Sustainable Gardening. Week 4: Choose plants correct for each micro-climate in your garden

i) Sun/ shade requirements
  • It really does matter. For example, a sun-loving plant will be healthier and therefore more resistant to disease if it is in the sun.
  • Therefore, no pesticides or excessive fertilizer is needed
ii) Water requirements
  • Preferably you want a plant that requires low amounts of water; this is good for the planet because we're running low on water right now; and it's also good for your pocket because you won't have to water it very much
  • Do not give more water than each plant requires. Too much water can be damaging to the plant and encourage disease
iii) Choose the right size plant, and don't purchase too many plants for the space
  • This one is VERY important; when you buy a plant at your local garden center, please read the label; the plant may look very cute and small in it's little pot at the nursery, but if you read the label it may say the plant will get to be 10' tall and 15' wide (and it may not, but the point is that you don't know unless you read the label). And if you get too many plants that get too large for your space, they are more prone to disease because they don't get enough light, air, soil, etc.
  • If you want a fuller look right away, inter-plant with annuals or short-lived perennials. By the time they die off, your 'main' plants will have gotten larger. Continue to plant annuals and short-lived perennials until your 'main' plants mature to their full size.

iv) Choose disease-resistant plants; natives usually fit this category
  • If the plant is disease-resistant, you'll have less need for chemicals to cure the plant of it's disease; less chemicals - less problems for our plant
v) Choose plants that are appropriate for your soil type: sandy, clay, loam
  • This one is a little more challenging; either do raised beds with organic soil, because that's the easy thing to do, or only purchase plants that are suitable to your native soil.
  • You can bring a sample of your soil to your local nursery and they can probably tell you if it's sandy, clay or loam.
Click here for the 10 basic steps to Sustainable Landscape Design

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