Gearing Up For Eco-Friendly Gardening Time To Get The Greener Garden Going Now That Spring Is In Bloom

eco-friendly gardening. rain barrels. Credit: Jennifer C., FlickrCC
Rain Barrels are a great way to provide water to a garden without raising your water bill. Credit: Jennifer C., FlickrCC

Preparing for your gardening season is an essential aspect of a successful harvest. Time spent planning and preparing your garden will be rewarded with beautiful plants throughout the season. Get your gear out from storage and consider these ways to prepare for your gardening season.

Bring In the Bugs

If you have lived in your area for long, you know what kind of bugs will usually show up to eat your most prized plants. If your plants suffer from aphids every year, consider purchasing ladybugs to add to your garden. You’ll be a step ahead this gardening season by bringing in these natural born aphid eaters. Adding bugs to a garden may seem odd or counterproductive but ladybugs are a great addition and natural predator to aphids that can destroy plants.

Use Recycled Pots

If you are planning on growing a vegetable garden, consider using old yogurt cups or egg cartons as seedling starter pots. Wash out the plastic cups and save them year round to make easy to use pots for seed starts every year. You can also save plastic berry and vegetable packaging from the store to use for your own produce out of your garden during the growing season.

Encourage Birds

Birds can be a nuisance to some homeowners but they usually help to keep down the bugs in your garden. Encourage birds to make your garden their home by installing bird feeders and building bird houses out of recycled wood or plastic containers. If your neighborhood allows chickens, consider getting a few backyard chickens to help cut down on the bug population that could harm plants in your garden. Chickens are also a great way to recycle food scraps, produce protein packed eggs, and cut down on bugs like mosquitoes and flies.

Add Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds can be used in both compost and directly into the soil of your garden. Both fresh and washed coffee grounds can be used to help in different ways. Fresh coffee grounds are acidic and are thought to help suppress weeds and neighborhood cats from entering a garden. They can also be directly sprinkled on soil around plants that love acidic environments like blueberries, hydrangeas, and lilies.

Washed coffee grounds are not acidic and are good for keeping snails and slugs away. They can also be directly mulched into your garden area. Washed coffee grounds can also be used to create fertilizer but don’t necessarily add acidic properties to soil. Instead, they provide organic properties to the soil which help to encourage worms and provide drainage.

Install a Rain Barrel

Rain Barrels are a great way to provide water to a garden without raising your water bill. For those in dry climates that are susceptible to drought, rain barrels can be the lifeline to your plants over dry periods of time. There are many styles of rain barrels on the market but a simple one would be anything that can collect water runoff from your home. Simply attach a gutter to any kind of container that will hold a lot of water to reuse the water in your garden.

Time spent outdoors gardening is a great way to use the environment around you. Encouraging bug eating birds and ladybugs to your garden will help your plants thrive. Adding used coffee grounds and installing a rain barrel are other ways to prepare for a successful gardening season. Reuse as much as you can in your garden this year to save on waste and produce an environmentally smart outdoor area.

Kristina Phelan is a freelance writer and her parenting column, Mama Bear Moxie, is printed in a few newspapers across the country. She lives on a farm in the Midwest with her husband, three kiddos, and too many animals.