Going green is a mainstay ambition of the modern society. Eco-friendly living goes beyond just conserving the natural environment for current and future generations of humanity. Human life is part of a wider ecosystem that involves various kinds of living things.
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A healthy garden brings the benefits of a natural ecosystem to your home, benefiting you, plants and other living things that form part of this habitat. Simple changes and practices have the potential for making your garden more environmentally safe. Here are five ways to help you enhance your home eco-system through greener practices.
1. Attract Garden-Friendly Insects
Some insects are beneficial to gardens as natural pest control mechanisms and pollinators. Knowledge of the types of harmful insects or the ways to establish whether an insect is beneficial to your garden is an important, necessary step to using this strategy effectively. Take care not to end up attracting types of insects that are harmful to your garden. Bees are common garden-friendly insects.
Enhance the structure of your garden and plant bee-friendly plants to attract bees. Contact a pest control expert for help in determining whether the bug in your garden is beneficial or destructive where necessary. Keep in mind that beneficial insects do not form a sufficient pest-control program on their own in most cases, but work effectively as part of a wider pest management program.
2. Avoid Products with Toxic Compounds
Toxic products are one of the most common causes for concern when it comes green living. Products with toxic compounds can get you sick, but they also pose major risks for your garden. Some home cleaning products are common culprits in this regard. Small mistakes when handling toxic cleaners, such as using contaminated containers to hold water for watering your garden, have the potential for contaminating the entire garden. Organic cleaning products are an ideal replacement for toxic cleaners.
Chemical-based insecticides are another major cause for concern. Like toxic cleaning products, most chemical-based products contain harmful compounds that pose risks for your health and your garden. Use insecticidal soap products to eliminate the negative impacts of pesticides. A simple do-it-yourself procedure involving a mixture of bar soap and water is an inexpensive way of replacing toxic pesticides. Commercial alternatives are more effective than home-made pesticides because producers use appropriate levels of compounds to form soap-based insecticides.
3. Embrace Recycling (Upcycling)
Recycling presents an opportunity for society to address the problem of depletion of natural resources. Your garden benefits from recycling while you also contribute to conserving nature by reusing things. Buy recycled products or reuse items where possible. Manufacturers are increasingly recycling materials such as copper, rubber, plastic, and wood in an attempt to minimize the negative impacts of extracting materials from the natural environment.
Set up a recycling and compost bin to help you take advantage of organic soil regeneration. Compost grass cuttings and vegetable waste from your kitchen, and use the manure to regenerate your garden. Compost serves as an alternative to chemical-based fertilizers and enriches the soil in many ways, including improving texture, water retention, and aeration.
4. Conserve Water
Sufficient water is necessary for a healthy garden, but some watering habits constitute wastage. Proper timing reduces the amount of water required to achieve the desired moisture level. Water your garden early in the morning or late in the afternoon to minimize evaporation. Fix leaking garden hose spigots and collect rainwater using a rain barrel, which lets you add a chlorine-free source for watering your garden plants.
Harvesting rainwater reduces water bills and prevents erosion and flooding. Choose your watering tools carefully to minimize wastage. Drip irrigation, for instance, uses about half the amount of water that sprinklers use.
5. Save Energy
An energy-efficient garden uses the minimal amount of energy required to remain healthy. Garden lighting presents an opportunity for enhancing the appearance of your garden at night, but it is also a major point of weakness as regards energy consumption. Switch to energy-efficient bulbs or lamps, which include light-emitting diodes and fluorescent bulbs.
Go for solar-powered garden lighting to turn your garden more eco-friendly. Solar lights may not create the same large amount of lights as conventional low-voltage lights do, but they are better at saving energy. Use automatic watering devices and other electrical appliances with built-in timers and configure them to power off when not in use.
Opportunities for saving energy in your garden depend on your garden practices, and in some cases occur anywhere in the home environment. Fixes to leaking indoor water systems to avoid flooding the garden and as a result, having to pump away the excess water are proactive measures for saving energy.
6. Companion Planting
A healthy and beautiful garden is one with a wide variety of plants. Certain combinations of plants can complement each other and boost vitality and growth. Tall plants or trees can provide shade for sun-sensitive flowers. Marigolds are known to deter unwanted flying and soil insects from plants. Before we list some good combinations of complementary plants, bear in mind that some combination can be counter-productive, and harm each other, so do your research.
Rose and Garlic
This had been a long time favorite as the scent of the garlic is a natural rose pest repellent. Apart from being a great cooking ingredient, garlic chives produce a very attractive purple and white flower in spring to further enhance the beauty of your garden.
Chives and Tomatoes
The onion-like smell of the chives keep aphids away from the tomatoes, and does not contaminate the taste of tomatoes. Both delicious kitchen ingredients are clean, fresh, and disease-free.
Carrot and Spring Onion
Here each plant benefits the other as the onion smell will discourage carrot root fly, while the carrot smell will keep onion fly at bay. Again you have two perfect kitchen vegies.
Cucumber and Radish and Dill
Radish planted with cucumber reduces the possibility of cucumber beetles attacking the crop. Planting dill nearby will attract some “good” predators that will eat the pests trying to eat your cucumbers.
You can keep the area around your planting neat and tidy with the Best Electric String Trimmers. They are also great for edgers around the yard.
7. Grow your own fruit, vegetables, and herbs
When looking at eco-friendly and sustainable gardening why not take what we learned above a step further and grow our own fruit and herbs as well as vegetables. This can be not only fun but greatly rewarding and make you less dependent on the local supermarket.
A small rock garden in a strategic corner can be home to a variety of herbs that remain clean, fresh, and ready for use in your specialty culinary dishes. All the berries, strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries can easily grow in pots and containers.
A small patch in the back garden will be ideal for carrots, beans, peas, tomatoes even potatoes, and asparagus, along with a variety of lettuces.
Fruit trees will not only provide their delicious fruit but beautiful ornamental blossoms in spring adding more color to your garden.
8. Make your own compost
As mentioned before recycling is an important feature when looking at keeping green, and using compost instead of commercial fertilizers is a must for the serious gardener. Buying soil from your local hardware is one thing, but making your own compost is not only easy but also rewarding for both the environment and your wallet.
Adding compost to your soil has the following benefits; it adds beneficial microorganisms to the soil that helps with aeration, it retains moisture and prevents the spread of plant disease, it encourages plant growth and is a natural alternative to chemical fertilizers.
Set up your compost bin in a sunny corner and fill with garden refuse such as leaves, small twigs, grass cuttings, kitchen scraps such as veggie and fruit skins, tea leaves and coffee grounds, eggshells, even paper, and shredded cardboard.
Avoid such things as meat, fish, and bones which might attract unwanted pests and scavengers.
9. Attract the birds
We have seen how planting flowers and plants that attract insects help to keep the ecology in balance, and how companion plants help to eliminate aphids and other diseases from the garden. What about those pesky snails, caterpillars, slugs and grubs that the insects can’t handle and we want to avoid using pesticides?
By installing bird feeders and nesting boxes for a variety of birds you will not only attract these beautiful creatures to your garden and feed them but ensure the creepy-crawlies are taken care of. Add a birdbath as a tranquil garden feature and an added attraction for these garden wardens.
Should you face a big invasion of slugs or snails and need to act fast, crushed eggshells or environmentally friendly snail pellets may be used.
10. Use natural products
When it comes to hardscape features, avoid shiny polished materials such as marble and mosaics. Rather use a natural rock or local stone which is more porous and will absorb water and retain it. They can easily be kept clean with an electric power washer.
Gravel walkways or recycled builder’s rubble will have the added advantage of reducing soil erosion and better control water flow during heavy rains. These natural products are a tremendous help in keeping your garden low maintenance, saving water, and have the same effect as mulch. For a natural feel keep man-made structures to a minimum and bring in some large rocks from the surrounding area.
A strategically placed hollowed out log or tree stump as a planter will add to the rustic atmosphere.
Treated timber of the “tar” variety should also be avoided, and your local hardware shop can advise on suitable long-lasting alternatives to blend in with the natural eco look.
If you live in a colder area, the best electric snow blowers will make life much easier.
A green garden boosts your home’s green status and comes with major benefits for you and the environment. Simple changes to your garden practices can transform it into a healthier, more eco-friendly garden. Whether you are looking to enhance the appearance of your outdoor environment or do your part in conserving the environment, add these ten tips to your strategies for improved results. (838 words)