What is Regenerative Gardening?
Regenerative gardening is a microcosm of regenerative farming, a practice that embraces and supports our deep relationship to the earth. Growing practices involve keeping the soil covered, no tilling, encouraging biodiversity, using compost, avoiding the use of chemicals, and creating fertility. Regenerative practices reduce loss of vital carbon as they increase soil health, crop resilience, and nutrient density. A variety of plants, animals, and microorganisms keep gardens and ecosystems teeming with life. Here’s how to get started:
Compost all of your produce kitchen scraps as well as yard waste to create nutrient-rich humus for the soil.
Ignore the Weeds
To help increase water retention and reduce soil erosion, let weeds grow in the pathways between beds. Not only do the weeds protect the soil (as opposed to leaving it bare), but they also provide food and shelter to many bugs and pollinators that help maintain a healthy balance in the ecosystem of a garden.
Welcome Birds and Bugs
Many insects and animals that most gardeners shun actually provide great benefits to the garden. Birds and bats help pollinate plants while eating many of the bugs that would otherwise harm the plants. Flourishing ecosystems in nature are diverse and teeming with life.
Practice Intensive Planting
Many seed packets and planting instructions suggest leaving lots of space between seeds and seedlings, but by planting crops closer together, there is more efficient use of the space, reduction in the growth of weeds, and the soil is shaded to help it retain moisture and limit erosion due to direct rainfall.
Use Cover Crops or Compost Covering
Cover crops are secondary crops planted outside of the primary growing season that help rebuild the soil. A layer of cover crops, straw, dried leaves or other organic materials protects the soil and replenishes it so it’s revived for another round of planting in the spring.
Practice Crop Rotation
Different types of plants draw different nutrients from the soil while they grow. By rotating crops, plants utilize the variety of nutrients available to help diverse types of plants over a series of many years.
Choose Partner Planting
Certain plants like living near each other because their needs complement each other; they live in a nice symbiotic relationship when paired together.
Use Straw and Cardboard on the Ground
Clean corrugated cardboard (all tape and stickers removed) is a great source of carbon for the compost bin and can help replenish the soil. In the walkways, the cardboard and straw cover help prevent weed growth and encourage soil repair, limit soil erosion and increase water retention.
Happy planting, Green Sanctuary Committee