Never has it been so important to be a sustainable gardener. Climate change is happening and the forecast looks bleak, whether it is that Australia is on fire, the oceans are full of plastic or there is a drought in Europe. Sometimes, sitting in our small herb farm, we feel like a small cog in an immovable machine. However, as a gardener, horticulturist or a plants person, there are things we can do in the fight against climate change.
This year has been called “the make it or break it year,” by the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. You might believe it is a colder year, due to the longer winter and the odd germination times, but this is from both natural weather variations and due to the cooling influence of La Niña (a large-scale natural phenomenon where the ocean surface cools). Regardless, this year is still forecasted to be one of the top 10 hottest years.
At Jekka’s we follow sustainable practices, with one of our core roots being “environmentally conscious” and we wrote about our approach previous in blog on our sustainable approach. However, we are often asked what the best thing any gardener or horticulturist can do to practice sustainable gardening.
How to be a sustainable gardener?
Jekka’s has given some thought to this as being sustainable tends to be a term thrown around quite casually. Jekka’s top sustainable gardening practices are:
- Practice organic gardening, which means being respectful to the environment and work within natural systems and cycles. Read Jekka’s blog on organic gardening & soil health for more information.
- Care for your soil, as it is full of life and supports healthy plant growth. We do not use peat and collect and recycle our compost on the herb farm.
- Avoid harmful chemicals and other harmful materials, such as using peat in your compost. We use SB plant invigorator and Maxicrop liquid seaweed. Browse our gardening gifts and products.
- Rewild and increase the biodiversity of your garden with UK native herbs and plants or just simply lose your lawn and allow nature to take over. Read Jekka’s guide to pollinators or try Jekka’s biodiversity, birds & bees and UK native seed collections.
- Plant perennials herbs as these are believed to be better for the environment because of their long-life cycle as they grow much slower than annuals and therefore grow deep roots that help fortify the soil. See Jekka's perennial herbs in Jekkapedia for some ideas.
- Reduce your use of plastic and thereby your plastic waste which also reduces the amount of energy and resources used to produce your plastic product in the first place. We are delighted to be able to stock sustainable products, such as Twool Naked Garden Twine and Tools from Niwaki and Sneeboer, that, with the proper care, will last a life time.
- Grow your own is becoming vitally important in the world of food (or carbon) miles and growing with the seasons is highly sustainable. Understanding when things grow and what care they need throughout our seasons within their natural life cycles is the best way to garden to achieve optimum plant health.
- Save your own seeds for yourself and for your birds. Has anyone noticed that seeds are becoming a scarce commodity nowadays? At Jekka’s we have always harvested and sown our own seeds from Jekka’s Herbetum. This year, we have found we have run out of some seeds that normally we can source to supplement our own.
We strongly advocate all becoming sustainable gardeners and doing our bit, regardless of how small, to prevent climate change. We hope Jekka’s top tips will aid you on your journey to becoming more sustainable.
Want to know more? Read Jekka's blog on organic gardening and soil health