How green is your garden? If you’re still using toxic pesticides and mowing that water thirsty grass, here are a few easy DIY tips to green up that beautiful garden this Spring. Make it planet-friendly and wallet-friendly.
Try permaculture or companion planting
Using only one or two different kinds of plants in your garden may look nice but there are lots of benefits to variety. Some plants can actually work together to protect each other and companion planting can help them grow. Plants like basil and dill can protect tomatoes from certain worms; sage helps ward off cabbage moths; and carrots, dill, parsley, and parsnips attract bugs like praying mantises and ladybugs that eat insect pests.
Grow dirt at Home
Composting is by far the best thing you can do for you garden and for the environment. Simply put in a composting box in your yard and throw in all of your food scraps, fruit peels, and tea bags. The waste will eventually turn into nutrient rich fertilizer that you can add to you garden every spring. This will give your garden a ton more nutrients to help them grow and it will cut down on waste.
Eat your garden
Planting flowers and bushes can be aesthetically pleasing but a garden can contribute so much more to you life! Planting an edible garden will not only look beautiful but it will add fresh fruits, veggies, and herbs to you table. This will bring fresh food to your table, cut down on your cost, waste consumption, and will definitely impress your guests.
Perennials are plants that will last you more than two years. If you plant the seed once, the spring will bring it to bloom every year after that. Perennials cut down on seed cost, prevent soil erosion because of deep root systems, and prevent weeds. However, perennials can only survive for more than one season in their natural habitat so…
Growing plants that are native to where you are can not only be good for you garden but good for you. Learning about native plants brings you back to the history of your home and can help you learn about what is really “local” in the supermarket. Native plants also attract native animals like birds and butterflies. Native plants are more used to the local environment so they are easier to take care of.
Water waste is rampant in common gardening practices but there are some easy fixes. Drip irrigation and soaker hoses focus on distributing only the water that a plant needs deep into the soil where plants need water the most. Soaker hoses are also easy because you can just place it into the dirt with the plants and turn it on according to your plants needs instead of having to go around and water each individual plant.
The Birds and the Bees
Birds are natural predators of pest insects so installing bird feeders can help keep away bugs that might eat your garden for you. This can also make your garden more beautiful.
Be bee-friendly! Three-fourth of foods we eat depend on pollinators to reproduce. Attracting bees to your garden, even with a tiny flower pot or patch will provide much needed habitat. And remember, native plants will attract native bees and exotic plants will attract honeybees.
Reuse your plastic
Reduce, reuse, recycle! Even when it comes to your garden. Plastic bottles are great to use as seedling protectors or makeshift watering can. You can use plastic trays, disposable containers and aluminum cans for herb garden as well. Always reuse fencing, tomato cages, and other gardening tools too!
Pesticides are notoriously terrible for soil, animals, plants, and the environment. Instead of spraying your garden or lawn with chemicals try a greener method. Some recipes for DIY insecticides include onion, garlic, and cayenne pepper; tomato leaves; or chili pepper. You can also use liquid biodegradable soap, baking soda and chili powder as a natural mix. Some of the other tips above will also cut down on pests.
Ditch the grass
Instead of going out and buying sod or drenching your lawn in water and chemical fertilizers to turn it green again, consider ditching your grass this year. Lawnmowers consume dwindling gas, lawns take up over 128,000 sq. km in North America, and the average lawn can drink up to 200 gallons of water a day. Lawns eat up resources without giving back much to us or to the environment. Instead of fixing up your lawn this spring try replacing it with a bigger garden, mulch, sand, or a rock patio. There is even a type of grass that doesn’t require mowing or constant watering.