Growing a garden is already a green activity, but there are certain things that you can do to make it even greener. Many people who have gardens may not be aware of all of the ways that their gardening style is not so sustainable, and this can be due to using too much water, or using too many synthetic products. Here are four ways to create a greener, more environmentally friendly garden that will also benefit your health.
1. Collect Rainwater to Water Your Plants
Depending on what you grow in your garden, you may have to use a lot of water to keep your plants hydrated. Because of this, you use a significant amount of water each year which impacts the environment, and not to mention, increases your water bill. Set some buckets or a rain barrel outside of your home, so the next time it rains you’ll have some water to use for your garden. This will really come in handy if you live in a drier area that doesn’t get rain too often.
Another tip is to water your garden during the coolest part of the day to allow the water to penetrate into the soil. This will cut down on the number of times you have to water your garden. If you wait until it’s hotter to water your garden, the water will evaporate from the soil, causing you to have to water it over and over again.
2. Compost as Fertilizer
Take your discarded food scraps and even some old leaves from your yard and start a compost pile to use as fertilizer for your garden. Not only does this allow you to recycle the food that you discard rather than throw it in the trash. Organic matter is a great way to nourish soil, creating better outcomes for your garden. Compost contains both major nutrients and trace minerals needed to enrich the soil, plus it’s much better for the environment— and your health— than using chemical-based fertilizers.
You can include just about anything in your compost pile with a few exceptions. As far as food goes, you should generally stick to fruits, vegetables, and herbs— including herbal tea bags. You can also compost eggshells, coffee filters, and most plants. Just be aware of plants that may release harmful chemicals when composted, and avoid insect-infested and diseased plants.
3. Plant With Intention
In addition to growing your favorite flowers, fruits, vegetables, etc. in your garden, you’ll also benefit from planting certain plants and herbs in your garden. For example, eucalyptus, lavender, mint, and neem are all herbs that naturally repel insects and other bugs, eliminating the need for you to use pesticides in your garden. Growing the actual herb in your garden also keeps you from having to buy expensive essential oils, which have to be diluted with water or carrier oil before use.
You can also plant organic seeds. Just like organic fruits and vegetables, organic seeds are produced without toxic chemicals. This will make your garden even more eco-friendly, and ensure that the produce you grow is truly organic.
4. Switch from Chemical-Based Pesticides to Natural Ones
While we’re on the subject of natural pesticides, there are also natural alternatives to other pesticides such as fungicides and herbicides. Cinnamon oil and jojoba oil are great fungicides for your soil, and mixing up some milk with a little bit of water can greatly reduce the amount of mold that can grow in the soil. As for herbicides, you can use boiling water to kill weeds, though this method may cause you to use more water than necessary. Other ways to naturally get rid of weeds include:
- Applying heat directly to the weeds
- Borax and water mixture
- Salt and vinegar mixture
It’s important to consider natural alternatives to pesticides because many on the market contain chemicals. That means they can pose a threat to not only the environment but to human health as well. In fact, there have been lawsuits filed against the herbicide paraquat for its link to Parkinson’s disease. Both fungicides and insecticides that are chemical-based have also been known to be dangerous to humans as well.
Having a garden is already beneficial to your health. That’s because gardening allows you to soak up sunlight and get in some physical activity. Not to mention, the nutritious foods if you’re growing fruit, vegetables, and herbs. When you garden more sustainably and organically, you’re benefiting both your health and the environment.