If you’re conscious of reducing water and power usage, use various types of sustainable materials inside your home, and try to purchase eco-friendly cleaning products, you’re having a positive impact on the environment, not to mention other creatures and yourself and your family.
However, to live as green a life as possible, you should bring these principles to the outside of your home. There are simple yet effective steps you can take to make your gardening choices more sustainable today.
Don’t Use Chemicals
Firstly, avoid the use of chemicals in your garden wherever possible. Chemical-laden products are everywhere these days, whether as weed killers, fertilizers, pest deterrents, or other products, and they are harmful to the environment. Avoid having a part of this negative impact by opting for more natural options.
Choose organic sprays or make your own, or if you utilize a lawn care service for regular maintenance, check with your gardener about the types of products he or she uses. They should be fine with using products you feel more comfortable with.
You can also naturally reduce the number of pests in your yard that come to munch on plants and other greenery. Encourage the right kinds of bugs into your outdoor spaces; that is, the ones that eat the nasty, annoying insects. For example, ladybugs and lacewings eat plant-destroying aphids and can be enticed into the yard with marigolds, sunflowers, and other brightly-colored plants. Some birds can also help get rid of pests like caterpillars, garden slugs, snails, and grubs. Encourage the winged creatures into your backyard by installing bird-feeders, nesting boxes, and bird baths.
Weed control doesn’t have to happen with toxic chemicals either. Keep weeds at bay by placing mulch (e.g., grass clippings, compost, wood chips, straw, etc.) around your garden. This mulch will help to smother and inhibit weeds. It also works to prevent additional seeds from germinating.
You can use the tried and true method of pulling weeds out by hand, too. Plus, mowing often will help to keep weeds under control. If you’re bothered by weeds still getting through these measures, at least choose an organic weed spray.
Next, composting is a key eco activity to start. By putting a wide variety of your household’s organic materials into a compost heap rather than the bin, you’ll reduce the amount of landfill you contribute to. In turn, this also has a positive impact on greenhouse gas emission levels.
Another benefit of composting is that once the worms and other creatures have done their part and degraded the materials down into a nice fresh mixture, you’ll have “gardener’s gold” on hand to use on your lawn and gardens. This compost provides fertile feed for greenery, without the need for chemicals or packaging. It also helps plants to retain more moisture, so you won’t have to water so often.
Getting a compost pile started isn’t difficult. Lay some organic materials on a bit of soil in a warm spot in your yard that gets some sun. The trick is to layer materials. Alternate between brown things like soil, dead leaves, twigs, branches, and paper and cardboard; green waste (including grass clippings, produce from your kitchen, egg shells, coffee grounds, tea bags, and more); and water. The addition of the moisture is what helps to break down all the other organic matter.
Be Careful with Water Usage
With water being such a precious commodity, it’s a good idea to be mindful of how much you use around your home. Gardens are one area in particular where much water gets wasted, so take steps to be more frugal. Reuse and harvest water from inside and outside your house. Collect gray water from laundry activities, showers, and the kitchen sink, or harvest rainwater through tanks and buckets.
Also, when you do need to use your normal taps to water lawn or gardens, consider the best time of day to do the job. In summer, the heat causes water to evaporate before it gets down into the soil. As such, it’s wise to water first thing in the morning or later in the afternoon, so less moisture evaporates. Also, choose drought-resistant plants for your garden, and use easy-care ground covers or stones and pavers rather than having a huge amount of lawn to have to water.
Being more environmentally minded in your backyard doesn’t have to be costly or time-consuming. Try out some of the suggestions above, and you’ll soon feel good knowing you’re having less of an impact on the earth while still creating a garden you and your family can use and admire.