Gardening is a fulfilling activity on so many levels. Just the act of gardening is an indication that you care for the earth and value it’s contribution to your life and your family. I’ve put together a few tips that can help you take care of your garden in an eco-friendly way.
1. Fertilizers – Using compost in your garden will provide healthful nutrients for the soil and will cut down on your household waste. It can also work like mulch by keeping the soil moist. See this site for information from the Environmental Protection Agency on creating your own compost pile.
2. Pest Control – Only 3% of all bugs found in gardens are actually considered pests. The rest are either neutral or beneficial so you don’t want to kill off more than you need to with traditional synthetic pesticides. Use products that are very specific to the type of pest you are trying to control.
If you can’t find a pesticide specific to the kind of pest you need, look for a natural product. These use natural ingredients like Neem oil, pyrethrins, canola oil, mild soaps and other highly refined oils. These natural ingredients break down faster in the garden so have less long-term effects on the good bugs.
If you need to use synthetic pesticide, avoid using it in the morning when insects are more active, this will prevent the killing of many of the beneficial bugs. Pollinators usually are not as active in the evening so that is a good time to use your pesticide. You can also attract birds to your garden with a bird feeder, bird bath or bird house. Birds will eat snails and slugs. And leave a pile of mulch near the garden to attract ground beetles. They will nest under it and come out and eat many of your garden pests.
3. Weed control – Use mulch or landscaping fabric to control weeds so you don’t have to use herbicide. Look for the MSC Certified product label. These have met standards set by the Mulch and Soil Council. Also try to pull weeds before they go to seed.
4. Water conservation – Use a rain barrel or two to collect rain water and avoid using your garden hose to water your garden. Mulch will help keep your soil moist so less watering is needed. Also, if you place your plants closer together there will be less surface area to water (and less space for weeds to grow).
For more information about these and other valuable eco-friendly gardening tips, check out these articles.