Are you a gardener with sustainability in mind? Then this post on eco-friendly gardening tips is just for you. Eco-friendly gardening is a great way to reduce your environmental footprint while creating an inviting outdoor space. Here are 5 tips for creating an eco-friendly garden that is designed with sustainability in mind.
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Table of Contents
Eco-friendly Gardening Tip #1: Use Organic Fertilizers
A great eco-friendly gardening tip is to use organic fertilizers. Organic fertilizers, such as compost and manure are a great way to reduce the number of synthetic chemicals you need to use in your garden. They can break down easily into the soil, providing nutrients for plants. Additionally, they don’t have any harmful effects on the environment like chemical fertilizers do.
Eco-friendly Gardening Tip #2:Compost Food Waste and Yard Trimmings
Composting is a great way to recycle food and yard trash into materials that enrich your soil. Start a compost pile in your garden by collecting organic material like fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds and tea bags, eggshells, weeds, leaves, grass clippings and wood chips—all of which can be used for fertilizing your plants. To help break down the waste faster, mix equal parts of nitrogen-rich greens with carbon-rich browns like dead leaves or straw in the compost pile. To keep mice and rats out, only use vegetable and fruit scraps. Don’t add meat scraps, fats or bones or foods that contain dairy.
Layer Your Compost Pile Properly
As you start filling your container with composting materials, make sure to layer them properly. Start with coarse materials like twigs and leaves, then add a thin layer of soil or finished compost on top. This helps to provide the microorganisms that break down organic matter with the air they need to process your compost. Continue adding alternate layers of carbon-rich material like straw, dried leaves and grass clippings as well as nitrogen-rich material like kitchen scraps and fresh green leaves or manure until you’ve filled your bin or container. Be sure to expose any large chunks of organic matter to the air so they can break down faster — chop or shred larger pieces if necessary.
Keep Your Compost Moist and Aerated
Once the compost pile is filled, it’s important to keep it moist and aerated. You can use a garden hose to spray the compost with water if necessary. You can also simply turn over sections of your compost occasionally using a shovel in order to increase oxygen circulation throughout the material.
Buy Organic Fertilizer
There are other ways of making fertilizers for your garden, such as making “compost tea”, using wastewater from your fish tank, ash or even Epson salt. Read more on this subject in this great post from Lomi on how to make fertilizer.
Eco-friendly Gardening Tip #3: Plant Native Species
Another great eco-friendly gardening tip is to add native species to your gardens. Native plants require less maintenance and tend to survive in the climate they originated in. They also have a higher chance of survival due to insects and other animals, as they are accustomed to them. This reduces the need for pesticides, which can negatively affect the environment. Additionally, by planting native species you’re showing your support for biodiversity and can provide a home to more bird species and some pollinators.
Examples of Native Wildflowers in Ontario:
- Virginal Blue Bells
- Wild Geraniums
- Bottle Gentian
- Pearly Everlasting
- Scarlet Beebalm
Examples of Native Ferns in Ontario
- Marginal Wood Fern
- Ostrich Fern
- Christmas Fern
Examples of Native Grasses and Sedges in Ontario
- Big bluestem
- Bottlebrush Rye
- Fox sedge
Examples of Native Shrubs and Tress in Ontario:
- Tulip Tree
- Red Maple
- Red Oak
- While Cedar
- Creeping Juniper
- Witch Hazel
- Red Raspberry
- Red Osier Dogwood
Find out more about Ontario native plants and how to buy some at the Ontario Native Plants website.
Eco-friendly Gardening Tip #4: Grow Your Garden with Companion Planting Instead of Chemicals and Pesticides
To protect the environment, try to find natural substitutes for chemicals and pesticides. You should also join a sustainable garden club or look into organic gardening practices. Utilize composting, companion planting, hand-picking pests off plants, using mulch and other eco-friendly methods to help your garden thrive without chemical-based products.
What is Companion Planting?
Companion planting is the practice of growing two different plant species in close proximity to one another. This can allow certain plants to benefit from the companions around them, resulting in better crop yields, healthier soil and fewer pests. Corn combines particularly well with beans, pumpkins and squash as they can help add nitrogen and nutrients to the soil for each other’s growth. Different combinations of plants will also attract beneficial insects like bees or ladybugs that help pollinate crops or fight off smaller pests like aphids
Find Out Which Plants Complement Each Other
When deciding which plants to combine, find out which ones fit well together. Some vegetables and herbs are known for their ability to thrive in the presence of certain other plants, while others may impede one another’s growth. For example, onions or leeks can help repel pests if planted near tomatoes or cabbage, while asparagus does better when planted near parsley or basil. Additionally, some crops are even known to naturally contain small amounts of fertilizer that can benefit nearby plants like cabbage and potatoes.
Choose the Right Location for Your Garden
Before you start planting, make sure to choose a spot that is well-suited for your garden. Find a place with plenty of natural light, but not too much, as this can reduce the quality of the plants. Additionally, soil type will also be an important factor. You want a ground that is rich in nutrients and has good drainage for optimal growth and health of your plants.
Give Your Garden Variety and Diversity
Companion planting is a great way to add variety and diversity to your garden. By choosing different varieties of plants and flowers, you will provide nutrients for one another allowing them to naturally grow healthier without needing added fertilizer. This also adds a unique aesthetic making your garden look more appealing. Additionally, different plants attract different insects and predators which can help keep pesky pests away from your precious flowers!
Eco-friendly Gardening Tip #5: Plant Trees and Shrubs for Shade and Cooling Effect
Planting trees and shrubs around your garden provides a natural cooling effect and helps to provide shade for water-sensitive plants. As an added bonus, these larger plants increase biodiversity in your yard as they become homes and shelters for different species. Plant trees like oaks, maples, pines and sweetgums that are native to your area to ensure they will thrive in the climate.
For more on gardening:
- How to Create the Perfect Container Garden in 5 Easy Step
- 8 Essential Steps To Start a Sustainable Vegetable Garden
- 9 Simple Sustainability Tips for Spring