It seems simple, plant a garden & your helping the environment. The truth is what you plant will determine how much you will need to water, fertilize & spray for pests. It is important to know how your landscape & gardening practices can have both positive & negative effects on Florida’s environment. Below are several sustainable gardening tips you can adopt that will help you conserve & protect our natural resources while you garden green.
Mulch helps to keep water in the soil rather than evaporating into the air, which will cut down on watering needs. As mulch breaks down, it will provide nutrients to the soil, which can help reduce the need for fertilizing. Make sure you use mulches that are from sustainable forestry practices like Melaleuca Mulch, not Cyprus mulch. Melaleuca is an invasive tree in Florida.
Reducing Lawn Areas
This is my favorite tip! Lawns require frequent maintenance… mowing, fertilizing & chemicals to kill weeds and pests. Gas lawnmowers produce greenhouse gases, which contribute to the air pollution that causes global warming. Reduce lawn areas by adding hardscape areas like patios and walkways, or better yet add a water garden to replace the lawn area. A pond provides food, water & cover for wildlife & plants. Having native plants in your garden will help you to maintain a healthy, natural ecosystems and reduces your time and labor working on the lawn leaving you more time to enjoy it!
Xeriscaping is an approach to landscaping that minimizes outdoor watering while maintaining soil integrity through the use of native, drought-tolerant plants. This is the best way to have a beautiful yard without the need for daily watering. Planting native wildflowers, bushes & trees to replace lawn areas will reduce the need to mow.
Removing Invasive Plants
When exotic or non-native plants are used, they can upset the delicate balance of a local ecosystem and sometimes will push out native plants to the point of extinction. Wildlife benefit when native plant communities are restored to their natural habitats, providing the best source of food for wildlife. Non-native plants will also require more work than native plants.
To conserve water you should water with a soaker hose or a drip irrigation system. You will have less water evaporation than you would with a sprinkler, and it will provide targeted watering. Also, you should use a timing device with your watering system. Another great way to conserve water is to install a rain barrel that catches rainfall from your roof. The collected water can be used to water your garden or top of your pond.
Backyard Getaway is proud to be a BeFloridian.org business partner. Be Floridian business partners must pledge to promote principles of sustainable gardening and responsible fertilizer use to protect the Gulf, bays and lakes that are the chief source of our recreation. Partners display a special web badge denoting their status. Be Floridian is coordinated by the Tampa Bay Estuary Program, with support from Manatee, Sarasota and Pinellas counties and the city of Tampa. The campaign promotes “Gardening like a Floridian” by complying with local fertilizer ordinances and using native or Florida-adapted plants. As a homeowner you too can be a Be Floridian partner. Take the pledge today!