While gardening itself is a “green” activity, there are ways to make it an even more eco-friendly experience. Sometimes, gardening deviates from the natural and enters the realm of the harmful. For example, some gardeners use chemical fertilizers without even realizing it, and weed killers and pesticides can be a part of even the smallest garden. So here are some tips to make your gardening ventures greener.
Perhaps the simplest and most basic thing you can do to begin the greening of your gardening efforts is to start a compost pile. You can actually make compost indoors under the right conditions – indoor compost bins are available, with or without worms. You can recycle your kitchen scraps into compost by tossing them into your outdoor pile or bin. Once it’s broken down, this compost will serve as a natural fertilizer for your garden.
Natural Pest Control
It is tempting to shoot those pesky bugs with some commercial poison from your local garden center. But before you reach for the synthetic pesticide, consider some natural alternatives.
- Natural pesticides are available commercially and are often found on the same shelves as the synthetic versions, so read labels carefully. Natural pesticides are usually soap-based or made from other natural, biodegradable substances. They usually work mechanically, not chemically.Insecticidal soaps are usually derived from oils (saponified vegetable oil is the greenest choice). Diatomaceous earth is another example of a natural pesticide. This fine powder is made from fossilized diatoms and works by “drying up” insects, snails and slugs. Neem oil is a natural insect repellent, and is found in certain commercially available, natural pesticides.
- Home-made pesticides are inexpensive and quite effective. You can make your own insecticidal soap using a tablespoon of natural, biodegradable dish soap to one gallon of water. You can also purchase neem oil and use it in your home-made insect sprays.
- Arrange plants for natural insect repellents. For example, basil repels aphids, so plant it near tomatoes. Garlic bulbs planted around tomatoes and fruit trees can repel pests.
Native plants have more natural disease and pest resistance, therefore requiring less chemical intervention in the form of fungicides, pesticides, or weed killers.
There are pots and planters available that are made from recycled materials, such as rice hulls or scraps of glass. You can also recycle containers that your find around your home by converting them to planters. Consider unusual items such as old cooking pots, teapots, baskets, dish pans, and even milk jugs. Glass containers can be used to make terrariums.
These are just a few tips to help assure that the garden will always be greener on your side of the fence.