Save the planet with a garden 5



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It may sound a bit dramatic but with all the concern over climate change and global warming, the simple act of gardening can make a significant impact to our planet on an individual level. This occurs in a number of ways.

1. Home composting of green waste and in particular food scraps stops these scraps ending up as landfill, where they break down producing methane, which has 21 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide.

2. Enriching your soil with this compost not only improves its structure, water holding capacity and encourages the earthworms and living microbes in your soil, but these microbes sequester atmospheric carbon turning your garden beds into ‘carbon sinks’.

3. All plants sequester atmospheric carbon dioxide as part of photosynthesis, so the more plants, including vegetables, turf and trees, the better.

4. Plant deciduous trees and vines for summer shade. The strategic placement of appropriate deciduous plants on the hot sides of your home, typically the western and northern aspects, can keep your home cooler in summer, while allowing the precious warming rays of the winter sun in. This can make a significant difference to your energy consumption (and consequently fossil fuel use) as you will need less cooling in summer and less heating in winter. The leaves of these deciduous plants then become the raw materials for recycling into compost and mulch.

5. Limited areas of well positioned lawn will also have the same effect of cooling your house during the hot weather. Breezes that pass under trees or over lawns are cooled, acting as natural air conditioning for your home. As contrast, the reflected heat off hard surfaces such as paving or concrete makes our homes hotter thus requiring more air conditioning. Hard impervious surfaces also contribute to storm water run off instead of allowing rainfall to soak into the ground.

6. Growing your own fruit and vegetables not only provides us with the opportunity to eat quality fresh, chemical free produce, it drastically reduces the ‘food miles’, the distance the food travels from the time of production until it reaches us (some produce travels 1000s of km before reaching our homes). By reducing transport, we are reducing fossil fuel use and carbon emissions.

So, improve your soil with compost and plant a garden including a produce garden, as part of your strategy to reduce your carbon foot print.


Do you have a garden? How do you do your part for the environment? Tell us below!

Sophie Thomson

Sophie Thomson, ABC television's Gardening Australia presenter, is a captivating and engaging speaker, presenter, columnist, writer, author, broadcaster, horticulturalist and qualified naturopath. Her enthusiasm and passion for plants and gardening inspires people of all ages. Sophie is a strong advocate for sustainable gardening practices, growing organic food, cooking from the home garden and creating backyards where kids can play freely and develop a life long connection with nature.

  1. Well said Sophie. I do most of the things you have mentioned but I am unable to plant any trees on the hot side of my unit as there is no room.

  2. I have a raised veggie area with quite a few rectangle polystyrene boxes. Seems to be working. I don’t get much in the way of scraps as I have two goats but I use goat poo for liquid fertiliser. All this is new as yet and the next part is to push piping onto the star pickets that I have put along the side. When the pipe is bent over and fixed onto the other side it should make an arch. Four arches covered in sun shade material should give the plants a fair chance of survival and be high enough to stand under. Time will tell

  3. Hi Sophie, how are you? I found your article very helpful. I moved to my current home nine months ago, my wife and l rent the property from my perants. We live on a sub divided block and really enjoy our home as we have been able to re landscape our front and back yards. Our front yard has become our orchard and so far we have 16 fruit trees in it. We also have a veggie bed in it as well. Our aim is to create our own food forrest. Our front fence is a native hedge with plants like Grevillea’s, westringias, callistemons, correa’s and banksias. Our back yard consists some lawn three veggie beds and three fence line garden beds with berries in them. I must admit l’ve always loved gardening it’s all l’ve known my working life. But in the last nine months we’ve really thrown ourselves into growning our own fruit and veggies. Our aim is to become as self sufficient as we possibly can be. Once our fruit trees are established our aim is to share what we can’t use with family, friends and those living around us. We do live on one of our towns main roads and we do get a lot of foot traffic going past as well. For me this is perfect as l do get people stopping and commenting on how good our garden looks. My main weakness in life is that l just love chatting to those who walk past. I’m more then willing to share my love of gardening with those who walk past. I honestly hope that these people who walk past take home some ideas and start their own veggie garden. How nice would it be if everyone in my town get their own veggie garden happening!!! We have also created a Facebook group called Half Block Harvesting. Our group is all about the joys of growing our own food. We post everything we have done in our garden and are more then happy to share our love of gardening.

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