wildflower garden

Spring is the time of year when we are finally able to let our inner gardener out and let our green thumb take control. Whether you are an experienced gardener or are thinking of growing your own veggies for the first time, there are a few things you should keep in mind before digging in. Sure, there are plenty of ‘how-to’ guides out there that will steer you in the right direction when it comes to building your own garden, but the question is whether or not these practices are ‘green’.

Yes, gardening in itself is a sustainable act that allows people to grow their own food and create a beautiful, vibrant space in their very own yard. However, many of the products that are on the market today and used for gardening are actually quite toxic. In addition to the chemicals and products themselves, there are many other aspects of gardening that can be quite harmful to the environment.

With this necessary push towards ‘going green’, it is important to educate yourself about what can be done when it comes to your own garden. From using water efficiently and protecting the quality of air and water by replacing harsh chemicals with natural, healthy alternatives, there is a whole slew of things you can do that won’t break the bank.

Enough already, let’s get to the good stuff! Here are a few smart tips to help you green your garden this year, in every sense of the word.

home garden
Image courtesy of Kaleb Fulgham.

Ditch the chemicals

The number one way you can go natural and green up your own personal garden is by steering clear of nasty chemicals, weed killers, and pesticides. This year, nix the poisons and instead layer on some all-natural compost. If you are feeling really ambitious, you can actually make the compost yourself. However, there are also plenty of options out there at your local garden supply store that will do the trick. In addition to the compost, it is also recommended that you use insect reinforcements to keep pesky garden pests at bay.

Put your kitchen waste to good use

If you decide to tackle composting yourself, a good place to start is with your vegetable waste. Considered ‘gardener’s gold’, compost enriches soil fertility by giving it a naturally awesome boost of plant-loving nutrients. In addition to actually stimulating root development, using compost from your own kitchen will improve soil texture, aeration, and water retention. This is also a great option if you are on a budget and don’t want to shell out the cash for commercial compost.

Go native

Another great way for you to green up your yard this year is to consider replacing your grass and other plants with native and indigenous plants. Regardless of where you live, you will have no problem finding plants and flowers that will flourish in their natural climate. Because native plants are already adapted to local conditions, they are easy to grow and maintain. They also require less fertilizer and water, and you won’t have to waste as much time fending off pests as you would otherwise.

There are many great tips and tricks out there today that are designed to help you grow your own food and establish a garden that not only looks good, but is good for the environment. For more tips on sustainable gardening, be sure and check out some of the other links on our website. Good luck!

Feature image courtesy of Jim Lukach

By Chase Ezell

Chase has served in various public relations, communications and sustainability roles. He is a former managing editor for Earth911.com.