Creating an eco-friendly and sustainable garden is a wonderful way to help the planet, reduce your environmental footprint and establish a welcoming spot for local wildlife. Eco-friendly gardening can truly have a positive impact on the planet, helping to slow climate change, reduce waste and encourage wildlife to flourish. Always choose organic gardening methods to ensure you protect the environment as much as possible, welcome beneficial bugs and be conscious of trying to reduce your water waste whilst you create a thriving and colorful eco-friendly garden.

Go organic

Protect your garden and its inhabitants by going organic and not using harmful chemicals on your plants. Organic gardening is based on nature, and the philosophy follows avoiding the use of manmade fertilizers or pesticides. It can help create a healthy garden, supporting soil biodiversity, providing safe spaces for pollinators, and ensuring your vegetables and herbs are chemical-free.

Clear and prune your garden

sgardenBefore you can grow your own vegetables or raise chickens, you first need to clear it of any dead trees or plants and prune existing ones to help encourage their growth. Pruning trees are important to ensure your trees are as healthy as can be and continue to grow strong, as well as removing any potentially dangerous dead branches or stop a disease spreading. For more info approach a professional tree care company to ensure your trees are well looked after.

Encourage bees

Bees are vital to the survival and growth of our species, as they are responsible for pollinating approximately 400 different agricultural plants and one-sixth of the flowering plant species in the world. Fruit and vegetables such as cucumber, broccoli, asparagus, apples, pumpkins, and blueberries, to name but a few, exist due to bees pollinating the plants, so it is vital that you look after and encourage bees in your garden. If looking after bees and having your own backyard beehive appeals, then connect to local beekeeping groups and learn how to properly care for bees before you buy a hive. Once you have installed your beehive make sure you plant some flowers that attract and are good for bees, such as nectar-rich lavender, fragrant fresh mint or bright sunflowers. Bees like brightly colored flowers so not only will you be helping the planet; you will also have a beautiful garden and a good supply of delicious sweet honey. 

Grow your own vegetables

Establishing a vegetable and herb patch is a great way to create a garden that promotes sustainability, reduces your carbon footprint and encourages you to become more aware of what you eat and how it is grown. Involve your children in the process to garner their interest in how things grow and hopefully encourage them to eat healthily by taking pride over what they have grown and tried the end results, after all; nothing tastes as good as homegrown. If you are new to growing your own food, then begin with easy-to-grow vegetables to give you a good harvest and boost your morale. Try potatoes, carrots, beets, and cucumbers, which can thrive easily.

Raise chickens

Install a chicken hutch in your backyard, if you have a big enough space, and allow free-range chickens to roam. Not only will you benefit from fresh free-range eggs each morning, but raising chickens in your backyard can also help your garden. Chickens are great at eating a variety of food scraps so instead of throwing old food away, feed it to your chickens, and it will convert into fresh eggs. By raising your own chickens, you have far greater control over the quality of the eggs and meat you are eating and are able to ensure they have a good life and can roam freely.

Attract beneficial bugs

Insects and bugs are vital when it comes to maintaining ecosystems, and there are many benefits to having a garden full of bugs. For example, ladybirds eat aphids that can otherwise attack and damage your plants, and some bugs help break down rotting vegetables and wood. Flowers that attract beneficial bugs include rosemary, thyme, sweet alyssum, and lavender. If you have kids why not create a bug hotel to make them feel welcomed and give them a safe space to nest over the colder months.

Start composting

compostCompost can also help the soil retain water, so is another way to reduce your water use. You can either use a compost bin or simply start a compost pile if you have a 3-foot square space in your garden, and it is an ideal way to get rid of food scraps. Begin by spreading a layer of dried leaves, straw and shredded newspaper, and then add a nitrogen-rich green layer including plant-based kitchen waste such as vegetable peel, and animal manure from cows. Add some soil, and then create another layer of dried leaves and materials. Moisten your pile and every few weeks use a pitchfork to turn the materials, and you will notice earthworms that are a sign the materials are turning into compost. Once your pile has turned into black crumbly nutrient-rich compost add this to your garden, and it will help your plants grow.

Reduce your water waste

In order to reduce your water usage, water less often but for longer and water your garden either early in the morning or late at night to avoid evaporation from the sun. Buy a water butt to catch all rainfall and use that to water your plants, thereby saving on water use but still providing you with clean, fresh water. Compost also helps your soil retain water, so having a compost pile is a wonderful way to reduce your water waste. Plant aromatic plants such as rosemary, thyme, mugwort, and laurel that do not need a lot of water to grow. Make sure you pull up any weeds regularly as they compete with your plants for water.

Welcome birds

Birdsong is a wonderful sound, and you can help welcome birds to your garden by putting out bird food and a small tray of water for them. Or you could make your own energy-rich bird food fat ball by mixing nuts, seeds, cheese, currants, porridge oats and breadcrumbs together with melted lard and spread it onto a pine cone with a string attached. Hang it in your garden and watch the birds flock to it.

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