5 Things to Get Your Regenerative Garden Started
May 21st, 2021
Regenerative Agriculture is nothing short of a revolution that continues to gain traction across the globe. With the mainstream success of documentaries like “Kiss the Ground” and a growing consumer base looking for high quality, nutrient-dense food, people are looking to cultivate healthier soils and some are starting in their own backyards.
What does it take to start your own regenerative garden at home? Here’s what you’ll need to know.
What is Regenerative Gardening?
Although there is no textbook definition universally accepted, regenerative gardening is a holistic, ecological practice that harnesses the amazing power of biology to improve soil health, plant health, and the health of our ecosystems. Microbial populations have the capacity to do many things—they “unlock” minerals from the soil, sequester nitrogen, and provide nutrients to plants in their most bioavailable form.
When a regenerative system is fully implemented, a level of health is reached where plants are completely resistant to things like disease and insect pressure—without the use of mined or synthetic products.
Why Regen Ag?
To put it simply, mainstream agricultural practices—decades of intensive tillage and chemical use—have taken its toll on our soils. This has stripped the fields of their organic matter and biodiversity, trapping growers across the world into vicious cycles of pesticide use. Through regenerative practices, farmers and gardeners alike can bring life back to their soils, sequestering carbon and establishing natural resistances to disease and pests.
Carbon Sequestration 101
Plants are essentially nature’s carbon vacuums, meaning they can suck excess carbon right out of the air. Plants take in carbon along with water and sunlight to photosynthesize and create energy for themselves. That energy is then released out of the plant’s roots and returns to the earth via the soil. This is one of the many reasons regenerative agriculture can reverse climate change.
What is Cover Cropping?
A cover crop is one of the most valuable tactics in a regenerative gardener’s playbook. The basic idea is to cover your field with foodstuff (this could be anything from grains and legumes to manure depending on your use case!) to increase the organic matter in your soil. The slow decomposition of the foodstuff allows nitrogen to gradually enter your soil by offering microorganisms the opportunity to feast on easily digestible plant matter.
The Power of No-Till
“No-till” or “zero-till” are words you will hear in every regenerative gardener’s lexicon. Put simply, it is an approach to cultivation that involves no soil disruption, allowing the microbiological processes to take place. The benefits of no-till gardening practices include increased levels of carbon sequestration, a reduction in soil erosion, and decreased levels of soil compaction, which can lead to harsh environments for the life in your soil.
At its core, regenerative gardening is all about giving your plants the opportunity to grow by establishing a healthy soil to support them. By offering your soil a rich variety of mineral nutrition and microbial food sources, you can develop a garden grounded in plant health and natural immunity.
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