Spring is coming quickly which means it’s almost time to start planning your garden! This year, incorporate eco-friendly gardening tips for healthier plants and the environment. Eco-friendly gardening isn’t hard, it can actually make your garden thrive with less work. From companion planting to using composting for soil, this blog post has unique tips to help you get started. No matter if you’re new to gardening or have kept one for years, these tips will make this year’s gardening impactful, to say the least!
Companion planting is a strategic way of placing particular plant species beside one another for various reasons. One might do this to increase pollination, natural pest control, and increase plant productivity.
For example, beans, corn, and peas are companion plants to potatoes so you would plant them next to one another in your garden. On the other hand, tomatoes are not a companion to potatoes so you would want to move them to the other side of your garden.
If you want to try companion planting for natural pest control, try planting a few mums. Mums naturally repel insects such as roaches, ants, ticks, and beetles.
Composting for Soil Health
Did you know adding compost to the soil in your garden promotes plant growth, retains nutrients, and helps keep diseases and weeds out of the garden? Before you plant at the beginning of spring add 1-2 inches of compost to the top of your garden. You only want your compost to make up 30%-40% of the soil. Then you’ll till the compost into the rest of the soil. Finally, you’re ready to plant your spring seeds!
Save Water with a Dry Garden
One of the best ways to save water this spring is by planting a dry garden. This type of garden is full of drought-resistant plants that don’t rely on water to grow. Any plant that naturally stores moisture would be a great addition. Many people opt for Mediterranean plants due to their ability to thrive in dry conditions.
When planting a dry garden it’s important to have proper drainage for when it rains. One way to do this is to have layers under the plants such as natural compost, pulled weeds, and leaves. Another way is to create walkways or paths through your dry garden created with material that absorbs the water and later soaks into the earth rather than running off and into a storm drain in the street.
A few dry garden plant ideas are cactus, yucca, blooming chives, Madagascar periwinkle, English lavender, rosemary, century plant, Russian sage, and so many more!
Plant For Pollinators
Every garden needs pollinators for flowers to bloom and buds to grow. By intentionally planting nectar-rich plants, you’re increasing the productivity of your garden. A few species to plant around your garden and yard are borage, butterfly bush, coneflower, daisy, goldenrod, marigolds, zinnias, and so many more. Start with planting a few wildflower seed balls in your backyard!
Plant a Tree
Planting trees are not only amazing for the environment but they’re also extremely helpful for your garden. A tree in your garden provides food, protection, and a home for birds and mammals. It also gives off oxygen to plants while absorbing carbon dioxide. Along with the roots aerate the soil and absorb runoff water to improve drainage. When the leaves fall from the trunks they’ll go into the soil to easily compost.
A few fast-growing trees you can plant near your garden are silver birch, willow, and alder. Silver birch are among the favorites, especially for a smaller garden.
Plant What You Eat Most in your Garden
When it comes time to decide what to plant in your garden think of what your family eats the most. If using bell peppers 3-4 times a week, that would go to the very top of the list. If you use broccoli only 2 times a month that should go at the lower end of the list. When you’re finished listing out what you eat in a sorted list, decide how much room your garden will take up. Finally by starting at the top of your list and working down, make room for each item. If you get halfway down and have no more gardening space either add a few pots or raised beds or wait to plant the rest. This method helps reduce the amount of food waste.
Plant Native Plants in your Eco-Friendly Garden
Native plants are indigenous species that naturally inhibit a particular area. By planting native plants in your garden, you’re keeping your area true to what the environment has always been. Another perk of this eco-friendly gardening strategy is native plants don’t need very little attention due to having everything they need right in their habitat.
Learn Your Planting Zone
Planting zones tell gardeners and growers what plant species will thrive when in a particular area. These zones help ensure your plants will thrive. For example, Georgia is made up of 4 different planting zones ranging from 6a to 9a. In zone 6, oregano, flowering fern, and peach trees thrive.
Hang Bird Feeders Nearby
Did you know birds naturally keep insects away? By placing bird feeders in your yard, you encourage different species to make your outdoor space their new home. You don’t necessarily want the bird feeders in your garden. No one wants their droppings all over the plants which is why placing them farther away is more beneficial.
Bird species that are beneficial to have in your yard are bluebirds, chickadees, goldfinches, owls, sparrows, and swallows. By placing mealworms, dried fruits, and sunflower seeds into your feeder you’ll attract many of these species.
Eco-friendly gardening can be so much fun! Implementing just one of these tips will impact the environment positively. Maybe this year you’ll try companion planting or begin composting for a naturally fertilized garden. Remember you can garden anywhere! Even in an apartment or a townhome balcony. There are so many benefits to growing your own food and when done with eco-friendly practices it improves the environment even more!