From gardening tools to managing pests, people around the world handle things differently. If you haven’t had time to squeeze in an international trip this summer, don’t worry—you can travel the world without leaving your garden. Those with green thumbs know that no vacation is as relaxing as planting new sprouts. No getaway is as stress-reducing as deadheading to perfection. However, it’s also easy to get stuck in a rut, especially when all your gardening friends are American like you.
It’s worthwhile to check out tricks and hacks from gardeners around the world. Some of them are much more eco-friendly than standard US practices, while others are so obviously brilliant you’ll wonder how you missed them. From disease and pest control to seriously cutting edge urban agriculture, consider this your all-access passport to end summer with a bang.
In many developing countries, massive populations are crammed into urban areas that make Manhattan living look spacious. Space is a luxury, which is why raised beds and succession gardening isn’t just a space saver, it’s the only option. Vertical growing, just like vertical building in architecture, is a great way to encourage climbing vines and opens you up to a world of new possibilities.
Of course, managing weeds is a challenge no matter where you call home. In some countries mulching doesn’t just ward off weeds but is used as a water conservation technique. In drought-rich areas, water is a precious commodity that can’t be “wasted” on growing food and herbs. Plus, it saves you time (and your back) by minimizing weeding.
The type of mulch you use varies depending on what’s at your disposal—think pine straw, hardwood bark or hay. There are limitless options, so consider a free, local, natural resource.
We’re All in This Together
Community gardens might seem like an idealistic gimmick in urban areas, but it’s the way gardening has always been done in some parts of the world. Communities revere every scrap of green space they can find in urban jungles. If you don’t have much space yourself, rent a plot and get to know your fellow gardeners. And if you have excess land? Try renting it out—it’s an easy (and potentially lucrative) way to keep your landscape looking gorgeous while giving others access to homegrown fare.
Finally, if you’re an urban dweller, don’t assume your soil is healthy. It may need to be amended from all those nearby pollutants. Gardeners in developing countries often add sand to soil for drainage. Luckily for you, testing your soil is a luxury others don’t have, so you can easily find out your soil quality—then take steps to address disparities.