Many of us make earth-friendly contributions in our house, recycling and cutting down on our energy usage. But how many of us think green when gardening? There are lots of environmental touches that you can make to your backyard. Here are a few them.
Compost is essentially dead plants mulched up and turned into fertiliser. It’s full of nutrients, essential for growing plants. Whilst chemical fertiliser has more of an immediate effect and is cheaper, it is often made using fossil fuels. Compost meanwhile has a slower effect but is clean. You can keep your own compost to use or you can buy compost. Either way, you should never throw away your compost. Many neighbourhoods now come with special compost bins that will take your plant wastage and ground it up into soil. If you haven’t got a compost bin, ask your local council if they have a service for recycling compost.
Rain Barrels collect rain which can be used in the garden instead of having to switch on the hose. The chemicals and minerals in rain water make it a much more healthy water source for your garden, improving the growth of your plants. Whilst you can make your own, quality-made rain barrels are made to resist the elements, so they won’t be toppled by the wind or torn apart in a storm.
Chemical pesticides may kill of pests efficiently, but can also kill of useful bugs that are important to a garden’s microsystem. They have also been linked with causing cancer. Organic pesticides may not be as effective but are a lot healthier for the planet. There are a great number of organic ingredients that can be used to ward off bugs including eucalyptus oil, salt spray and onion and garlic spray. On top of being cleaner, they are also cheaper.
There’s little difference between the effectiveness of petrol mowers and electric mowers – but of course electric ones are much cleaner. Even if you haven’t quite brought yourself to buy an electric car, have an eco-friendly lawnmower is a good first step. Many new designs have an automatic push function so that you don’t have to heave them across the lawn. They can also be a lot lighter, plus you don’t have to pay for fuel.
Some urban hippies have taken the step to go fully off the grid, exchanging mains for solar power. Putting a few solar panels around your garden (on your roof and on your shed) can be enough to fuel your home, providing you live somewhere where there is frequent enough sunshine. Solar panels may cost a lot initially to get fitted, but eventually you’ll make up the cost by saving on your energy bill. Having your own source of power may even encourage you to use less, knowing that every time you flick that switch it’s not coming from some power station fifty miles away, it’s coming from your garden!