An Eco Friendly Garden is one that is managed without the use of harmful fertilizers or pesticides, is wildlife friendly, and is not wasteful. Making the greener choices and reducing waste where possible will ensure your eco friendly garden is as near to how the surrounding environment would be if it was left uninhabited. Growing your own fruit and vegetables is eco friendly in and of itself as it lessens our dependence on large scale commercial agriculture and reduces our carbon footprint in the process. The process required to grow all the produce needed to fill our supermarket shelves relies heavily on damaging fertilizers and pesticides which harm the environment, and growing your own at home gives you greater control over the entire process. Using natural and organic growing practices always provides healthier food that definitely tastes better.
All plants have different watering needs that vary throughout the growing season due to weather and temperature. A good irrigation system tailored to your own garden will accommodate these needs and increase efficiency. Using a drip irrigation system with a timer is the best way to water your plants and is also the least labour intensive. These dripper systems use less water than a watering can and are allowed to be used during a hosepipe ban. Watering first thing in the morning or last thing at night wastes much less water to evaporation. Recycling water that would normally be wasted is a good option for the eco garden. The water used for dishes is ok to use in the garden, the low levels of detergent in washing up liquid will not harm plants. Also rainwater can be harvested as easily as placing a barrel or bin under your down spout.
Healthy soil is the first step in having a vibrant and successful garden and if it's treated well it can better sustain growing plants year after year. Eco friendly gardeners use compost and mulch as well as natural fertilizers to feed their soil. Fruit and vegetables as well as ornamental plants can drain the nutrients from the soil and affect it's structure. Replacing these nutrients in the soil and rebuilding it's structure can be done by adding home made compost at the beginning of the season. Making your own compost is free and very easy, you can use a compost bin or just a heap in the garden. Organic plant feeds are readily available from a variety of sources, but why not try adding some seaweed or farmyard manure to meet the constant demands of growing plants. A well fed soil full of nutrients provides the best diet for hungry plants. As well as looking healthier and greener, when plants get the right amounts of various nutrients their immune system is boosted which in turn better helps them withstand pests and diseases.
Organic Pest Control
Pests seem to be omnipresent, they seem to be always around and up to no good. Pesticides have a high success rate but they also harm your garden from the soil up. Organic pest control is all about avoiding pests and disease rather than wiping them out. By eliminating access and opportunity, you are denying pests the chance to attack your crops. As stated; healthier plants have a higher immune system and can withstand pest attacks and disease better. There are many barriers on the market for all the various pests, from bird and butterfly netting to mesh to keep insects out and copper collars to deter slugs and snails. A good population of beneficial insects will take care of their harmful counterparts, aphids, for example, are a favourite meal of many insects including ladybirds. Failing the barrier method, there are plenty of organic pest killers that can be sprayed on your plants.
A wildlife garden is wild looking environment maintained by a gardener for native plants and wildlife, it is the ideal companion to an ornamental or vegetable garden. A wild garden can be made from all or any portion of your garden and should contain a wide variety of natural habitats for plants, insects, birds, and other animals. The best way to start a wildlife garden is to look around the area for wild and uninhabited areas and try to emulate them. An unkempt area at the end of the garden is a good indicator of how your area would look if it was uninhabited, and the plants growing there will be well adapted to local conditions. Having an area of local wild plants provides a comfort zone for wildlife and insects and once it starts growing it requires little or no maintenance. These gardens also help with biological pest control by attracting beneficial insects and creatures.
Eco friendly gardening does not have to come be the result of a total change in the garden. The best way to is to start to garden naturally and introduce greener and less wasteful methods as you go. Just like anything, turning a garden environmentally friendly is a learning process, but one that brings it's own rewards.