What is Eco Gardening?
With the increase in dialogues on conserving biodiversity and maintaining the ecological balance of the earth, sustainability has become a priority for many practices. Most things around the world today have an “eco-friendly” version of themselves. So Eco-gardening is the same for gardening too, just that Eco-gardening is defined as a practice of growing plants and herbs in a sustainable manner, in parity with nature. It takes into consideration the interactions taking place between various living elements of the garden to provide an environment-friendly approach to help them yield better. This practice abstains from using any chemical or non-biodegradable products for gardening, as it can lead to soil erosion, infertility or soil, creation of toxins, etc. Eco-gardening has now become a commonly used global approach to gardening, promoting the application of cultural methods and the use of alternative or biocontrol solutions. It is an appealing yet over-whelming subject.
Understanding the concept of Eco-gardening
An ideal eco-garden is a lush, substantially dense garden, where there is a proper procedure to recycle all your waste and also composted waste makes ideal fertilizer for the garden. Also, a denser garden helps in lesser usage of water for irrigation and the shade of the ground reduces evaporation. Edible plants form a major part of any eco-garden or eco-gardening practise. It is also a common practice to mix the veggies and herbs together rather than plant them separately. This, in turn, reduces infestation. For example: if you plant carrots and spring onions together, the spring onions will keep in check the pests or pets that can destroy carrots. Eco-gardens also defy the notion that insects and birds are harmful to the plants. Here, you try to attract insects and birds that feed on the latter. Birds can also keep snails and caterpillars away from the garden. Eco-gardens are gaining popularity across the world as people are becoming aware of the environmental degradations and thus switching to green practices.
10 ways of Eco-Gardening
Recycle and Reuse materials
Recycling and reusing materials can be seen as an environment –friendly practice as the gardener is well aware of the extraction, manufacture, and installations of the materials, which can help in keeping the garden clean and chemical-free. Also, it is a very cost-effective approach for eco-gardening as you can reuse that debris and waste, which you were meant to dispose off. Recycled material also give you the chance to exercise some creativity, bringing character and vintage charm to the entire setting of the garden, which can be very aesthetic. For example, Old hand-made bricks from the reclamation yards work perfectly with a Victorian terraced house and if yours has the usual architecture then maybe add a Victorian feel to it!
Make compost from kitchen scraps
Vegetable peels and scraps can be used as a compost too, instead of allowing them to be trucked off to the landfill. Known as “Garden’s gold”, compost is said to enhance the fertility of the soil by giving it high-power, nature-friendly nutrients- a truly sustainable process which eco-gardening stands for. It also stimulates the healthy development of the roots of all your produce. Organic compost improves the texture of the soil, and its water retention capabilities too. So there is no need to waste your hard-earned money on commercial products when a cost-effective alternative is available. Next time you peel a banana, throw it into your garden and see how it yields your plants and herbs! Well, just to let you know, do not throw it off like that. When we say throw the peel, we mean in your compost section!
Grow your own food
It is a known fact that buying organic products from those fancy organic stores, takes a major toll on the pocket, as more often than not they cost a fortune! Eco-garden gives you the opportunity to grow your own food products for consumption and thereby become self-reliant. Also, you can be sure that the manufacturing of the food you are consuming, is unadulterated and no artificial chemicals have been added to the same. It is the freshest and cheapest form of food you can ever have. About time people went back to the times of growing their own food and thus maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Adding a rain barrel is an inexpensive and effortless way to capture mineral and chlorine-free water for watering lawns, yards, and gardens, as well as washing cars or rinsing windows. By harnessing what’s literally raining from the sky, you’ll not only notice a marked dip in your water bills, but also a reduction in stormwater runoff, which in turn helps prevent erosion and flooding. Place a screen on top of your barrel to keep out insects, debris and bird missiles, and make frequent use of your water supply to keep it moving and aerated.
Water with Care
Eco-gardening is a delicate and fragile practice that needs to nurtured with utmost care and affection because unlike a farm, the plants or herbs that you grow here will be extremely delicate. Adopting various smart watering habits will help much to stretch out your supply especially during dry, hot spells of summer. Also, as discussed earlier, adding compost to the soil will help retain water and the ground shade will reduce evaporation. It is advisable to water the garden early in the day to avoid evaporation and winds. Again, make sure to drench the plants in the roots since those are the thirstiest parts. Be gentle while pouring water and be extra cautious with new buds or saplings.
The Power of 4Rs
Eco-gardening practices mainly promote the 4Rs namely, Reduce, reuse, recycle, and rebuy, to protect the environment and go green. The same can be applied to eco-farming. It is important to keep a check on your output of waste to ensure the efficient utilization of material. Reusing compost or using rainwater for watering the plants can be both cost and environment friendly. Recycling saves resources and rebuying means seeking products that meet your needs but are more environmentally friendly than your usual purchases. So it is highly advisable to incorporate these practices in your eco-gardening and thus become eco-friendly in the truest sense of the term.
Choose Untreated Non-GMO Seeds and Plants
It is an important part of eco-friendly gardening to choose untreated, non-GMO seeds, and plants, which are organic in nature and do not have any harmful impact on the environment. Fortunately, many heirloom seed companies have been committed to collecting and distributing sustainable seeds that can be used safely by future generations. However, it is a trickier task to source plants as most nurseries adopt inorganic methods to culture the plants, which might affect the soil quality of your eco-garden. Always vouch for the sustainable methods of procurement od seeds and plants to grow a beautiful and healthy garden on eco-friendly terms.
One of the most important aspects of eco-gardening is to attract and support pollinators. Environmentally-conscious gardeners can support pollinators by providing pesticide-free food sources, safe shelter, and access to clean water. Pollinators get attracted by flowering plants. Make sure to have plants with different bloom times, which will help to attract and support pollinators year long. One of the most efficient pollinators are the mason bees and their nests have gained popularity in the past. So make sure to bring in your suitable pollinators, which will help your garden to blossom and reap higher yields for you.
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that eco-gardening is incomplete with permaculture. It is defined as a set of design principles centred on whole systems thinking, simulating, or directly utilizing the patterns and resilient features observed in the natural ecosystem. It is a unified grab bag of best practices for sustainable livelihood. The Permaculture provides for various approaches and ideas, that can be used by practitioners and gardeners to grow their eco-garden on a scientific and organized framework.
Increase Wildlife and Biodiversity
Make sure to encourage wildlife into your garden which will make it entertaining as well as help with pest control. You can plant various bright and blooming flowers, which can attract birds, bees, etc, and can protect the garden. Spring flowers are essential for waking bees, who are an essential pollinator. Wallflowers, aubrietia, and rosemary are all good pollen and nectar sources, which can entice birds and bees for pollination.
Benefits of E-gardening
- Exposure to the sun helps adults achieve adequate serum vitamin C levels. So an outdoor activity like e-gardening is a perfect way to get the right amount to sunshine to strengthen the bones.
- E-gardening is an environment- friendly technique which can help in enriching the various depletions of the mother-nature.
- It is a sustainable source of gardening which can ensure a secure future for our coming generation.
- E-gardening helps to restore the fertility of the soil and yield organic products that are safe to consume, devoid of any pesticides or chemicals.
- It can also be seen as a great mood-boosting exercise, which can be practised, whenever you are feeling low.
- Growing your own food can help you with eating better and healthier. E-gardening also helps to develop a lasting habit of eating enough fruits and vegetables and they are as fresh as you can get.
So grab your gardening apron and get started!