5 Tips to Maintain a Home Garden That Is Ecologically Responsible

July 17, 2019

The choices that people make when it comes to the food that they buy and eat have a significant impact on the environment. One of the best ways that people can adopt greener practices when it comes to their eating habits is to grow as much of their own food as possible. However, good intentions can sometimes be misguided. While growing food in your own yard reduces transportation-related pollution and helps to promote the consumption of fresh food, you need to be conscientious about the techniques that you use to produce fruits and vegetables. Just as with store-bought produce, organic practices are key for maintaining a sustainable process. At the same time, there are other considerations when it comes to the use of resources. The following are some tips for maintaining a home garden that is ecologically responsible:

1. Control pests using natural methods.

Home gardeners often rely on synthetic chemicals to control pest problems that arise in their garden, but doing so contributes to environmental pollution and supports production processes that have a significant ecological impact. Often, these chemicals become consumed even with proper washing. Generally, you can control pest issues without using these chemicals an instead use methods such as copper rings to control slugs or strong jets of water to remove greenfly from leaves. Leaf sprays made from garlic and rhubarb have also been shown to keep pests at bay. Furthermore, home gardeners can work to attract natural predators. Small ponds, for example, can attract a wide range of insect predators. Some home gardeners have had luck with birdhouses to attract caterpillar-devouring birds.

2. Learn about companion planting.

Many common garden issues, including pests, can be addressed through companion planting when individuals take the time to learn about the studied symbiotic relationships. For example, carrots and leeks are often grown together because the pests attracted by one are repelled by the other. Marigolds can often help gardens to flourish since their smell will keep aphids off of other plants, especially varieties like tomatoes. Onions and chives can get rid of black spot disease on roses, and horseradish planted next to potatoes lowers the overall risk of blight Some companion plants have more to do with flavor than with practicality. For instance, basil can improve the overall flavor of tomatoes when the two plants are grown together. Many combination planting solutions exist for various gardening issues.

3. Make compost using scraps from home.

Instead of chemical fertilizers that run off gardens and into nearby water supplies, you can make compost at home to help your plants flourish. This option will cost you nothing but a small investment of time. Many things can be added to a compost bucket, ranging from lawn and bush clippings to scraps from veggies, tea bags, and even shredded newspaper. As these items break down into their component parts, they can provide a lot of nourishment to a garden. While several different styles of composting exist, nothing more than a plastic bucket is actually needed.

4. Conserve water as much as possible.

One of the things that home gardeners often overlook is the impact of the water that they use. Around the world, farming consumes an enormous amount of water, and engineers are working to figure out methods that will not use so much of this resource. In the meantime, home gardeners can reduce the amount of water that they use by collecting rainwater or installing efficient irrigation systems. Collecting rain water can be as simple as placing a bucket underneath roof downpipes. In general, people should avoid using sprinklers since they leave much of the water on the leaves rather than in the soil. This water just evaporates. Effective watering gets as much of the substance directly to the roots as possible. Potted plants dry out less when they are in larger containers. Also, you should always put drip trays under pots to catch excess water rather than letting it just run out of the bottom. In general, people should water their plants during the coolest part of the day so that less evaporates.

5. Pay attention to plant preferences.

Whenever you buy a plant, or even the seeds to start from scratch, you will get information about how to help that specific species thrive. Some plants need sun all the time, while other prefer a bit of shade. Paying close attention to these directions is key to not only maximizing yields from a home garden, but also to practicing sustainability. Plants that struggle because they were not planted in an ideal environment need much more time, attention, and resources. As a result, you will need to use more water and fertilizer to get the plants to grow. Both of these solutions have ecological consequences. On the other hand, if you situate plants in their ideal environment, they will require minimal effort and resources to prosper.