With the onset of warm weather, I am finally able to get out into the backyard and do a bit of planting. I am always looking for eco-friendly garden ideas while I browse through my local nursery.
This weekend I hit the garden center and bought a ton of plants, some fertilizer, and a few new pots. I chose plants not treated with neonicotinoids to help protect the bees, organic fertilizers made from natural substances, and clay pots rather than plastic.
Gardening can be fun but the way you choose to do it plays a huge part in your carbon footprint. Here is a simple list of ten things that everyone can easily do to save the planet while at the same time caring for their garden.
Eco-Friendly Garden Ideas to Help Save the Planet
I hope these eco-friendly garden ideas come in handy while caring for your own plants!
Collect rainwater to help keep the garden green, even during a drought
One of the most important eco-friendly garden ideas to consider is a decorative rain barrel to collect excess rainwater. It will help prevent flooding in low-lying parts of the garden while at the same time allowing you to water your plants and flowers, guilt-free and with no impact on your water bill.
Even during a drought, you can maintain your garden’s fresh and beautiful look. Tip? Install a screen on the top of the barrel to keep pests and bugs out!
Use Cornmeal in the Garden
Weeds are the bane of any gardener’s existence but if you’re partial to using corn meal gluten in your kitchen, you might want to use some in your garden too.
To keep weed seeds from germinating and growing into full-fledged plants, sprinkle some corn meal around your flowers. The gluten will prevent seeds from germinating – so avoid it in your vegetable patch or nary a tomato will you grow this year!
Do you already have some weeds growing? A pinch of salt at the base of a weed will kill it naturally.
Bring on the Good Bugs!
There are several varieties of insects that are good for your garden and you can encourage them to pay your plants and flowers a visit.
Ladybugs and lacewing flies love two things: brightly colored flowers – like sunflowers and marigolds – and plant-destroying aphids. The former attracts the ladybugs and flies and the latter becomes their lunch!
How do you encourage the good bugs to fly on over to your garden? Plant colorful flowers. They’ll see them like a botanical drive-thru window.
Do you like a little Irish Spring in the shower?
Buy two bars of Irish Spring soap. When you’re in the garden, shave a little of the first bar around your perennial plants and flowers: small, furry critters don’t care for it. It’s an inexpensive deterrent that smells a whole lot better than many of the products sold at the garden center.
When you’re done with all your gardening efforts for the day, take the other bar into the shower and put it to good use for yourself. Win-win!
Snails and slugs are slimy but oddly, don’t care for man-made slime!
Spread some petroleum jelly on the edges of your pots and planters and save your plants from becoming an all-a-snail-can-eat buffet of green goodness.
Get to reusing those milk jugs and plastic bottles
We all have too many of them in the house, what with growing kids and thirsty parents, and most can be recycled but you can also put a few of them to good use in the garden.
You can keep your early spring seedlingssafe from sudden frosts or other harsh weather elements by cutting off the bottom of the jug or bottles and placing them over top of the seedling. This will protect them from threats of spring frost or hail.
Just don’t forget to remove them when the good weather is here for good, so the plants can benefit from the full and healthful effects of sun and rain!
Mulching is so important for your garden! It protects plants from pests and weeds and helps the plants retain moisture and the necessary minerals from the earth that they feed on.
As if those weren’t good enough reasons, mulch helps to cut down on the time and energy you need to spend maintaining the garden and plant beds.
Epsom salts for you… and for the garden?
Did you know that Epsom salts are a perfect natural fertilizer? They will help keep your garden plants green, your flowers growing in abundance and balance the levels of magnesium in your soil, an important mineral for your garden’s happiness.
And then you can put some in your hot bath and relax those tired muscles after a lovely day of tending your beautiful garden!
Coffee grounds and eggshells are compost gold!
Who knew being addicted to coffee could end up being good for the garden? Coffee grounds that are placed in the earth or the compost, to a depth of 6 to 8 inches, can do a lot of good.
The grounds provide phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and copper, all of which your soil needs: like a dirt multivitamin! While the grounds degrade in the earth, they will also release nitrogen into the soil, which is another essential compound for a healthy garden.
Fun tip? Sprinkle some mulch at the base of your hydrangea plants and your pink flowers will turn blue as the grounds alter the pH levels of the soil!
Eggshells are two-pronged goodness for your garden too:
1. They are composed of 96% calcium carbonate so they can give your compost that hit of calcium it needs to nourish the resulting mixture for your soil. Pepper and tomato plants in particular love calcium!
2. Crushed eggshells are sharp! Sprinkle some around your plants to deter pests like slugs and snails from munching on your growing garden.
Diane is a professional blogger and nationally certified pharmacy technician at Good Pill Pharmacy. She earned her BS in Microbiology at the University of New Hampshire and has worked in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging and freelance writing to share this knowledge with others. Learn more about her HERE.