Across the world today, there’s a growing consciousness about the impact of carbon dioxide on the environment and on our planet as a whole. This environmental awareness is slowly but surely being translated into actions by individuals, who would like to leave a sustainable future behind for the generations to come. One such action can be implemented in your own backyard. Whether you have a small green space or acres of land, you can engage in eco-friendly gardening to reduce your carbon footprint. Creating an eco-friendly garden is not as complicated as it may seem and in this comprehensive guide, we will show you the various ways in which you can achieve this goal.

Table of Contents:

So if you:

  • care about the environment and want to live sustainable;
  • consider creating and an eco-friendly garden;
  • want to learn more about water reduction, compost and wildlife attraction;

Then this article is just for you so keep on reading!

Decrease the use of synthetic and manure fertilisers, as well as peat based compost

As much as you think your garden will benefit from fertilisers, not all types are good for it or the environment. Let’s take a look at some of the do’s and don’ts of composting

  • Synthetic fertilisers & manure:
  • Although rather widespread on the market, synthetic fertilisers and manure are a contributor to carbon dioxide emissions. If you want to avoid exacerbating the effects of global warming, you should consider reducing or completely eliminating your use of synthetic and manure fertilisers. One of the main reasons for this is because they contain nitrogen. While this may be good for the growth of your plants, the process itself involves the conversion of methane from natural gas into hydrogen. A major side effect of this is carbon dioxide emissions. On the other hand, manure fertilisers or compost release methane into the atmosphere and are another source of pollution. To deal with this situation, consider creating your own compost from waste materials in your home, and especially your kitchen. This will save you money, help you increase recycling and your fertiliser will ultimately be 100% organic.

  • Peat-based compost:
  • Peat bogs, which occur naturally, are great for absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. However, store-bought compost containing peat depletes this natural resource. This, in turn, affects the Earth’s ability to effectively absorb greenhouse gasses. To counter this problem, simply make a conscious change in your shopping habits by purchasing no-peat compost. There are many non-peat varieties on the market. One such example is coir-based compost. It is a product of coconut fibre processing. You can easily substitute it for potting soil and you’ll thus be able to reduce your carbon footprint, resulting in eco-friendly gardening.

Plant more CO2 absorbing trees

It’s a well-known fact that trees are great absorbers of carbon dioxide and if you are working on creating your eco-friendly garden, then planting trees is another viable solution. However, you should do some research into the types of trees that best help with the carbon dioxide absorption process. Examples of tree species that absorb and store carbon dioxide effectively include: dogwood, London plane, silver maple, pine, oak, yellow poplar, blue spruce, horse chestnut and red mulberry. 

Other pointers to keep in mind when it comes to planting trees include:

  • Plant trees which require low maintenance. This will ensure that you won’t need to employ the services of landscapers or tree surgeons, which use tools that pollute the air.
  • Choose trees with disease-resistant properties. These will be able to withstand contamination from pesticide products in the vicinity, as well as synthetic fertilisers discussed above or inorganic gardening equipment.
  • A tree with a long life expectancy will ensure the storage of carbon dioxide for years to come.
  • Trees with large leaves and wide crowns can better facilitate the process of photosynthesis.
  • Trees which are native to your region will flourish best in your soil type, as well as attract and support local wildlife and plant life.
  • Finally, another benefit is that trees that are fast growing will store the most amount of carbon dioxide within their first few productive years.

Follow the three R philosophy – Reduce, Reuse & Recycle

The three R philosophy is another excellent way of engaging in sustainable gardening. It contributes to eco-friendly gardening through its reduction on the reliance of fresh water. This is important because in the UK, at peak demand, gardening can consume up to 70% of the water supply, amounting to huge losses of water, and in some cases, ineffective water consumption. The three R philosophy simply means reducing, reusing and recycling materials, and especially water, to help the environment. Let’s take a look at some of the methods which you can use to do this:

  • Plant drought-resistant plants.
  • Water your plants at early in the mornings or at night.
  • Use the right amount of water for your plants.
  • Use an efficient watering system.
  • Reuse grey water.
  • Buy a Rainwater Butt.

Make your own compost and home-made fertiliser

To get a nutrient-rich fertiliser, consider making your own compost and home-made fertiliser. It’s very easy to do as it comprises materials which you would normally throw away. This is very beneficial for your soil and plants and can also significantly reduce the amount of waste which your household produces.

How to make your own compost

Making your own compost is an important step to creating an eco-friendly garden, and it usually requires little work on your part.

Firstly, gather old and dry leaves, branches, foliage and other natural debris and mix this with grass and wood cuttings. If you have old plants and shrubs, add these to the mix as well. For household waste, add egg shells, fruit peels, raw vegetables and even tea bags. Other materials which you might consider adding are paper products such as old newspapers and cardboard.

Making your own compost with the above-mentioned materials will help you get off to a good start to eco-friendly gardening. However, make sure that your compost is organic. For example, don’t mix in contaminated substances such as garden waste that has been sprayed with pesticides or chemicals, pet waste, diseased plant parts or food that may attract pests such as dairy, meat or oil.

To begin your home-made compost project, break up all the collected organic waste into small pieces. Place them in a pile in your garden or in a compost container. Then, remember to water your heap regularly to keep it moist and turn the products so that your compost pile is aerated effectively.

How to use your homemade fertiliser

If you’ve followed the above-mentioned steps on how to make your own compost for your sustainable garden, you might now be wondering how to use home-made fertiliser. Here are some ideas for you.

  • Revive dying plants.
  • Use it as mulch.
  • Provide essential nutrients for plants.
  • Support new plants.

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Companion planting – combine beneficial plants to reduce the use of pesticides

Companion planting, or planting plants, herbs or vegetables that attract or repel certain insects or pests, is another important way to create an eco-friendly vegetable garden. In this section, we’ll take a look at some of the best companion plants that can help enhance your garden, improve your plant and vegetable yields and reduce your carbon footprint.

Here are some of the best combinations of companion plants you might consider for your eco-friendly garden:

  • Spring onions and carrots.
  • Tomatoes and chives.
  • Dill, cucumbers and radishes.
  • Garlic and roses.

Attract wildlife and increase biodiversity

You’re now one step closer to your eco-friendly garden. For more eco-friendly garden ideas, you might consider attracting more wildlife to your green spaces. This is a great way of engaging in pest control. Here are some tips to help you:

  • Leaves and logs attract slug-eating hedgehogs and slow-worms.
  • For caterpillar control, attract birds such as song thrushes, blackbirds, chaffinches and blue tilts.
  • Bees are a big plus in any garden, so consider choosing plants with bright blooms that flower throughout the year.

That’s it! You can now create your eco-friendly garden.

Takeaways:

  • There are many options available to reduce your carbon footprint and help the environment by engaging in eco-friendly gardening.
  • These range from your water consumption, usage and recycling to creating your own home-made fertiliser, to planting companion plants as well as attracting biodiversity in your garden. 
  • Whatever option you choose for your piece of land, and no matter its size, you’ll be helping the environment one small step at a time, helping to create a more sustainable future for future generations.

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Image source: Shutterstock / Halfpoint

  • Last update: November 5, 2020

Posted in Garden Advice

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