Being surrounded by luscious greenery is easily any nature lover’s dream come true; especially if it’s right at home. It might sound like a dream but it is possible to fulfill it with the right home landscaping and urban farming tips! Home landscaping involves absorbent materials along with rainwater collection devices, making it almost effortless to upkeep. You do not even have to water your plants frequently! Going into urban farming also means you would have access to freshly-grown food; so read on to find out more about them.
How to start growing your garden?
Growing plants isn’t rocket science. We are not discussing ideas on how to come up with the most creative gardening method, but rather, the fundamentals of what types of plants are suitable and the essential water management system. Native plant species are usually already adapted to the climate they are in and are equipped with the necessary survival mechanisms.
The issue comes when the plants are grown in places and climates different from their origins. The growing conditions of soil, moisture, and temperature would not work in their favor, which requires us to fertilize and water them with care. Choosing plants that are suitable and would work well in your climate helps to save water and also a whole lot of effort.
To help you out on this, you could look into the LEED rating system for reference on the profile of plant species. This could help you with landscaping and minimize your ecological footprint.
Especially at home, it is crucial to put in place a water management system for rainwater coming off the roofs. To maximize use, the water should be used wherever necessary and the excess supply can be used to soak any permeable surfaces.
In an ideal world, we’d hope that there would be no hassle to set up irrigation systems for the greens in our homes. However, if you are growing your own vegetables, this is, unfortunately, unavoidable. Rainwater is a better candidate as compared to groundwater, as it comprises of minerals which would accumulate over time and affect the plants’ growth.
The simple way is to collect rainwater using rain barrels. They are barrels with taps at the bottom and a cover at the top to deter mosquitoes from diving in to breed. The barrels are easy to fill up so make sure that the excess is directed to a permeable area. You wouldn’t want your plants to be flooded and overwatered!
You should also water your plants at the roots to reduce evaporation so that your water would not be wasted.
Our current water systems are at risk of depletion. Given the high rate of consumption and man-made developments, this makes it difficult for water to be replenished in time.
By controlling your water consumption through management systems in place, this can effectively protect waterways. Surfaces that are not water-absorbent will result in water and contaminants from the urban cities to flow into rivers or factories. What’s worse, during heavy storms, it is common to see factories disposing their untreated wastes into rivers.
Hence, to do your part to protect the environment, try to have permeable surfaces in your homes. You can do so by:
- Opting for permeable paving surfaces instead of the conventional asphalt surface
- Using porous stones or allowing space between patio stones for water to seep into the ground
- Using river stones to pave your pathway, instead of using rock dust
- Directing rain to dry weels or permeable water basins.
Though it is not uncommon to see the Kentucky blue grass patch on almost every household, this does not mean that it is the best choice. In fact, it is not able to absorb water well. Consequently, we would have to water the plants very frequently to keep them alive. For those of you who prefer the conventional lawns, going for drought-resistant seeds would be a wise choice. Some are named as the ‘LEED grass’.
For the more adventurous souls, there are also many options for ground covers that do not require much upkeep and are even edible!
Over the past hundreds of years, numerous foreign plant species have been introduced to Canada. They are mainly for horticultural, agricultural and medicinal objectives. Since there wasn’t much of these type of species in the Canadian soil, to begin with, these plants were able to multiply quickly and colonize the area.
However, such invasive species are not all good despite the valuable properties they carry. It can affect and disrupt the insect populations, which would ultimately affect pollination and result in the decline of biodiversity exponentially.
Therefore, it is crucial to do your part and remove these invasive species from your property, so that the spread will be delayed.
You do have to take note, however, that removing these species might not be as easy as it sounds. Some require techniques, so check on the type of species that are populating in your country and the ways which can effectively remove them. For certain plants which have very established root systems that spread out over a huge area, merely pulling them up will not work.
Food that we grow in our own homes is not considered part of the agricultural industry, which uses a significant amount of natural resources. If you have some space to spare in your house, you can consider urban farming. It is an excellent way to cut down on your carbon footprint and food expenditure. Furthermore, it is usually fresher, healthier and tastier.
Having a sun-lit backyard or even acreages dedicated to growing edibles would be perfect. Even if you do not have the luxury of space, some creativity can make your balconies and dim spaces work!
Not having the perfect conditions does not deprive you of the opportunity to start your own garden. Here are just some ideas to kickstart your creative juices:
- Vertical farming using plants with shallow roots e.g. greens
- Watercress as ground covers
- Opt for edible green instead of ornamental perennials
- Ferns in dimly-lit areas
- Berry hedge instead of cedar e.g. blueberries
After browsing through so many different ideas to play around with your garden, aren’t you just itching to embark on your farming journey? The main idea that you have to keep in mind when planning is that, there are endless possibilities! So, don’t limit yourself to your own imagination!