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Sustainable Gardening: Easy Guide To Create An Eco Garden

by Helen
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I love gardening, especially with a passion for the environment. How do we undertake more sustainable gardening practices to give back as much as we receive from our planet's resources?

Sustainable gardening is more than just having a pretty garden; it also adds positive benefits to a beneficial hobby, from using natural pest control techniques to reducing water waste and repurposing materials.  You can take a few extra steps and create a colorful, beautiful, sustainable garden that benefits you and the environment.  Eco gardening allows you to connect with your garden in many ways that traditional gardening does not, as it will enable you to consider the materials you use and practices you're using, not just for creating an appreciation for what you are growing but also to encourage a continued more sustainable process.  Silicone food storage bags are an excellent swap for plastic bags and containers.

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Sustainable” means to perpetuate existence as well as to provide sustenance and nourishment. The term is most often associated with the environment and specifically to landscapes and gardens. While growing plants and maintaining a garden are inherently “green” activities, sustainable gardening is about growing a greener future., According to the American Horticultural Society

Sustainable Gardening

Sustainable Gardening Ideas

So, where to start your sustainable gardening journey?  There are numerous simple ways to start gardening more sustainably and eco-friendly.  Below, you will find nine ways to begin your sustainable gardening practices.  However, you can implement all nine eco friendly gardening ideas or start with a few items on this and work your way up.  If you decide to install landscape lighting in and around your yard, we suggest you use high-quality solar lights.   Grow your vegetable garden instead of buying from a grocery store.  Not only will you save money, but you will also have fresher organic produce.  Also, if you can keep backyard chickens, chickens make great pets and provide healthy, delicious eggs.

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Sustainable Living: Raising Chickens

Growing your own food and raising chickens can be a great way to become more self-sufficient.  With a little bit of knowledge and effort, you can produce your own fresh vegetables and protein right in your own backyard.  Not only is it a rewarding experience, but it can also help you save money on groceries and reduce your carbon footprint.  However, it's essential to do your research and ensure you follow local backyard farming regulations and guidelines.  If you're unable to find chickens locally, hatching eggs using an incubator is a viable option.  It's essential to ensure you have the necessary equipment and knowledge to care for the chicks once they hatch correctly.  You can find resources and guidance online or at your local agricultural extension office to help you get started.

1) Avoid Pesticides

Chemical pesticides are commonly overused to remove or limit common garden pests, such as slugs and snails, or to rid unwanted weeds. Yet, it often contaminates the soil, sitting water, grass, and other vegetation. Chemical pesticides harm bees, birds, and other pollinators, so they do more harm than good when growing plants and flowers.  Eco gardening is a positive step toward a better ecosystem.

Imogen Stuckes, florist and grower at Flowers by Imogen, grows flowers sustainably and pesticide-free in Somerset for her floristry business: ‘There are lots of great eco anti-pest products around now; we like Green Protect slug pellets which biodegrade and ecofective Rose Defender which gets rid of things like whitefly.'

You can try natural alternatives like neem oil, garlic spray, or homemade remedies like mixing soap and water. These methods are better for the environment and safer for you and your family.

Sustainable Gardening

2) Rain Water Harvesting

Rainwater is much better for plants because it contains a lower pH than water hose or tap water, and it is higher in nitrates that help growth and supply more oxygen to keep plants healthy; it is a win-win! Water butts, rain harvesting systems, or barrels are excellent ways to collect rainwater for your plants, whether in the garden or in pots. We always seem to be in a drought here in Central Texas, and with shortages come water restrictions. Therefore, one way to reduce water usage is by using drought-resistant plants and native plants and mulch to help retain the moisture in the soil. I prefer using hay instead of mulch, which tends to break down and compost better than traditional mulch.

Eco Friendly Gardening

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3) Start Composting or Vermicompost

If you've ever bought compost, you know how expensive it can be. Adding compost to your gardening routine provides lots of nutrients and minerals to the soil, which is excellent for plants and growth. Making compost at home is not only a way to save money, plus your compost will be nutrient-dense compared to some storage options. Not only that, but you are reducing waste with fewer plastic trash bags and items going to landfills.

Make your compost at home by using kitchen scraps, old grass clippings with cardboard, and woody stems. The trick to making quality compost is all in the ratio of green to brown materials and ensuring a good mix of nitrogen and carbon-rich material. Rather than sending your trash to a landfill, repurpose and help your plants thrive and remain healthy.

Vermicomposting is a natural process whereby earthworms convert waste material with rigid structures into compost. The compost produced in this green process is traditionally and popularly used as a natural fertilizer for enhancing plant growth., according to ScienceDirect.

Butterfly On Flower

4) Implement The No Dig Method

When gardening, try the no-dig method, as this is better for the soil, which means better quality soil for years of growth. Rather than digging into the ground, lay cardboard over the area you want to garden. You can reuse the cardboard you have at home, like parcel boxes, and the cardboard will compost, biodegrade and kill off weeds before you begin planting your garden. Instead of digging, you only need to make a small hole for your plants or seeds, almost everything in your newly nutrient-rich soil. You can also use raised metal garden bed kits.  They are sustainable and nontoxic, and you can easily implement inground vermicomposting as an added bonus.  Another option is using an elevated wheel planter, which can be used in small spaces like patios, porches, or yards.

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5) Sustainable And Eco Friendly Gardening Grow Your Own

Grow your herbs, fruits, and vegetables. If you live in an apartment or have a small yard, you can garden on a balcony or window boxes to grow your herbs and vegetables. ‘Grow Your Own' or GYO is gaining popularity as people look to healthier alternatives by eating more seasonally and having fresh ingredients for food.

6) Sustainable Gardening Use Recycled Materials

Another way to be more environmentally mindful in the garden is by using recycled and repurposed materials. For instance, instead of buying new pots, use old buckets or receptacles you would otherwise dispose of. Take advantage of planting pot freebies and giveaways from neighbors or people getting rid of them. There are many excellent ways to repurpose materials for your garden. Reuse plastic bottles and repurpose them into a seed tray or a bird feeder. Instead of single-use plastic, you can also use newspaper or cardboard as natural weed barriers.

7) Choose Native Plants For Your Sustainable Garden

Using native plants is an easy sustainable change you can make. Use Native plants in the garden that exist naturally within an area or region. They are essential because they help support the existing ecological system – like providing shelter for mammals and nectar for pollinators for honey bees, butterflies, monarch butterflies, bumble bees, and more. We already see the decline of honey bees and other pollinators.

We play a small part in providing food for pollinators so the natural surroundings don't become more threatened and imbalanced. It's essential to consider the overall effect of our garden on the environment, including picking and planting native plants that fit our local climate and avoiding invasive plant species that can cause an imbalance in our local ecosystems.

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8) Invite Nature Into Your Garden

Being environmentally conscious is more than just plants; it means a greater understanding of nature, wildlife, and biodiversity in our gardens.  Thus, a great way to do this is by inviting birds, pollinators, and other critters into your space like bird feeders or creating a DIY feeding and watering station-use a shallow dish for water.  Bird baths are great water stations.  Birds can bathe and drink water, but not only, but bees will also drink water.  Placing bird baths near or within your garden is a great way to provide water.  Plus, this will help cool birds or critters cool down in the summer and provide food in the winter.  Aim to provide year-round and for every stage of life food and water supply.  You can add some metal garden decor for a conversation piece.

Pro TipLearn To Distinguish Between Insect Friends and Foes

Supporting Birds, Insects, & Other Pollinators

 

Wilderness is disappearing at an alarming rate.  Supporting a natural ecosystem and implementing eco gardening is something that we, as home gardeners, can do to combat the loss of plant and animal species.

 

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9) Make Your Plant Food Or Fertilizer

Along the same lines as making compost, many food scraps are fantastic fertilizers for your houseplants and outdoor plants. There is an abundance of ‘plant teas' that all have different benefits for an individual plant that requires them. For instance, banana peels are full of potassium. We all know that potassium is great for our bodies but also fantastic for plants like roses, peppers, or chilies. Put a few banana peels in an old sauce jar and fill it with water. Soak the bananas for a few weeks and use the infused water in your next plant feed. Toss the old banana peels in your compost pile, and it's as easy as that.

Other food scraps good for your plants are crushed eggshells and coffee grounds.

Final Thoughts On Sustainable Gardening

In closing, you can create your sustainable garden with these eco-friendly gardening tips to benefit your garden, wildlife, and budget.  While these tips are very high level for eco-friendly gardening, most are easy to implement.

When living a sustainable lifestyle, we should include what we buy for our pets and cleaning products.  Check out our Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Dog Product List, Brands, and 6 Best Sustainable Cleaning Products.

FAQ: Questions And Answers For A Sustainable Garden

Why is sustainable gardening important

Using sustainable practices in the home garden can be a step toward positive climate change. Sustainable gardening and landscaping practices can slow the future warming trend by helping reduce carbon emissions and raising carbon storage in soil and plants.fse

What makes a vegetable garden sustainable

Growing your own fruit, herbs, and vegetables is much more sustainable than purchasing them from your local grocery store. Because it means less food waste, no packaging, and zero transport emissions, it can also be organic since you control whether to use pesticides or not on your produce.

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