If you are concerned about your impact on the environment, a few tweaks in your garden can make a real difference.
- Why not start with growing your own vegetables and herbs? It’s a great feeling to grow your own, and it can be done in even the smallest of gardens. If you’re really limited for space, why not make the most of the vertical planters on the market – or even have a go at making your own?
- If you are new to gardening, and want to grow something low-maintenance, herbs are a great place to start. Herbs are also vital in attracting beneficial wildlife, such as bees, to your garden, which can help to deal with harmful garden pests.
- Consider ‘companion planting’ to ward off predators and make your life easier. Many plant combinations mask each other with scent. The smell of French marigolds will deter whitefly, while garlic and other alliums have been used as companions to keep pests at bay. Trailing nasturtiums repel woolly aphids, while bugle extract repels cabbage white caterpillars. In a similar way, leeks repel carrot flies, okra shields peppers from wind, while tall crops provide a canopy for short ones, such as lettuce and spinach, which prefer partial shade in the heat.
- Create a polyculture with indigenous plants. This will make for a low maintenance, eco-friendly garden, as these require a lot less work and provide a better habitat for local wildlife. You’ll use a lot less water and energy keeping your plants alive.
- When choosing plants, also opt for bright flowers such as candytuft, sunflowers and marigolds, to encourage beneficial insects like ladybirds and lacewings. These will eat aphids such as blackfly, which can decimate your flowers and crops. Bluebells, cowslips, foxgloves and primroses are all wildflowers to add colour and beauty to any garden. Plant nectar rich plants for bees and butterflies.
- Make a compost bin. Compost is easy to prepare by layering grass cuttings, leaves and natural waste from your kitchen (such as paper, cardboard and vegetable peelings) and turning regularly, making sure it doesn’t get too wet or too dry. Once the waste has rotted, it should be an ideal supply to mix with your garden top soil. If you’re limited on space, and worm compost bin is a great option, and will provide rich, fine compost every two or three months.
- Use a Water Butt. It can take a lot of water to keep your garden lush and beautiful, and watering your plants with a hose can mount up to a lot of wasted water. A more eco-friendly alternative is to install a water butt. It’s also a good idea to do your watering in the evening.
- Don’t forget to feed birds and keep hedgehogs happy. Make a pond if you have the space in order to attract insects and dragonflies, and create a haven for insects, toads, frogs and newts with a pile of rocks or logs and areas of nettles.