How To Make Your Garden Eco Friendly

Sunflowers

There is a lot more interest in organic and eco friendly gardening. There is no better place than the garden for taking practical steps to help the environment. These are some simple suggestions that are quite easy to implement in your own garden.

Dealing With Slugs

The ubiquitous slug pellet can be quite damaging to wildlife, birds or cats may eat them by mistake. Instead of slug pellets there are many organic methods you can use.

  • Beer traps. Slugs are attracted to sunken pots of beer and drown in the beer.
  • Slug Nematodes. These are a nematode which are a natural foe of the slug. Watered into the soil they will prevent slugs growing in a certain area for upto 4 weeks.
  • Physical barriers to pot plants
  • Encouraging frogs – see pond.

Dealing With Pests.

Rather than use chemical sprays which kill many types of insects, try attracting insects who will do the job for you. One of the best ways to deal with pests such as green fly is to encourage their natural predators. For example, it is possible to attract more ladybirds, which will devour a huge amount of green fly. To attract ladybird grow plants that they like such as buddleia. You can also try ladybird boxes to help overwinter them.

Wildlife Pond

A pond will make an attractive feature for any gardener and will definitely help the organic gardener. In particular try to encourage frogs. Frogs will do a great job in eating slugs, one of the great pests of the garden. To encourage frogs, make a pond which easily accessible from the edges and provide enough cover. If you have fish, try protecting the frog spawn.

Composting.

Composting should be looked upon as an art in itself. There is great satisfaction in taking part in the natural recycling process of the garden. A well maintained compost heap will provide a steady supply of organic fertiliser and soil improver. If you have a neighbour who just send their lawn clippings to the tip, offer to take them and use them in your own compost heap. Well rotted compost is better than artificial fertilisers because it also acts as a soil conditioner. see: how to make good compost

Growing Your Own Vegetables.

Vegetables imported from around the world have a high carbon footprint because of the travelling involved. Growing your own vegetables means you can make a big difference to reducing carbon emissions. As an added bonus your own fruit and vegetables will taste much better. You will also know what they have been sprayed with. Commercially grown crops can be sprayed up to 27 times in a growing season.

Peat Free

Gardeners use a lot of peat which is contributing to the decline of natural peat areas. However, there are alternatives to peat. Seeds can be sown in a variety of mediums such as:

  • mixture of top soil / sand.
  • Coir based substitutes

At the very least peat should not be used as a soil improver. It is better to use organic composts such as well rotted horse manure or pelleted chicken manure.

Growing Local Plants

Look around the garden to see which local plants thrive. If you choose plants which are right for the local conditions, they will grow with less attention. It is always better to work with nature, rather than trying to fight nature and grow exotic plants not suited to your location.

Companion Planting.

In nature, there is great diversity. In our gardens we want to recreate this diversity to try and create a natural setting. For example, some plants like poached egg plants and marigolds attract hover flies which are a greedy eater of greenfly and other pests. (Note hoverfiles may look like a small variety of wasp, but, they have no sting.)

Water Usage

There are increasing demands being placed on water supplies. Gardeners can help to avoid unnecessary water use, by taking practical steps to conserve water. Ideas include:

  • Make use of water butts, to collect rainwater from roofs.
  • Mulch in spring after a heavy rain fall.
  • Make sure any watering goes direct to roots and is not just dissipated from the surface.

Related
Organic Methods for dealing with greenfly
Bees in organic gardens


14 Responses to How To Make Your Garden Eco Friendly

  1. irma February 26, 2009 at 16.03 #

    cool

  2. rose February 26, 2009 at 16.03 #

    that is soo nice this helped me alot thanks but can someone show me garden pics

  3. Mrs Linda Kane March 23, 2010 at 16.03 #

    I am a teaching assistant starting an eco-friendly gardening club at school. Where can I get leaflets to help me?Any help would be gratefully received. Thankyou.

  4. admin March 24, 2010 at 16.03 #

    When I taught at night-school I begged leaflets from DIY stores like Focus. The RHS have a good education section and I would check them out

  5. Russell Tilling March 18, 2011 at 16.03 #

    Apart from the odd beetle, worm and blackbird, a mown lawn is basically worthless to the environment. A lawn allows almost no organic matter to be returned to the soil because the grass clippings are generally removed. This means that (apart from the odd leaf that doesn’t get raked up) even the soil organisms that depend on organic matter (like earthworms) don’t get to feed and condition the soil, as they would in their natural state
    A lawn also requires the annual application of fertilisers to maintain that super-green colour that every pensioner in the UK seems to be so totally obsessed about and a 10m x 10m lawn requires around 14,000 litres of fresh water in just one month. A much better alternative is to encourage wildflowers, mosses and clovers in at least parts of our lawns.

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