Eco Friendly: Simple Steps to an Ecological Garden

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If you want to do your bit for the planet, it's not enough to simply plan an environmentally-friendly building. It's important to show eco-consciousness for your garden as well. Maintaining an ecologically-sustainable garden has multiple benefits including little or no groundwater contamination, improvement of soil quality, reduction of air pollution, production of nutrient-packed fruits and vegetable, and partial to complete avoidance of many soil and waterborne diseases.

Every avid gardener knows how difficult it is to plan for and create a beautiful garden. Days of meticulous tending may result in a single bloom. But the exhilarating feeling of seeing the first bud compensates many weary hours spend under the harshness of sunshine or rain! On top of that, if this beautiful creation happens to be a child of environment-friendly practices the reward is manifold, not only for the owner of the garden, but for every person who is benefitting from such practices. Indulging in simple and hassle-free gardening practices can help you to create such a beautiful and earth friendly garden. Here we will discuss some of the many steps you may follow to achieve your aim of an ecologically planned garden.

Shun toxic chemicals

country Garden by Bowles & Wyer
Bowles & Wyer

A country garden in the Cotswolds

Bowles & Wyer

Avoid using harmful chemical pesticides and fertilisers and replace them with organic and sustainable compounds. Toxic chemicals can completely destroy our ecosystem. Repeatedly, researchers have found direct or indirect links between hazardous synthetic fertilisers and certain diseases like lymphoma, brain and intestinal cancer. Use of such chemicals also caused increased emissions of methane, nitrogen and ammonia in the atmosphere resulting in adverse climate conditions. Going for environment friendly alternatives like egg shells, crushed coffee beans, used tea leaves is the need of the hour. Similarly instead of synthetic pesticides, use lemon juice, undiluted vinegar and lukewarm water to kill weeds and germs.

Cultivate native plants

Choose local instead of exotic plant species. Local species have inherent capabilities of withstanding the elements of nature including pest attacks. Being more resilient they need less fertilising and nurturing for growing up healthy. They also assist the native wildlife to thrive under their green canopy. You may take inspiration from this Brazilian garden, planned by CP Paisagismo which uses native tropical plants to increase its charm.

Opt for home composting

This way you easily turn your kitchen wastes into valuable sources of garden nutrition. Set up the compost bin in a shady area of your garden. It is better to have a bin of at least one cubic metre volume. Create a thin layer of soil at its base. Pour over grass clippings, weeds, vegetable kitchen waste and manure. This should compose half of the total amount of compost. Add wood chippings, newspaper, straw and dead leaves as well. 

Completely filling up the bin and eventual creation of the compost will take some time. Turn over this mixture occasionally. In dry weather, keep the moisture level intact. In about six months to two years time your compost will be ready for use. You will get dark brown crumbly soil full of nutritional value. Make sure you are already preparing the next batch when the first one is being used in your garden.

Go for herb gardening

Designate an area for planting herbs. Due to their aromatic nature, herbs act as natural pesticides. Choose from a wealth of plant species like basil, lavender, mint, thyme and oregano. Plant neem trees in your courtyard. Oil extracted from neem leaves act as excellent pest repellents both outside and inside your house. 

You can also cultivate any of these plants as companion species. For example, mint and thyme both discourage cabbage worms, ants and mice so planting them together would be helpful. Sage repels many harmful beetles. Rosemary keeps away moths and some beetle species. Basil discourages mosquitoes and tomato pests. Though not exactly an herb, chili peppers are great for eradicating pests. Garlics too have the same capacity. You can enjoy the added benefits of cooking fresh and flavourful food in your kitchen.

Remember to mulch

  by Barnes Walker Ltd
Barnes Walker Ltd

Kitchen Garden, Cheshire

Barnes Walker Ltd

Mulching helps in more ways than one. It gives your garden a tidy appearance, improves soil quality and suppresses weeds. Biodegradable mulch is often made up of wood chips, manure, seaweed and straw. Sometimes mushroom compost is also used in this process, but care should be taken to not to use mushroom based mulch near camellias, azaleas and rhododendrons. Mushroom based mulch by nature is alkaline whereas these plants prefer acidic soil. So the necessity of taking due precautions. Mushroom based mulch is very useful for vegetable garden.

Create a water body

An environmental garden also needs a charming pond. Sometime back we discussed the techniques of creating a garden pond in your own backyard. You can follow the tips presented through this post and build one for you. Needless to say, it will massively increase the beauty of your garden. Besides, it will invite such birds, amphibians and other animals that prey on harmful insects and will help restore the ecological balance your garden.

Do you have your own eco-garden? What are your tips? Share your ideas with us!
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