Going Green for Your Garden: Not Your Traditional Tips
The “green” movement has meant revolutionary changes in how people do things in their everyday lives. This method of conserving resources can also be extended to gardening activities, to use less water, better soils and less toxic pesticides and fertilizers to prevent damage to the environment. Going green in your garden is easy once you understand the basic principles.
Using water wisely is the first step in making your garden greener. Some plants are not native to the area in which you live and may require much more water than normally falls there. Choose plants that are native to your area of the country that have adapted to the climate and water conditions in your area. Moisture retaining soil conditioners, such as compost, vermiculite and sphagnum moss, can help to prevent evaporation that loses water from the soil. Set up a rain barrel on your property to collect rainwater to use for watering plants. Use mulch around plants to prevent the sun’s heat from evaporating moisture from the soil.
Use solar cells available at garden stores to light your garden paths and shed instead of electric power. You will save money and help to preserve the environment. There are also solar power rebates that anyone can take advantage of when investing in Infinite Energy Solar Power.
Drip irrigation is a method of conserving water that gives plants a continuous supply of small amounts of water. Many garden centers offer drip irrigation equipment or you can put together a system of your own design with plastic tubing or PVC pipe.
Instead of synthetic fertilizers that can upset the balance of the yard and nearby waterways, use organic fertilizers that break down easily and are used more efficiently by the plants. You can recycle yard and kitchen waste in a simple compost bin in your back yard. You don’t need a great deal of equipment. A small spot in the corner of the yard, some chicken wire to make a small, enclosed area, and a pitchfork is all you need to get started. The compost is made from “brown” components, such as dried leaves and other yard waste, and “green” components, such as grass clippings and food peelings. A bit of water and frequent turning will then turn these materials into a rich amendment for your garden.
Instead of the toxic poisons used in many garden pesticides, use organic compounds such as neem oil, garlic spray or sticky tape to remove insects that threaten your plants. Even a strong blast of water from the garden hose can help to dislodge pests without adding chemicals to your soil. Biological controls like introducing ladybugs, lacewings and other beneficial species can keep your garden free of damaging insects.
Andre has been a freelance writer for several years, and has become increasingly interested in green-living since recently moving to Seattle with his wife of 10 years, where it’s so prevalent. He and his wife just moved into their first home at the beginning of last spring, so their first “real” garden flourished and grew faster than they could eat.