There are countless ways people can incorporate green alternatives in their everyday activities, including working in the workshop or garden. Choosing and using Earth-friendly options teaches resourcefulness and practical skills. Additionally, developing a greater awareness about wastefulness and its environmental impact is paramount to the survival of the planet. Here are some suggestions for going green in your garden.
Create an outdoor planting bench
Every gardener needs a workbench where they can keep their gardening tools, landscaping supplies and watering cans. It’s the perfect place to plant in containers, repot houseplants, or even make soil mixes. If a new bench isn’t in your budget, head to a flea market and look for a table or desk that can be repurposed to create a work area. An old door atop file cabinets or storage bins can make a great substitute while you save up money for a dedicated workspace.
Instead of buying all sorts of mulches, synthetic fertilizers or other soil additives, start composting. Kitchen scraps, with the exception of meat, dairy products and fats, are wonderful additions to a compost heap. Dried leaves, grass and other yard waste is also useful. An old garbage can or any other type of container with a hole in the bottom will hold the organic matter until it’s ready for use. Your garden will love it and you’ll also reduce the amount of landfill-clogging trash you produce.
Recycle containers to start seeds
Instead of paying for seed-starting supplies, use containers that would normally be recycled. A plastic milk jug makes an ideal greenhouse, as do clear plastic containers that once held strawberries or baked goods. Consider as well egg cartons or tubs for yogurt, cottage cheese or sour cream. Use easy-to-transplant peat pellets to start seeds. Air flow is essential when preparing a mini-greenhouse. Cut away the top of a milk jug above its handle to create a home for soil and seeds. If the container you use doesn’t have drainage holes, poke a hole in the bottom so growing seeds can receive oxygen and excess water can drain.
Repurpose a hose
Instead of discarding a garden hose because it has a hole, convert it to a soaker hose. Use an awl to poke holes at equally-spaced points along the length of the hose. Placed face-down, a soaker hose will direct water into the ground around your plants without needlessly saturating the sidewalk, street, or patio furniture.
Use water effectively
Avoid watering at night. Wet soil and sodden plant leaves provide food and a breeding ground for trouble, including hungry insects. Water early in the morning to allow the ground to absorb water throughout the day. A long soak – between 1.5 and two hours – will allow water to penetrate deeply into the soil, eliminating the need to irrigate as frequently.
Recycling kitchen and yard waste, upcycling containers and temporarily using old furniture to make garden supports are fun and educational activities that families can do together. In addition to teaching practicality and self-sufficiency, you’ll save money and learn the benefits of long-term eco-conscious behavior.
Danielle, who blogs on behalf of Sears and other prestigious brands, enjoys planting perennials and is a recent convert to the world of composting. Read her work at Eat Breathe Blog.