Developing a thriving, environment-friendly garden is more achievable than most people think. Creating an effective, living and breathing ecosystem does require effort, of course, but the results are extremely rewarding. I’ve put together some top tips that any gardener, no matter what their level of experience, can try out to help them achieve this.
Use Eco Products
Though this is one of the more obvious tips for gardeners to follow, it’s also a great place to start. There are absolute plethora of products that you can buy from most normal garden centres that are natural, sustainable and eco-friendly. Things like organic soil, fertilizer and weed killer help to maintain a healthy garden without infecting it with artificial and harmful chemicals.
Building up the aforementioned organic soil involves mixing in compost, rather than manmade products that could harm the soil. Ben Raskin from the Soil Association says, “If you want an eco-friendly garden then healthy living soil is the place the start. Build up the organic matter in the soil with compost and avoid using pesticides and herbicides that will damage soil life. That way all the soil micro-organisms will help process all the nutrients in the soil and make them available in a form that plants can use.”
Composting is a fantastic way to recycle organic, household waste that would normally be thrown away, and transform it into something useful for your garden. It simply involves putting this excess into a compost bin and waiting for the products to decompose. There are two kinds of waste that can be recycled, green (vegetable peelings, grass cuttings, fruit) and brown (paper, leaves, straw), and gardeners are advised to use a 50-50 ratio for their compost.
Just as compost and soil are useful to maintain a health eco-garden, so is the wildlife that you encourage. Birds and bugs – in particular, bees – help you to maintain your plants, but bees are on the decline in most urban gardens. So how can you bring them back? Anthony from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust says, “The best garden plants are herbs such as lavender, thyme and rosemary, but bees also love allium, catmint, nasturtium and comfrey. Even if people don’t have an awful lot of space, they can still help bees by having a small planter or window box with something like strawberry, heather and miniature dahlia.”
There are also several different products you can invest in that will further assist you in your pursuit of an eco-friendly garden, the first of which is a water butt. Buying one to place at the end of your guttering will provide you with a regular supply of rainwater, which can then be used to hydrate your plants and soil. This reduces the amount of tap water needed, helping out the environment even more.
Use a Push Lawnmower
As well as being a great form of exercise and a considerable money-saver, both in terms of initial price and complete lack of running costs, a push lawnmower is great for the environment. It doesn’t require any electricity to work and the absence of a motor means that it doesn’t emit pollution into the atmosphere. Grass clippings can simply be raked up (ready to add to the compost bin) or vacuumed up, with the average leaf blower using far less power than a lawnmower.
Invest in an Eco-Friendly Shed
A third product to consider for an environmentally friendly garden is a potting shed. Many gardeners use these to maintain certain plants and herbs, as well as for storage purposes, but how do you make sure your shed is eco-friendly? The main thing for gardeners to consider is where the material comes from. Wood from ethically-sourced, sustainable trees will bear the CPET, FSC or CPET certifications to set your mind at rest.
Remember the Three Rs
Lucy from the Smallest Smallholding blog says, “There are two fundamental factors you need to take into account when building an eco-friendly garden. Firstly, you need to think about what is already to hand, and secondly, the three R’s: reduce, re-use and recycle. When you’ve got to grips with these, you can start thinking more about permaculture and designing your garden in a way that helps it to become more self-sustaining.”
Reducing your reliance upon artificial products and unsustainable practices, re-using the resources at your disposal, and recycling household and garden waste are definitely all great steps to take towards creating a more eco-friendly garden. All of the aforementioned tips should be within the reach of any budding gardener, and set you well on the way to nurturing a self-sustaining, environmentally friendly garden. To find more tips and additional advice from Ben, Anthony and Lucy, please take a look at this post.
Daniel Yeo is the author of this post.
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