Keeping resolutions starts with good intentions. But it doesn’t hurt to have a little nudge in the right direction to make them stick.
According to a Pew Research Study published in October 2016, “Three-quarters of Americans say that they are particularly concerned with helping the environment as they go about their daily lives.” However, the study also points out that only “a minority do things at home to reduce waste and reuse natural resources such as maintaining a compost pile (21%) or using a rain barrel or other catch for water (11%). About a third of Americans (33%) say they grow vegetables at home.”
“Changing gardening practices is not a hard resolution to keep, especially when you can see the results—just like losing weight,” says In Harmony co-owner Ladd Smith. While losing weight can be seen in the mirror, the benefits of gardening sustainably can be seen in your own backyard.
Just as changing eating habits improves overall health, changing gardening practices improves the environment.
Here are a few “nudges” to help you keep your New Year’s resolution to garden more sustainably. And about losing weight, don’t forget, gardening burns 272 calories per hour.
|Do This||Your Benefits||Environmental Benefits|
|1. Add organic matter to your soil, such as compost.||Plants will be healthier and grow stronger. Edible plants will produce a greater harvest. Organic matter holds water and can improve drainage.||Soil will hold more water thus conserving it for other uses. Organic matter filters pollutants.|
|2. Eliminate the use of insecticides.||Beneficial insects, like lady bugs and green lacewings, and birds will return to eat the damage-causing insects.||Improves water quality for humans and for fish and other aquatic life. Protects beneficial insects.|
|3. Select plants that thrive in your environmental conditions.||You will have less work and anxiety about a garden that fails to thrive.||Plants that thrive reduce the need for chemicals thereby reducing these pollutants in the environment.|
|4. Mulch garden beds.||You will water less often during dry spells which saves you time and money. Mulch also protects the soil surface from erosion during heavy rain storms and suppresses weed growth.||Conserves water, saves top soil from washing away which can clog waterways and impact aquatic life.|
|5. Right-size your lawn.||Less lawn means less time and money spent on routine maintenance and more space for flowers and foliage, wildlife habitat and edibles.||Smaller lawns and more garden beds helps water percolate into the ground rather than run off into storm drains and waterways.|
|6. Choose plants that support wildlife.||Birds, butterflies, bees will flock to your garden for food and shelter.||Improves populations of birds, butterflies and bees which are essential for pollination and natural pest control.|