24 June, 2015
With summer upon us, most of us are done with our spring planting and are enjoying the fruits of our labor from the comfort of our outdoor furniture. (If not, don't panic – there's still plenty of great stuff you can plant this season!) That said, maintaining a garden often takes just as much work as planting one. A lot of materials go into the process, and it can have a negative impact on the environment and your backyard if you're not careful. To make sure you're nurturing the environment (and not destroying it), try using a few green tips the next time you're exercising that green thumb:
Opt for organic fertilizer
The type of fertilizer you use may not seem like it would make that much of an impact on the sustainability of your garden, but the organic variety is void of the harmful chemicals the man-made kind has. Some folks fear that natural alternatives won't be as effective when it comes to deterring pests, but that's usually not the case. Besides, the environment is well worth the sacrifice!
Use as many native plants as possible
One of the cool parts about many gardening stores today is that they allow you to choose from plants you can find all over the world. The only downside? These plants can introduce a wealth of diseases (not to mention pests) that you'd otherwise never find. Water consumption also plays into this – native plants typically don't need much extra watering, as they were able to grow in your region on all on their own. When you choose shrubs from other regions of the world, you risk needing to put in a lot more work – and resources – to maintain them.
Grow your own food
This might not have a "green" effect on your backyard specifically, but it does reduce your carbon footprint overall. Growing as much of your own fruits and veggies as possible means that less food-related shipping and packaging is done in grocery stores.
Bring in the birds
Birds eat all sorts of harmful bugs and pests, and incorporating a bird bath (and potentially a nesting box) into your backyard decor can attract them to your garden and help keep your plants healthy. As a bonus, birds are also pleasant to look at when you're sitting on your outdoor sofa.
Reuse your green waste
Recycling isn't just for paper and plastics – you can also repurpose your green waste, which is biodegradable waste high in nitrogen. One way to do this is by putting it in a container and routinely having a green waste company come collect it, or you can opt to turn it into your own compost and use it to fertilize your garden. Consider it plant inception.
Recycle your packaging
Last but not least, make sure you're recycling all of your plant and gardening material packages after you're done using them. You can also recycle plastic containers from other areas of your home, like the kitchen, and use them to protect seedlings or serve as pots for other plants you might be growing.