Tips for Designing A Sustainable Vegetable Garden
Think about the climate in your area and try to grow vegetables suited for it. If your area is dry, try drought-resistant varieties to reduce the need to water and its attendant impact on the water table.
Got bugs? Try integrated pest management (IPM). Using IPM will drastically reduce the need to spray or use harsh chemicals in your garden, which encourages sustainability by reducing chemical runoff that poisons ground water. Companion planting, which involves placing plants that attract beneficial insects near one another, is one easy IPM method. For example, dill attracts braconid wasps, which control tomato hornworms.
Any vegetable garden can be sustainable, whether it's designed in classic rows or more modern raised beds. In addition to planning for water usage, choosing appropriate vegetables, practicing integrated pest management, and caring for the soil is key. Mulch, whether grass, hay, wood chips, paper, or compost, not only insulates the soil and provides a non-muddy walking surface, but it breaks down and feeds the soil over time. When designing a sustainable vegetable garden, also be sure to make room for a compost bin or pile.