WHAT IS ECO-GARDENING?
Eco-gardening is sustainable gardening utilising the surrounding environment as a guide. As an eco-gardener you need to consider the interaction between each living element within your garden in order to provide and maintain the best environment for your plants. Water, soil as well as the plants you group together are all fundamental in supporting this manner of gardening.
Eco-gardening is completely free of any chemicals and non-biodegradable material. This in turn promotes fertile soil, better yields and promotes sustainable gardens. As this may appear a little complicated for the beginner, have compiled a list of tips to make your gardening experience a little easier.
PREPARING THE SOIL
Ideally eco-gardens are lush, dense environments so healthy soil is a prerequisite. The state of your soil determines the quality and health of your plants. When sourcing soil, it is important to choose a brand that is both organic and additive free.
Should you be fortunate enough to have good soil already it is vitally important to maintain it. Your soil should be rich in nutrients and organic matter and well aerated. Depending on the selection of plants you want to grow ensure you have the correct soil. It’s always best to use a soil with good drainage but soil which also retains the much needed amount of moisture.
Compost is essential and the correct compost, even more so. When it comes to composting you could purchase ready-mixed compost from your local garden centre, but where's the fun in that? Setting up your own composting system is the best solution for both the environment as well as your pocket!
Compost provides the essential nutrients needed for plant growth and is often also used as fertiliser. By producing your own compost you reduce waste especially kitchen and garden waste such as vegetable peels, coffee grounds and/or grass clippings. Moreover, compost introduces beneficial microorganisms to your garden. These microorganisms help aerate the soil and assist in preventing the spread of plant diseases.
Most importantly, homemade compost is a safer, environment-friendly and an all-natural alternative to chemical fertiliser.
CREEPY CRAWLY CARE
Pollinators and earthworms play one of the most important roles in eco-gardening so of course you have to cater to them. Remember, eco-gardening is gardening with nature as your guide. While there are plenty of creeping insects that wreak havoc wherever they go, not all bugs are bad for the garden. In fact many bugs like ladybugs assist the gardener by feeding on aphids and the like.
Stay away from chemical pesticides because these deplete the natural and rather focus on planting flowers that attract little helpers like ladybugs. Sunflowers and marigolds are just two of the many flowers which attract them.
Since aphids have been discussed and are taken care of, we look at some of the slightly bigger and much slimier pests? The solution is simple.
You want to encourage birds to your garden. Look at your local wildlife and put up bird feeders with the correct feed to attract the birds you want in your garden. As soon as your garden is recognised as a source of food, birds will come and eat all the unwanted snails, slugs and worms.
Birds and beneficial bugs are definitely a necessity for a thriving Eco Garden!
Finally we've come to perhaps the most crucial part – the plants. There are so many to choose from, such variety. We should consider maintaining our own surrounding Ecosystems as well. Plant local and plant diversely!
Reduce your carbon footprint while you're at it and grow your own food! In this way you can be 100% sure that your food is completely organic and without harmful additives.
Hopefully you're feeling inspired enough to start your own Eco-gardening journey. For more on Self Sustainable Gardening, look at our featured article for more information.