5 Hacks to Creating an Eco-Friendly Garden

By Lucy Chandler

As of 2018, 37.1 tonnes of CO2 were emitted according to data from the Global Carbon Project, with the USA accounting for 15% of the total emissions. The effects of global warming on gardening are adverse, starting with groundwater depletion, abnormal plant growth, landscape fragmentation and extreme weather conditions that are unsuitable for agriculture. The adoption of eco-friendly practices in a bid to reduce these effects is, therefore, very important especially for farmers. It is for this reason that agricultural organizations and employees in the agriculture industry, the majority of whom are women, are on the frontline, mitigating global warming effects by championing for the practice of eco-friendly gardening. Never has there been a time that learning and switching to eco-friendly gardening that's as crucial. Thankfully, technology and science have risen to the occasion ensuring there is a constant supply of food to meet the ever-rising demand and the farming techniques being used to produce this bounty are eco-friendly. 

Eco-Friendly Lighting Techniques

Plants need light to grow. Initially, it was just sunlight. Today, technology has led to the production of red and blue artificial lights which work just as perfect. This has, in turn, led to increased production as indoor farming can now go on when the weather outside is too harsh for agriculture. These lights have however led to an increase in the depletion rate of natural energy resources. Luckily, currently available are a variety of solar-powered lighting solutions and pink light LEDs that are eco-friendly. These include solar spotlights, deck lights, and pathway lights. Apart from being eco-friendly by storing natural sunlight during the day to be used at night, installation of solar powered garden lights is also very simple.

Smart Farming Techniques

Studies show that reducing the number of foods one buys by 20% and growing it yourself results in a reduction of CO2 in the air by 68 pounds in a year. Growing vegetables and fruits in your backyard or community gardens, therefore, goes a long way in mitigating global warming. Nevertheless, before jumping right into gardening, take some time to learn about smart farming techniques like the ideal plant choice for your garden depending on the soil and climate. Planting indigenous plants in your area ensures they attain maturity with the least amount of care necessary. Planting of complimentary plants is another way of promoting eco-friendliness in a garden. Good plant combinations complement each other to enhance growth and vitality. An example being growing chives and tomatoes together. The scent from chives deters aphids and other insects from attacking the tomato ensuring maximum yield without the use of herbicides which contribute to global warming.

Practicing Eco-Friendly Garden Maintenance Practices

Pest infestation is a common problem for most gardeners. To control them a farmer needs to practice natural pest control by attracting insects that feed on the pests. Having a variety of local plants and flowers helps attract these insects.  A garden ecosystem with ladybugs and praying mantis ensure your vegetables cannot be infested by aphids. Attracting pollinators is another aspect gardeners need to consider. Approximately 30% percent of foods eaten by man are usually as a result of pollination. This is part of the reason why the importance of bees in an ecosystem cannot be overstated. Having native plants in addition to a variety of flowers in a garden are a sure way of attracting the pollinators. The use of traditional weeding tools such as hoes as opposed to herbicides is another way of maintaining eco-friendliness in a garden.

Reusing And Recycling

Eco-friendliness entails the avoidance or minimization of waste production. This can best be achieved through reusing and recycling. Used up plastics bottles and trays can be reused by filling them up with soil and seedlings planted inside. Little holes can also be made on plastic bottles and be used to sprinkle water on plants and flowers in the garden. A gardener can also reuse gray water from kitchen sinks and showers. Though unfit for human consumption, gray water is very good for use in your garden, helping reduce water wastage as well as water bills. Composting is another way of achieving eco-friendliness in a garden. Homemade compost pits help recycle kitchen refuse, dropped leaves, egg shells, newspaper shreds, and yard trimmings to form 100 % organic fertilizer. Unlike synthetic fertilizers, it does not release destructive methane into the atmosphere that is partially responsible for global warming. Additionally, it improves soil texture and water retention properties.

Good Water Use Practices

Water conservation is an important aspect of making a garden eco-friendly. Water is an invaluable resource for any farmer. Global warming has greatly depleted water beds and farmers can therefore not afford to be reckless with water usage seeing how scarce it is getting.  To save on it, watering of the garden should be done late in the evening and early in the morning to reduce water loss through evaporation. Mulching is also another invaluable method gardeners can use to reduce water loss especially during dry seasons.

Having a rainwater butt installation system helps a gardener harvest rainwater. The harvested rainwater can be stored for use during dry seasons or utilized for watering plants to reduce the cost of water bills. Applying direct methods of watering also help a garden be eco-friendly; the best example being drip irrigation. Overhead spraying with sprinklers and hose reels leads to high water wastage as well as encouraging diseases in vegetables.

Applying the above tips on your garden is a sure way to create a beautiful productive green garden while helping tackle the global warming challenge being experienced. The fact that you get to save money serves as icing on the cake.  Eco-friendly gardens work well with nature resulting in a win-win situation for both the gardener and the environment.

Contributing Writer: Lucy Chandler – A lot of my childhood was spent out in the garden, playing outside at the park and with my father. He taught me how to make bird feeders, bat boxes, and bug homes. After spending a decade working in home design including organizing landscape gardening, I’ve taken a step back to spend more time with my daughters and pass on some of his ideas. It is important to me to share ideas on making eco-friendly gardens from recycled planters to ensuring gardens are pet and animal friendly.

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