9 Eco Gardening Tips!

1. Avoid using pesticides! Pesticides are toxic chemicals that pollute our water and land, destroy insects' natural predators, and harm humans. Many people use these chemicals to kill bugs, but they end up killing many helpful insects, including bees and butterflies, along with other wildlife. These chemicals may even get into wild animals and contaminate their food supply. If you don't want to use chemicals, try planting flowers or vegetables instead. You might be surprised at how effective some simple gardening techniques can be

2. Grow food where you live! Instead of buying produce that you have to drive miles to pick up, consider growing some yourself. Some cities offer community gardens and urban farms where residents can help each other grow fresh produce. If you're lucky enough to have access to a garden, you can start small by growing herbs or salad greens.

3. Use composting bins! Composting helps turn yard and kitchen garbage into rich soil amendments. Put your scraps in a bin and let them decompose naturally. Then sprinkle the composted material around your garden beds for extra nutrition. Don’t worry about odours—composting is actually a great way to reduce them! When you place your compost materials directly onto the ground, you release harmful methane gas. By placing them in a bin, you keep the gases inside and create rich soil amendments without releasing any unpleasant smells.

4. Build a greenhouse! Greenhouses provide protection for tender crops and allow you to extend the length of your harvest season. Some greenhouses are mobile, making it possible to move them outside in the warmer months. Others are permanent structures built right into the ground.

5. Start seeds indoors! Seeds can grow faster if started under ideal conditions before transplanting to the garden. Start your seeds in flats containing peat moss, vermiculite, or perlite, then transplant them to individual pots when they sprout. Once the seedlings are ready, plant them into the garden and enjoy! Or, follow instructions from a seed packet to start seeds directly in the ground.

6. Get free advice from experts! Local organisations often offer free workshops on topics related to home gardening. Search online for “gardening classes near me” to find out what's offered near you.

7. Be prepared! Gardening requires forethought and planning. Make sure you have the tools, supplies, and knowledge you need for success. Keep an inventory list so you know exactly what you have on hand. Also, learn to identify weeds so they can be pulled out early. 

8. Water wisely! Plants need water to thrive, but too much can burn leaves and stunt growth. Overwatering encourages disease and causes root rot. On average, plants require 1 inch of rainfall per week during the summer and 2 inches per week during the winter. After heavy rain, wait until the soil dries out slightly before watering again.

9. Mulch! Plants appreciate mulch, which keeps roots cool and increases moisture retention. A layer of bark chips or shredded leaves is best because these materials decompose quickly and won't blow away. Adding mulch will improve drainage, help retain nutrients, and protect against weeds and bugs.

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