Despite the frigid temperatures outside, spring is right around the corner! And with that comes gardening season. Gardening can be one of the most environmentally friendly actions a person does…or it can be the most un-environmentally friendly depending on how it’s done. Here are some easy tips for making your garden as earth friendly as possible.
- Try to not buy anything in plastic. One easy way to achieve this is to buy seeds rather than potted plants, however, if you have to buy plants (or prefer to) look for a nursery that recycles the plastic rather than just tossing them in the trash.
- Try to use mostly native vegetables and greens. Native plants adapt better to the local climate and temperature and extremes so they’ll naturally grow better, plus they won’t need lots of extra water because they are better adapted to our local water supply. Not sure what’s native to our area? Check out the Virginia Native Plant Society.
- Begin with healthy compost and end with a healthy garden. The best type of compost contains yard waste as its base, for example unseeded grass clippings and hay straw. If you purchase your compost make sure that it’s crumbly with only a few little pieces of leafs or twigs.
- Use mulch to help preserve moisture and prevent the growth of weeds which will just steal water from your garden.
- Use a rain barrel or simply a bucket to collect rain water that falls from your gutters to water your garden with. A drip irrigation system is an efficient alternative to an overhead sprinkler system to keep your plants hydrated.
- Spend a little more money on good-quality gardening tools now to prevent yourself from having to buy replacements in a few years and too keep those old tools out of the landfill.
- Purchase simple tools that avoid using gasoline and/or electricity. Not only will you get a great workout, but it’ll help minimize CO2 emissions, which is great for the planet!
- Use nature’s pesticides. Use ladybugs to eat those annoying aphids and earthworms to help enrich your soil. Deer problems? Let your son’s pee outside around the perimeter of the garden, or a more neighborly friendly alternative- mix one egg with a littleTabascosauce and spray it on your plants.
- Use plants that self-pollinate or cross-pollinate to help your plants grow naturally. Not sure how to do this? Contact the your local Master Gardeners or other local gardening group in your area.
- Make your garden attractive to butterflies and bees that will naturally pollinate your plants (and help the population of honeybees spring back). Did you know that pollinators (like bees and butterflies) can increase the output of 87 different food crops?
- Slug bait is one of the most deadly things you can put on a garden as it’s toxic to children and dogs-who are naturally attracted to it. Instead use small, shallow dishes of beer (dark ales work better) which attracts slugs and kills them.
What are your favorite “green” gardening tips? Leave us a comment letting us know!