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The Chinese proverb, “if you want to be happy forever, become a gardener,” can easily be understood by those with green fingers as they already know the joy gardening has to offer. Whether you want to start a garden for that reason or merely because you want to create a beautiful outdoor area on your property here are some great tips for eco-friendly gardening.
Embrace Eco-Friendly Gardening
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Grow your own food
Growing your own food at home is far more eco-friendly than some people realize. Planting vegetables and fruits in your own backyard will allow you to save some money and a trip to the store. You will be able to pick fresh, chemical-free food at home!
The more people plant their own food, the greater it will benefit our planet as we will be able to decrease the pollution that comes from big scale farming and the pollution that comes from transporting produced foods.
Companion planting and inter-planting
The idea behind this technique is to plant plants next to each other which will share mutual benefits. Benefits might include:
- helping to keep pests away
- protect beneficial bugs
- mask strong smells
- offer shelter to other plants
- some can even improve the taste of another plant
If you want to maximize the space in your garden, then certain crops can be planted together, which is known as the inter-planting method. Companion and inter-planting can help your garden flourish like never before!
Make sure you are not using harmful chemical pesticides and fertilizers. By using the companion planting technique, you will already improve the growth of individual plants without the help of fertilizers or pesticides.
Keep in mind that some potting soil contains chemicals. Therefore, you should always make sure that the soil, compost or mulch you buy are organic. Bright colors in store-bought products are a good indication that they are not organic.
Also, make sure you are purchasing the non-GMO seeds when choosing seeds. Another way to go is to ask a friendly neighbor for some plant cuttings of plants they have in their garden or grow your own food from certain kitchen scraps.
Attract the right wildlife
There is some specific wildlife that will improve the growth in your garden. Wildlife such as birds, bees and butterflies, for example, will pollinate your flowers and some birds will even help to spread seeds. Some animals or insects will eat the pest in your garden while earthworms act like little plows that live in your garden.
Ways to increase wildlife in your garden is to provide a natural water source and food, like birdseed for birds. Stay away from pesticides which will not only keep all wildlife at bay but get into your plants as well. Also, keep away those animals which can do serious damage to your garden such as rabbits, raccoons, mice, opossums, rats, etc.
Unwanted Pest and Critters
If you are growing food in your garden, have a water source, and are not using pesticides then the chances are great that you will be attracting wildlife and insects that will damage your garden as well. Now, this can be tricky, as the aim to attract wildlife, yet avoid pests and critters.
One way to keep critters away is to use nets and fences, making the food source unavailable to them. Individual plants will act like natural repellent that will keep pest away.
Birds, frogs, and lizards are the kind of predators that will keep the slugs and vegetable-eating insect away. Therefore, you can try and make your garden friendly towards specific species only.
If you want to light up your garden during the night, the best way to do so is to make use of renewable energy sources. Solar panels might be a huge investment, but you will save a lot of money over time on electricity bills.
Solar energy can be used as an energy source in your garden as well, whether it is to light up some lights, power the lawnmower or run the pumps in the pool. If solar panels are not yet on your horizon, then you can always make use of smaller solar appliances made especially for garden use. Solar lamps for example, or even led lights, are a much better choice when it comes to lighting up your eco-garden at night.
Water Harvesting System
Why use chlorinated-tap water to water your precious plants, when you can make use of rainwater instead. All that you need is a way to catch the rain on a rainy day.
Many sophisticated water harvesting systems on the market can connect to your sprinkler system or even turn your rainwater into drinking water. But the most straightforward process would be to make sure you have a barrel ready on your property the next time it starts raining cats and dogs.
Food that ends up in the garbage disposer, wastewater pipes and the landfills adds to the energy usage as water needs to be treated and waste needs to be disposed of. Therefore, by composting, you are saving energy as well. Instead of throwing out those scraps of food and letting methane gasses cause harm to our planet, start a composting bin and use the compost to nurture your garden.
Keep additional features green
The best thing about having a garden is that you can use it as an outdoor area where you can retreat to when you need some, or you can even dedicate a part of it to an outside entertainment area.
Whatever you decide, the best decision will be to keep your garden as natural as possible. Make sure the furniture you choose are eco-friendly and not treated with chemicals that are harmful to nature.
Repurpose Old Items
Another way to go is to repurpose old items that you find around your home or yard. Upcycling is a great way to decrease waste ending up in the landfills. However, keep in mind to always use eco-friendly paints and finishes when upcycling old items.
Keep It Natural
Depending on the style you are going for, keeping that weathered-look in your garden can add some great character while keeping things eco-friendly. Using a chopped down tree stump as a center table or seat will spare you the uprooting process. Large rocks can also be aesthetically pleasing when they are arranged as seating in a specific area in the garden.
Gardens do not have to be restrained to large properties. Even small gardens, rooftop gardens or some greenery on a balcony in a city area are beneficial to the environment. If we all focus more on creating eco-friendly gardens, no matter where we live, we will all contribute towards a healthier and happier earth.