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A Few Essential Tools for Your Sustainable Garden

Part of the Sustainable Gardening For Dummies Cheat Sheet

To create your sustainable garden, some things are just too good to pass up. Compost, mulch and worms all help to condition your soil and retain moisture, and you can get beneficial insects to work with you to keep your plants healthy, sustainably.

  • A compost heap or bin: Choose whatever type suits your garden — a three-bay heap for a large property, a classic upside-down-bin style to place in an average garden, a tumble-type bin that neatly sits on a paved area or a bokashi bucket to keep in your kitchen. Mature compost ends up as a delightful humus to use as a soil conditioner in your sustainable garden, or, for the bokashi method, a delicious pickle your plants love.

  • An insectary: A garden plot, or even a series of pots on a balcony, with at least seven different plant species of varying heights attracts various beneficial bugs to your sustainable garden. Good candidates to plant include amaranthus, coriander, cosmos, dill, lemon balm, parsley, tansy and yarrow.

  • Mulch: To help keep in precious moisture, cover the soil around your plants with the finished humus from your compost or an organic mulch, such as matured manure, pea straw, pine bark, seaweed or sugar cane. Inorganic mulch, such as pebbles or granitic sand, should be use sparingly in a sustainable garden.

  • Worms: You can buy or build a worm farm or simply attract earthworms to your soil. Either way, worms produce a fantastic by-product, commonly known as worm castings, or vermicasts, that attracts microorganisms, such as good bacteria and fungi, to your soil so your plants thrive. If you have a worm farm, the worm wee, actually the liquid that accumulates at the bottom, is an added bonus for your garden.

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