5 steps to creating an environmentally friendly garden
Please tell me that you have used your Netflix subscription to see Our Planet with Sir David Attenborough? The ambitious documentary shares some really important messages about the destruction of the natural environment for many a species of flora and fauna. Talking about the impact that we, HUMANS, have on this planet is not easy for many but I am always inspired by those around me that are actively focused on reducing their carbon footprint.
Recent research has shown, that over 60% of shoppers are concerned about the environmental impact of their clothes shopping. That being said, there is still a very long way to go and everyone can do their own little bit to help. This includes your home and in this particular post your garden – and here we look at five ways to create an environmentally friendly garden that you can enjoy just as much.
1. Limit your use of water
There is a huge amount of misuse when it comes to water. This includes showers, taps, and baths but it can also be in your garden too. A good first step would be to limit your water use and make sure that you’re only using what you need. Overwatering flowers can actually be damaging to them. Another good tip for limiting your water use is to check the weather forecast. If it’s a sunny day but it’s due to rain tomorrow, do you really need to water your plants? A bit of forward planning could save a lot of water.
2. Grow your own produce
The carbon footprint of fruit and vegetables is huge. Most of them are delivered from long distance, which means air pollution as well as other transport costs. Buying from local sources would be a good option, but an even better option would be to grow your own.
Planting your own vegetables is not only the best possible solution for the environment, it’s also fun to do and you’ll have the rewarding experience of eating food that you have made yourself.
3. Make your own compost
Plenty of garden waste ends up being wasted. Even if it is taken away by garbage trucks for processing, there is still the negative environmental impact of the transport. A much better solution would be to make your own compost.
Once you have a compost bin, you can throw hundreds of different items in there. The end result is compost that you’re going to be able to use to enrich your garden – which will further help you to make your own produce.
4. Choose reusable materials
Gardens are a wonderful place to be, but they can contain a lot of plastic. From garden wings to your patio furniture, you can find a lot of damaging materials in a garden. It’s a better idea to try to use more earthy materials to cut down on plastic consumption.
You also want to make sure that anything you’re buying for your garden is recycled in the most efficient way. There is plenty of packaging (with the likes of compost bags, plant pots and garden furniture) which all needs to be disposed of correctly.
5. Natural pesticides
You want to try to avoid the use of chemicals in your garden as much as possible. There are many great alternatives that you could use instead, such as homemade sprays.
This year I have resisted feeding my plants with anything other than this natural pesticide/flower food: used ground coffee; and I am so proud. Not only do my plants look mighty healthy (no signs of leaves devoured by caterpillars, they have bloomed for longer than before.
Ground coffee enriches the soil with potassium, nitrogen and other minerals that plants love. Your can therefore mix it in your soil as a natural flower food. You can also use it to repel ants and slugs by piling it around the plant base to form a barrier.
The good news if you are not much of a coffee drinker? Major coffee chains (including EAT and Starbucks) give out free bags of used ground coffee. Just pop in a shop, ask if any left (they usually have these bags at the collection point) grab a few and visit again after a few days to collect some more!
Your roses and gardenias will especially love the coffee mix as it increases acidity in the soil. You can also use it as a liquid feeder (mix two cups in a bucket of water, leave overnight and spray the next day).
There are other things that you can try too. Companion planting can be used as a natural bug repellent and manual weeding can prevent you from ever having to use extra chemicals.
It’s important to question everything that you’re doing in a garden and consider whether it is good for the environment or not.