By Victoria Lim:
Going green and organic is no longer considered a fad. As global warming is culminating into a very real problem, more and more people feel the need to help in whatever way they can. Tending to your garden in a more eco-friendly manner may not help on a global scale, but if everyone contributes even that much, together we will be one more step in the right direction. If you have decided to go greener and ditch the arduous, expensive products that do more harm than good, keep reading because we have the right tips for you!
As tempting as it is to grow a downright exotic jungle in your yard, consider the cost of maintaining such flora. Perhaps you will spend more water, or use a special brand of fertilizer because the soil or climate are too tricky for “outsider” plants to thrive in. Furthermore, non-native plants will deter local wildlife, and may prove to be toxic for some species. Visit the nearest nursery to see what kind of local plants they have to recommend as an aesthetic alternative.
If there is one all natural, eco-friendly, inexpensive alternative to toxic pesticides, it’s animals. Don’t believe it? Try ladybugs who feed on aphids, or birds that rid you of worms and larger bugs while also fertilizing your garden. Put a small birdbath in your garden to invite them over, and watch them scoop up those pesky bugs in gratitude. Ladybugs can be attracted with certain flowers — namely sunflower and marigolds. If you have a larger garden, here’s a wild idea — get chickens. They are great at hunting down ticks, thus saving your family and pets from a potential disease these parasites carry.
Despite our fear of them, bees are nature’s best little pollinators, and without them we wouldn’t have more than half of produce we have today. Fruit trees and vegetable plants couldn’t produce, and many plants would not be able to spread their seeds and beautify landscapes. The recent decline in the bee population due to pesticides is an indicator that humans are to follow suit unless we do something about it. Using a larger saucer or repurposing an old fountain into a moss-and-pebble riddled bee bath is certain to draw them in. They tend to dehydrate and die in the heat, so having water in your garden might save their lives. In return, they will pollinate your garden.
Did you know that certain plants grow better when paired? Certain plants can be companions to each other, complementing the other’s needs. Here are examples:
- Lemongrass and tomatoes — A tremendous insect repellent, lemongrass deters mosquitoes. However, its invasive scent also repels vegetable-eating insects, so planting one to protect your edible plants is the best defense
- Garlic and roses — Garlic is another great repellent that sprouts beautiful flowers in spring, so it serves a double purpose when seen in combination with the red of your roses.
Research herbs and plants that serve multiple purposes, not just an aesthetic one. Then see how you can combine them with your other plants to ensure maximum vitality and health of your garden.
You water your garden diligently, as often as your plants require, but did you know that there is an optimal time of day when watering has the best effect? During early afternoon, moisture evaporates in the sun, which damages your plants. That is why watering routines should be between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m., or later in the afternoon. Anything between that and the sun parches your plants. Anything later than that, and the nighttime humidity makes way for fungal diseases and root deterioration. For larger gardens, you can go the easier route with a practical oscillating water sprinkler, which covers more ground in a single swoop.
The Three Rs Rule
Repurpose, Reuse, Reduce are the three big Rs of a greened garden. In pursuit of reducing your carbon footprint along with the amount of waste you leave behind, you can make your own compost bin where you will leave organic waste for later use as a fertilizer. Reusing old furniture for outdoor decoration will give your garden a kind of rural, vintage aesthetic. And repurposing unwanted objects, like old water spouts for seedling beds, or hanging pouches for gardening tools, will not only make things more practical but also put your originality to work. What’s best about it — you’re being green the whole time!
Going green today has become a lifestyle for many. And rightfully so, as the benefits of becoming eco-friendly shows immense benefits in the long run. Aside from reducing your carbon footprint, you’re supporting the flora of your region, the wildlife that thrives within it, and making a safer, toxin-free oasis for your friends and family to relax in. So put on your gardening gloves, and get cracking for a greener tomorrow.
Victoria is a true home improvement and DIY fanatic. She’s passionate about writing, sharing tips and DIY projects. When she’s not writing, you can find her traveling and exploring with her dog, or in a tea shop making difficult decisions about which tea would be perfect for her next cup. You could say she’s an avid tea-drinker.