Eco Gardening Tips

Eco gardening is about maintaining a chemical and toxin free garden, by growing your plants organically and cultivating them in the most natural environment possible.

Green gardening efforts are important for maintaining a sustainable environment. Chemicals commonly used in the gardening process, such as those present in off-the-shelf fertilizers and pesticides, can be toxic and have detrimental impact on the environment’s ecological balance.

Chemicals could accumulate to harmful amounts in the garden soil over time. Beneficial organisms in the soil may also be wiped out by the presence of the harmful chemicals. In addition, when these chemicals leech into our water supplies, they contaminate the water and can bring harmful effects to even humans in the long term. (Read more about the benefits of going green and the dangers of pesticides).

If you collect harvests from your garden for your kitchen, then the more you would want to keep these harmful chemicals away from your garden plants. Imagine the amount of harmful chemicals that you and your family would be ingesting, especially if you do not effectively remove these chemicals before cooking.

But we are not asking you to stop using fertilizers and pesticides in your garden. When it comes to gardening, fertilizers and pesticides (including insecticides) are important components. Fertilizers nourish the plants and help them grow faster and stronger. Pesticides help protect the plants from damages by plant eating insects, or infections by bacteria, fungi or viruses.

However, eco gardening means finding more natural alternatives as fertilizers and pesticides for your garden.

Here are some eco gardening tips on natural fertilizers:

  • Compost is one of the best natural fertilizers you can find. You can prepare compost using vegetable and food waste from your kitchen, or grass clippings or dead leaves from your very own garden. Other than nourishing the ground, compost can help improve the soil structure and stimulate root development, which is essential for the healthy growth and development of plants. Other than the use of compost, you can also introduce some earthworms into the soil of your organic garden. As these creatures navigate through the soil, they help to make it loose and soft.

  • Seaweed can be used as a natural fertilizer. If you live by the seaside, collect the seaweed that gets washed up the beach, wash them with fresh water to remove the salt, and mix them directly with the soil. They are extremely helpful because they are gelatinous, help bind the soil together and also hold water. Seaweed extracts are currently available in the markets and can be purchased at plant nurseries.

  • Animal manure is another effective natural fertilizer in eco gardening. It helps improve the soil structure, holds more nutrients and water and as such helps make the soil fertile. Animal manure also contains nitrogen which promotes plant growth.

  • Wood ash obtained from the fireplace can also make an excellent natural fertilizer. Mix it with the garden soil once it has cooled.

Here are some eco gardening tips on protecting your plants from pests naturally.

  • In eco gardening, natural pesticides aren’t very difficult to find and cultivate. In fact, they already exist in the natural ecosystem, sometimes as natural predators of the garden pests. For example, a frog or lizard in the garden can help remove insect pests like moths and aphids, and keep these insects from damaging the plants in your organic garden.

  • Within the plant kingdom, Neem (known by the botanical name, Azadirachta indica) is extremely popular for its insecticide, fungicide, bactericide, and nematicide properties. One of the chemical compositions present in Neem works as like an insect hormone and dispels insects, by affecting their eating, digestion, transformation (or metamorphism) and reproduction process. In fact, Neem extracts have been found be very effective against a hundred leaf-eating insects. Neem pesticide powder can be prepared by mixing dried Neem seeds powder (eg. 500 mg) with water (ten litres).

  • Chilli pepper, also referred to as Capsicum frutescens, works as an insecticide as well. You can prepare this insecticide by drying the chilli pepper, grounding it into fine powder, mixing it with water and soaking it overnight. This mixture can be applied over the leaves and stem of plants. While the results might not be instantaneous, it is very effective over a sustained period of time. But do be careful when preparing this pesticide, since the pungent from the dried chilli pepper can be extremely powerful and cause irritation to your nose and eyes.

  • Another popular natural insecticide in eco gardening is pyrethrum, which is also referred to as Chrysanthemum cinerariifolium. The flowers of this plant contain properties that work like an insecticide. The insecticide is prepared by drying the flowers, grinding them into powder and soaking this powder in water over a one day. The prepared powder can be stored for close to two months.

  • Bougainvillea, which also goes by the botanical name Bougainvillea spectabilis, can be used to treat plants infected by viral diseases. This natural pesticide can be prepared by mixing 200 grams of fresh bougainvillea plant leaves with water and running the mixture through a blender. When it comes to eco gardening, this mixture can be especially effective in treating tomato and beans plants infected by viral diseases.

If you know of other eco gardening tips, share it with us. Also, read more about the other things you can do to live a green life.

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