too much shadow. For optimal growth, our plants need optimal photosynthesis.
Don’t take this the wrong way; some vegetables, such as lettuce, greens, and some herbs, really thrive in a bit of shade. But all-time favorites like tomatoes, squash, carrots, basil, and strawberries demand full sun.
Watch the sun as it moves across your yard or balcony. The best direction is usually south. Is there shade from trees or buildings at certain times of the day? Can you picture how the light will change as the season’s shift?
2. Ditch Using Chemicals
Whenever you have problems with pests or diseases in your garden, a big company is ready to make a big profit from your situation. There are so many of these chemicals to choose from, and they all work. But the cost we pay isn’t just in money.
Although effective, many chemicals poison the soil, waterways, wildlife, and crops. The easiest solution isn’t always the best, and how something works in the short term is just as important as how it works in a long time.
Fertilizers and pesticides seep into the soil hurting this year’s crop and the next to it. When we spray pesticides and insecticides, we don’t just hurt the nasty bugs. These chemicals also kill good bugs, like bees and butterflies, that pollinate plants.
Companion planting is a natural way of pest management that includes producing mutually beneficial crops. For instance, French marigolds generate a strong odor that wards off greenflies and blackflies, making them the ideal companion plant for tomatoes, beans, and sweetcorn. Carrots and leeks go well together, too. Leeks repel carrot flies, while carrots ward off leek moths.
3. Leverage the use of Row Cover
It never fails to amaze me how gardeners leverage the magic of row covers. A row cover is a thin fabric that lets water and light through but blocks out pests. It also protects your plants from frost by keeping them warmer early or late in the season.
Row cover is an excellent way to protect your garden from pests and keep them from getting in. Just make sure that it doesn’t get too hot.
To find more information about sustainable gardening, feel free to visit EcoAdvice. They offer what you need to get started, tons of tested methods, and top insights into living sustainably.
4. No-till or Soil Enrichment and Gardening by Hand
Gardening by hand, without using gas-powered machinery or pesticides, is one approach to reducing the impact your garden has on the environment. Using machines or chemicals in your garden may emit dangerous gasses.
Use a shovel, a rake, and some good old-fashioned muscle power to till and grow your garden rather than spending money on a machine. This environmentally friendly technique for gardening won’t cost you anything other than time and perhaps some of your sweat.
Benefits of no-till farming include a reduction in soil erosion, an increase in water infiltration and retention by the soil (leading to less runoff of water that is often contaminated with fertilizers and pesticides), and an increase in biodiversity in and around the ground.
5. Harvest Only What You Need
You may store most dried for six to twelve months, so gather just what you need until the next growing season. Harvest from an abundant spot, but don’t take everything. This is particularly crucial for native plants with a modest growth rate. The standard practice is to gather just below 5% of the plant’s population for continuous sustenance.
6. Plant Cover Crops To Mitigate Compaction and Erosion
Cover crops like clover, oats, or radishes help mitigate compaction and allow oxygen and water to circulate freely in the soil. This also provides organic matter when tilled for the following season, plus it helps keep the soil in place, decreasing crusting and guarding against wind and rain.
7. Working Well With the Weather
You can’t change a lot about farming. You don’t have control over extreme weather, the average temperature daily, or how plants and bugs live their lives. But you still have to work together with all of these components. Your agribusiness will do better if you work with the weather instead of trying to guess what will happen next. And technology is the most efficient way to do that.
Use software that gives you hyper-local forecasts and accurate data to prepare for whatever is coming. And when you put information from GDD calculations, you have the factual data you need to increase crop yields.
Accurate and on-the-spot weather data helps with the following:
8. Rotating and Alternating Crops for Better Soil Quality
Ensuring the soil has proper nutrients for your crops is essential to sustain your crops. For example, farmers in the Western United States often rotate the types of crops that they plant. Currently, many farmers deal with the depletion of their soil, but most experts believe that they can replenish the soil’s nutrients by rotating various crops.
It will be challenging to maintain good soil quality if you grow certain crops for too long without rotating or planting another crop. This will lead to crops becoming susceptible to diseases.
With all these practices, it’s safe to say there’s no foolproof way to boost a farmer’s crop yields. In most situations, it is a mix of diverse agricultural operations that varies based on the specific qualities of a grower’s land. Overall, boosting crop yield means continuous planning, strategy, knowledge, and the use of technology.