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Get more out of your backyard with a sustainable veggie garden

These four garden tips will maximise the growth of your veggie patch, as well as your energy and water efficiency.

Growing your own sustainable vegetable garden can minimise your environmental footprint while providing the freshest, tastiest produce.

These easy garden tips will maximise your crop, as well as your energy and water efficiency.

Sustainable gardening starts from the ground up

Have you ever planted strawberries that produce no fruit? Or herbs like parsley and coriander that go to seed as soon as the sun comes out? If this sounds like your garden, then the answer to your problems may lie in the ground.

Good soil produces healthy plants that require less water.

So, before you plant anything, it’s a good idea to test the pH levels (also known as the acidity) of your soil.

You can get a soil testing kit at most garden shops, and sustainable garden plants should have a tag with their preferred pH level. When you know the acidity of your soil, you can adjust the pH levels and mineral content by adding some lime or organic matter.

You can find out more about soil conditioning at Sustainable Gardening Australia. Their website also has some great ideas for water-efficient garden design.

Water-efficient gardens need compost

When everything is happy underground and you’ve got your sustainable garden plants in position, spread some compost on top of the soil to hold all that goodness in place. Compost prevents water from evaporating to create a truly water-efficient vegetable garden. It also enables the important organic matter to find its way into your soil to help with those pH levels.

Seedlings growing in egg carton

If you’ve got grass in your backyard, you can combine lawn care and composting to reduce wastage. Collect your grass clippings in a compost bin then periodically spread the compost across your sustainable vegetable garden.

To maximise your water efficiency and reduce your energy use, you might like to install an automatic watering system. You can save your own energy from standing around with a hose as well.

Create a self-sustaining hydroponic garden

When good soil isn’t available, DIY hydroponic gardens are a healthy alternative that provide a rapid-growing environment.

In fact, once you’ve set it up, a self-sustaining hydroponic garden requires almost no effort – just pick the vegetables and eat them!

Active hydroponic gardens use a pump to deliver water and nutrients to the plants around the clock – exactly when they need them. Instead of soil, the plants sit in a growing medium which is like insulation wool or small stones. Because there’s no soil, there’s also no soil born pests, diseases or fungi. That means there’s almost no need for herbicides either.

Choose sustainable garden plants

Whether you’re planting in soil or prefer DIY hydroponic, it’s important to choose sustainable garden plants for a sustainable vegetable garden. Review your veggie patch’s location and the available sunlight to identify the plants that would be happiest in that environment. Be sure to consider native plants that are local to your area – they’ll be healthier, need less water and generally easier to grow.

Want more ways to live a sustainable life?

Here are some other steps you can take to help lower your energy consumption.

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