Most people are aware of the countless benefits of going green but because of our busy and often stressful lives, we usually gravitate towards toxic synthetic products that are easily available and our convenience-driven lifestyles damage our environment. By adopting an eco-friendly way of life, they can lessen the effects of global warming and simultaneously improve your health.
While it's easy to get overwhelmed with the idea of eco-friendly living, making small changes in your daily routine, can make a huge difference when you add it all up.
Eco-friendly gardening is one thing you can do that has a significant positive impact on improving our environment. Now I mention eco-friendly gardening because most people assume gardening in itself is 'eco' but this is a fallacy. The fact is that most traditional gardening techniques can cause more damage than the good it's supposed to do when you consider that many gardeners opt for synthetic fertilisers, toxic weed killers and herbicides.
So want to know about the most ecologically responsible gardening methods? Here are 5 tips to help you create a natural and planet-friendly garden.
Tip #1: Grow Fruits and Vegetables
Growing your own food should be the first step towards creating an eco-garden. You don't need to have a large area to plant fruit or vegetables, as these can be successfully grown in a small area even on apartment balconies! So long as the plants receive plenty of sunlight and an adequate amount of water, they should grow well.
If you want to save your plants from different plant diseases and pests, you should grow similar species of plants, and certain combinations of plants close together. This practice called companion planting helps plants to complement each other to boost growth and vitality, and deters harmful flying insects, pests, and diseases. Similarly, you can grow sunlight-sensitive small plants in the shade of tall plants.
By adopting organic gardening, you will have a fresh supply of organic food at hand, which not only tastes better but also costs less. You automatically reduce your carbon footprint when you consume less commercially-grown produce which is treated with harmful chemical pesticides and fertilisers and depends on fossil fuel burning tractors.
Tip #2: Recycle the Waste
You can reduce the excessive amount of waste by reusing and recycling most of the trash in your home. Make use of the old plastic or wooden containers, and everyday packaging by converting them into planters. Reuse plastic bottles by cutting off the base and using them as seedling covers. Poke a few holes into the lids of plastic and use the bottle as a sprinkler.
Another brilliant eco-friendly idea is to make your own compost using the organic waste to produce the healthy, nutrient-rich soil for your plants. This would help you to reduce the waste, provide the fresh compost supply for your soil all the time, and lessen the amount of fertilizer you require, saving you money. You can either opt for a compost pit or a compost bin, depending on the size of your garden.
Tip 3: Conserve Water
You require a lot of water to maintain a lush, green garden. But, water is a valuable resource that should not be wasted. There are many ways to preserve water. You can start by planting native plants that require lesser water than others. Overwatering should be avoided at any cost as it not only depletes your water resources but damages your plants as overwatering is as dangerous to some as watering too little. Water your plants in the evening if you live in the tropics or where the climate is hot, so that the water gets soaked up by plants and not evaporated by the sun.
Invest in an eco-friendly watering system that best suits the needs of your plants and the size of your garden. Store the rainwater during the rainy season by using a rainwater butt and use it during the dry season. Reuse greywater that is collected from showers and kitchen sinks and spread in your garden using a greywater diverter. This water is safe for your plants as long as it does not contain any harmful chemical products. By doing this, you can conserve vital water reserves and reduce your water bills.
Tip #4: Invite Bugs, Birds, and Mammals
Your garden should be a place that welcomes small mammals, birds, and friendly bugs. Creating habitats for them would not only make your garden look scenic, but would also naturally control diseases and pests. This would eliminate the need for synthetic insecticides and fungicides.
Constructing a pond in your garden would encourage local animals to drink, bathe and even breed. Install bird feeders and nesting boxes to invite birds, which eat caterpillars, snails, slugs and other pests that destroy plants. You can attract different wild insects such as ladybirds, lacewings, and ground beetles which can reduce the population of harmful bugs. Grow wildflowers in an area where these beneficial bugs can find shelter and lay their eggs. Including nectar-rich flowers in your garden will invite butterflies and moths.
Tip #5: Eco-Friendly Garden Furniture
When buying outdoor furniture, and furnishings, go for eco-friendly options. Look for furniture made from FSC sustainable wood or natural materials, and carefully treated with little toxic chemicals as possible, to ensure a long lifespan. These building materials are renewable, plentiful, and don't emit toxic by-products into the environment.
You can also find second hand furniture at op-shops, second hand shops and garage sales. Even if not a complete set, mix-and-match vintage and used pieces makes your outdoor garden area more colourful and injects loads of personality.
There are also more businesses producing stylish, environment-sensitive garden furniture including chairs, tables and sun beds. When choosing a rug, steer clear of synthetic materials. Choose one made of natural material such as wool, jute, or seagrass or better yet, you can forgo a rug if you appreciate a minimalist aesthetic.
By following these eco-friendly ideas in your garden, you can not only create a lush, green garden but save money, time, and our natural environment. By making smart choices and putting a bit of effort, you can make your overall quality of life better and Mother Nature's as well!
Do you have any other eco-friendly gardening advice? Share your tips in the comment section below.