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6 Eco-Firendly Tips to Help Your Garden Flourish This Season

Spring has finally sprung in the Kingston area! After a long 6 months of cold and snow the warm weather has arrived, and with it, gardening season. Many people already plant gardens in the summer, growing seasonal flowers, fruits and vegetables, but with the Covid-19 pandemic, more people are looking to grow their own food this year to save money and avoid the busy grocery stores. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting your green thumb, these 6 Eco-friendly gardening tips will help you grow beautiful plants, while protecting the environment around you.

 

Use a rain barrel

I’m lucky that I currently live on a lake so watering my plants is super easy. Fill up the watering can from the dock with lake water and I’m good to go. If you’re not lucky enough to live somewhere with access to fresh water or you live somewhere with summer water restrictions, using a rain barrel is a great way to gather water for your plants. Water from a rain barrel is beneficial to your plants because it is water that your plants are already exposed to during the rain. Alternatively, for indoor plants and/or outdoor gardens, save your pasta and potato water. Instead of pouring it down the drain use it to water your plants, but be sure to let it cool down before watering. (Don’t water plants with salted water!) The starch will feed your plants and help them grow and grow!

 

Water Smartly

Watering your plants in the middle of the day, when the temperature is at its warmest, will not benefit your plants. Waiting to water your plants when it’s cooler outside will help ensure that they soak up all the water, as the heat will evaporate the water more quickly. I find the best time of day to water my plants is when the sun is not quite ready to set but you can feel the temperature has dropped. Your plants will get all the water they need, and deserve, and you won’t waste excess water keeping them happy and healthy. 

 

Add eggshells to your soil for fertilizer

While doing some personal research last year for her garden, my mother discovered the benefits of putting eggshells into your soil for fertilizer. This added calcium helps to reduce the acidity in the soil as well as aerates it. This tip is especially great if you’re growing tomatoes because tomatoes LOVE calcium. Who knew? The best way to add eggshells to your garden is to grind them up with a grinder or mortar and pestle and mix them into your soil in the fall. This ensures the eggshells have time to break down into the soil, then add more in the spring when you go to plant. But don’t worry if you didn’t add eggshells last fall, you can still grind them up and add them this spring. You’ll still get lots of benefits like stronger plant cell walls. 

 

Start a compost pile

Composting is one of my favorite Eco-friendly gardening switches! There are so many benefits of using compost instead of chemical fertilizers for your plants,  and the environment and it’s so easy! We keep a small compost bucket under our kitchen sink and when it fills up every few days we add it to our large compost bins out back. Once the food begins to break down you just have to add some natural soil, mix it around and let the insects do the rest. When the food scraps are fully broken down you can add them to your soil. Composting gives your plants access to lots of nutrients that will help them grow naturally, unlike artificial fertilizers. Composting helps to keep food scraps out of landfills, and gives worms and other insects lots of food and a warm place to live. 

Plant flowers

Planting flowers that bloom throughout the season will attract bees and butterflies to your garden. Pollinators are what make your plants produce seeds, fruits and veggies by moving pollen from one plant to another, fertilizing it. Not all fruit and vegetable plants bloom, or reproduce at the same time. By planting flowers near your vegetable garden that bloom at different times in the season the bees and butterflies will have more reason to stick around your garden all season. You’ll also be helping to save the bee population by giving them lots of good nectar to feed their hives. 

 

 

Place feeders and birdhouses near your garden

Birds are great for natural pest control! Instead of using chemical pesticides to kill unwanted bugs and pests, the birds around your garden will gladly help to eat them up. Keeping birds coming around your garden will reduce the amount of plant killing bugs in your garden. You bird population will love all the good eats your garden will serve up for them. 

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