Far from being a new and fashionable buzzword, the term ‘regenerative gardening’ is often used to describe a type of agriculture that “goes beyond organic and enhances the natural functions of a farm or garden.”
Mainly, the aim of regenerative agriculture is to repair soil health, restoring organic matter in the soil and increasing biodiversity by improving soil pH and nutrient levels. Instead of chemical weed killers, pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, regenerative gardens rely on nature itself to grow fruit and vegetables, and cultivate crops. Regenerative practices utilise the life-death-decomposition-regeneration cycle to maintain and improve the land and to fight climate change by returning carbon to long-term soil storage. It also improves the water cycle by increasing water retention in the soil and the ground water quality. Regenerative methods reduce costs and increase profits for farms.
The concept is just as applicable to gardens as it is to farms. With this in mind, ‘Regenerative Gardening’ practices in your own garden or patch of land means growing food sustainably, minimizing your impact on the land you live on and the benefit of healthy, nutrient rich food. Diversifying microorganisms in the soil is beneficial to plant growth.
So, is there a difference between Regenerative Gardening and Permaculture? To explain it simply, regenerative farming uses a range of techniques to restore soil and productivity in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way. Permaculture is a philosophy of design and a collection of certain methods which can be used to keep a regenerative garden going.
If your goal is to sustain an eco-conscious self-reliant organic garden, regenerative practices might help you along the way. Beyond composting, there are many different ways to practice regenerative gardening in our home garden. There is an abundance of information online to help you get started, but what you have to keep in mind first and foremost is not to interfere with nature. To give a few examples; this means letting weeds grow to increase water retention and reduce soil erosion (trim them instead of ripping them out – also no weed killers!), adding pollinator-friendly plants to the garden to attract creatures that benefit the garden such as bees and butterflies, never using pesticides, planting crops closer to each other to make more efficient use of space, to reduce the growth of weeds, and keep the soil shaded.
Regenerative Gardening can add to our sustainable diets as it reduces the impact of our food consumption. And since it refuses any kind of use of chemicals, pathogens, toxins, antibiotics, hormones or other agents it is an eco-friendly and most healthy way of growing food. As it is widely accepted that our modern food supply systems are destroying the environment, regenerative farming and gardening practices are a subject that offers hope and a solution to our current environmental and health concerns.
Sustainable Gardening Australia – “Regenerative Gardening = Sustainable Gardening” sgaonline.org.au/regenerative-gardening-sustainable-gardening/ Accessed 24 November 2020
The Regenerative Gardener regenerativegardener.org/
Regeneration International regenerationinternational.org
Rodale Institute – “7 Plants for your Regenerative Organic Garden” rodaleinstitute.org/blog/7-plants-for-your-regenerative-organic-garden/ Accessed 25 November 2020
Organic Gardener “On Regenerative Farming and Gardening” https://www.organicgardener.com.au/articles/regenerative-farming-and-gardening Accessed 25 November 2020