Thursday, April 1, 2010

Environmentally Friendly Gardening - What Can You Do?

By Donna Letson

Increasing more gardeners are concerned with gardening practices that not only beautify their environments but also with ways to garden that are environmentally friendly. While old habits sometimes die hard, a concerted effort to garden without the use of chemicals is one of the bet ways a gardener can "go green". Let's look at a few of the ways that you can also be more eco-friendly with your gardening.

One big source of harm to the environment is through the overuse or misuse of pesticides and herbicides. Instead of reaching for the chemicals, there are often a number of more environmentally friendly options to take care of pests and weeds.

Hand weeding before the weeds get out of control is important and should be your first line of defense against weeds. A good thick layer of mulch will also help to eliminate many weed seeds from ever germinating and growing. Vinegar can be used as an alternative to potentially harmful chemical sprays. You will however, need to purchase vinegar that is 20% ascetic acid as household vinegar is only 5% and not strong enough to do the job except on newly sprouted weeds. There are also an increasing number of organic herbicides on the market.

Nobody hates bugs more than I do, I really don't like having them around. Having said that, I have found that most of them don't really do that much harm in the garden. Now I know there are those that do, Japanese beetles immediately come to mind and they can certainly do a lot of damage in a short amount of time. Hand picking them and dropping them into soapy water works well if you don't have a huge infestation. Traps work but you really need to have a large enough area that you can place the traps well away from your garden. Otherwise, you are actually inviting them in with the traps. Rotenone or pyrethrum sprays that are made from natural ingredients often help with Japanese beetles and other pests.

Since we, as gardeners, want our soils to be as rich and productive as possible, everything we can do to eliminate chemical use will surely benefit our gardens. Try to learn and put into practice as much as you can about natural options to get rid of weeds and insects as well as planting different varieties of plants that naturally repel many insects. Every drop of chemical that we can prevent from being used will go one step further in helping out environment.

Donna loves both working in her garden and writing about gardening. She has written on a variety of garden topics from favorite plants to ideas for garden tools storage. She also often reviews garden products and tools and shares her thoughts including her favorite pruning shears.

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