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Creating a Successful Garden for Your Eco-Friendly Building

Shutterstock Photo License - By Juice Flair
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We would like to take a moment to celebrate the growing interest in sustainable buildings. Recent studies have shown that the market for green buildings is growing 14.7% a year. As interest in sustainability grows, building managers are finding new ways to invest in them. This includes eco-friendly gardening.

There are a lot of things that you have to do when you are trying to manage an eco-friendly building. You probably already understand the need to use renewable energy and install insulation to improve the energy efficiency of your building.

However, there are other ways to promote sustainability that get less publicity. One of the ideas that green building managers can consider is starting their own garden.

Why is Starting a Garden a Good Idea for Sustainable Building Managers?

There are many reasons gardening is a popular pastime for many people. It can be a pleasant way to spend time and helps mitigate our dependence on the global food supply.

However, there are also reasons that gardening is good for sustainability as well. The number of people interested in eco-friendly gardening grew over 50% between 2017 and 2018 alone. Some of these benefits include:

  • You can use plants that you grow in your garden in your building. This is an eco-friendly way to improve the air quality without having to invest in an air circulation system that requires a lot of energy to operate.
  • You can add ambience to your building and bolster your brand as a sustainable business owner.
  • You can use plants to feed the residents and workers, which is an eco-friendlier alternative to relying on the traditional food supply.

Creating a garden near your eco-friendly building is a great goal to have, but it’s not always easy if you weren’t born with a green thumb. It can take some time and practice to get it right, but as long as you’re patient and determined, you can have a garden you’re proud of. It’s important to understand it may not come naturally and you’ll have to do some research on your end to figure out the best methods to yield the results you’re looking for.

Understand the Sun Requirements of Each Plant

Plants can vary from one another and can require different amounts of sunlight. While some thrive in partial shade, some may require direct sunlight 6-8 hours a day to grow successfully. It’s a good idea to start germinating your seeds in some recycled paper towels to get them prepped and ready for planting. While they’re germinating, you can determine the best parts of your yard for planting them.

It’s important to keep in mind that full sun plants mean they need at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. Partial sun plants do well when they have at least three hours of sun. Shade or full-shade plants only require around three hours or less of sunlight. Dappled sun plants are another type, and they can handle sunlight that’s filtered through trees or fences.

Start With Easy Plants

Starting a vegetable garden is a great way to grow your food and become more self-sufficient, but you want to stick with the easy plants to start with. Some of the easiest vegetables to grow are:

  • Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Summer squash
  • Green beans
  • Potatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Basil

If you plan on building an area for your garden, such as a raised garden bed, consider using recycled materials so you have a positive impact on the environment. You can start with creating a small garden plot until you get better at it.

Don’t Overplant

The key is to start small, so you don’t get overwhelmed. You also don’t want to overplant because you’ll end up with far more vegetables than you’ll need, and they’ll end up going to waste. There are many guides online that tell you how many plants you’ll need to plant to yield enough plants for one person. For example, you should plant approximately 1-2 zucchini plants per person and around 1-2 squash plants per person.

It’s easy to have the mindset of wanting to plant as many plants as possible, but you don’t want to overdo it. Remind yourself that you’re going to be the one that has to take care of these plants.

Know-How Much to Water

Plants need water to grow, but too much water and they’ll end up dying. You have to find the right amount to make sure they have enough but not too much. The general rule is that a vegetable garden needs approximately one inch of water in total. This includes what you water plus water it gets from rainfall. Some signs that’ll indicate your plants need more water are:

  • Slow growth
  • Wilting
  • Dry soil
  • Visible footprints when you step on the soil

Signs of overwatering include:

  • The soil is always wet
  • The leaves have brown spots
  • Squishy and soft stems
  • Yellowing leaves

To know how much each plant needs, it’s good to do some research so you water them the proper amount.

Use Eco-Friendly Gardening Practices

The entire point of having a garden is to supplement your eco-friendly building. It would be pointless to create a garden that uses practices that are harmful to the planet.

There are a lot of eco-friendly gardening practices that you can follow, such as using natural insecticides and fertilizers. You want to abide by them.

Take Care of Weeds and Pests

One of the easiest methods for combating weeds is to mulch. Mulch keeps the soil cool and it deprives weeds of sunlight. If you don’t mulch or you still have weeds creeping up, you want to keep them under control by keeping the areas weed-free as much as possible. If you can’t fully remove weeds, you can at least cut the heads off.

The pests you want to completely remove from your garden are:

  • Whiteflies
  • Spider mites
  • Cabbage maggot
  • Caterpillars
  • Cutworms
  • Colorado potato beetle
  • Japanese beetles

You’ll want to use the most eco-friendly pest control methods for removing these pests and keeping them away.

Have some inspiration about going green in all aspect of life. Views are my own.

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