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Sep 11

Tips For Eco-friendly Gardening

People are becoming more interested in the environment and the ways in which they can help to protect and preserve it for future generations. It may appear that the individual can make little impact, but even simple things like recycling and eco-friendly gardening can make a difference.

Biodiversity

Growing a wide range of fruits, vegetables and flowers in the garden will not only supply the dinner table with healthy fresh vegetables and provide colour, but will also attract many more insects to feed on the different flowers. A patch of wild flowers will also attract bees, which are vitally important for agriculture. Allow plants to seed naturally. This will not only save money but will also be good for the environment, as no packaging and transportation will be required. Recycle containers to keep seeds in.

Recycling

A good environmental tip is to recycle as much as possible. Old yogurt pots can be used as plant nurseries. Waste from the kitchen can be composted to provide organic matter for plants. If the garden has trees, sweep up the leaves and keep them in large plastic sacks or under an old carpet to make leaf mould that can be added to the soil. This will be much cheaper than buying commercial alternatives. Use rain barrels to collect water and buy recycled containers where possible. CowPots are made from cow manure and will last for months in storage but break down in the soil and provide valuable nutrients to plants.

Fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides

Keep up to date on gardening methods, many of which will be environmentally friendly. Try to limit the use of pesticides. This will make vegetables and fruit healthier and will mean that beneficial insects, such as ladybirds and bees, will not be harmed. There are many organic fertilizers available for purchase, such as bone meal, blood meal, greensand and cottonseed meal. Some companies have responded to the increased interest in environmentally friendly gardening by introducing a whole range of organic products. If there is no option but to use pesticides, try to use those specifically targeted at the problem as some pesticides are wide spectrum and will kill all insects  the good along with the bad. Using pesticides that degrade rapidly when exposed to the elements can limit the damage done to wildlife, as can the time of day that they are applied. Herbicides offer more of a challenge, as few are truly eco-friendly. Acetic acid, clove or citric oil could be used; however, apply selectively as they will kill all plants. Propane-fuelled flame devices should be used carefully, as a few seconds is all it takes to kill a plant.

Peat

Peat can be good for plants, but the cutting of peat not only destroys the landscape but can also release a lot of carbon dioxide, thus contributing to global warming. Using a peat alternative will help preserve peat bogs and thereby reduce the amount of carbon dioxide being added to the atmosphere.

Responsible buying

When purchasing plants, seeds or garden furniture, always check that they have been obtained from a responsible source. Excessive logging endangers many forests around the world, and purchasing products made from the wood of these forests adds to the problem.

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