It may seem strange to discuss how to make an inherently natural space more environmentally friendly, but the truth is that many gardens are ecological disasters due to the use of chemical pesticides and the waste of water. If youâ€™re interested in taking a more sustainable approach to gardening, there are plenty of ways to encourage wildlife in your garden and alter your habits for the better.
Every time you harvest vegetables, cut flowers or pull weeds, you are taking essential elements such as nitrogen and carbon away from the soil in your garden. Without replenishing these elements, your plants may become weaker and more prone to disease. Making your own compost is much cheaper than buying it, and it conveniently nourishes your plants and the soil they grow in. Composting is also a great way of making use of household waste including old newspaper, egg shells, old vegetables and bits of cardboard. Donâ€™t add cooked food or meat to your compost bin, as it may start to smell and attract unwanted visitors like rats.
Mulching and Collecting Water
Using a hose connected to a kitchen or outdoor tap to water your garden can be very wasteful and will also cost you more in terms of your water bills. Cut down on the amount of water that your plants need by adding a mulch around your plants. This can be made from bark chippings, leaf mould, compost, grass or well-rotted manure. This will help to supress weed growth and will also stop water evaporating from the soilâ€™s surface. You can collect rainwater in a large plastic drum or â€˜water buttâ€™, and this will reduce your water use dramatically.
If youâ€™re buying a new shed, why not choose one made from reclaimed or recycled materials? Get in touch with a retailer like Sheds and Things and ask whether they have sustainable options available for eco-friendly gardeners. Ditch the weed killer and insecticide, and start companion planting. Planting carrots and onions side by side will get rid of parasites from both crops, and putting marigolds or garlic under roses will deter aphids. Tall plants should be positioned with small plants to create a beneficial microclimate. Encourage natural predators such as hedgehogs, birds and lady birds. You can attract slug-eating hedgehogs by placing a small pile of logs in a quiet corner of the garden, and aphid-eating ladybirds with a small nesting box.