Climate change is real, and it will affect your gardening experience regardless of the size of your garden. While climate change sounds scary, there are ways to combat its effects on your precious plants while minimizing your carbon footprint. How to help the plant through gardening? Here are some tips:
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What is Climate Change?
Climate change refers to the plant’s temperature and weather pattern shifts. The shifts may be natural, but since the 1800s, human activities have sped up climate change significantly. In fact, the current global warming is happening 10 times faster than the average rate of warming after the ice age. The main drivers of climate change are the burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas for electricity, heat, and transportation.
Burning fossil fuel generates greenhouse gas emissions that form a thick barrier around the Earth, which traps heat from the sun and raises the temperature. Clearing forests increases carbon dioxide levels, affecting the planet’s air quality, while landfills generate methane emissions. Industries that create greenhouse gasses include:
No matter how big or small your garden is, there are many ways to combat the causes and effects of climate change.
Ways At-Home Gardening Combats Climate Change
Grow your own food
As listed above, the agriculture industry is one of the main drivers of climate change. You can give the planet a hand by growing your own food. Growing crops at home gives you a steady supply of fresh, delicious vegetables, fruits, and herbs while reducing your grocery bill and fuel consumption. Herb gardening is one way to do this. You can simply buy an herb kit so you can start your own kitchen herb garden.
Think about it, if your pantry is filled with fresh produce, you don’t have to make several trips to the supermarket. You’re also eating out less, which also reduces gas emissions.
All of us need water to survive. Unfortunately, the water supply has been depleted for decades, and climate change has worsened the problem. These days, leaving your sprinklers on to hydrate your plants is no longer acceptable. You must monitor your water consumption, even with a big garden.
Using a garden hose with a sprinkler head gives you more control over how much water you use to water your plants. If you have a small garden, water your plants with a watering can to manage your water consumption well. Recycle several barrels or any big containers to collect rainwater. Adopting a garden design that suits your local conditions helps reduce your water consumption too.
Cover your soil with mulch
Plants need to be constantly hydrated to stay healthy. But with the temperature soaring, water evaporates more quickly during the day, leaving plants parched and wilted by the day’s end. You can improve the soil’s ability to hold moisture by adding a layer of mulch on top of your garden soil.
Mulching protects the soil from the damaging heat generated by the sun while preventing soil erosion. Covering the ground with mulching keeps weeds at bay too. You can use natural mulching materials like pebbles, rocks, wood shavings, etc., or landscape fabric to insulate the soil and keep it moist for longer.
Grow native plants
Growing plants is one of the most effective ways of combating climate change. Focusing your efforts on growing native plants is more beneficial than exotic plants because the plants have already acclimated to the local growing conditions. Local plants do not need babying because they already grow abundantly in the wild.
Exotic plants take more effort to grow, and those sensitive to temperature changes tend to die quickly. Some exotics could turn invasive, and when plants are hard to control, you’ll be forced to use chemicals like herbicides or electric gardening tools to control their growth. Removing invasive plants also exposes the soil to harsh weather conditions, which releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Plants lots of trees
Trees are quite efficient in absorbing carbon dioxide, a type of greenhouse gas that traps heat from the sun. So efficient, in fact, that trees absorb and store about a ton of carbon pollution from the atmosphere. By planting more trees, you are giving the Earth a fighting chance against climate change. Trees also cool the Earth by providing shade, which minimizes energy use during the summer season.
Choose long-lived plants
The longevity of your garden matters because plants are instrumental in converting carbon dioxide into oxygen. Trees and shrubs that live for decades are the best to grow in a garden because these plants will benefit the planet in the long term. Trees and shrubs, perennials, and ornamental grasses also cool the soil by creating a shade, preventing harsh heat from killing temperature-sensitive plants. Of course, be sure to prune long-lived plants to boost air circulation and control their growth.
Use peat-free compost
Harvesting peat from peatlands has adverse effects on the environment. It affects the biodiversity of the peatlands while increasing the need to burn fossil fuels for production. Use peat-free composts to bring nutrients back to the soil. Better yet, make your own compost at home. Making your compost using kitchen and garden wastes is beneficial to the environment. Here’s a guide to building compost in your backyard.
Did you know that agriculture and food production are the worst offenders when producing greenhouse gasses? Farming on a massive scale leads to a high carbon footprint. Packing and transporting all kinds of foods burn a lot of fossil fuels. Sticking to organically grown produce is more environmentally friendly because the crops are grown on a small farm and harvested by hand, not machines. These crops are also chemical-free, so producing these products won’t pollute the soil. They’re safe to eat because they do not have traces of chemicals.
Boost energy efficiency
Avoid using mechanical tools when doing yard work because these tools aren’t exactly environmentally friendly. They pollute the air, contribute to noise pollution, and require electricity or fossil fuel. Use human-powered tools as often as possible. Instead of a gasoline-powered lawn mower, use a push mower. Instead of an ordinary weeder, use a standup weeding tool. Small changes like these will reduce your carbon footprint.
Reuse, reduce, and recycling
We’re rounding up our list of ways gardening combats climate change with this simple yet effective strategy: reuse, reduce, and recycle items in the garden to extend the materials’ life and reduce garbage that ends up in landfills.
The world generates a whopping 2.01 tonnes of solid waste every year. 33% of the world’s wastes are not managed in an environmentally safe way. You can only imagine the impact of mounting neglected trash on the environment. Reusing materials in your home, like timber, old plastic jugs, cardboard boxes, tetra packs, etc., by turning these into planters or raised bed materials reduces your carbon footprint.
Making small changes in your home and tending to the garden is enough to reduce your carbon footprint and save the environment. So if you haven’t already, give gardening a try, and together, we can fight climate change.
Start by getting your gardening essentials now!