Growing a vegetable garden can add a lot of enjoyment to your life and home. When you plant and care for a garden, you get to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air, gain a sense of pride and accomplishment from growing food from scratch, and enjoy a bounty of delicious and free fresh produce. If you also care about sustainability, it's important to know that some gardens are more green and eco-friendly than others. Here are five ways to make your family's garden more eco-friendly this year:
Start a Compost Bin
Composting is an excellent way to make your garden more green. Instead of throwing vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, egg shells, and other items into the trash, you can add them to your compost bin. Over time these items break down into rich, nutrient-dense soil for your garden. Composted soil tends to be more aerated and full of beneficial microorganisms than store-bought soil, and it doesn't contain any harsh chemicals. You can purchase a compost bin at a home improvement store or online, or easily make one yourself.
Install a Drip Irrigation System
Drip irrigation systems are significantly less wasteful than traditional hand watering with a hose or using sprinklers to water your garden. This is because drip irrigation systems supply consistent, low pressure water through a series of channels and tubes and deliver the water just where you need it. Not only is this watering method more environmentally friendly, but gardens tend to thrive much more easily with drip irrigation systems because they are neither under nor over-watered. For more information on these systems, talk to a drip irrigation service representative.
Attract More Butterflies and Bees
Bees and other pollinators are on the decline, which may have untold negative consequences for the environment. You can do your part to help out the bees and butterflies by adding plenty of the plants they love to your garden. The wider the variety of plants in your garden, the more likely you are to attract pollinators.
Flowering vegetable plants like squash and cucumbers are a great option. Round out the vegetables and herbs in your garden with beautiful flowers to boost its attractiveness for bees and butterflies. Calendula, lavender, and foxglove are especially popular with bees and are quite pretty to boot.
Use Non-toxic Pesticides
The last thing any gardener wants is to see their beloved vegetable plants being devoured by pesky insects. Unfortunately, traditional pesticides are extremely bad for the environment, sending toxic chemicals into the local water supply and ground. They can also repel or kill beneficial insects, weakening your garden over time.
Instead of using typical pesticides, try natural, environmentally friendly alternatives. For example, you can try adding herbs like mint, citronella, or lemongrass, as these are natural deterrents to aphids and many other pests. You will get the added bonus of being able to enjoy a variety of herbs along with your vegetables. Another idea is to add birdhouses filled with birdseed around your yard, ideally surrounding your garden. The newly attracted birds will eat many of the pests that make their way into your garden.
Try Natural Weed Killers
Weeds can quickly become any gardener's number one enemy since they take over gardens and deprive your plants of much-needed nutrients. Harsh chemical weed killers are effective but not very earth-friendly. The chemicals in weed killers leak into the soil and into your plants, and are toxic for "good" bugs as well as animals. Instead of using store-bought toxic weed killers, try a natural solution instead.
By incorporating these ideas into your gardening, you can enjoy all the benefits of a garden while also doing your part to help the environment.