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Image by Karma Rhythm

Chapter 6:

Maintaining a Garden

Sustainable Practices:

  • Organic Ways to Combat weeds and pests - Hand weeding is a sustainable alternative to pesticides which can contaminate waterways. Gopher wiring or even caging can help keep out small pests like gophers and mice. Insecticides can be homemade out of vegetable oil or other oils and soaps, sometimes garlic or pepper can be effective too. 

  • Sustainable Watering Habits - proper irrigation is a keystone in sustainable gardening, both for conserving water and maintaining the quality of water. Using the least amount of water necessary to grow healthy plants can be challenging, but is increasingly important as water becomes scarcer. You can check the moisture of soil by digging in a little with a probe or your hand (or a shovel I guess if you’re into that). Additionally, watering plants in the early morning before the sun rises can help stop water from evaporating in the sunlight. 

  • Smart Fertilizing - It is easy to make fertilizing your soil part of the weekly routine, but the addition of unnecessary fertilizers can actually be a bad thing. Runoff from fertilizers can cause problems for our local waterways, not to mention your plants. Too much nitrogen can lead to weaker stems in plants, make plants more attractive to insects, as well as more susceptible to diseases.


Graphic by Natalie Plumb

Insects can be a serious pain depending on what you grow and how attractive to bugs your garden is. Here is a link to a detailed guide of different types of homemade insecticides posted on TreeHugger, a media outlet which focused on promoting sustainability.

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