Zero Waste Gardening Tips
I probably should have written this blog post in early spring! Be sure to bookmark or pin on Pinterest this one for next year or maybe for this year’s fall garden!
I’ve got some really wonderful zero waste gardening tips to share with you, BUT I want to quickly mention that growing your own organic produce or native plants in your backyard is already way more sustainable than if you were to purchase your produce from the grocery store. So don’t fret if there’s a little bit of plastic involved in your backyard garden. Remind yourself of the huge reduction in carbon emissions walking a few steps to your yard is compared to some produce being shipped to your super market from other countries. Ok, so let’s call this low waste gardening 🙂
Conserving Water in Your Low Waste Garden
Water usage is probably the biggest environmental impact you’ll be facing with your backyard garden. Plants require quite a lot of water to survive, especially on those blazing hot summer days in Georgia! The best tips for reducing your water usage are:
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- Use mulch in your garden. By surrounding your individual plant babies with mulch, this helps retain moisture in the soil so you won’t need to water as frequently. (*this is also super helpful in reducing weeds naturally!*)
- Consider collecting rain water. You could purchase a rain barrel new for your backyard or I love the idea of making a DIY rain barrel! Use that rain water to hydrate your plants all summer long.
- Collect shower water for plants. I understand this won’t make a huge dent in your garden watering, but I still think it could be helpful. While your shower is heating up, collect the cold water in a bucket in the tub and then use that bucket of water in your zero waste garden. You could also use this shower water to water your indoor house plants.
- I found this post super useful too if you’re hunting for more ways to conserve water! 25 Ways to Conserve Water in Your Garden
Repurposing and Upcycling in Your Zero Waste Garden
When it comes to eco friendly gardening and really eco friendly living in general, think secondhand first! Rather than purchase the latest plastic free gardening supplies and tools, see what you can find used/secondhand.
- Thrift for gardening tools. Check your local thrift shops for secondhand gardening tools. I’d also give Facebook Marketplace a search too. AND if you have a local Buy Nothing Group, you could ask in there as well for any extra gardening tools your neighbors have laying around.
- Ask a friend. Ok, this may seem silly but I swear so many people have an excess of gardening tools at their homes that they probably aren’t even using. Reach out to your grandma, aunts, or best friend’s cousin – see if they have any tools to spare.
- Make upcycled plant markers. You can use your old bamboo toothbrushes to make upcycled plant markers! Just break off the toothbrush head, write the plant names on the handle and stick them in your garden bed!
- Return plastic plant pots. Not all big box stores will take back plastic planter pots, but I’m pretty confident small local plant nurseries will gladly take back your used plastic plant pots for reuse in their stores. You could also list your used plastic pots for FREE in your local Buy Nothing group. Other gardeners might want them to use for growing seedlings.
Plastic Free Seed Options
When I think of gardening, the first image that always comes to mind is a plant nursery full of plastic pots. But here’s the deal, there are ways you can grow plants without plastic pots also!
- DIY newspaper seedling pots. You can make your own seedling pots using recycled newspaper. How cool!
- Seeds often come in paper envelopes. This is great news! However, you could also seed swap with friends or other local gardeners. Join some local gardening Facebook groups and share your own seeds and see what others have to trade.
- Harvest and save your seeds. Ok, this idea is super fascinating and one that I’ve wanted to try myself but haven’t before! You’ll need to do a little research, but you can actually harvest the seeds from the plants you’ve grown. Then, you can store those seeds and use them next year.
- Regrow from kitchen scraps. Did you know there are fruits/veggies you can regrow from kitchen scraps? Some plants that you can regrow include celery, spring onions, lettuce, and sweet potatoes.
Low Waste Soil Nutrition
Not all dirt is created equal! Different plants require different kinds of nutrients in their soil. Often you’ll need to add nutrition to your soil for optimal plant growth. These nutrients often come packaged in plastic, but don’t worry, here are some low waste options you can experiment with:
- Collect used coffee grounds. Check to see if a local coffee shop will let you take their used grounds home. Coffee grounds provide many important minerals for your garden soil, especially nitrogen.
- Create your own compost. One of my all time favorite zero waste habits – composting. If you’re new to composting, start with my beginner’s guide to composting. You can reduce your food waste and provide wonderful nutrition for your plants with homemade compost. We use a compost tumbler in our yard. There are lots of different ways to compost at home, from a tumbler, to vermicomposting, to building your own wood pallet enclosed compost heap.
- Pick up soil in bulk. Rather than purchase garden soil in plastic bags, you could check to see if your town has a place where you can pick up soil, compost, top soil, mulch, etc in bulk. There are even some companies that will deliver bulk soil straight to your home! This is a really good option if you have a larger scale garden.
What are your best zero waste gardening tips and solutions?? How do you reduce waste in your backyard??