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Looking for ways to convert your garden into an eco-friendly paradise? Believe it or not, there are a variety of ways to transform your garden into an even more “green” space. By choosing the right products, attracting the right critters, and growing your plants and flowers using the most eco-friendly practices, you can turn your yard into a veritable Garden of Eden.

 

CompostingComposting

Composting has the magical, natural ability to restore poor soils to their usual health and vigor, while giving your plants and flowers the nutrients they need to thrive. Composting is fairly easy to do, and can be started by using leftover garden and kitchen scraps!

 

Native PlantsChoosing Native Plants

One way to make your garden more eco-friendly is by filling it with plants native to where you live. In fact, if you check out this handy website you can identify which plants are native to your area. Not utilizing native plants means you run the risk of accidently nurturing an invasive species, which may then find its way around your community. 

 

Choosing Plants that attract PollinatorsChoosing Plants That Attract Pollinators

Pollinators you want to see in your garden are butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds – all of which have particular tastes. These pollinators typically prefer the species native to your area, so do some research before planting. Some specific flowers that these little ones are commonly fond of include fennel, oregano, sunflowers, lavender, butterfly bush, foxglove, and wild columbine. Many of these critters’ homes are disappearing, so creating an oasis for them can even help the surrounding ecosystem.

 

Companion PlatntsCompanion Plants

There are many benefits to growing certain varieties of plants in close proximity to each other. Most of these combinations can help each respective plant grow larger, faster, and even healthier. For instance, your tomatoes will taste better if grown close to basil, and the basil can help ward off pests looking to snack on your tomato harvest. By researching different plant combinations, you can plan your garden so that every plant gets along with their neighbor.

 

Irrigation and XeriscapingIrrigation and Xeriscaping

One way to ensure you aren’t wasting water is by installing a drip irrigation system into your garden, which supplies plants with a small, efficient, continuous supply of water throughout the day. Another option is xeriscaping, or designing and landscaping your yard with plants and flowers with low water requirements. In places like California that are low on water, xeriscaping is starting to gain some traction.

 

Eco-Friendly Gardening ToolsUsing Eco-Friendly Gardening Tools

How do you mow your lawn or whack those weeds around your garden bed without using a gas-reliant machine? The easiest way is by picking up something like a manual reel mower next time you’re in the market for new garden and lawn equipment. Electric garden tools like trimmers and shredders can also be a great option.

 

Properly Disposing of Your Garden Waste

Although garden tools are built to last, they will inevitably get old and start to fail. How do you maintain the sustainability of your garden when tools and other garden waste are being sent to the landfill? At TerraCycle, we offer a Garden Products Zero Waste Box that you can use to send us old garden product waste for recycling – everything from mulch and soil bags, lawn decoration, and planters, to hoses, nozzles, and even sprinklers.

 

Eco-Friendly Gardening ToolsReusing Old Household Items in the Garden

You’d be surprised what creative garden items you can make with waste found around the house. For example, instead of throwing away that old boot, why not soak it in water and turn it into a planter? Instead of using tags to identify your plants, take some twigs and shave off the ends so that you can write the names of the plants on them, or use old scraps of wood from the garage. Turn your trash into treasures for the garden!

 

Using Homemade Bug Repellant

We often use harmful chemicals and pesticides as a sort of lesser of two evils. There are many insects that prey on the goodies in our gardens, and we typically want to keep them away at all costs. Even so, there are natural alternatives to these chemicals that are healthier for both your garden and the environment. For example, a spray bottle of diluted essential oils like peppermint, eucalyptus, citronella, and cinnamon is great for a wide variety of pests. You can also create a safe and fast-acting pest killing spray by letting a square of natural bar soap dissolve in one gallon of water. After a few hours, take out the soap solids and fill an empty spray bottle with your concoction. 

 

Save your seedsSave Your Seeds!

Some gardeners never think to collect their plants’ seeds for later use. By collecting and properly storing your pepper, tomato, eggplant, squash and other edibles’ seeds, you can keep growing your plants for years to come. As a rule of thumb, most seeds will be fine for years if they are properly stored, and improperly stored seeds can still last as long as an entire year.

 

www.Dishmag.com / Issue 171 - September 3947
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