Casual Gardener: Gardening should come naturally – The Irish News – The Irish News

THAT’S Cop26 behind us now, so expect a noticeable drop-off in media coverage of climate related issues. The actual issues themselves won’t go away, of course, they’ll just be sidelined and remain largely unresolved, forgotten like the countless verbose press releases issued by Stormont o…….

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THAT’S Cop26 behind us now, so expect a noticeable drop-off in media coverage of climate related issues. The actual issues themselves won’t go away, of course, they’ll just be sidelined and remain largely unresolved, forgotten like the countless verbose press releases issued by Stormont over the past fortnight in an effort to demonstrate concern about the climate crisis.

Such platitudes are reminiscent of the rhetoric and expediency employed by many companies and organisations who seek corporate advantage from exaggerating their environmental credentials. The practice known as ‘greenwashing’ is as old as the climate crisis and involves putting positive spin on actions that have negligible environmental merit.

Over the past fortnight, lots of gardening output in the written and broadcast media has focused on the things we can do in our gardens to be more sustainable and help tackle climate change.

Regular readers will know that over almost 20 years this column hasn’t been backward in proselytising an approach to gardening that always considers its long-term impact on nature. In fact, gardening should be something that comes naturally, so to speak.

There’s an incorrect assumption that because gardening involves growing and nurturing living organisms that it must somehow be completely benign. This is a myth, however, as a brief browse around any garden centre will confirm.

There among the scores of plastic plant pots, mass produced Christmas decorations and petrol powered garden tools, you’ll find an array of chemicals designed to thwart nature. Chemicals used to control weeds and pests are among the worst culprits. While they may ostensibly make your garden appear healthier because there are fewer pests and insects, alongside better yield, there can be numerous ill-effects for the gardener and nature.


Weedkiller has a negative impact on wildlife habitats

Weed killers, such as glyphosate, do exactly what they say on the tin but they also have a negative impact on the habitats of the creatures that make up your garden’s biodiversity. By clearing vegetation, they also encourage soil erosion and reduce long-term fertility.

Chemical pesticides and fertilisers meanwhile contaminate soil and groundwater, with the residue remaining in your earth for years and posing a threat to humans and wildlife alike. Instead use natural feeds made from the likes of nettles, comfrey or seaweed.

As well as spurning chemicals and instead nurturing your garden’s ecology, you can change your habits to lessen your environmental impact. Water harvesting is among one of the simplest steps you can take to become more sustainable.

Filling one or more butts from rain water during wet spells will mean you’re less reliant on tap water for quenching your plants’ thirst during prolonged dry spells. It may also be a good idea to select plants that are more drought tolerant, meaning if we experience another summer like this year’s, you won’t risking breaking the law by using a hosepipe.

Many gardeners partially offset the carbon they use simply by growing plants but there are other measures you can take to reduce your footprint, such as buying only locally-sourced seeds and plants.

Also avoid the use of peat, the harvesting of which not only destroys important habitats but also releases carbon into the atmosphere that would have …….

Source: http://www.irishnews.com/lifestyle/gardening/2021/11/13/news/casual-gardener-gardening-should-come-naturally-2502893/

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