Raise your hand if this sound like you. You’re concerned about the Earth, so you started recycling. You ditched plastic containers and straws. You tote reusable shopping bags to the grocery store every week. You’ve made several changes in your lifestyle but wonder if it’s making any real impact. We know exactly where you’re at. Often the best way to recharge your environmental efforts is to add a some green to your own little corner of the Earth. Let’s talk gardening.
Of course, this can present a whole new host of challenges. How can we grow flourishing gardens, without the aid of traditional fertilizers and pesticides? It’s actually not that difficult. Making just a few small changes can ensure a successful garden without introducing any nasty chemicals into the environment around you.
We let a simple mantra be our guide: “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.”
REDUCE harmful factors for the environment
There are a few ways to keep pests at bay without resorting to toxic pesticides. One method is called “companion planting.” This involves strategically placing pest repelling plants next to vulnerable plants. “For example, slugs don’t like garlic, so planting garlic in with raspberries prevents slugs from eating them,” saying Barbie Smith, the lead gardener at The Gilmore Collection. “I find that I get bigger, juicier, and more vibrant fruits with companion planting.” Some herbs that taste great and are natural pest repellants include oregano, thyme, sage, and chives.
Not all companion plants need to be edible. Mixing ornamentals (aka pretty flowers) into your fruit and vegetable garden will help deter pests. For example, nasturtium flowers work double-duty by looking beautiful and keeping away plenty of pests from fruit trees and other several other vegetables. Barbie’s favorite pest deterrent is the marigold. “Rabbits don’t like them, and they tend to stay away if we plant the taller marigolds with the sunflowers.We have to use techniques like these because our gardens are not fenced in, but it’s hardly a bother because of how gorgeous the flowers are.”
If space is limited and companion planting is not a possibility, pick up an organic pest spray that uses natural ingredients to combat pests such as insecticidal soap or Captain Jack’s Deadbug Brew Dust.
REUSE with compost and other fertilizers
What’s old becomes new when you compost. Turn your kitchen scraps into compost to nourish growing produce. Turn a bin of natural materials like coffee grounds, banana peels, egg shells into nutrient-dense compost for your garden. Barbie recommends a mix of peat hummus, topsoil, and cow manure for an excellent mulch compost.
Want more sustainable gardening tips? Check out these other natural fertilizer tips here: sustainable gardening tips
RECYCLE your efforts year after year to create a healthy environment for pollinators
In order to ensure your garden will be fruitful and eco-friendly for years to come, you must create a healthy environment for your plants and pollinators like bees, ladybugs, and butterflies. Try adding bee-attractive plants, like bright flowers, to your garden. “Sunflowers are a great bee-friendly plant,” says Barbie, “They grow well with pumpkins and green beans. Green beans will actually grow right up sunflower stalks. Lavender, bachelor’s button, thyme, sage, and bee balm are just a few bee-friendly plants that you can include in your garden. Installing a bee house can also help bees flourish and contribute to a properly functioning ecosystem.
These are just a few simple tips for creating and sustaining a fruitful and environmentally friendly home garden.
Click here if you’d like to learn more about the gardens and live walls at Gilmore Restaurants.