Every gardener wants to be in tune with their plants and feel a sense of peace when looking at their garden. It is great to feel good by eradicating anything unnatural from your garden. Allow mother nature to do all of the hard work for you! Today we have 10 tips to becoming an eco-friendly gardener so you can have success with your eco-friendly gardening.
What’s an Eco-Friendly Gardener?
The person who owns an eco-friendly garden unites with nature and makes better decisions resulting in healthier plants. The best tips for becoming an eco-friendly gardener include choosing good insects to do the work for them, creating and usage of organic matter, collecting natural rainwater, and planting specimens that are native to the area. An organic garden is the best way to go if you want healthy crops and lush flora.
Many gardeners don’t even realize that the practices and tools used to maintain their garden are actually doing more harm than good. Artificial management damages the natural ecosystem that is best for growing a flourishing garden. It strips the ecosystem, starves the plants, and pollutes the earth.
Eradicate anything unnatural from your garden. Allow mother nature to do all of the hard work for you.
It Pays To Be An Eco-Friendly Gardener
Using artificial amendments for your garden will cause damages that end up being extremely costly as you then try to fix everything that is subsequently thrown out of balance. Instead, keeping your garden close to nature will ensure a balance and if anything natural like a weather event does cause damage, the ecosystem can return to a baseline.
Instead, benefit your natural home garden by implementing the 10 sustainable tips listed below. Although becoming a more eco-friendly gardener is trendy these days, it is one trend, unlike some others that is extremely valuable to mother earth. Benefit your natural home garden by implementing the 10 sustainable tips listed below.
10 Tips To Becoming an Eco-Friendly Gardener
1. Use the Good Bugs
Good bugs are crucial for maintaining a healthy ecosystem. The most important actions you can take to attract more good bugs is to plant native plants, increase your soil health, and refrain from using harmful insecticides. Plants like lavender, flowering plants, dill, yarrow, and mint are great for bringing in good bugs.
Some of the best beneficial insects include:
- Parasitic wasps
- Butterflies and moths
- Ground beetles
- Solitary bees
- Praying mantis
Many of these insects are pollinators and play an important part in the food chain for other animals like birds, and bats. Without pollinators, the human race would cease to exist. Other good bugs actively work to rid the garden of bad bugs like aphids, caterpillars, Japanese beetles, grubs, and mealybugs.
Good bugs also simply look beautiful in your garden. A garden full of flowering plants and happy butterflies is a refreshing sight in a world full of stark, artificial green.
2. Choose Natural Matter
Good organic additives for your garden include bark mulch, peat moss, and sawdust. These additives help to improve soil health and therefore help other aspects of the ecosystem like plants and good bugs. Here are the other major benefits of utilizing organic substances in your soil:
- Adds aeration.
- Reduces soil compaction.
- Changes the amount of water absorption for the soil.
- It helps to prevent over-hydration or under-hydration.
- Allows the soil to cope with changes in acidity.
- Help soil minerals to decompose faster.
- Helps improve the soil’s capacity to store and supply essential nutrients.
- Increases populations of microorganisms.
- Organic matter captures CO2 in the soil, thus removing it from the atmosphere.
- A chunky matter like mulch covering the surface of the garden also serves to control weeds and protect plant roots. Mulch helps to keep the soil cool and prevent drought and evaporation.
- Fluffier soil makes it easier for small critters like toads and frogs to make homes and helps to control the pest population by eating them.
- Also consider adding your own choice of microorganisms if you feel your ecosystem needs the boost to see healthier plants, faster growth times, and larger yields. Many great fertilizers contain a mixture of both bacteria and fertilizers to ensure the amount of nutrients your plant absorbs is maximized.
3. Control Pests Responsibly
Synthetic insecticides can be particularly risky to use in the home garden as pest control on your garden plants. They are non-discriminatory in the bugs they kill and will eradicate both bad and good bugs. Even if you do use an organic insecticide, it can still be dangerous for all bugs too so it is important to use it in moderation.
The best organic insecticides include neem and spinosad. Although they are still very strong to use in the garden, they won’t last nearly as long in the environment and have as many lasting negative effects. Please note that spinosad is particularly harmful to bees so don’t use it anywhere near a hive.
Botanical oils are also great for controlling pests and can also be used to remove specific types of pests. If you feel your garden is overrun by spider mites or other soft-bodied insects, a natural insecticide containing rosemary, clove, and peppermint will pack a powerful punch.
4. Use Rainwater
Install water collection to provide wonderful hydration and up your eco-friendly gardening score. Natural rainwater has no additives and is much more cost-effective for your organic garden since it is free to conserve water. With climate change taking its toll on the world, droughts are becoming increasingly common so having a supply of rainwater could save a garden from dehydration.
The quality of rainwater is perfect for plants. It is free of salts and minerals that could have a negative effect on root growth. It also has a slightly acidic pH which plants prefer to grow in and contains more oxygen which plants love. Rainwater flushes away toxins and helps to promote healthier plants.
In addition to being perfect for plants, rainwater can also act as a natural fertilizer. Rainwater contains nitrates which are the most bio-available form of nitrogen. If your rainwater is stored in a rain barrel or water butt then natural organic matter will likely accumulate and benefit the plants too.
5. Plant Indigenous Plants
Plants that are native to your area help to foster and encourage the best ecosystem depending on your location. They attract good insects and grow deeper roots which extract more nutrients and water from the soil and prevent erosion. Indigenous plants better withstand the environment’s natural drought and are more resistant to local insects and diseases.
To find out the best plants for your home garden, do a quick search for the wildflowers, grasses, shrubs, trees, and vines that grow naturally in your area. These plants will simply grow better compared to an exotic plant that is not used to your local conditions. Indigenous plants require less water and fertilizer than exotic plants.
6. Use Companion Planting
Also referred to as intercropping, this means putting two plants next to each other for the purpose of mutually benefiting both or one of the plants. Inter-cropping is useful for growing healthy vegetables. Vegetables that are companion planted taste better and grow larger.
Larger plants can help to protect smaller ones from wind or hail. They also improve soil fertility and benefit each other by giving nutrients. Lastly, they suppress weeds through reduced unused garden areas.
Here are some great combinations:
- Basil and tomatoes
- Borage and tomatoes
- Sunflowers and pole beans
- Beets and onions
- Broccoli and oregano
- Carrots and chives
- Corn and cucumbers
- Cucumbers and dill
- Lettuce and chives
- Onions and cabbage
- Peas and carrots
- Potatoes and cilantro
- Radish and lettuce
- Spinach and rosemary
Many people believe that some plants grow better next to each other simply because they “like” each other. Many people believe wholeheartedly in this and others dispute it. Although no proven benefits of inter-cropping have been seen in research conditions, this doesn’t change the fact that logically, a bean pole could climb up a sunflower and remove the need for a trellis.
7. Create Compost & Recycle
Humans create so much waste that builds up quickly in landfills and takes thousands to millions of years to break down. Instead, have a dedicated compost for food waste such as fruits, vegetables, eggshells, grains, unbleached paper napkins, and coffee filters. These items will create nutrient-dense soil that will ensure your vegetable garden prospers.
Not only does recycling cut down on landfill waste, but it also helps in reversing climate change and cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions. Compost helps tremendously in fostering the perfect environment for beneficial bacteria and fungi that act as powerhouse decomposers. It’s super easy to create an affordable compost system by using a simple rolling trash can covered in small holes put in a cool place.
In addition to composting food, recycle materials like plastic containers and glass bottles by making pots out of them. You can cut the bottles in half and plant seedlings in them or create mini-greenhouses by placing them over plants growing in the ground. In addition to using glass and plastic for plants, there is some gorgeous DIY garden decor that can be crafted to introduce a shimmering sculpture to your garden.
8. Use Natural Fertilizers
Artificial fertilizers can easily build up in the soil and become toxic, bleaching and shocking any roots that reach it. Instead, use compost or a natural fertilizer like worm castings, manure, fish emulsion, and bone meal. These fertilizers are gentler and won’t cause any issues with insect populations or soil quality.
Natural fertilizers stimulate microbial activity and benefit the good bugs living within the soil. They’ll help the best creatures in the soil like nematodes, worms, and fungi to stay healthy and do their job. Natural fertilizers tend to keep the soil more neutral compared to artificial ones that can send your soil numbers wildly out of balance.
The best way to know what type of natural fertilizer you’d benefit from the most is by getting your soil nutrients and pH examined. Then, you can gradually add in these natural amendments depending on what nutrients you need the most. Although natural fertilizers may appear more costly at first, they will actually be cost neutral or save you money in the long run.
9. Lessen Your Lawn
The roots of a traditional trimmed grass lawn grow shallow and are not able to prevent erosion as much as native plants. The deep root systems of native vegetation help to filter contaminated stormwater and intercept runoff. Perfectly maintained lawns also use more fertilizer and herbicides which are unnecessary chemicals that pollute both your soil and water.
Instead, many people have switched to a lawn made up of moss, Corsican mint, creeping thyme, or clover. These lawn covers need no cutting and a mixture of them works best as Corsican mint can be challenging to keep as a monoculture. Take the step to reduce rising carbon dioxide emissions and the devastation of local ecosystems by making the switch.
10. Use Eco-Friendly Gardening Tools and Equipment
Using a gasoline lawn mower or other tools like a chainsaw or leaf blower contributes significant amounts of air pollution. Starting in 2024, gas-powered garden equipment will be illegal to sell in California, USA. This trend will likely continue around the globe.
Although there are electric options nowadays, the best way to go is the old-fashioned way. Handheld tools like a weeding fork, shovel, and pitchfork are great choices. An old-fashioned scythe or manual reel mowers have proven benefits.
A reel mower uses fewer materials and usually only contains steel and plastic compared to the higher amount of required materials for the motor in a gas mower. Reel mowers result in fewer injuries, no fuel spillage, and require less maintenance.
Take One Small Action Today
Slowly start to shift your yard to become more eco-friendly by choosing to implement one or two things per season. A compost or rainwater collection system can take a bit to get started but the wait will definitely be worth it in the long run for the benefits they can bring. In addition to these systems, choosing any of the other tips above will ensure a healthier garden.
The best garden is as close to the natural world as possible and mirrors it in a more controlled way. If one or more aspects of a healthy ecosystem are missing, the entire garden will suffer the consequences. That is why all aspects must work together and benefit each other.
If your garden is out of whack, don’t fret! Choosing to take steps towards becoming an eco-friendly gardener will result in a more beautiful, flourishing, in-balance backyard. You’ll thank yourself after seeing the results and your garden will thank you when it is happier and healthier.